You'd understand why a fan would order a shot with their beer last night before the game. You'd understand the fan's pacing back and forth, their quick puffs of a cigarette, the solitary pep talks to themselves. After two consecutive well-deserved losses to the Grizzlies, the Warriors shambled into Game 4 in a must-win situation. Bartender, make it a double.
It would be one thing if the Warriors had gone out on their feet in the previous two games, if they went the 12 and lost in a split decision. But, man, the Warriors were KTFO. Suddenly, it seemed that the fairy tale season that was too good to be true, was. Our defense was getting dominated in the paint, our offense couldn't find its stroke behind the arc, and our team looked like Manny to their Mayweather. But unlike Pacman, the Warriors found an adjustment and punched back. And punched and punched and punched.
The Dubs shot the ball 80 times and 38 went in. 33 of them were from three-point land and 14 of those splashed. The first quarter ended with a long three from Steph to put the Dubs up 28-20. The first half ended with the Warriors up 61-44. At one point in the third quarter, Golden State was up by 26. They punched and punched and punched.
On the other end of the court, the Warriors dared the Grizzlies to do the same. Rather than spreading out their defense, the Warriors decided to crowd around the paint, neutralizing the Grizzlies strong suit and challenging them to win with their weakness, the outside shot. It worked. Look at this shot chart. The Grizzlies pay their bills by taking shots in the paint. Yes, they'll get theirs there, but look at all the red. When there are a lot of very big men crowded in a very small space, you're gonna miss a whole bunch, and the Grizzlies did. Now look at the perimeter. Memphis does not like shooting from way out in Nashville, but they took their chances, because how could they not? For long stretches of the game, the Warriors played 5 on 4, leaving the Grizzlies' Tony Allen all by his lonesome, the only defense on him being an occasional "ooga booga," probably from Bogut. Allen went 2-9 and was 0-3 from behind the arc. They punched and missed.
The series comes back home to Oakland tomorrow night, tied 2-2. Make no mistake, if the Warriors had lost last night, this series would, for all intents and purposes, be over. No one comes back from 1-3, no matter how good you are. More importantly, no good team gets to 1-3 to begin with. The Warriors proved that last night. We won back homecourt advantage, we have the momentum, we got this!
Western Conference Semi-Finals: Series tied, 2-2
Game 1: Memphis 86, Golden State 101
Game 2: Memphis 97, Golden State 90
Game 3: Golden State 89, Memphis 99,
Game 4: Golden State 101, Memphis 84
Game 5: Wednesday, May 13, at Golden State, 7:30 PM (TNT)
Game 6: Friday, May 15, at Memphis, 6:30 PM (ESPN) (Congratulations, Carla and Gino!)
Game 7: at Golden State, if necessary (will not be necessary!)