The Golden State Warriors were firing on all cylinders Wednesday night as they buried the Memphis Grizzlies behind a lethal shooting attack. Golden State put on a shooting clinic inside the friendly confines of Oracle Arena as they knocked down 14 three-point shots en route to an emphatic 98-78 victory in Game 5 of their Western Conference Semifinals series.
The Warriors will look to close out the series when the two teams hit the court in Memphis for Game 6 on Friday night.
Memphis played without star defender Tony Allen who was sidelined with a sore hamstring. The Warriors would take full advantage as their offensive rhythm and ball movement carried Golden State to an easy victory. The Warriors racked up 28 assists on 38 made baskets, while dominating the Grizzlies in transition. Golden State outscored Memphis 31-6 in fastbreak points.
Despite the offensive barrage, things did not start out well for the Warriors who were sloppy out of the gate.
Zach Randolph came out strong for the Grizzlies hitting his first four shots, including one from long distance to give Memphis an early 11-4 lead. Randolph was much more aggressive scoring 11 points in the first after only contributing 12 points on 10 shots in Game 4.
On the flip side, Golden State struggled in the early going as they continued to be plagued by turnovers. The Warriors turned it over seven times in the opening frame as Memphis opened up a 23-10 lead and quieted the raucous Oracle crowd.
However, the Warriors responded in a big way as they closed out the first on 16-2 run, capped by a Curry three-pointer with 2.5 seconds left which gave Golden State a 26-25 lead. Curry and Harrison Barnes shouldered the load for the Warriors in the first quarter as they combined for 19 points, including four threes from Curry.
Golden State carried over their hot shooting at the end of the first into the second as the threes continued to fall. The Warriors would go 9-of-17 from behind the arc in the first half, accounting for half of their made field goals. The three-point shot allowed Golden State to build a 49-41 halftime lead as the Warriors outscored the Grizzlies 27-3 from deep in the first half.
Meanwhile, Golden State did a much better job of locking down Randolph who failed to score in the second quarter and would only score two points the rest of the way. Memphis struggled in the second frame only scoring 16 points after getting off to the great start. The Grizzlies were held to 40 percent shooting and just 1-for-7 from three-point range during the half and also turned the ball over nine times.
After Memphis cut the lead to six to begin the third, the Warriors ran the Grizzlies right out of the game. Golden State turned seemingly every Memphis turnover or missed shot into a bucket. The Warriors utilized a 21-10 run during the third quarter to build a 17-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
From there, Golden State cruised home as Memphis doesn’t have enough firepower to stay with the best team in the league.
The Warriors have found their identity again in the past two games as their offensive attack has been in full swing. Golden State came at Memphis in waves tonight as four players scored more than 14 points, led by Klay Thompson with 21 points on 7-0f-16 from the field and 3-for-4 from deep including a four-point play in the fourth quarter.
Curry was his usual self as all 18 of his points came from behind the arc. Andre Igoudala had a superb night off the bench with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting. If Igoudala continues to shoot and play this well, the Warriors are virtually unstoppable.
Furthermore, Golden State continued their stellar defensive play from the previous game. The Warriors have now held the Grizzlies to 84 and 78 points respectively the past two games which has allowed Golden State’s offense to find its groove.
Now comes the difficult task of trying to close out Memphis on the road. The “Grindhouse” will be rocking as the Grizzlies won’t want to get blown out for a third consecutive game. The Warriors will need to find their killer instinct to avoid coming back to the Bay Area for Game 7.
If the past two games are any indication, Golden State should be just fine.