Grizzlies, Without Morant Keep Series Alive Against Warrior’s

I don’t know how many people picked the Memphis Grizzlies to have a shot in a win-or-go-home Game 6 on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors, but they silenced all the doubters.

They made more than a statement in their 134-95 win over the Warriors in Game 6 (led by as many as 55), they put the Warriors on notice moving forward. 

Photo By: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis has been without their best player Ja Morant the past two games who will likely miss the rest of this postseason with a bone bruise on his right knee. That definitely did not deter this Memphis team and they didn’t seem to be seeking sympathy from the Warriors. They believe they should be up 3-2 after surrendering a 12-pt lead in the 4th quarter of Game 5. 

This is a Memphis team that was 20-6 without Morant this season (including playoffs) and they showed why. It was a collective effort as they had seven players score in double-figures. They hit a franchise playoff record 18 from deep. 

They shared the ball without Morant, as they had as many assist (37) as the Warriors had rebounds. 

Three players scored at least 21 points.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, and Tyus Jones (who got his second straight start with Morant out). Jones also had a game-high nine assist.  

“We stuck to the game plan and we knew what was at stake,” Jackson Jr. said about his team mentality. “We have belief in ourselves, and we believe in each other, so we lean on each other all the time and it’s genuine.”

The difference in this game in my opinion was big man Steven Adams. He has been huge for this team on the glass in the past two games. He has a total of 28 rebounds, and had more offensive rebounds (6) than the entire Warriors team (4). The Warriors don’t have anyone on their roster (that includes Draymond) that can consistently keep him off glass. 

So however much longer this series goes, he is going to be a problem. 

“Game 6 is an elimination game. We have to go out there and accept the challenge and do everything possible individually, and as a team to play our best basketball again,” Head coach Taylor Jenkins said heading into Game 6 in San Francisco. 

The bench outscored the Warriors 52-35. 

As the game was way out of reach the Memphis fans chanted “Whoop That Trick! Whoop That Trick!” Early in the fourth quarter, some of the Warriors can be seen laughing.

Photo By: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Warriors were without their head coach Steve Kerr for the second straight game because of an illness, and they might have missed his leadership but that wasn’t about leadership. That was about that lack of energy & effort. 

This was a Warriors franchise that had been 19-8 in series clinching games since 2015, but they turned the ball over 22 times and the Grizzlies turned those into 29 points. So they never had a chance. 

No player scored more than 20 points.

Klay Thompson and Steph Curry combined for just 33 points, with 31 of those coming in the 1st half. “This loss was awful and embarrassing, from the opening we didn’t have great flow and they were more aggressive than us,” Thompson said after the loss. 

Jordan Poole, who has been a bright spot for this team all year with their veterans being in & out of the lineup had his worst game of this postseason only scoring three points on 1-6 from the field. Draymond Green just had five points and seven rebounds. 

“You have to learn from it (the loss). It’s not like we flush it and we see this team again in two months, we have to see this team again in two days,” Green said about moving on to Game 6. “So you learn from it, make the necessary adjustments, and then you flush it.”

The Warriors won the rebounding battle in the past four games, but were outrebounded 55-37. 

The Grizzlies were a +13 from the FT line. 

“Our game plan and how we know we can beat this team and things we focus on, we did everything wrong. On the road when you give a team that’s playing with desperation life like that, you don’t think you can lose by 40 but you can lose control of the game really quickly,” Curry said after the game. “This series is kind of interesting. With Ja (Morant) out there, it’s a certain game plan that you have to approach the game with, and when he’s out their obviously a very complete team that has an amazing record. Now on Friday we have to do something about it.”

Next Game: Game 6 Friday Night in San Francisco.

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