The Warriors were off to a ridiculous 21-2 start to the season, but few expected that to continue on Tuesday night in Memphis.
The Grizzlies were 19-4 overall themselves, and possessed the league’s best home record coming into this one. And, with Golden State missing its defensive anchor in Andrew Bogut, the belief was that Memphis would have a relatively easy time ending the Warriors’ winning ways.
While it was more difficult than expected, Memphis came away with the 105-98 victory, one which snapped Golden State’s 16-game winning streak.
The Grizzlies took control of this one early in the second quarter, with a 20-0 run sparked by their bench. Vince Carter led the way with 11 in the period, while guys like Jon Leuer and Beno Udrih were efficient in running the Memphis offense to get easy looks at the basket.
This was far from a blowout, however, and the Warriors even had their chances down the stretch. After Memphis led by as many as 14 points in the fourth, the lead was just three with 38 seconds remaining. But Mike Conley came through in the clutch, hitting a running floater with 30 seconds left that effectively sealed it.
This was not a great night for the Warriors offensively, and while the Grizzlies are known for their defense, some of the miscues can easily be chalked up to the players needlessly pressing. Curry finished 9-of-25 from the field, and many of his shots seemed forced, without him bothering to look for teammates to get easier looks. Draymond Green can be capable offensively at times, but looked out of sorts while missing almost everything in a 2-of-11 effort of his own.
The good news for the Warriors is that help is on the way. Bogut is expected to return soon, and as long as he’s healthy come playoff time, the league’s best defense can remain confident that it will be able to put up performances similar to those we’ve seen to this point in the season. David Lee will be back at some point, too, and that will just add another dimension to the big man depth of this stellar Warriors offense.
But until then, losses on the road against some of the other top teams in the league should be somewhat expected. At this point in the season, Memphis certainly fits that description.