Revisiting Game 50: Poor First Half Doomed Warriors in Loss at Memphis

The easy answer is to be encouraged by the fact that, a least for 24 minutes, they Warriors got finally got back to their “brand of basketball.” But it’s even easier to be discouraged by the other 24 minutes, which were bad enough to prevent the Warriors from winning.

STEPHEN CURRY: “This is a frustrating feeling for us, knowing that we’ve lost three in a row. But there is positive we can take from this game, knowing we got back to our brand of basketball for the last 24 minutes. We have to remember that.”

The Warriors (30-20) held the Grizzlies to 36 points on 38.2 percent shooting in the second half. They forced 10 turnovers and limited inside-dominant Memphis to 18 points in the paint and four offensive rebounds after halftime.

It was the best basketball they played all road trip. However, the hole they dug in the first half was too large.

The Warriors gave up 63 first half points to the Grizzlies, on 52.3 percent shooting. No, Memphis is not a good offense. They came into the game towards the bottom in scoring and field goal percentage.

Over the last three games, the Warriors have given up an average of 69 points on 54.7 percent shooting in the first half.

DRAYMOND GREEN: “Giving up 63 points in the first half is unacceptable. I don’t care who you’re playing. … When you gift a good team a 12-point lead, it’s hard to come back from. We’ve got to stop giving up 60 points in the first half.”

More on Friday’s defeat …

MVP: Stephen Curry

He was as aggressive as he’s been all road trip. But Friday his shot started falling. He had 32 points on 11 of 22 shooting (including 4 of 9 from 3). He had 8 assists and 1 turnover to go with five rebounds and a steal. He played just shy of 40 minutes, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter, including two clutch back-to-back 3-pointers to prompt an adjustment from the Grizzlies defense.

Memphis put Tony Allen, their best defender, on Curry and had him denying Curry the ball.

MDP: Andrew Bogut

He was supposed to be the difference. He played a season-high 28 minutes and it’s hard to remember anything he did on the court. (Actually, he did drop a beautiful back-door pass to Curry). He had seven points, six rebounds and two assists.

Zero blocks and just five defensive rebounds is not the production they need from him. It’s not always about numbers with Bogut. But you didn’t feel his impact, either. Especially not when Marc Gasol took over down the stretch.

His presence did take some of the load off David Lee, who looked to have more pep in his step than we’ve seen in a while. But Bogut needs to be more than just a beam to hold up David Lee.

KEY MOMENT I: The game started on the wrong foot as Tony Allen, hardly known for his offense, opened the game by knocking down an open 20-footer. Allen then got consecutive layups, one set up by Marc Gasol and one a fastbreak off a steal.

Before you knew it, Memphis was up 12-4 after a Zach Randolph turnaround, a Mike Conley 20-footer and a fast-break dunk by Tayshaun Prince.

TELLING STAT: Tony Allen had a season-high 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting. Yup, Tony Allen. When he’s scoring, it is not a good thing for your defense.

Allen’s offensive prowess was a symbol of how porous the Warriors defense was Friday in the first half. The Grizzlies came into the game averaging 93 points on 43.6 percent shooting. And even without Rudy Gay, they were feeling like a juggernaut on offense in the first half. They scored 63 points in the first half on 52 percent shooting.

YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: “Giving up 63 points in the first half is unacceptable. I don’t care who you’re playing. … When you gift a good team a 12-point lead, it’s hard to come back from. We’ve got to stop giving up 60 points in the first half.” — Warriors forward Draymond Green

KEY MOMENT II: Golden State’s defense finally showed up in the third quarter and the Warriors were leading early in the third. But Memphis started to assert itself. Randolph earned a trip to the free throw line.  Allen dropped in a reverse layup, and the Warriors were down 83-78 with nine minutes left.

Then the Warriors revealed some resiliency.

Curry drove to the lane and when his left-hand runner didn’t, Lee was there to put it back. After as top, Curry drilled a 3-pointer in transition.

Then Thompson, who had committed a silly backcourt violation moments early, made up for it by picking off a Randolph pass on Memphis side of the court. He waited for his teammates to come back and bounced a cross-court pass to Curry, who drilled the pull-up 3-pointer.

An 8-point swing just like that, the Warriors led 86-83.

SERIOUSLY?!: There was one second-quarter sequence couldn’t have sat well with Warriors fans. For three straight possession, Jerryd Bayless, a reserve guard who hasn’t done much since being compared to Monta Ellis out of college, started pulling up like he was on fire.

It wasn’t that he made back-to-back 3-pointers, pushing the Grizzlies’ lead to 14. But it was the way he was pulling up like he was Kobe.  He was confident, unimpeded. Another average player feeling like they could take on the world against the Warriors’ defense.

KEY MOMENT III: The Warriors trailed by a bucket with just over five minutes left. Curry missed a 14-footer. After two offensive rebounds, Gasol dropped in a running hook.

The Warriors went straight to Lee, who posted up Randolph. But his turnaround jumper missed. On the other end, Gasol missed a 13-footer. But Randolph tipped in the miss to put the Grizzlies up 6.

Thompson answered with a jumper, but Gasol all but iced the game with another midrange jumper. Golden State ran out of bullets and never got closer than six.

BEFORE YOU GO: Curry and Lee combined for 58 points. No other Warrior reached double-figures. The next highest scorer was Thompson with nine, which it took him 14 shots to get.

Marcus Thompson