Toothless Grizzlies search for answers 

click to enlarge Beno Udrih
  • Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
  • Without star point guard Mike Conley, replacement Beno Udrih and the Grizzlies stumbled in Game 1 against the Warriors on Sunday.
OAKLAND — In the aftermath of the Warriors’ comfortable 101-86 victory on Sunday, the fundamental question remains how the Grizzlies can muster up enough firepower against the league’s top-ranked defense and steal a game on the road.

Despite Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combining for 41 of the team’s 86 points, Nick Calathes was held scoreless in 21 minutes, Beno Udrih chipped in seven and the Grizzlies shot 3-of-12 from 3-point range, raising more questions than answers in the backcourt in advance of Game 2 on Tuesday.

“We kept the ball on one side of the floor way too much on the offensive end,” said Gasol, the 7-foot Spaniard.

“We’ve got to get a third scorer, especially on the perimeter,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “I thought our offense really struggled tonight and put our defense in a bad way. We missed, I think, eight layups throughout the course of the game. We had 16 turnovers. We’ve did a really good job of keeping our turnovers down in the last series, and you just can’t keep giving those guys shots at you.”

Worse still, midway through the second quarter, with the dozens of Warriors Junior Jam squad members in full crescendo, performing an MC Hammer-inspired act during a timeout, one of Joerger’s players unknowingly fired off ammo of his own — and Warriors fans asserted themselves in combative unison.

Defensive irritant Tony Allen walked away early from the team huddle and across halfcourt, breaking the inner circle of the young dancers midroutine. Realizing his error, the guard smiled, shook a few hands and apologetically waved to quell the crowd. But the damage had been done. Oracle Arena’s switch turned on full throttle from that moment onward.

Yet, just minutes later, the Grizzlies still seemed to have at least some glimmer of hope.

With 1:22 left in the second quarter, Randolph’s patented jump-hook pulled Memphis within 55-49. At that point, the Grizzlies had marginally succeeded in handcuffing Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, considering neither Splash Brother made a 3 and were limited to just 12 points at that point.

Then Curry got cooking, answering with two 3s in the span of 13 seconds, the second one a step-back that put Courtney Lee on proverbial skates, running the Warriors lead to double figures at 61-51 with 50 seconds left.

By the third quarter, in which Memphis was limited to 14 points, Curry doubled the feat by dumb-footing Udrih and Randolph on a pick-and-roll for another step-back triple, ballooning the lead to 80-60, the biggest of the game.

Yet another Curry trey followed again in the fourth quarter, this time over Jeff Green, who trotted back to the offensive end, heaving his arms in resignation.

“He hit a couple [3s] on just about everybody,” Joerger said of the 27-year-old guard, who is reportedly to be crowned as the league MVP today.

The same gesture of resignation certainly didn’t apply to Joerger, who did his best to shuffle his deck, experimenting at times with a handful of point guard-less lineups (over about seven minutes), hoping the likes of Lee, Allen and Vince Carter as false points could conjure something unexpected.

“We don’t practice without a [point guard],” Gasol said. “We don’t. That’s plain and simple. So we’ve got to do a better job of communicating and know what we want to do if that situation happens in the game. We’ve got to all know what we’re looking for.”

About The Author

Jack Ross

Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in Golden State Warriors

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation