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Warriors Choke, Fall 91-90 to Memphis Grizzlies

GAME STORY FOR  TOMORROW’S PAPER

OAKLAND — Monday’s game showed exactly why coach Mark Jackson still believes the Warriors are a playoff team, as they dominated a legit contender in Memphis.

Monday’s game also showed why some think Jackson is crazy for such belief. Golden State squandered a 20-point lead in an epic collapse, losing 91-90.

“First thing that comes to mind,” forward Dorell Wright said, “is unacceptable.”

 The loss was more than just the Warriors’ third straight at home, extending the team’s losing streak to three games. It was an indictment on their proclaimed progress and a serious blow to the lofty predictions made by Jackson and the ownership.

After all, this was the latest chance to silence their critics and show their worth. Instead, Golden State– now 0-6 against the Western Conference — did everything it could to lose to Memphis, including turning it over 24 times. Guard Monta Ellis had a game-high seven turnovers to go with 20 points and five assists.

The Warriors have now lost seven games in which they led, tied or were within five points to start the fourth quarter.

“We controlled the game for 36 minutes,” point guard Stephen Curry said after totaling 18 points, six rebounds, five assists and five turnovers. “The turnovers and rebounds killed us. It was poor decisions by the guys who are supposed to be running the offense. … We had control of the game and they started to make a run and we kind of tightened up. No excuses. We needed to win that game.”

Memphis scored 39 points in the fourth quarter – 16 of those came on fast breaks, which were prompted by nine Golden State turnovers.

Smelling blood,Memphis– who won its league-high seventh straight and now own the fourth-best record in the conference – attacked the Warriors on both ends. That explains why the Grizzlies scored 20 points in the paint and 12 from the free throw line.

Meanwhile, Golden State settled for jumpers. The Warriors took just six shots in the paint over the final 12 minutes. They took eight 3-pointers, making three.

“In the fourth quarter,” Memphis guard Tony Allen said, “those long balls turn into low-percentage shots.”

Golden State appeared to be cruising to a comfortable win. A dunk by Brandon Rush, off a pretty pass from Dorell Wright, put the Warriors ahead 63-43 with 3:32 left in the third quarter. Memphis called a timeout, Oracle Arena was rocking and the Warriors were feeling good having their largest lead of the season.

The Warriors entered the fourth quarter up 68-52. That’s the lowest Golden State has held a team through 36 minutes since they held the Los Angeles Clippers to 51 points on Feb. 2, 2000.

But before you even noticed, their advantage was trimmed to 78-64 inside of seven minutes left after a thunderous dunk by Memphis forward Rudy Gay, who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds.

Before long, Golden State’s lead was down to 78-72 after guard O.J. Mayo capped an 11-0 Grizzlies run with a three-point play at the 4:52 mark.

“You think its over and you begin to freestyle and ad-lib and, all of a sudden, you give a team hope and life,”Jackson said. “When we started that fourth quarter, we could’ve knocked them out and they would’ve been ready to play their bench guys and surrender. But we didn’t when we had the chance to.” Golden State led 85-82 after Curry’s jumper was followed by a pair of free throws from Memphis point guard Mike Conley. Then a Curry turnover produced a Tony Allen layup.

Golden State’s lead was down to 85-84.

The exuberance had morphed into nervous energy as certain victory took on the scent of a demoralizing loss. The Warriors looked almost powerless to stop the determined Grizzlies, who were playing their third game in four nights.

Another Warriors turnover, this time by Rush, led to another Memphis lay-up, this time by Conley. The Warriors were actually trailing, 86-85, with 1:23 left.

Of course, this was an opportunity for the Warriors to practice at closing games. Six times this season the Warriors have lost after entering the fourth quarter tied or within five points. Now, they were down and needing to make some winning plays.

They couldn’t do it.

The Warriors took and missed three straight jumpers, and Gay responded by drilling a fade-away to put Memphis ahead 88-85 with 22.6 seconds left. Then Ellis squandered the next possession by forcing a contested 3-pointer.

“It’s disappointing because we area  team that needed a win,”Jackson said. “We have to realize you have to play every possession. … We’ve got to learn to keep our foot on the gas pedal at all times.”

* The Warriors’ second-unit – the Dub-Stitutes – once again put together an effective outing. The quintet – guards Nate Robinson and Klay Thompson, forwards Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire, and big man Ekpe Udoh – started the second quarter together. Golden State led 21-13.

By the time they checked out, with 3:12 remaining, the lead had grown to 15 points. Thompson scored seven straight at one point. Rush knocked down another 3-pointer, his fourth straight over three games. And their defense held Memphis scoreless for a three-minute-plus stretch.

Golden State led 40-25 when the starters checked back in. The Warriors’ bench outscoredMemphis’ reserves 31-11.

Marcus Thompson

  • Niners in 2012

    Who’s got it better than us?

  • PhillyJ

    @Niners, LOL.
    at least we are heading for top 7 pick. thats the only hope i have for this team.

  • FadingAway

    Why does Mark Jackson sound more like Mike Singletary everyday?

  • MLBSF

    Playoffs!?!?!? (in Jim Mora’s voice)

    I wonder when Jackson will admit he’s in over his head?

    This team is an absolute mess and possibly worse than last year’s train wreck.

