Warriors vs Grizzlies score takeaway: Memphis keeps playoff hopes alive with Game 5 win over Golden State

The Memphis Grizzlies kept their playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night with their dominating victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 at FedExForum as they came away with a 134-95 win. Memphis received contributions up and down their roster as seven players finished in victory after scoring in double figures.

With the win, the Grizzlies avoid elimination and now force a Game 6 in San Francisco to potentially field a Game 7 do-or-die game in Memphis, should they win in California this Friday. Here are the top three takeaways from Game 5.

1. Not quite the worst blowout in playoff history.

Golden State exited the history books 28-15 in the fourth quarter, but before that, this game had a chance to be historic. The biggest outburst in playoff history was a 58-point win for the Denver Nuggets in 2009 over the New Orleans Hornets. The Grizzlies led by 55 in the third quarter. If they had insisted, they might have won by 60 or 70. We know for a fact that they can. They won a regular season game by 73 against the Thunder in December.

Let’s focus on the competitive part of the game, ie the first three quarters. At that time, the Grizzlies were leading by so many points that even if you stripped their 17 3-pointers after three quarters, they still held a 68-67 one-point lead. They won the third quarter by a ridiculous 25 points. It took them just over a half to surpass their 98-point total from Game 4. It might not be the worst playoff loss in NBA history, but it isn’t. far either.

2. A masterpiece of ball control

The shooting got out of hand in the second half, but if you looked at the percentages in the first half, you’d see a relatively tight game. The Warriors scored 47.4% of their field goals in the first half. The Grizzlies made 50.9% of theirs. The Warriors made 39.1% of their 3s in the first half. The Grizzlies made 44.4% of theirs. Golden State even shot a higher percentage from the line. Typically, you would see these numbers and expect a relatively close game. As we know, this game was not close. Why? Okay, first half…

  • The Grizzlies had 10 more offensive rebounds than the Warriors.
  • The Warriors had 11 more turnovers than the Grizzlies.
  • Because of those two factors, the Grizzlies attempted 18 more shots than the Warriors.

Turns out it’s pretty hard to win a basketball game when you never have the ball. To some extent, that was to be expected. The Grizzlies were the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA by a mile this season. Golden State’s movement and pass-heavy offense bring turnovers into the equation, with the understanding that the Warriors make them up by getting cleaner looks at all of their other possessions. But numbers like these are something else entirely.

Bringing Steven Adams back into the rotation clearly seems to have made a difference, and the Warriors, without a big shooter, aren’t punishing him defensively the way Minnesota might. But part of the problem here was just a lethargic night of basketball from the Warriors who were likely expecting a victory over a worn-out opponent. Now they will have to play Game 6 without Gary Payton II and possibly Otto Porter Jr. knowing that a loss would force them to play Game 7 on the road to determine their season’s fate. These are areas where the Warriors should lose, but there’s no excuse for the beating they took on Wednesday.

3. Kerr at the controls

Would you believe me if I told you that Warriors interim coach Mike Brown is 12-1 replacing Steve Kerr even after this debacle? That’s right, the future Sacramento Kings coach went undefeated with an 11-0 record for Kerr in the 2017 playoffs. He won Game 4 for victory No. 12. Finally, in Game 5, he suffered his first loss, but boy, was it ugly.

His victory in Game 4 was nothing out of the ordinary either. It shouldn’t take a double-digit return to beat an opponent without their best player at home. But that’s the kind of basketball the Warriors have played in their last two games. Sloppy, fuzzy and lazy. Stephen Curry bailed them out of Game 4 because he is Stephen Curry. He can do it from time to time. Nothing could have saved them from the Game 5 decimation.

Would that loss have come with Kerr at the helm? Most likely. No coach is worth 40 points in a single game. But the Warriors haven’t looked like the Warriors since their coach caught COVID-19. Getting him back on the bench as soon as possible is essential here. They are already missing Payton and possibly Porter. Being without their coach only complicates things.

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