The way the Golden State Warriors ran away from the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday seemed not square up with the fact that the teams were only separated by one game in the standings.
With both teams eyeing a push to finish among the eight teams that will make the Western Conference playoffs and even without NBA All-Star and fan favorite Steph Curry in the lineup for the first of back-to-back games at FedExForum, the Warriors shot past the Grizzlies 116-103.
“They had a great night shooting. They deserve a lot of (credit) for what they were able to do offensively,” said Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen. “We need to do a better job of keeping our man in front of us. They cut hard without the ball. We have to close out to a guy who is a shooter. We didn’t do a good job of that.”
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins was direct: “Golden State (was) way more competitive. They played harder than us. They set the tone early in the game. We have to play harder tomorrow.”
The Warriors (22-20) led 34-26 at the end of the first quarter. Andrew Wiggins paved the way, scoring 12 points on what would be a 40-point night. The second quarter was more misery for the Grizzlies (18-20). They got outscored 33-22 and Wiggins did not let up. He scored another 15 points and had 27 points at the break, with Golden State comfortably ahead 67-48.
The second half brought no relief for the Grizzlies. They didn’t get the deficit down to 13 point until the final minutes of the game.
Wiggins paired his deadly scoring night with eight rebounds and Jordan Poole poured in 25 points. All-Star Draymond Green had a double-double (13 assists, 11 rebounds), controlling the offense from the center position.
Brandon Clarke, who had 13 points off the bench for the Grizzlies, was asked what he learned about guarding Green.
“We are different players. Draymond is such a great basketball player. He does so many things to make his team better.”
Allen and Ja Morant each had 14 points for the Grizzlies, with Jonas Valanciunas recording another double-double (10 points, 16 rebounds.
- The Warrior’s James Wiseman, drafted No. 2 overall after an abbreviated college season with the University of Memphis Tigers, was not on Golden State’s bench. He has missed the last several games because of health and safety protocols. The back-to-back games offered the first opportunity for him to play at the FedExForum since leaving the UofM.
- Game two of the back-to-back is set for 7 p.m.