One Eyed Charlie: Grizzlies 97 Warriors 90

The nickname Tony Allen gave Mike Conley in this game just might stick. One of the great playoff performances I’ve ever seen, that will define Mike Conley from this day forward. This is what the playoffs are all about. Where the names of great players are made.

There are quite a few Warriors players who should be taking notes.    

Tony Allen was the other MVP of this game, completely obliterating Klay Thompson for the first three quarters, all while still able to Ronnie Lott the passing lanes.

Do we have a series now? I’m not so sure. I think the Warriors were over-confident, and vulnerable to getting smash-mouthed. For one game at least. I also think the refs got them out of their game, and an emotionally drained Stephen Curry laid an egg. And Klay Thompson quite obviously got back-footed when Tony Allen turned the dial to 11.

There were a few interesting adjustments by Dave Joerger as well. I’ll have to watch this game again to really form an opinion of what happened. For now, I’ll just give a few of my impressions:

Adjustments: Ethan Strauss observed that the Grizzlies largely forsook the offensive boards in favor of getting back in transition, and I think that was clearly correct. (Note that the Warriors won the rebounding battle, 45-38.) With the extra men back, they were able to match up and pick up Curry and Klay at half-court, thus denying the transition three, and slowing the Warriors pace. This is something that Pop did to the Warriors two years ago. Very nice.

I won’t say the Grizzlies blitzed Curry, because Kerr ran a distressingly small amount of pick and roll. But they double teamed aggressively whenever the ball was in Curry’s hands, sagged into the paint, and dared the Warriors’ role players to beat them from three. Which they quite obviously failed to do in this game. Draymond missed his first two, and was reluctant to shoot again. Barnes was rarely to be found in this game, but missed both his three point attempts as well. Another nice adjustment, and the only possible choice of poison when playing against Stephen Curry.

One other adjustment, that I noticed for the first time when Conley put the dagger in: Joerger used Zebo to set the high pick. A great tactic against the Bogut crossmatch. Bogut can’t get out anywhere near the three point line to defend that shot. Will this be a theme?

Steve Kerr: Paid, at least in this game, for his refusal to make pick and roll a part of the Warriors offense. The Grizzlies, and every other team in the league, have read the Warriors playbook backwards and forwards by now. There are ways to get your superstars open looks in the two man game with a spread floor, that Kerr resolutely refuses to consider.

Paid, at least in this game, for his refusal to integrate Shaun Livingston and David Lee into his team in roles that emphasize their strengths, rather than their weaknesses.

Paid for having Curry guard Mike Conley for the first three quarters. He did get Klay on him for the fourth quarter, but by then it was too late. This is the playoffs, Steve Kerr. And the Grizzlies are playing Tony Allen and Courtney Lee on the wings. Time for an adjustment.

As for the all-out smallball Kerr sprang in the third quarter, with Dray at center and Iggy and then Barnes at the four… Loved It. The perfect move to jump start his team. (But I couldn’t help but think that Adam Lauridsen  — and Joe Lacob — would have destroyed Don Nelson for that same move.) You need the shots to fall to make it work though, and the Warriors just didn’t have it on this night.

Klay: Was clearly rattled for a time by Allen’s ball-hawking. Clearly needs to toughen up his handle. But I expect this to be a simple one game adjustment. The Klay you saw in the fourth quarter is what you can expect for the rest of the series.

One other thing: Kerr’s motion offense played right into Allen’s ball denial.

Bogut: -16 for the game. He clearly has an edge against Randolph in the paint, at least on the defensive end. He just as clearly doesn’t have an edge when pulled out of the lane by switches, or when Randolph is used in high screens or pick and roll. Dave Joerger is attacking him, and this will be a theme.

He’s being attacked on the offensive end as well, via the Curry double teams. Is 8 points enough when you’re not being guarded?

I’ll bet Joe Lacob and Bogut’s partisans were surprised he only got 24 minutes against the Grizzlies big front line. Did he look like a $12 million player in this game?

Draymond: The first foul call against him was completely bogus. It is beyond ridiculous to award a 7 foot center a charge when he has his side turned to the driver. I didn’t see much of anything on the other calls either, and in general thought the Warriors got a very curious whistle on their home floor. Perhaps the league decided it was time to milk their cash cow.

Whether the calls were off or not, they clearly upset the Warriors’ rotations, as well as the players themselves. It doesn’t take a lot to get a young team to start pressing in a playoff game, and we saw a lot of that as the Warriors fell behind.

