Steph Curry is the man of the year in the NBA. The MVP guided the Warriors to a 1-0 series lead over the Grizzlies before Mike Conley returned and stole the show to even things out. Curry, the best shooter in all of basketball, hits the road and we have a series on our hand now.
Did you think Golden State was going to sweep again, like they did Anthony Davis and New Orleans? What we learned is that Conley is not only the leader, but their team MVP. Memphis simply had no prayer in game 1. This team is good enough to win across the board, except at the point without Conley.
With everyone on the Draymond Green bandwagon and deservedly so, Klay Thompson is the guy they need to go off like he has in the past. It’s time for him to take that next step in the 2nd round here, by not only shooting efficiently like he can, but he’s got to out-play counterpart Courtney Lee on the other end of the floor. These match-ups should allow Andre Iguodala to facilitate, something he likes to do, and it will give Curry a breather from on-ball duties to remain on the court.
Sometimes having so much talent and the ability to adapt to playing differently offensively, it’s easy to lose track of when you should run certain plays. It’s a good problem to have and the Dubs will surely respond in game 3. Even though Memphis does a great job, year in and year out, of controlling the pace and setting a physical tone with half-court slow-ball, the Warriors just have to keep moving without the ball. There is no one better at cutting backdoor, spacing the floor out after a screen, and anyone that touches the ball can make a high IQ play to get things done.
The Griz aren’t going to change anything, they are who they are. Jeff Green is the most important player off the bench in this series. He has to assert himself as a go-to scorer for stretches, especially against the 2nd unit. When he’s in with mostly starters, early or late in the game, he has to be aggressive and use his unselfish habit to make plays for teammates. Conley can’t be the only one to play that role. Looking at the other bench, Golden State is going to need David Lee’s mid-range shot . One point in 9 minutes in the first pair of games, basically says he’s not a contributor in Steve Kerr’s eyes. I get not wanting to take Draymond Green off the floor, but sliding him for minutes at the three will get Lee some action. Even if Lee isn’t in their future plans, they should use him for at least a little bit right now.
What was interesting in game 2, Golden State hit the glass and out-rebounded Memphis. You would think the boards is where the x-factor category lies, and it would be, if it weren’t for the fact that the Griz put the handcuffs on D. The Dubs are going to shoot a lot from behind the arc in every single game they play. Memphis impressively held them to have a dozen treys (6-26), poked out 13 steals, forcing 20 turnovers in total. If you give a defensive team like Memphis those easy transition points, odds are that you’re going to come out on the losing end. Thompson led the team with a handful.
Both teams definitely found a way to score by attacking the paint, combining for 40 made free throws (GS 22 – MEM 18). For the most part, the stat categories across the board, were pretty similar for both teams in game 1. In the series opener, Golden State connected on 13-28 threes and what went hand in hand in that victory, only putting up 10-15 from the stripe. Granted, Memphis was 17-22 (18-20 game 2), wheres the Dubs weren’t hitting from the perimeter and finished 22-28 from the line.
What that means is, if Golden State drilled their shots in their game 1 win, and lived at the line in their game 2 loss, then scoring wasn’t really a problem for them Sure, they can shoot better than they did in game 2 as they showed previously. Memphis is a defensive-oriented team, so they’re going to keep harassing as much as they can, but the Dubs have to focus on taking care of the ball. That is the biggest category to watch in this series.