If you went to bed early (or stepped out for the evening) on Friday night, you missed an epic fourth-quarter comeback by the Memphis Grizzlies against the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors led by 24 at one point and took a 19-point lead into the final frame, but the Grizzlies held the Warriors to just 13 points in the fourth to force overtime on the way to a 128-119 win. And when Kevin Durant settled for a 3-pointer in isolation on Golden State’s final meaningful possession of regulation, Draymond Green let his new teammate hear about it:
After the game, Green admitted that his body language during Memphis’ comeback wasn’t great, yet he claimed he’s actually “thrilled” by the loss to the Grizzlies (via ESPN.com):
“I’m actually happy we lost today because there’s some things that we need to correct in order to win a championship, and that’s our goal,” he said. “So trying to win every regular-season game really don’t matter. I want to see us get better each and every time we step on the floor, and I don’t feel like that’s been happening for the things we need to get better at. So I’m kind of thrilled that we lost because you usually make corrections when you lose.”
Green also explained his conversation with Durant, saying he was upset that the Warriors didn’t execute a Stephen Curry-Durant pick-and-roll, which has become an increasingly important part of Golden State’s offense. Durant told reporters Green was insistent about the need for a pick-and-roll but said he didn’t mention the actual shot:
Kerr added the Warriors simply haven’t been executing well lately, and Green offered Klay Thompson as evidence of Golden State’s inability to run its offense. In the fourth quarter, when the Warriors floundered, Thompson was stuck standing in the corner and not moving off the ball, according to Green. The Golden State forward was quick to point out that wasn’t Thompson’s fault.
“Our fourth-quarter offense has been atrocious, and I don’t know if you could see,” Green said. “Everyone only notices in losses, but I actually pay attention to things when we win also.”
Unfortunately, such bumps in the road should be expected for the Warriors, at least for the next couple months. As we’ve said before, Golden State is learning the same lesson LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had to learn with the Miami Heat: getting a bunch of very talented offensive players on the same page is no easy task, especially when those stars have redundant skill sets.
Are there problems in Golden State? Undoubtedly. The crunchtime offense is still too isolation-dependent and Durant and Curry are still figuring things out between themselves.
Yet that’s the kicker. The Warriors saw firsthand how big of an issue that can be on Friday night against Memphis. Now, they can go to work fixing that specific issue. And that’s how they’ll continue to navigate their way through this regular season: using the 82-game slog as a series of experiments aimed at finding the best solution. When you’re a superteam, the season is your laboratory.