Memphis Learning Warriors Are Not the Timberwolves

Ryan and Matt discuss the Grizzlies needing to learn fast how to exploit their match-up problems against the Warriors

Memphis Grizzlies Can Cause Matchup Problems for Golden State Warriors

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Matt Bassin: In the Memphis, Minnesota series Ryan, we saw an absolute anomaly as Memphis became the first team in NBA history for the playoffs, to win three games in which they trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter. And they did it in one series. I’m saying this has never been done three times by a team in one playoffs.

And this team did it in one series. Minnesota could have won this series in five if they knew how to play the fourth quarter a little bit better. But Memphis found a way to get it done. Now they’re facing a different animal because the Golden State Warriors have won championships by closing out games in the fourth quarter.

So you’re going to have to do it a lot better. And we saw in game one, this was a heck of a game, you know, back and forth, back and forth. The fourth quarter was just a joy to watch one-point game going back and forth. And I mean, it came down to what ended the Minnesota series was a Ja Morant layup.

He had his chance. A little bit better defense by Golden State on this one and that one went a little bit strong. The one before it, Steph Curry got all of it and Golden State ekes out a game one win despite some bad shooting performances at the free-throw line by Klay Thompson.

Klay Thompson

Ryan Griffin: Klay missing those free throws was almost as shocking as blowing 3 double-digit fourth-quarter leads in the single series to lose the game. That was pitiful by Minnesota and they’re not in anymore, so you shouldn’t spend so much time talking about it.

But what an embarrassment. Celebrate the play-in like that to lose the one game by 26 and then you lose all those games like that.

And then Karl-Anthony is out there after the game waving to the crowd, lucky he didn’t get beer thrown on him. Memphis you shouldn’t have been that close with a seven seed on paper, most two seeds aren’t.

You figure it’s probably not a good sign to go up against the Warriors who seem like they’re clicking at the right time. As opposed to Memphis who struggled with a much lower seated team. For Golden State to be clicking like this in game one. 

You had Draymond thrown out and you have a couple of interesting matchups, I think, and most of them are going to favor Golden State. One thing that I do think bodes well for Memphis though is Jaren Jackson Jr. but he has to stay on the floor. This is a guy who can wreck really everything that Golden State wants to do.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

If you want to go small, Jaren Jackson Jr. is the perfect center to do that. He can step out and hit threes. He’s a defensive player of the year candidate and he’s someone that Draymond really can’t guard and no boat being from Michigan State, Xavier Tillman, he got to start too. So shout out to him, 30% of the starting lineup coming from MSU, but he gets into foul trouble.

So if you’re going to do that, obviously you’re not going to be effective against the Warriors because you’re going to be on the bench. And game one was just a weird game. You know, Klay made the big stop at the end. Jordan Poole was on fire. Steph didn’t really play that well, but he played well enough for them to win.

Just having him on the court is something that obviously terrifies Memphis. You always have to have somebody with them, even though you can throw a guy like Dylan Brooks or Desmond Bane on him, who can do a pretty good job defensively.

But you still always have to stay with them and then you’re letting either Klay Thompson, you know, kill you, like he did hitting the game, winning three, before he missed the free throws. Or you’re letting Jordan Poole attack and come off screens and everything like that.

And it’s just really hard to play Golden State. And I think the Grizzlies are learning that, but I also think they’re a team, honestly, that does kind of match up.

Written by Amy Price

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