Game story from tomorrow’s paper
Warriors guard Monta Ellis sprung first from the locker room, in time to escape the media, his face painted with frustration. Forward Dorell Wright, when asked what the Warriors needed to turn things around, grumbled “you’re asking the wrong person” before hustling out of the locker room.
After Wednesday’s 110-92 loss to the visiting Memphis Grizzlies, it seems the Warriors are not in a good place.
“We got punked,” forward Dominic McGuire said. “Straight punked.”
Once again, Golden State failed to capitalize on an opportunity to turn their season around. Despite a disappointing road trip, going 2-3, Golden State returned home without losing any ground in the playoff chase. The Warriors were still 3.5 games back of the eighth and final playoff berth. They had just one loss more than Minnesota, current owners of the No. 8 seed.
So how did the Warriors respond? By getting blown out at home to the same Grizzlies’ squad they’d played close the first two meetings. The Warriors have now lost three of their last four games. And it seems they may be falling apart at the seams.
“These games, the importance of them are magnified,” point guard Stephen Curry said. “We need these games more than ever to keep our season relevant. It stings even more when we don’t get it done.”
Wednesday was the latest example of the Warriors’ inability to get it done. Golden State (15-21) was subpar on both ends. Defensively, they allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 52.5 percent from the field. The tag-team of center Marc Gasol and power forward Marreesse Speights body-blow’d the Warriors all game, combining for 35 points on 13 of 21 shooting with 19 rebounds.
Memphis star Rudy Gay provided the knockout punch, scoring 10 of his game-high 26 in the fourth quarter to put the Warriors away early.
The Grizzlies dominated in transition and in the halfcourt – racking up 32 fast-break points and doubling up the Warriors in points in the paint (52-26). Golden State managed just two steals, a season-low.
“From the jump, before we took a shot, they were getting fast-break baskets and outworking us,” coach Mark Jackson said. “That’s not Warriors basketball and it is unacceptable.”
Offensively, Golden State couldn’t keep up. Guard Monta Ellis, once again, had a tough time against Grizzlies’ defensive specialist Tony Allen. Ellis needed 19 shots to get 16 points. Forward David Lee managed just 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting.
Even with forward Dominic McGuire, not known for his offense, going 2-for-2, the Warriors’ starters were 14 for 38 shooting (36.8 percent).
“It seems as though we just didn’t have our best night,” Lee said. “No excuse not to get a win on our home floor.”
Golden State got a boost from the bench. Guards Stephen Curry, swingman Klay Thompson and forward Brandon Rush combined for 42 points. They were key during a run that erased a 21-4 first-quarter deficit. A runner by Rush tied the game at 38 midway through the second quarter.
Minutes later, a floater from rush put Golden State ahead 46-42 with 4:44 left. But over the last 2:32 of the second quarter, Memphis made six straight shots to close the first half with a 12-4 run.
Golden State trailed 56-51 at the half. But they didn’t have another charge in them in the third quarter. A break-away dunk by Gay put the Warriors down 69-58 with 7:40 left and the Warriors never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
At this point, with two days off to let the loss fester, it seems the Warriors are finding it tough to maintain confidence they have what it takes to make it run.
“Your mind keeps going 100 miles per hour trying to figure out what’s going wrong,” Curry said. “We’ve got a lot of games left. But we keep saying that after every loss. Eventually, we’re going to run out of time.”
* Curry played his second straight game off the bench Wednesday. He finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes.
In two games, totaling 33 minutes, Curry has 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting.
“Just trying to figure out how many minutes I can play and how my ankle is going to respond,” Curry said. “It’s not where I want it to be. I’m just trying to be as effective as I can when I get out there.”
Jackson opted to start McGuire and keep Curry coming off the bench as a way of easing Curry back into his usual role. Curry sprained the deltoid ligament in his right foot back on Feb. 22. He missed the first four games after the All-Star break, save for a three-second stint as a decoy in a win over Atlanta.
He returned to action Monday, but played just nine minutes.
“He hasn’t practiced and quite honestly, isn’t 100 percent right now,”Jacksonsaid. “So we want to be patient and smart about bringing him back.”
Curry said he’s hoping to be healed enough to start or play more than 24 minutes come Saturday, when defending champion Dallas comes to town. The Warriors have two days off, so he can get more rest and treatment.
* Center Ekpe Udoh finished with nine points, six rebounds, (career-high tying) four assists and four blocks. He now has a block in 14 straight games.