The Dubs dropped their second straight game to Memphis Saturday night, 99-89, and they’ll go into Monday’s Game 4 at the Grindhouse facing a possible 3-1 hole, that’s a long way from where they were just a week ago. For the top ranked team heading into the playoffs, it’s been a precipitous fall, and it’s still unclear whether it’s the surreptitious defense of the Grizzlies, or a shooting slump at the worst possible time for Golden State.
How often have we seen the MVP miss a three-point attempt as badly as Steph whiffed on the above shot Saturday night? It’s not like the Grizzlies defense was up in his grill, either.
And how often do we see Marc Gasol bank in a three-pointer at a tense time with two minutes to go in the fourth when the Dubs had cut the Memphis lead to six?
Steph was closer to Gasol than any Grizzlies defender was to Steph on a shot that didn’t get within two feet of the rim. But John Hollinger, the stats sage who used to work for ESPN, but who is now the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Grit n’ Grind crew believes the Grizzlies have tagged Golden State’s regular season offensive masterpiece with their own genius brand of graffiti:
It remains to be seen if the Grizzlies’ Game 2 and 3 performances were a Banksy or a Mr. Brainwash brain fart.
To his credit, Steve Kerr thinks his team lost their poise down the stretch in Game 4, saying after the game Golden State’s inaccurate shooting rippled out to effect their entire offense:
“Again, I thought we lost our poise, though I thought we played with a better effort than in Game 2,” Kerr said. “I thought we played well in the first quarter, we just didn’t hit our shots, and then we got flustered because those shots weren’t going in, and we got out of sync.
“It’s a learning process for us,” he said, choosing to omit the part that this is part of a very long final exam and every question is graded. “This is our moment of truth. We have to learn from this.”
Stephen Curry was again awful from beyond the arc last night, going 2-of-10 from deep and 6-of-11 from inside the three-point line. He finished with a game-high 23 points and six dimes, but when he’s not even drawing iron on a shot, something is definitely wrong. Klay Thompson, on the other hand, was 3-of-6 from deep and finished 8-of-13 for 20 points. Draymond Green’s continued offensive slide was made up for with an excellent 7-of-10 Harrison Barnes shooting night. The Warriors are getting patchwork performances from their stars, and the Grizzlies are firing on all cylinders with Gasol and Z-Bo combining to score 43 of Memphis’ 99 points in the big Game 3 win.
The Grizzlies, with multiple chances to scope out Golden State’s sets, have stymied any attempts by them to break out of their two-game slump. Whether it’s a make or miss league and Golden State is just stuck in the latter category, or Memphis really has figured out how to bruise their way past Golden State to the Conference Finals in a suddenly wide-open Western Conference, remains to be seen.
But if you’re a Warriors fan, nows the time to begin wondering if their regular season dominance was more mirage than magic. We think it’s a case of the hiccups, but we’re not so sure anymore because Memphis seems to do this their opponents in the playoffs every year.