Warriors

What we learned as Warriors' season ends in pain to Grizzlies

Warriors

The Warriors' season officially is over.

And their final game of the season -- a 117-112 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in game to secure the eighth seed -- was a depiction of all of the issues that prevented the Warriors from having a consistent season. 

Friday's game was riddled with turnovers. Not enough people stepped up to help Steph Curry. And their defense, which the Warriors have said is the center of their identity, was spotty, at best. 

Steph Curry was tremendous, with 39 points, while Andrew Wiggins added 22, Kent Bazemore had 10, and Jordan Poole scored 19 off the bench. 

The play-in tournament is the postseason, but it's not the playoffs. And now, the Warriors have missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons. This will force some difficult conversations because even the addition of Klay Thompson and James Wiseman won't fix all of the Warrior's problems. 

But let's not get again of ourselves. That can be a topic for another day. In the meantime, here are three observations from the Warriors' final game of the season:

The Steph Show -- play-in edition

Curry was going to try to win the game for the Warriors. He knew he would have to be the one to do it, but it wasn't quite enough.

After already playing 30 minutes in the game heading into the fourth, Curry was right out there to start the final frame. He ended up playing the entire second half. And then overtime.

 

It didn't pay off in the end, but it is what put the Warriors in a position to have a shot at it.

Down just three points three minutes into the fourth, Curry first started to shift the momentum when he finished what can only be described as a twirling layup, and also get the foul. That and-one play sparked something in the gassed Warriors.

On the next offensive possession, he hit a three-pointer with a defender right on top of him. He finished the night with 39 points. 

A final candidate for this season's MVP, Friday's game highlighted just how much Curry can change the game for the Warriors, and what might happen if he doesn't show it.

They need to put on their defensive clamps

The Warriors finished the regular season with a top-five defense. But it didn't feel like that was the case on Friday night.

Golden State struggled to get any kind of stops against Memphis, which prevented them from getting any offensive flow in transition. In the second quarter, the Warriors' defensive clamps came on. That, in addition to some ridiculous shooting from Steph Curry, allowed the Warriors to climb back in the game. 

But just like that, the wheels came off again.

Early on the Warriors were daring the Grizzlies to shoot three-pointers. And that was fine at that moment. They weren't knocking them down. But as the game continued Memphis started to hit them, but the Warriors didn't adjust their defensive approach. 

Yes, Golden State had to be very aware of what was happening in the paint and under the hoop. Between Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis had a clear size advantage over the Warriors, and they didn't want the Grizzlies to take too much advantage down low. But, they still needed to add more pressure on the perimeter. 

The Grizzlies shot 15-of-35 from beyond the three-point line -- including two Grayson Allen threes in overtime and a dagger shot from Xavier Tillman.

If the Warriors want to have defense be their identity, they need to figure out how to make it show up on a nightly basis.

Too much sloppiness and too many turnovers 

Yet again, the Warriors played some role in their demise through turnovers. 

Two nights after committing 20 turnovers against the Lakers -- which led to 29 Los Angeles points -- the Warriors committed 21 against the Grizzlies.

And yet again, a lot of these turnovers weren't forced. They were off lazy or loose passes that were intercepted. Draymond Green committed six turnovers to his 10 assists -- a very off turnover-to-assist ratio for Green. 

Curry was responsible for seven, while Juan Toscano-Anderson had four. Jordan Poole had just one, but it was one that prevented the Warriors from having a final crack at winning the game.

The turnovers started from the jump -- with four being committed in the first six minutes -- and at first, it felt like that was just the cause of the Warriors finding their rhythm. They came out a little jittery, so the hope was that as they calmed down and found their footing, the ball care would get better.

 

It didn't.