The Warriors made their first trip this season to Memphis on Wednesday and generally were pleased with the results. There were blemishes, but the champs accomplished their mission.
With a 118-103 victory over the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum, the Warriors posted their 21st win in their last 26 road games.
Here are some of the positive and negatives taken from a win that put the Warriors in sole possession of first place in the Western Conference:
Stroking it from deep
The Warriors committed eight turnovers in the first 14 minutes and also watched Memphis snag eight offensive rebounds in the first half. How did the defending champs overcome this? With triples. The Warriors torched the nets with 64.7-percent shooting (11-of-17) in the first half and 48.4-percent (15-of-31) for the game. Stephen Curry led the way, draining 6-of-12 from deep.
The Warriors had to overcome themselves early and the arc was their friend. They’ve made at least 15 triples in 23 games, 22 of which were victories.
KD killing it
Is there such a description as low-key spectacular? That’s what Kevin Durant was. He didn’t bring much flash – though he used a couple of moves to dazzle Grizzlies forward Bruno Cabocio – but by making shot after shot, he basically guided the Warriors to victory. Durant made his first 10 shots before missing a jumper on which he may have been fouled. He finished with 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting (1-of-1 from deep, 3-of-3 from the line). Just for show, he added nine rebounds, five assists and two steals.
DeMarcus Cousins and Curry took more shots, but Durant’s career-best efficiency was the latest testimony to his being one of the purest scorers in NBA history.
The Steph Supporters
Curry was terrific, with 28 points, as well as team-highs in rebounds (10) and assists (seven), but his backups, Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook, also excelled, particularly on offense. Livingston (eight points, 4-of-6 shooting) and Cook (nine points, 3-of-3 from deep) combined for 17 points in 30 minutes. Curry shared the court with each at different times, but Livingston and Cook handled most of the second quarter, when the Warriors rolled up 35 points.
Livingston is finding his offense at just the right time (64.3 percent in March, 14-of-18 over the last five games). Cook spent much of the season struggling with his deep shot (22.2 percent in January-February) but seems to have locked in, shooting 42.4 percent from deep this month.
Fundamentals on pause
The Warriors trailed by as much as 10 points and kept Memphis in the game largely because they simply strayed from the basics. They committed 14 turnovers and allowed the Grizzlies to grab 19 offensive rebounds. This contributed to Memphis getting 100 field-goal attempts, while the Warriors had 84.
With 72 hours passing since their last game, fatigue was not an issue. The Warriors go through spells when they get sloppy with the ball and neglect to block out on the defensive glass. That’s what happened here, making things harder on themselves.
Defense arrives on demand
The Warriors in the first quarter allowed the Grizzlies to score 37 points – their second-highest opening quarter this season – on 55.2 percent shooting from the field. From that point on, the Warriors squeezed the Memphis offense tighter and tighter until it passed out: 44 percent in the second quarter, 30.8 percent in the third and 24 percent in the fourth. The Grizzlies were 23-of-71 (32.4 percent over the final three quarters.
We’ve said it many times, but defense is the key to the Warriors’ success. They don’t always play it, but they usually do when they must. It’s a nice weapon to have.