The Warriors are still a win away from clinching their first Western Conference finals berth since 2019. But they looked far from mentally capable of competing on that level in Game 5.
Draymond Green, a seasoned clinching game veteran, told the team before tip-off to “‘Bring your hard hats. It could be ugly.’”
It got ugly, all right.
The Warriors lost by 39 points, 134-95, at FedEx Forum in Memphis and fell down by as many as 55 in the third quarter. For the Warriors, that big of a losing margin came down the the smallest, most costly mental mistakes. They turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and were beaten on the offensive boards 13-2.
The second-half statistics are inconsequential since the starters were pulled mid-way through the third quarter when it became apparent a loss was inevitable, but Memphis out-rebounded the Warriors 63-45, 18-4 on the offensive boards.
A lackadaisical effort on both ends in the first half caused a landslide that should have Warriors fans questioning if this team has what it takes to buck up in must-win moments.
Turnovers are a staple of the Warriors’ offense — has been for most of the Steph Curry era. It’s something the team cedes in order to keep their offense fast-paced. And the pressure of the postseason hasn’t tightened the screws, either. Their 15 turnovers per game are tied for the most among remaining teams with the Grizzlies, no less.
But a handful of turnovers in a one minute of the second quarter turned the game. A comeback looked within reachwhen the Warriors came within 11 points with a Jordan Poole three-pointer with five minutes remaining. Then Draymond Green fumbled a pass for a turnover that led to a Tyus Jones 3. Kevon Looney botched a hand-off to Steph Curry for a turnover that led to a De’Anthony Melton layup and Green turned the ball over again on a bad pass into the paint to Curry out of bounds. Steven Adams scored an and-1 layup on the other end.
In one minute and three turnovers later, the Grizzlies had a 20-point lead.
“That’s something we’ve been talking about all playoffs. Not just tonight, not just the series,” acting head coach Mike Brown said of the turnovers. “We have to do a better job taking care of the ball. We have to settle down on offense to try to limit them because when you have turnovers like we did tonight, especially tonight, it snowballs and it kind of deflates us as the game goes along.”
Draymond Green and, at times, Steph Curry and Jordan Poole have caused too many momentum-killers. The turnovers have gotten worse in this series, where the Warriors’ are averaging 17 turnovers per game — the most in the playoffs. Green’s responsibility on offense is to facilitate, find the open man and keep the ball moving until they can find the best shot to take.
“We have to take care of the ball and rebound,” Green said. “Those are two keys to this series and …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
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