VOL. 132 | NO. 210 | Monday, October 23, 2017
Grizzlies Run Past Golden State, 111-101
By Don Wade
When it was done, when the Memphis Grizzlies had defeated the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors 111-101 Saturday night at FedExForum, and Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant had been ejected, there was a lot of explaining to do.
By both sides.
For most of the game, the Grizzlies looked like the faster, more fluid, team. They outshot the Warriors from 3-point range (37 percent to 31.6 percent), shot 10 more free throws (37 to 27) and it was the world champs who committed 17 turnovers that became 24 points for their opponent.
Center Marc Gasol scored 34 points with 14 rebounds, but Mike Conley suffered through a 3-for-14 night from the floor and scored just 10 points, albeit with seven assists. Didn’t matter. The Memphis collective was better – even with Curry going for 37 points and Durant for 29 points and 13 rebounds.
“People aren’t used to seeing us this way, to seeing Marc run the way he’s running, me, James (Ennis), Jarell (Martin) … so many different guys that can run now it becomes a completely different atmosphere,” Conley said. “Stops become transition points for us now. That’s huge.
“As long as we win, all that matters to me is playing the right way. That was evident tonight, I can go and miss every shot, Marc can have a good game, everybody else have a good game, and we can win. That’s something to be confident about.”
Meantime, while the Grizzlies improved to 2-0 the Warriors fell to 1-2. To Golden State coach Steve Kerr, Saturday’s result wasn’t exactly a shock.
“This happens every year when we come to Memphis (the Grizzlies are 13-10 vs. Golden State since the start of the 2011-12 season). It happened last year when we played them here early. We got destroyed … we have to be smarter, we have to be tougher.”
The Memphis bench again did solid work, outscoring the Warriors’ bench 41-18. Overall, five Memphis players scored in double-figures (Ennis had 13, Tyreke Evans 12, and Mario Chalmers 10) and Dillon Brooks chipped in nine points and Chandler Parsons and Martin each had eight points.
Up and down the lineup, everyone seemed locked in and connected.
“Guys are taking to heart what they’re supposed to do,” Gasol said. “They’re competing on the ball. Obviously, there’s a lot of mistakes made, but I think our hustle and determination is getting us through them.”
As for the Warriors, guard Klay Thompson conceded the turnovers and fouling we’re “ugly,” but said it’s better to be doing that now than later in the season.
Curry was ejected after he scored on a driving layup and believed he had been fouled and there was no call. When he threw his mouthpiece, he was tossed out of the game.
“I was just frustrated,” he said. “Obviously, we didn’t play well. I was fouling too much (and he sat out the first half of the fourth quarter with five fouls). That last play, I thought I got fouled and my frustration boiled over. I did something stupid and deserved to get kicked out.”
Durant also took exception to the no-call and was ejected, too. As Curry and Durant exited the court for the locker room it appeared Durant flipped off a fan.
“They’re heckling us, calling us names, it’s all in good fun,” Durant said of the crowd. “It’s nothing personal or nothing serious.”
But it could be something expensive. On opening night at FedExForum, New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins called a fan a profane name and the NBA subsequently fined him $25,000.
That, however, is not the Grizzlies’ problem. They’re off to a 2-0 start and they led the Warriors by as many as 19 points in the second half. It was a decisive victory.
And more evidence that the faster style of play Memphis coach David Fizdale has committed to can work against the best in the league.
“By no means do I think we’ve arrived,” Fizdale said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but that is definitely the style of play we’d like to continue to build on. A night like tonight, where you beat the world champions, you take it and you run.”