From the Silver Linings Playbook, the good news is that the Memphis Grizzlies have apparently solved their third-quarter problem.
The bad news? They now have a second quarter problem.
Tuesday night it was the injury-depleted Golden State Warriors who outscored Memphis 33-16 in the second frame, building a lead they’d never relinquish and cruising to a 114-95 win.
“We just didn’t do what we needed to do,” said Jaren Jackson Jr., who finished with just eight points and no rebounds. “I can’t speak on (Golden State) and their locker room. I just know in here, we have to be better. I have to be better. I have to bring it next game.”
Rookie Ja Morant scored 20 points for Memphis, while Dillon Brooks finished with 18. Brandon Clarke added 17 and Jae Crowder had 15 points along with 11 rebounds.
The game lived up to expectations in a weird way. Even with the defection of Kevin Durant and the injury to Klay Thompson, the safe preseason bet would be for Steph Curry and Draymond Green to lead the Warriors to victory.
Then Curry broke his hand and the Warriors came into Memphis with a 2-12 record, and you start to think the Grizzlies should come out on top. But Golden State was locked in from the opening tip, determined to break a seven-game losing streak. It was the team’s first win since Nov. 4 against Portland.
”Losing sucks,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said candidly. ”When you lose seven in a row, it’s miserable. Tonight, our players were rewarded, and now, hopefully, we can kind of use this as some momentum and get some more wins.”
And Draymond Green was right there at the center of it.
”We started putting stops together,” Green said. ”Once we started putting stops together, we were able to get out and get some buckets in transition. Get the game in our pace. When you are putting three, four stops in a row together, you are able to open the lead up.”
It was the second straight game that the Grizzlies essentially lost the game by halftime. On Sunday against Denver, they were outscored 44-17 in the second quarter and never threatened after that.
”We started missing shots, and they were getting out and running on us,” said Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins. ”But I felt like they played at a different level than us.”
The Grizzlies have the next three days to think about how to level up, but it won’t get any easier to win – not with the 12-2 Los Angeles Lakers bringing the LeBron-to-Anthony Davis show to town Saturday night. In the meantime, check out these locker room clips from TSD correspondent Terrisa C. Mark: