Tony Allen says he’ll play Game 6 in Grizzlies-Warriors series


Tony Allen missed Game 5 of the Warriors Grizzlies series with a hamstring injury, and Golden State routed Memphis.

He obviously wants to do whatever he can to avoid that outcome in Game 6 Friday.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

This might sound like a player getting caught up in the emotion of a loss, but Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger talked before Game 5 about getting Allen ready for Friday. So, this doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic timeline.

Unfortunately for Memphis, Allen might not make enough of a difference.

The Grizzlies have been outscored by 19 points in 124 minutes with Allen on the floor this series and 16 points in 116 minutes without him.

Whatever boost he provides defensively, his offensive shortcomings have been about as problematic. In the guard’s last game, the Warriors nominally defended Allen with center Andrew Bogut, who mostly ignored Allen and defended the paint. Allen’s lack of a dependable jumper outweighed his ability to pester Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

With more time to prepare for Golden State’s defensive adjustment, maybe Memphis can find better use for Allen offensively. Having him screen more often, with his “defender” far from position to help, would be a good start.

Allen helps give the Grizzlies a toughness and confidence that makes overcoming a 3-2 deficit possible, and it’s easy to see the team rallying around his return. Memphis is better with him.

But it will take some offensive creativity from Joerger and incredible defense on an All-Star backcourt from a hobbled Allen for the Grizzlies to win two straight.

Warriors regain control of Grizzlies series, one game from Western Conference finals


For a brief moment, it was unclear whether Stephen Curry was losing the ball or just toying with his defender.

Another look quickly revealed the MVP’s stutter step and fancy dribbling were intentional:

Stephen Curry erupts in emotion after 3 to end 1st quarter.

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Curry drilled a 3-pointer to end the first quarter, capping a 16-2 run that erased a 13-point Grizzlies lead, and inspired a raucous home crowd into delirium.

And just like that the Warriors were back in control – of this game (which they won, 98-78, while never trailing in the final three quarters) and this series (which they lead, 3-2).

Golden State can advance to its first conference finals since 1976 by winning Game 6 Friday.

“This is big,” Curry said of the Game 5 win.

Then, Curry – who had 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and six steals – looked ahead: “It’s getting bigger and bigger. And we love it.”

Curry made 6-of-13 3-pointers, Klay Thompson 3-of-4 (including one as part of a four-point play), Harrison Barnes 3-of-5 and Andre Iguodala 3-of-5 – and the Warriors (14-of-30) dominated the Grizzlies (4-of-15) from beyond the arc.

But no matter what the narrative says, Golden State is not a one-dimensional jump-shooting team.

Take Draymond Green, who missed all five of his 3-point attempts but kept the ball moving with nine assists. Plus, the forward played his usual strong defense – and eventually, so did the Warriors.

With Jeff Green starting for an injured Tony Allen, the Grizzlies look free by the ability to play 5-on-5 offensively as they raced to a 23-10 lead. In Game 4, Golden State mostly ignored the poor-shooting Allen and used his nominal defender, Andrew Bogut, to roam the paint.

But the Warriors, the NBA’s best defense during the regular season, adjusted to their new challenge and clamped down. They also started turning their stops into transition. Golden State outscored Memphis on fastbreaks, 31-6.

Despite their best efforts to slow the pace, the Grizzlies still couldn’t keep up.

It’s hard to see how will.

Tony Allen out for Grizzlies-Warriors Game 5 tonight

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr effectively took Tony Allen out of Game 4 with a daring adjustment.

Now, a hamstring injury is taking Allen out of tonight’s Game 5.

Grizzlies sideline reporter Rob Fisher:

Allen came up big in Memphis’ Game 2 and Game 3 wins, but the Warriors effectively neutralized him in Game 4.

Golden State trusted Harrison Barnes to defend Zach Randolph, and “guarded” Allen with center Andrew Bogut. Bogut mostly sagged off Allen to patrol the paint, and Allen shot just 2-for-9, including 0-for-3 on 3-pointers, in 16 minutes.

Without Allen on the court to cover them, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had an easier time operating. Now, the Splash Brothers should get that advantage over a full game.

Larger roles for Jeff Green and Vince Carter could boost the Grizzlies’ offense, but I doubt it outweighs the defensive drop-off. Memphis probably can’t keep up with the Warriors if the game becomes a shootout.

Allen contributes greatly to the Grizzlies’ toughness and defense, traits key to upsetting the Warriors. Though Memphis still has Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, it’ll be an even steeper up-hill battle tonight.

Warriors answer critics with Game 4 win over Grizzlies


Draymond Green glued himself to Mike Conley’s hip as the Grizzlies point guard drove the lane, and Andrew Bogut stepped over to block Conley’s shot. Stephen Curry picked up the ball, attacked the basket 1-on-2 and drew a foul.

A Memphis fan reached for a high five, and Curry happily obliged.

After a two-game skid invited far too much criticism, the Warriors unapologetically remained themselves – staunch defensively, aggressive offensively and confident everywhere – in a 101-84 Game 4 win Monday in Memphis.

“We had a good mindset as a group coming into this game that, if we play like ourselves, we’ll be able to change the tide of the series,” said Curry, who – for the first time since winning the award – played like an MVP with 33 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Curry might have won over only a fan or two, but his Warriors at least quieted what had been a rocking Memphis crowd. Headed back to Golden State with the series tied 2-2 for Game 5 Wednesday, the Warriors aren’t done with the Grind House just yet.

But at least they showed they can handle the pressure.

In the previous couple games, Golden State hoisted many 3-pointers (result: misses), worked quickly before the defense set (result: rushed shots) and made risky passes (result: turnovers).

Tonight, Golden State hoisted many 3-pointers (result: efficient points and misses), worked quickly before the defense set (result: open shots and rushed shots) and made risky passes (result: easy looks and turnovers).

Against this strong Memphis defense, mixed results are more than fine. Golden State just couldn’t afford to let the Grizzlies mentally impact possessions that weren’t closely guarded, which seemed to happen far too often in Games 2 and 3.

On the other end, Warriors coach Steve Kerr made a crafty adjustment.

The Warriors stuck Bogut on Tony Allen, leaving their center to patrol the paint and daring Allen to shoot. Allen (2-of-9, including 0-of-3 on 3s) complied, and Harrison Barnes did well enough on Zach Randolph (12 points on 5-of-10 shooting with 11 rebounds, five offensive) to negate that potential Memphis advantage.

The Grizzlies, who led led for just 29 seconds, couldn’t find an edge elsewhere. Marc Gasol (19 points on 19 shots, 10 rebounds and six assists) labored, and Mike Conley (4-of-15) was too often out of control.

On the other hand, Green (16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks and seven turnovers) channeled his energetic aggressiveness a little more productively than he had.

Golden State had plenty of miscues, including 21 turnovers, but defended well enough to win whether or not its shots were falling. The Warriors are no one-trick pony, and they’re not soft.

Most importantly: They avoided their first three-game losing streak since since November 2013, setting up a de facto best-of-three series to reach the Western Conference finals.

“I want them to be satisfied with the effort, and I want them to be hungry to improve,” Kerr said. “And I want them to understand nothing’s happened yet.”

PBT Second-Round Playoff Previews: Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies



Golden State Warriors: 67-15

Memphis Grizzlies: 55-27


Golden State Warriors: none

Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley (face)

OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possession)

Golden State Warriors: Offense 109.7 (4th in NBA), Defense 98.2 (1st in NBA)

Memphis Grizzlies: Offense 103.1 (13th in NBA), Defense 99.9 (4th in NBA)


1) How healthy is Mike Conley?

The Grizzlies point guard, who’s expected to miss at least Game 1, is very good and very important to Memphis.

He penetrates well, gets the defense moving and then makes the right pass. He’s also a good 3-point shooter on a team lacking for those. Best of all, he executes well in a slow pace that probably favors the defense.

Plus, he’s a superb defender who makes life easier for the bigs behind him. (Though it’s possible nobody can defend Stephen Curry, anyway).

Even while dismantling the Trail Blazers in five games, Memphis outscored them by just two points in 161 minutes without Conley (and 32 in 79 minutes with him).

Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes are underrated backups, and both had their moments against the Trail Blazers. But besting low expectations is not nearly enough against Golden State.

The Grizzlies need their near-All-Star point guard.

2) Can the Grizzlies post-up – without getting burned on the other end?

The Grizzlies led the NBA in points scored on post-ups by featuring Zach Randolph (fourth in post-up points per game) and Marc Gasol (sixth).

But the Warriors have two of the league’s better post defenders in Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut.

It should be a fun matchup between those pairings when Memphis has the ball.

However, merely winning the battle is not nearly enough for the Grizzlies. They also need to keep up with Bogut and Gasol on the other end.

Few players capable of handling Randolph and Gasol in the post also possess such offensive versatility. Green hits open 3-pointers well enough that his defender should get pulled outside, and Bogut passes well from the high post. They help the Warriors create a ton of space, and Memphis’ bigs – looking at you, Randolph – will have to show plenty of agility to keep up.

3) Can the Warriors play slowly (and will we even find out)?

Golden State played at the NBA’s second-fastest pace this season. Memphis, on the other hand, played at the second-slowest pace among playoff teams.

The Grizzlies will probably try to slow the tempo, but even if they do, the Warriors should be fine.

Golden State has won all its games played at or below Memphis season-long pace mark, per Nylon Calculus possession stats. But that’s just four games, a very small sample – which is telling.

The Warriors excel at setting the tone. The slowest pace among playoff teams this season? The Pelicans, whom Golden State swept, though that series was the slowest of the first round.

The Grizzlies might be better at deliberately slowing the pace than New Orleans, but probably not good enough – and even if they are, it probably won’t matter.


The Warriors are better, healthier and more rested. They can match Memphis preferred style and then unleash their own machinations.

If Conley were healthy, I’d give the Grizzlies another game. Alas:

Warriors in 4.