There are two ways to look at the Golden State Warriors’ 101-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, which gave the Dubs a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
The first view is that the Warriors played a gruesome offense and were lucky to escape with a win against a Grizzlies team missing Ja Morant. The second view is that the Warriors played terrific defense and got a win.
The truth is certainly in the middle. It was a dramatic game with appalling performances and was far too close to be comfortable, but Golden State deserves credit for an outstanding defensive performance.
But overall it was not a very good performance. So let’s get out a few good doses of red pen and rate the players, taking into account our expectations of each.
Note: The league average true shot percentage (TS) was 56.6% this season.
33 minutes, 2 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls Shooting 1 for 2, 50.0% TS, +6
For the fourth time in as many games, the Warriors have passed Memphis. It’s pretty incredible considering the difference in size between the two teams, especially now that Steven Adams is back.
Green played a big part in that, and it certainly did on Monday night.
And for all the Warriors’ struggles, their defense was truly sensational. They held Memphis to 41.7 percent shooting, including 25.7 percent from range, and never let the Grizzlies get into a groove. Green was the person most responsible for this.
But he really didn’t throw the attack much in this one.
Post-match bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
5 minutes, 0 point, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block, -5
I’ll be curious to see who starts for Game 5 on Wednesday, after Kuminga was given the start but only played five minutes. His stats were good considering the limited minutes, but he was a bit too sloppy and out of control for this game.
39 minutes, 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 7 for 13 shots, 1 for 5 threes, 2 for 3 free throws, 59.4% TS, +12
If you have to name anyone as the player in the game, it’s Wiggins. It’s really not particularly close either, and I don’t want to think about where the Warriors would be in this game – or this series – without Wiggs.
His defense was phenomenal, but he didn’t commit a single foul. He devoted himself completely to the glass and played a huge role – I would say the biggest role – in the Warriors’ victory in this battle.
He didn’t make his three, but his offense was very strong apart from that. Just another outstanding game from Wiggins, which has been outstanding this series.
Post-match bonus: Led the team more/less.
38 minutes, 32 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 10 for 25 shots, 4 for 14 threes, 8 for 9 free throws, 55.3% TS, +6
Curry has really struggled to find his offensive rhythm in this game, and I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be very happy when this streak ends (assuming the Warriors win) and he can do against a different defence. Memphis definitely defends him better than any NBA team.
Although his shot didn’t fall, Curry still had a big play after a big play in the fourth quarter, when the Dubs overcame a 12-point deficit to win the game.
He made eight free throws in the final 45.7 seconds, tying the game, taking the lead, retaining the lead and freezing the game. And he distributed the ball well all night… to have eight assists when the team shot poorly is quite impressive.
Post-match bonus: Led the team in points and assists.
38 minutes, 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, shooting 6 for 20, 0 for 7 threes, 2 for 2 free throws, 33.5% TS, -3
A spirited rebounding effort and strong defense from Klay. Everything else? Uh…. yuck.
Hopefully the Dubs can wrap things up on Wednesday so Klay can rest and get his groove going before the conference finals.
Otto Porter Jr.
26 mins, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 4-for-6 threes, 85.7% TS, +4
Porter felt a little forgotten as an afterthought during the regular season. Now? It’s hard to imagine where the Warriors would be without him.
He shot 4 for 6 three-pointers. His teammates combined to shoot 5 for 31.
As he has in recent games, he did a bit of everything, playing quality defense from multiple positions, keeping the ball moving well, getting the Warriors into their sets, shooting and boxing. When the Warriors fussed, Porter seemed to have an answer.
15 minutes, 8 points, 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, shooting 3 for 5, free throws 2 for 2, 68.0% TS, -3
The Warriors will take 8 points and 9 rebounds in 15 minutes from Looney (or just about anyone), eight days a week. He remains ready and really made an impact in this game when his number was called.
13 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, shooting 1 for 6, 0 for 2 threes, 16.7% TS, -7
I have no problem with Mike Brown turning to Lee in this game. With the Warriors offense playing horribly, it made sense to put in a slasher and shooter to see what he could do. Unfortunately, that didn’t work, and Lee didn’t provide much else. But the thought process was pretty solid.
Post-match bonus: The worst plus/minus of the team.
32 mins, 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, 4 for 12 shots, 0 for 3 threes, 6 for 6 free throws, 47.8% TS, +5
Poole has done a good job of finding other ways to impact the game in this one. When he couldn’t get clean shots, he found ways to make plays for his teammates. When he couldn’t shoot, he attacked and went to the free throw line. He shows a diverse skill set that allows him to help the Warriors win, even on days like Monday when he wasn’t playing very well.
He also had a few key plays in the stretch.
Monday DNPs: Nemanja Bjelica, Moses Moody, Juan Toscano-Anderson
Monday inactives: Andre Iguodala, James Wiseman