Warriors look to flush but learn from Game 5 blowout loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Arkansas men’s basketball head coach Eric Musselman, who attended Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals at FedExForum Wednesday night, has a handful of wacky antics to motivate his teams, including the use of a mini toilet to eliminate bad games.
Warriors interim head coach Mike Brown must be jealous. If he could, he would have placed a mini bathroom of his own on the podium following the Warriors’ 39-point choke of the Memphis Grizzlies, extending the second round rather than ending this series and enjoying some much-needed rest.
“It’s like when you’re in the bathroom,” Brown said. “You just push it down and shoooop, right down the toilet. That’s how we’re going to do this. Obviously, we’re going to watch the movie and try to learn and grow from it, but at the end of the day, our guys understood what happened out there, so no need to overreact.
“We’ll go out there, play better on Friday in front of our home crowd and see if we can get this win to wrap it up.”
That was the theme for a handful of Warriors. They hope that this loss will diminish and disappear forever. Clean it and forget it.
However, it is simpler and easier said than done. The loss happened, and it was embarrassing. They were outmatched in trouble and in play from the kickoff to the final buzzer. They were down 27 at halftime, and the deficit grew to 55 at one point in the third quarter.
For a franchise that prides itself on championship DNA, you can’t just erase a game like this and move on. This isn’t a No. 2 pencil. It’s the Warriors’ second loss in the series, and the second straight game they went flat with the Grizzlies’ best player on the sidelines.
“You definitely want to throw it away, but you also have to learn from it,” Draymond Green said. “It’s not like cleaning it up and seeing this team again in two months. You see this team again in two days. You learn from it and then you clean it up. You make adjustments and then you clean it up.”
“What you shoot is the end result. Move on from that. But you have to learn from it and make the adjustments that we need to make.”
The necessary adjustments should be obvious. The Warriors can’t wait to keep delivering the ball at this rate and be crowned champions at the end of the season. They won the rebounding battle with a team effort through the first four games, but the JV team was looking up to the varsity bullying them on the glass in this game.
From the start, the same issues as previous games plagued them with sloppy passing and head-scratching turnovers. The Warriors had been outscored in the first quarter in each of the first four games against the Grizzlies. But each time, they were winners for the next 12 minutes. That streak came to an abrupt halt in front of an angry Memphis crowd.
The Grizzlies had 17 more points than the Warriors in the second quarter, beating them 39-22 in that frame. By halftime, the Warriors had turned the ball over 14 times and had only 13 assists. Memphis capitalized and scored 25 points on Warriors turnovers as they entered the locker room as a team on top, unafraid of a second-half Warriors flurry.
In the end, the Grizzlies scored 29 points off the Warriors’ 22 turnovers. The Grizzlies turned the ball over 10 times, and that number stayed in the single digits most of the game until carelessness took over in a reinforcement-filled fourth quarter. Brown emphasized that the Warriors “have to, I have to settle down” on offense. Green’s message is for him and his teammates to slow down as a whole, from decision-making to shoes.
“I think we’re revved up,” Green said. “We’ve got to get away from the pressure. I think we’re going to get into the pressure. Really in every series we’ve sped up. We just have to slow down.”
Green turned the ball over five times, followed by four from Jordan Poole, three from Juan Toscano-Anderson in 16 minutes off the bench and the Splash Brothers of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson each dished out two.
Midway through the second quarter, Poole hit a 3-pointer to cut the Warriors’ deficit to 11 points. The Warriors’ next three possessions were a Green turnover that led to a Tyus Jones 3-pointer, a Kevon Looney turnover that turned into a De’Anthonty Melton layup, and another Green turnover that resulted in another Grizzly tray. Thus, the Warriors were down by 18.
There’s a lack of calm in the Warriors’ offense, and as the head of the snake, they need that from Green when they return to the Chase Center after he turned the ball over 20 times in the first five games.
They also need to work out their rebounding issues, and whether it’s more than just a 6-foot-11 monster man in Steven Adams being inserted into the starting lineup. Adams now has 28 rebounds in the last two games after grabbing 13 in 22 minutes in Game 5. The Warriors were outrebounded for the first time in this series, and it wasn’t particularly close. The Grizzlies had 55 rebounds. Golden State finished with 37. The Warriors also saw the Grizzlies score 50 points in the paint compared to 36.
More troubling, however, was the Warriors’ lack of effort when it came to rebounding, especially on the offensive end. The Warriors walked away with four offensive rebounds. Green led them with two. Jonathan Kuminga and Damion Lee each had one.
Adams had six on his own, and backup great Brandon Clarke took five. The Grizzlies as a team finished the night with 18 offensive rebounds, or 14 more than the Warriors.
“We’ve been vigilant and aware when it comes to hitting bodies and getting people out early,” Brown said. “We didn’t have that tonight. There were too many times over the course of the game where their bigs or even their wings just got past us.”
“We’d turn and look and they were jumping us at the rim and coming out with the rebound. We’ve got to do a better job of going and looking for a body and boxing them in early, and hoping one of our teammates gets it.” The rebound.”
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That starts with effort, something a team can’t do without against a young, athletic, hungry and desperate team on their home turf.
This is a game, and the Warriors will do their best not to think about it. They can take comfort in knowing that the Milwaukee Bucks lost by 39 points last year in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals before winning it all. Nor can a historical fact be something to rely on.
Clean it up, don’t let it build up. But not until whatever it was is addressed, taken head-on and the Warriors’ plethora of mistakes kept in the past so they can put on a show Friday night at home, the moment they step on court.