Warriors blow out short-handed Grizzlies in Game 1
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr joked before Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals that reporters should have two stories ready: One if his team looked well-rested and won, another if it looked rusty and lost.
"It was right in the middle, so you've got to write a third story," he teased afterward.
Neither the Warriors nor Grizzlies really felt good about the way they played. The difference is the Warriors did what they usually do at home: take care of business -- and comfortably, too.
Stephen Curry had 22 points and seven assists, and the Warriors wore down undermanned Memphis in a 101-86 victory in Sunday's series opener.
"I think now we've got the cobwebs out of our offensive game. We should be able to build some momentum," Curry said.
Curry has won the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league has not released the voting results.
An official announcement is expected Monday, and Curry will be presented with the award on the court before Game 2 on Tuesday night.
Klay Thompson added 18 points and Draymond Green scored 16 to help the top-seeded Warriors roll to their 21st straight win at raucous Oracle Arena. They led by nine at the half, 20 late in the third quarter and never let the Grizzlies come close in the fourth despite Green and center Andrew Bogut getting in foul trouble.
Marc Gasol had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Zach Randolph finished with 20 points and nine rebounds for a Memphis team missing point guard Mike Conley. He sat on the bench in a suit, his left eye still swollen, as he continues to recover from surgery to repair broken bones in his face.
Conley said he has "no idea" whether he'll play in Game 2.
"Taking it day to day," he said.
The Grizzlies could use all the help they can get right now. Curry got off to a slow start before joining the sweet-shooting performance Golden State put on in front of its home crowd.
The Warriors shot 50.6 percent, including 46.4 percent from 3-point range (13 of 28), to keep fans that formed a sea of golden yellow shirts roaring all afternoon. Memphis shot 45.2 percent but was just 3 of 12 (25 percent) from beyond the arc. Both teams had 16 turnovers.
"I didn't think the game was physical at all," Gasol said. "We didn't bring it to that point yet. I hope, the next game, we have to bring it to our advantage."
The Warriors, coming off a first-round sweep of New Orleans that earned them an eight-day layoff, picked up right where they left off.
Curry pushed the pace from start to finish, and the Grizzlies never could slow Golden State down. The Warriors went ahead by 16 in the second quarter, and Curry kept the pressure after Memphis moved within seven.
At one point in the third quarter, he crossed over Randolph, stepped back for a 3 and ran down court with his arms extended after the ball swished through to give Golden State an 80-60 lead.
The Grizzles missed a chance to surge back when Bogut and Green got in foul trouble late, sending the defensive duo to the bench. Memphis never could put together a big push against Curry and company, with Gasol and Randolph coming out in the last few minutes to rest up for Game 2.
Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said he has to do a better job of keeping at least one of his two big men on the floor at all times, but thought missed layups and poor offensive execution hurt them more than anything.
"You just can't keep giving those guys shots at you," Joerger said, "and I thought that's what happened."
Grizzlies: Memphis has lost three straight to the Warriors after winning the first matchup this season. ... The Grizzlies are in the conference semifinals for the third time in five years.
Warriors: Golden State improved to 42-2 at home this season. ... Team executive Jerry West gave general manager Bob Myers the NBA executive of the year award during an on-court presentation before the game.
Grizzlies guard Tony Allen became a target of boos every time he touched the ball after unknowingly walking through the Warriors' Jr. Jam Squad during a timeout in the second quarter. Allen shook hands with one of the youngsters afterward and laughed when he was shown on the video board.
"I just heard the first horn and I went out there. I thought they knew to run off the court," Allen said. "That's the least of my worries."
The Warriors certainly noticed Allen's error.
"He tried to give the kid some dap and the fans did not pay that any attention," Green said, chuckling. "I don't think he meant anything by it, but it was hilarious."
Curry applauded the dance team's focus.
"I don't think it messed with their choreography either," Curry said. "They were killing it."