If Game 1 is any indication of what the rest of the second-round series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors will be like, then we’re ready to have fun. In a back-and-forth battle that culminated in the last possession of the game, the Warriors eventually managed to win 117-116 to lead 1–0.
The warriors managed to win despite the fact of thatfor making a blatant foul that the rulers found horrible enough to get him fired. Without Green in the second half, Golden State would have had to dig deep, and he was able to do just that. Jordan Paul led the Warriors with 31 points, nine assists and eight rebounds from the bench. Steve Curry scored 24 points and four assists, and Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and eight rebounds.
The Grizzlies, on the other hand, have had great contributions from their two young stars. Ja Morant led all scorers with 34 points along with 10 assists and nine rebounds, and Garen Jackson Jr. scored a double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds. In the end, though, their co-production wasn’t enough to push the Memphis to win the first game.
The Grizzlies will now have to regroup and look to bounce back in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Before we jump into this game, here’s a look at four points from Golden State’s Game 1 win.
1. Paul’s Party
Paul was Golden State’s best player on Sunday afternoon, and his production was a major factor in their victory. Steve Kerr chose not to start Poole, but that didn’t reduce his overall playing time as he ended up playing 38 minutes on the team. In those 38 minutes, Paul lost 31 points on 12 of 20 shots from the ground, and also had eight rebounds. In addition to his scoring, making Paul play huge was also for the Warriors, as his nine passes were also high.
Poole’s presence makes the Warriors particularly dangerous in the post-season, and I saw exactly why in Game 1. Neither Curry, Klay Thompson nor Green had a particularly great game, and in the past the Warriors would likely lose out on such a contest. Now, though, Paul was there to kind of make up for the struggles of the star trio. Without him, the warriors would have brought this down. In the end, it doesn’t matter if Paul starts or not as long as he scores key minutes and helps his team win.
2. Morrant and Jackson make Grizzlies history
Memphis didn’t get the win, but their young star duo Morant and Jackson made some big franchise history as they became the first pair of teammates in Grizzlies history to each score 30 points in a playoff.
It’s an impressive feat considering the talent the Grizzlies have had in the past. The bad news for Memphis, obviously, is that they haven’t been able to win even with Morrant and Jackson making history. To move forward in the series, Grizzlies will need more from the rest of the roster.
3. CARE supports postseason resume
Kerr is no stranger to post-season basketball, and more importantly, no stranger when it comes to winning in post-season. With Golden State winning Game One, Kerr climbed to ninth in the all-time NBA win list with 82, surpassing KC Jones in the process.
Kerr is now seven wins behind Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra, who is eighth all-time. It may be tough for Kerr to catch up with Spoelstra in this post-season since Spoelstra’s Heat is still playing as well, but Kerr certainly has a real chance of moving into the top five before all is said and done.
4. Young talent in full view
The young talents of the NBA were fully featured in the first game. Three players scored over 30 points (Morant, Jackson and Paul) and these three are all 22-year-olds. This is the first time in NBA post-season history that three players aged 22 or younger have earned 30 points in the same game.
With players like Morant, Jackson and Paul, it’s clear that the league is in good hands moving forward.
“Coffee ninja. Web fan. Hipster-friendly beer enthusiast. Professional creator.”