MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson nearly beat the Grizzlies themselves. They needed little help, combining for 66 points in a 107-84 win Friday at Memphis, the Grizzlies second-straight home blowout. Here are three takes, as the Grizzlies road gets no easier Sunday at San Antonio.
1. Wednesday’s 22-point loss to the Cavs was "one of those games." This one was …
A second-straight "one of those games," according to Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger.
"It was another tough night," he said. "We played a very, very good team. That’s two games now we’ve played two teams that are very good that played very, very well."
Memphis (50-23) on the other hand, did not again, particularly defensively in the third quarter. In fairness, a 29-12 run anchored by six 3-pointers from Curry and Thompson had as much to do with how good they are as it did with Memphis’ defense. But the numbers don’t lie and it stretched a five-point lead at the half to 20, with the league’s highest scoring team already at 85 points.
Most concerning may be that it came in the Grindhouse. After the Cavs shot 51 percent Wednesday, it was an anomaly the Grizzlies were picked apart at home. Now, two straight teams have done it. It came to two title contenders, but to win a title, that’s who can’t be allowed to do exactly what they’ve done, twice in three days.
The Warriors (59-13) shot 52 percent from beyond the arc — 16 of 31. The Grizzlies were unable to cut the water off on the Splash Brothers, who finished 22 of 39 and 14 of 21 from deep.
2. Warriors fast-paced, efficient, and plenty effective
Golden State has the fastest offense in the NBA, 102 possessions per game. That’s 102 efficient possessions. In the first quarter, the Warriors had 11 assists on 13 makes. The pace didn’t slow much — 28 assists on 39 makes on the final stat sheet.
The Grizzlies made one final push, in the fourth quarter cutting what was a 24-point lead to 12. Curry hit the dagger, a 3 for a 17-point lead with 4 minutes, 16 seconds to play.
The pace is fast. Curry and Thompson’s shots are just as fast, maybe faster. Superman could leap tall buildings in a single bound. Thompson and Curry can make 3-points in a split second, with nary a millimeter of space necessary.
"It was fun. I got some good looks. I got in rhythm," Curry said.
That sounds more simple than it is and his (and Thompson’s) version of "good looks" is pretty different than your average shooter.
They did it over and over. If either had a half-second before a defending hand was raised, the shot was off with ease and didn’t bother to touch the rim. In the first half, Curry blew by Vince Carter and threw up some weird version of a 3-pointer than found the net. The duo did it on cue, video-game makes.
"(Curry) is probably the best shooter in the league, to make shots like that," Zach Randolph said.
3. Can the Grizzlies win a seven-game series at that pace?
Randolph has a case. Curry may be the best shooter in the league. Can the Grizzlies, now a half-game ahead of Houston for the West’s second seed, keep up with him for seven games if it came to that?
Yes, but there is an if. If the Grizzlies can correct the things Joerger says are controllable but have plagued them in bad back-to-back losses.
"Our turnovers are killing us. Our transition defense is just effort," Joerger said. "Our weak side defense was struggling a little bit. We gave up 14 offensive rebounds to guys who were just kind of throwing us out of the way."
The last may be the most revealing. Memphis is accustomed to doing to manhandling. Manhandled in back-to-back games at FedExForum is eye-popping. It doesn’t happen, yet it happened again. And the road is always tougher in the West.
The Grizzlies turned the ball over 19 times for 32 points and gave up 28 fastbreak points. They were outrebounded 43-40, 14-8 on the offensive glass. Bigs Marc Gasol and Randolph combined for 23 points and eight rebounds. The normally pushy duo had six rebounds against Cleveland.
"Each one of our players needs to look in the mirror and see what we can do better as a team," Randolph said. "the last two games, this hasn’t been us."
59 — Golden State tied its single-season win mark. It can break it Saturday in Milwaukee.
101 — With a pair of 3-pointers, Conley has hit more than 100 3-pointers for the third straight season. His career-high is 106.