Grizzlies, Warriors set to match wits in Game 5 

click to enlarge Warriors enforcer Andrew Bogut swats away a shot by Vince Carter during Golden State's Game 4 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. - MARK HUMPHREY/AP
  • Mark Humphrey/AP
  • Warriors enforcer Andrew Bogut swats away a shot by Vince Carter during Golden State's Game 4 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
OAKLAND — The NBA playoffs are a test of wills both physical and mental. And there’s no better chess match than the one in the Western Conference semifinals right now.

The Warriors made some key adjustments in a 101-84 Game 4 victory, which coach Steve Kerr called their “most competitive effort” in the postseason. Now the onus on coach Dave Joerger and the Grizzlies to make ones of their own.

The series returns to Oracle Arena for Game 5 tonight.

“You can’t just go home and expect to win,” cautioned Warriors star Stephen Curry, who returned to form with 33 points and five assists. “You have to bring the same effort that we did [Monday]. It will be nice to go home, but we have to stay mentally focused and sharp.”

After Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph dominated inside in the second and third games, Kerr and assistant Ron Adams had discussed ways to take the Grizzlies out of their comfort zone. One option called for Harrison Barnes to front Randolph in the post area, Andrew Bogut to anchor himself in the paint area and invite the Memphis to shoot at the perimeter. In the regular season, the Grizzlies ranked 29th in 3-point field goals and 23rd in 3-point field-goal percentage.

“That’s how you have to do it in the playoffs,” said Kerr, whose team did not have a formal practice on Tuesday. “You take a loss, you take another one. ... You better make an adjustment.”

One day before the game, Kerr decided to roll the dice.

“We’re were just kind of going to see how it went,” Kerr said. “It worked well early in the game and set a good tone for us. We’ll see what happens next.”

For one game at least, the plan couldn’t have worked much better. The Grizzlies shot 22 percent from 3-point range and 37.5 percent overall. Guards Tony Allen (2 of 9), Mike Conley (4 of 15), Courtney Lee (3 of 7) and Beno Udrih (2 of 5) combined to sink only 11 of 36 attempts. Your move, Grizzlies.

“Our offense really struggled,” Joerger said. “It put our defense in a bad way, the turnovers we had and the inability to score the ball.

“[The Warriors] have a lot of length at the wing. They’re able to push you out the floor with their ability to switch. They made us look really small, and they were very physical with us. We’ve got to do a better job of getting to spots on the floor.”

Faced with a possible 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series, the Warriors also played with a degree of urgency that had not been required of them at any point this season.

“We had to take every possession like it was a playoff possession,” said Andre Iguodala, who came alive with 11 points and three assists. “The last two games, we got hit a few times and weren’t ready for a particular possession. And that can linger on, and before you know it, you’re down 10 [points].”

But that was Monday, and tonight is tonight.

As Kerr said: “[The plan] worked for us, but [Game 5] may be different. Other adjustments will be made, and we’ll have to be ready for them and adapt to whatever is coming.”
Pin It

Speaking of...

More by Paul Ladewski

Latest in Golden State Warriors

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation