May 3, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Tony Allen (9) shoots the basketball during the third quarter in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Grizzlies 101-86. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Well that didn’t go quite as we hoped. Beating the Warriors was going to be tough for the Grizzlies, and it was made even tougher after Mike Conley was ruled out. If the Grizzlies are going to get a split of the first two games, then here are some things they need to focus on.
1. Determine Conley’s Status before tomorrow I think Conley will in game 2. Regardless of whether or not he does, the coaching staff needs to make a decision as soon as possible. I don’t know how much the decision to sit Conley right before the game affected the team’s play, but many of the players didn’t play with the same energy we are accustomed to seeing. Could that be related to finding out Conley would not play until right before tip? Possibly, so let’s just avoid that before tomorrow.
2. Step up the defense The Warriors are going to score. But there simply isn’t any reason for the Warriors to score as easily as they did on Sunday. This team isn’t going to outscore the Warriors in a wide open contest, so they have to get their trademark defense back.
May 3, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) follows through on a three-point basket next to Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) during the first quarter in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
3. Shut the Role players down Curry and Thompson are going to score. There is little you can do stop those guys. But you can keep players like Draymond Green from getting 16 points. That’s four more points than he averaged on the season. Keep those guys at their season average or lower, and the Grizzlies can pull out Game 2.
4. Get some rest for Calathes This might be solved if Conley comes back, but this was tweeted out during the third quarter of yesterday’s game.
I noticed it as well. Calathes is logging more minutes than he is accustomed to, so he is fatiguing, especially guarding the best player in the league this year. If Conley doesn’t play Tuesday, Joerger might need to utilize Russ Smith more.
5. Open up quarters better The Grizzlies had a difficult time cutting into the Golden State lead. A big reason for that was slow starts to open quarters. Steve Kerr and his coaching staff had the Warriors playing crisply as play resumed. Joerger has to match the Warriors adjustments.
It’s another late West Coast start, so get ready to stay up late and have lots of coffee on hand for Wednesday morning.