Dray recovered to give a typically great defensive performance, but he was uncomfortable on offense all night. Given the Grizzlies focus on containing Curry and Klay, he’ll need to step up and hit shots.

And step up those one man fast breaks.

Barnes: I thought he played great defense when playing the four in the smallball unit, particularly when battling the big guys in the post. But otherwise he was completely invisible. While being guarded by Courtney Lee.

Barnes and Green combined for 25 points. What was the level I mentioned that they’d have to get to when Curry was double-teamed? I believe it was 30.

Iggy: I watched Iggy a fair bit when he was on Philly. I also watched him play a playoff series while on the Nuggets. And I’ve watched him closely while on the Warriors.

In all those years, I have never seen Andre Iguodala come up big in the playoffs.

I should just leave it at that, but I have one more thing to mention: In this game, he couldn’t guard Tony Allen.

Ezeli and Speights: Kerr quite obviously didn’t see what he wanted from them in this game, and I’ll have to go back to the tape to understand why.

But it didn’t help these two players’ cause that the whole team was struggling to get it going. The smallball unit was clearly indicated.

Barbosa: I’m in love with the Coco…  cawcaw!

Barbosa was the only Warrior who played well in this game, largely because he was the only guard who was quicker than the Memphis guards.

If the Warriors intend to speed up the tempo of the next game, desencadear o Brazilian Blur!

62 Responses to One Eyed Charlie: Grizzlies 97 Warriors 90

  1. FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

    My biggest pet peeve with NBA basketball is when the refs don’t call it the same way for both teams. If you are going to let them play than call it the same both ways. The refs let Memphis play very physical and get away with several fouls while making numerous phantom bail out calls when the Warriors were on defense. It was a combination of bad calls, too many turnovers and shots just not falling that led to the Warriors never finding a rhythm in this game. This loss may turn out to be a good thing. A wake up call that they may have to work a little bit harder than they thought. They will still win this series.

  2. BeerGarage

    I agree with your analysis of the calls, but there is nothing to be done about that. I agree with your analysis of the pick and rolls, and I am pulling my hair out that Kerr did nothing about that. Gasol put the shoulder into Curry so many times, while Kerr gave Conley a free pass. A few legal hard screens by Draymond or Bogut would free up Curry so easily against Conley. Conley should have been back on the bench after two possessions.

    W’s would have been called for illegal screens, perhaps. But Kerr should have found out.

    Am I way off on this?

    • You’re way on with this. Hard screens are a part of BBall and anyone on the floor is fair game. Conley should have been hit with a barrage.

  3. They have to find other ways to score, or rather they should have had other ways ready. I’m assuming if Lee is healthy enough to suit up, he’s healthy enough to play. At the very least, he could sub in for Green, who may well run into foul trouble again and who will carry a very heavy load from here on out. Some rest during the game will make him stronger at the end.

    But if Lee looks rusty, is it any wonder? He has taken few shots all season, and many games he hasn’t even played. Most of the time he has played the stunt bear with the subs in the Myers/Kerr follies. I’m at a loss for many minutes he’s played with the starters, except when he filled in for Green against the Clippers a month ago. 8-12 17 points, 7 boards. He can muscle up against Gasol just fine and adds a bit more length against when he plays out.

    But as the announcers said, he doesn’t sync with Kerr’s system.

    • cosmicballoon

      Play Speights if you’re not going to play Lee

      • Speights doesn’t work well at PF. Rather see McAdoo get minutes at PF if Lee can’t impact in limited minutes he is getting.

  4. Felt,

    Like you, I am so down on Iguodala from yesterday’s game. He looked disinterested and disengaged. BTW, he did have good series against warriors when he was nugget. No one but Brazilian blur had above par game. I thought Green even with his trouble finishing had average game. Curry was trying too hard and he was surrounded by 2 or 3 grizzlies all the time. Forgettable game by warriors, they are not this bad a team.

    What we can count on is, Kerr will have this crew ready for next game, a must watch TV, next saturday.

    • despite all, Curry+Klay went 3-17, not all could be because of Memphis D. If they went 6-17 which is still sub par for them, warriors come out victorious in this one.

    • harry, unless Kerr can adjust and be flexible, the Warriors might fail here. Kerr is great, but also stubborn. He insists running his version of motion offense no matter what. To me, his insistence is the Warriors Achilles heal. (Hopefully, I’m a Chicken Little.)

      • Relax Marc, Kerr may not be coaching the way you like, but he did coach the team to 72-16 record. I had seen him flexible a lot, going from big team to small team, trying flexible lines ups like playing Iguodala at PF as felt noted. It just didn’t work out for one game, it happens, teams having bad nights. It is impossible for a team to play at high level every game or we would have seen some teams go 82-0 in regular season or sweep through the playoffs. Spurs had to earn every win last year, most notably struggling to win against 8th seeded Dallas mavericks in 1st round. Warriors are better team and they will win the series eventually but Memphis is going to make it tough for them as it should be in playoffs.

  5. It also crossed my mind that the Warriors treated Conley with kid gloves. If you’re a decent person, how do you give a hard foul on a guy with a broken face? How do you set a hard screen? Do you want to be the guy who sends him back to the hospital?

    I think it’s possible the Warriors wrestled with these sorts of thoughts.

    • Not trying to send the guy to the emergency ward. Just back to the bench. He’ll survive. That’s what the mask is for
      If Curry was in Conleys shoes other teams would be blitzing him on D with screen after screen
      Sloans Jazz, the Bad Boys, Tibs Bulls all would have made this a point of emphasis, I bet

    • I disagree.

      I normally don’t comment but had to reply.
      Draymond Green? Kid gloves?

      He fouls constantly (Izzo from the old school taught him well). NBA refs cannot call every foul, so they don’t. And DG knows this. But Green gets his licks in (including last night).

      He even received a well-deserved technical foul. Bitches just about every call. Unusual game, I’m sure the Dubs will recover.

    • Grizzlies bloggers and fans saw different, they think Green was reckless or intentionally hit Conley on his face. Think Green will hear lot of boos next game.

    • BeerGarage

      I think the Grizzlies declared open season on point guards.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJiE8Mr4kZ4
      1:33
      1:39 (of the film, not the clock)

      • BeerGarage

        To clarify, not open season to hit anyone in the face, but for setting hard legal screens.

    • BeerGarage

      Also, I hear you, Felt. Not sure I could be the one to bang into a guy and risk injuring him. Then the W’s risk a Flagrant call on Green for a legal screen that puts Conley in the hospital and gives Green a bad rep. Lose – lose.

      I have no solution. What is the solution to Conley’s face-cube?

      • Why would a legal screen be a flagrant foul call?

        The only one who should be worried about Conleys face is Conley. And if he is, just stayy off the floor. All the Warriors need to worry about is playing the game hard and fair. And screens are fair. Any player can get injured on any play…
        I seem to remember ZBo with a very reckless foul on Brandon Rush a couple years ago. That was borderline dirty and ended BRushs season (career?). I don’t recall Dray with a play like that, ever.

        Wubs got a little jobbed on the whistles last night. C’est la vie, I suppose

        Leandros now the key to our title shot? I thought it was DLee.

        • Why was the play stopped and reviewed when Green tried to grab the ball from Conley ?

  6. If Barnes defends 4s better than 3s, it’s for a simple reason. He does not see the court well, does not anticipate, and is slow to react. This is less a problem with larger, slower 4s. But he starts at the 3, and the first half sets to tone and tempo of the game. In essence, you’re conceding defense the first half and may be forcing the team to play catchup, as happened last night.

    One reason they got off to a good start the first game is that Green knocked down his first 3 shots from the arc. That gave them the lead, opened up the court, and set the tone for the game. Conley’s absence was a huge factor of course, but it’s not inconceivable that without a good start it’s a different game, and possibly a close one. Look at what happened when they sputtered against New Orleans, a weaker team than the Grizzlies even without Conley.

    Saying Barnes and Green have to score 30 means you hope they knock down their 3s. This is not playing the odds.

    • Warriors don’t have a reliable 3rd scorer, at not least since DLee homesteaded on the bench (that’s a different topic and not relevant any longer).

      So far, its worked out, except for Tuesdays result a maybe a few others.

  7. …I’m the only one that predicted this great analysis!

    It’s what u do best…

  8. Thompson’s problem was
    missing open shots, or
    trying to dunk rather then
    softly lay the ball in. It was not
    Allen’s defense.

    • cosmicballoon

      I disagree. Allen was up in Klay’s face the entire game. The dunk was a “Klayup”, but other than that, not many good looks for Klay.

      Barnes needed to hit outside shots — he missed two wide open looks. Iggy just needs to shoot more, and Dray looked scared to take those shots, too.

  9. for those interested in the east, r.shelbourne has an interior portrait of a few of Chi’s key players and their inimitable coach over on espn.com

    should that ensemble break up over the summer, where thibodeau and butler end up could change fortunes for other teams dramatically.