  • http://www.grizzlies.com Heart, Grit, & Grind

    Hey Michael Thompson,

    Might want to fix your blog… The Griz do not have a PG named Mark Conley.

  • Marquee Jackson

    Total collapse, total disaster! Where the heck is Nellie to save the day here? Bring back Cohan while you are at it.

  • Yoda

    Good. Lacob needs to get the stardust out of his eyes and see this team for what it is.

  • http://warriorshoopshype.blogspot.com Coach Sing

    I need WINNERS! Can’t play without ‘em!

  • john

    I put this one on the coach. At least Nellie would have called time out, scolded his team, and put Nate and Klay back on the floor. The Warriors wouldn’t have scored as much but they wouldn’t have given the ball over so many times.
    Well, my wife is happy we can watch “house hunters” together on weeknights. Turn out the lights, the parties over. I’m not watching another game until, maybe, at that’s a big maybe, next season.

  • Bobby G

    @PhillyJ,

    You realize us getting a 7 pick is probably worse than us getting an 8th pick, right?

    We gotta hope for top 3 for it to be useful in my opinion.

    Anyway, as for the game, why can’t we play the DubStitutes in longer stretches? When Steph and Monta are turnover machines, bench them. At least Monta was getting some of his turnovers back. Steph looked useless. Put in Nate and/or Klay or hell CT Jenkins, that guy hasn’t been turnover prone.

    Sadly, when these guys play like this they kill their trade value.

  • Kyle

    This team isn’t even fun or interesting. It is bad, though.

  • deano

    The Warriors miss Kwame Brown. He would not have scored many points (neither did Biedrins or Udoh), but he would have prevented at least another 6-8 of Memphis’ points in the paint. That would have been good enough for a win last night, and in several of the other games he’s missed. Unfortunately, this is a problem that cannot be solved this season.

  • deano

    MT II: I like the name “Dubsitutes”.

  • deano

    Rather, “Dubstitutes”. Sorry. I’m stuttering this morning.

  • Young

    Ok, so I know the warriors are sucking right now (whats new right) and I actually threw in the towel on this season 5 games ago after the blowout loss to Charlotte for the record…

    Mark Jackson had a quote though that, I think has at least a 50-50 chance of being true…

    “We are grinding and we’ve been in position to win in eight of our 10 losses and we’ve beaten some of the best in the land. The reality is that we’re very close to being who I am convinced we are.”

    He went on to talk about being a principled team, which matters less when you are loosing, but I do actually see what he is talking about. I can’t say the same for the Warriors under Keith Smart, Mike Montgomery, Brian Winters, Gary St. Gean…I did see a difference under Eric Musselmen, think he was fired prematurely (nevertheless, I digress)…

    Sorry guys, I know that loss hurt, but Mark Jackson might just be right.

  • Nellielover

    The Warriors would be a winning team if they had a $9 million dollar center instead of the inept Beidrins. His line is always the same, 15 minutes, 4 points (2 putbacks), no assists, 0-0 from the free throw line, 3 fouls. I assume he’s a starter because he’s being showcased for a possible trade. Or, putting him on the bench at the start would destroy his confidence, as Nellie supposedly did by trying to get him to improve his free throw technique.

  • John Starks

    “The Warriors have now lost seven games in which they led, tied or were within five points to start the fourth quarter.”

    Being conservative and saying they’d only have won half of those, that’s 3 more wins the Dubs could realistically have right now today. If you include last night’s abomination, that means this Warrior team could’ve been 9-7 right now instead of 5-11. That’s still not good enough for the 8th spot but waaaay closer than 5-11.

    If they’d won all 7 of those games, the Warriors would be 12-4.

    In shorty, this team could and should be better than it is. Closing out games would be among the first steps towards relevance.

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda, mighta, outta… doesn’t mean anything unless you get a W. There is no award for potential.

  • Derek

    Its time to trade for some assets. The Dubs need a defensive bruiser, a true rebounder, trading Udoh for a Carl Landry type might work.

    The team consistently fails to block out, or run back on offense before actually ensuring the ball has been secured by a team-mate.

    AB is totally useless, the guy should be traded for that knucklehead center from Washington Andray Blatche.

    Blatche may be alittle ignorant, but as we see a team full of nice guys is not the answer either. At least Blatche can play at a high level, score rebound and defend.

    Production of character speculation please !

  • Grey Warden

    Curry: “It was poor decisions by the guys who are supposed to be running the offense.”

    I’m surprised he put the blame on “the guys” and not take some of that blame himself. He gave up some crucial turnovers and took some bad shots as well.

    ———-

    Jackson: “We’ve got to learn to keep our foot on the gas pedal at all times.”

    Funny he says that, because usually in the 4th quarter they start to slow things down and run half court sets. That’s where they get into trouble and start settling for jumpshots.

    Also find it funny that Mike Malone pretty much runs the team and draws up plays, while Jackson seems like he’s just there for moral support. Maybe they should switch job titles.

  • Playoffbound

    I think it’s time to blow up this roster. I love Ellis and Curry as players, but neither of them are point guards. We need a real point guard that will control the tempo in the 4th quarter and not turn the ball over. Trade everybody and start over…

  • MoreauFan2

    Not impressed with Coach Jackson at all, sorry to say it, but I liked Coach Smart