The Warriors are in pole position once again after dismantling the Memphis Grizzlies in the third game of the Western Conference semi-finals. The San Francisco sharpshooters won by 30 points after a dominant shooting display in which six players scored in double digits. More importantly, three of those scored over 20, with Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole leading the way.
The Grizzlies and especially Ja Morant started great but were eventually steamrolled by the Warriors later in the match. Curry went 2-8 from the 3 pt. line, but Wiggins connected on two of his two three shots, and Klay Thompson went 4-6. Unexpected star Jordan Poole showed up big once again, scoring 27 points from the bench, including three 3s from five attempts.
It was a highly controversial match in which Ja Morant injured his knee and is uncertain for Game 4. The fourth game will once again be played in San Francisco, where the Warriors could take a commanding 3-1 lead that might prove too much for the Grizzlies to handle.
Like many teams before them, the Grizzlies fall flat to a barrage of threes by the Warriors. The San Francisco team put on an offensive clinic, with Thompson, Curry, and Poole shutting the lights out. They managed to score effortlessly against a very bad Grizzlies defense that has some work to do before the fourth match of the series. Golden State is a very offensive team, and that kind of defensive effort isn’t going to cut it.
The match began with Memphis pretty hot from three. Ja Morant led the way to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, but the Grizzlies eventually succumbed to the pressure. Many experts have pointed the finger to head coach Taylor Jenkins, who stuck to the 10-man rotation and included Steven Adams late in the game.
It was a real head-scratcher since the Grizzlies were badly outrebounded. During the regular season, they were the #1 rebounding team in the league, and Adams played a big part of it. But during the playoffs, they’ve stuck with the small ball lineup. It worked against the Timberwolves, but the Warriors are a completely different beast.
The situation is clear – if the Grizzlies want to stay alive in the playoffs, they must win game 4. This might prove a Herculean challenge if the Warriors shoot as they did in game 3. If Curry gets hot early, it'll most likely be an easy win. Let's not forget Poole and Thompson, as well as Draymond Green's defensive prowess.
The most glaring problem for the Memphis Grizzlies is Ja Morant’s injury status. He hasn’t been ruled out, but everyone doubts that he’ll play. On the positive side, the Grizzlies were great without Morant in the lineup in the regular season, but star power counts for a lot in the playoffs.
This season proved that the Warriors are not a dead franchise as many have thought. There’s still a lot of life and energy in these guys, and with a reinvigorated Klay Thompson in the lineup, the league should be put on notice.