Early in the fourth quarter, Warriors’ guard Jordan Poole scored on three consecutive trips down the court simply by blowing by his defender. They were almost straight-line drives to the rim with nobody there to challenge him (one dunk, one lay-up, and Poole was fouled on one).
That sequence summed up the night: The Warriors got the shots they wanted against far too little defensive resistance. That led the Warriors to shoot 53.1% on 3-pointers for the night, but the 62 points in the paint told the real story — Golden State worked inside out, knocked down their shots, and carved up the Grizzlies’ defense all night long.
Stephen Curry finished with 30 points on 14 shots, Poole had 27 off the bench, and the Warriors blew out the Grizzlies 142-112. Golden State takes a 2-1 series lead with the win; Game 4 is in San Francisco on Monday.
Ja Morant‘s status for that game is something to watch. He limped off the court in the middle of the fourth quarter after tweaking his knee against a Warriors double-team. There was no report on the condition of Morant’s knee after the game, he will be evaluated more on Sunday, but he left the arena without crutches or an apparent brace, but walking with a limp.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said after the game the injury happened on this play.
This looks like the play Ja Morant got hurt. pic.twitter.com/J24ssu5i9P
— Drew Hill (@DrewHill_DM) May 8, 2022
“It was a basketball play”
Poole responds to Ja's tweet saying he "broke the code" pic.twitter.com/YzcqujKIHi
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 8, 2022
While the league office sorts that out, the Grizzlies need to sort out their defense.
The Warriors didn’t settle for jump shots in Game 3, they attacked and got into the paint, breaking down the defense and kicking out to shooters when the defense collapsed. The result was 62 points in the paint, and the Warriors having a 76.7 true shooting percentage when both teams emptied their bench for garbage time.
The game looked different right after the opening tip, when the Grizzlies jumped out to a quick 10-point lead shooting 6-of-8 from 3. That lead climbed all the way up to 13, but after the Warriors missed four of their first five shots, they started to find their groove. Meanwhile, the hot shooting from the Grizzlies to open the game masked that they were not consistently getting good looks, they just made tough shots.
As the Grizzlies’ shooting evened out, the Warriors couldn’t seem to miss, hitting 71.1% of their first-half shots.
Morant led the Grizzlies with 34 points on 12-of-21 shooting, but the Warriors defended him better and made him work for those (they gave him some early 3-pointers and he hit 4-of-6 to start the game). Desmond Bane added 17 for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies’ offense was not the problem, although if Morant is injured shot creation could be an issue next game. However, if the Grizzlies don’t do better getting stops what they do on offense will not matter.