The Golden State Warriors showed up to play yesterday and they were simply the better team throughout the match. What Memphis was able to do in the previous two games, Golden State did last night. They played harassing defense forcing turnovers and speeding up the Grizzlies’ pace; which kept them in control the entire game.
The one adjustment we all said needed to happen did, and that was doubling the post. Steve Kerr was throwing two guys at whoever caught the ball in the paint and it worked out to their benefit. They played off Tony Allen whenever he was on the court and they forced him to shoot, which is just not his strong suit. Kerr also had his guys fronting the posts which had a huge impact in the game. Being that Memphis likes to keep two guys in the paint, it made it impossible for the guards to throw a lob pass over the defender because the other block was occupied. These tactics perplexed the Grizzlies and it seemed to be a great adjustment by Coach Kerr and his staff.
Memphis is rattled right now. The arena is silent and they seem to lack an answer tonight.
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) May 12, 2015
Besides the defense being a huge factor, the Warriors also made shots. In the previous two games, they struggled from the field; especially the three which is their bread and butter. They had guys step up whether it was Harrison Barnes or Draymond Green and in addition, the MVP played like the MVP. Stephen Curry made his presence felt, scoring 34 points (21 of those in the 1st half) and adding on 8 rebounds along with 5 assists. Offensively he didn’t settle for outside shots and defensively he was everywhere being a catalyst for his team.
You could see that sense of urgency from the Warriors early on and they never let up. Memphis was frantic and scattered and didn’t really have much composure. Golden State played like the #1 team in the league and the Grizzlies felt it. I’m curious to see what adjustments Dave Joerger will look to make going into Game 5 facing a confident team on their home court.
Keys to Game 5
- Slow Down the Pace. Memphis is never going to win playing an up and down style of basketball. When Golden State is rolling like that they have no chance. They must stick to what they do, remain composed and just be themselves.
- Feed the Paint. They have to keep getting Gasol and Randolph the ball. It seemed at times they got away from that and as a result they struggled to score. Post play is what they thrive off of so they must feed these two guys.
- Sit Allen Down. If Golden State is going to play off Tony Allen like they did last night then Coach Joerger has no choice but to sit him. He becomes a huge liability and it becomes easier for the Warriors to double down in the post. He must insert someone who’s more of an offensive threat to counter the defensive roaming.
For Golden State:
- Stay Active and Keep up the Pace: The speed of last night’s game is exactly what Golden State likes. They need to remain aggressive with Memphis and continue pushing the ball in transition. However, they still need to watch the turnovers. They had 21 last night which is too many against this very disciplined team.
- Be active and Don’t Foul: They did a great job of being active, getting deflections and forcing turnovers. They played great defensive; especially in the paint; so they must continue to do the same and do it without fouling.
- Stay Confident: As shots fell, confidence rose. They must keep that confidence, especially going back to play in front of their fans. Making jump-shots is what they do so it’s imperative they have that belief they can knock them down especially in a pivotal Game 5.