  10. rgg, a follow up re. the confrontation over the arena/’twin towers’ site — lacob just publicly stated he owns the land, my error in responding earlier. he’s denounced the ‘mission bay alliance’ as a rogue group, and claims the ucsf administration and he are in complete concord. if his version is true, then the tussle will be over land use permits.

    • “…the tussle will be over land use permits.”

      Precisely. City governments decide on things like appropriate parking, rights-of-way, traffic and infrastructure issues re any new development. Those decisions may be challenged in court, and they almost always are challenged in major development efforts within SF.

      That tells us nothing about the validity of anyone’s position, just that “the game is afoot.” The challenge is about money, not civic duty or anything else. Lacob can say whatever he likes to the press, and he will – he has press connections that can’t be beat. The bottom line is that his arena probably will not be held up, but simply cost more than he hoped.

    • Thanks, moto.

      All that is solid melts into air.

      —KM

  11. Felt, what’s your opinion about the rest of the series? You had predicted a wipeout if Conley wasn’t able to go. Are you seriously concerned now?

    • No. I expect the Warriors to win game 3, and I’d be surprised if the Grizzlies won another game, unless the Warriors don’t feel like showing up in Game 4.

      • My best guess Memphis will win one more game because they do keep the games close. Game 3, 5 and 6 warriors win, Memphis will win game 4.

  12. I just turned on the tube. The default channel was TNT and the corpse of Hedo Turkoglu has somehow managed to find its way out on the floor, again. Incredible. And they’re winning, too

  13. injuries continue to derail contenders’ hopes, with shumpert popping a hammie, wall fracturing his hand and wrist in five places.

    shumpert is essential both for his perimeter d and to space the offense, especially without love’s perimeter shooting. DC-leonsis seemed to be hitting its peak and threatening to reach the third round, but might not win another game if wall can’t play.

  14. Maui Nellie

    Tony Allen? Coach Nick says “Ho hum”.

  15. Larry Riley interview, he touches upon and basically confirming the reports on drafting of Curry.

    https://soundcloud.com/warriors/larry-riley-on-knbr-5615

  16. Kerr in an interview yesterday responded to a question about should the Warriors make any changes.

    He went on a bit scarcastically — yeah, we need to change everything, dump what we do, run the triangle. Then he laughed in a good natured way. He said, yes they were looking at film.

  17. to clarify the guvnor’s twit re. dellavedova — this is his second year in the bigs, and was already under contract to Cle when livingston was acquired last summer. as a local star and an Aussie no less, it’s inconceivable that he wasn’t scouted by the woeyrs ; riley and bogut undoubtedly knew about him. how would he refuse an invitation to the GS summer team or training camp, but he never received one, the woeyrs content that summer with NN and two other reserves who didn’t finish the year with them. Cle saw enough that first summer to give him a two year (conditional guarantees, usual for undrafted, rookie free agents) deal before preseason concluded. this season he made $800 k.+ and will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

    the lacobites have generally stayed on a program of buying a draft pick or two[tyler, NN], and giving their second round picks guaranteed deals[jenkins, kuzmic], rather than go into the far larger talent pool of free agents who weren’t drafted, like anthony morrow, r.williams, tolliver of course under the previous regime. they’ll probably succeed this season in spite of their mismatched bench, but after d’mond’s projected raise they’ll be looking at mega $$ committed to six players, with little left for reserves except for bargain free agents like barbosa was this year.

    • It should be conceded that Austin Rivers has stepped up well for the Clippers. He is shooting 53% on 3s against Houston, 8/15. He only shot 30% for the season, but that number is deceptive as he seldom took more than one or two a game.

      A comparison is invited.

      • rivers’ team might or might not last another round or two, but he did succeed in reviving his son’s career. starting him in the loss when paul was sidelined might have been just as important for his confidence as his break out performance last night. austin rivers, from a college hoops superpower and drafted, isn’t quite in the same category as delladova however.

        the other change with the LA rotation came in the person of hawes — he was a d.n.p.-c.d. in Hou. until now hawes was marked down as a major misplacement of rivers’ free agent mid-level addition.

        • Rivers was overrated at Duke and most likely got help from Dad in the NBA. And I suspect Dad’s support and discipline may help him get on track, assuming he has the talent.

          • the official version from other LA execs, they had to convince the elder rivers to make the trade despite his reluctance. of course, that might be because they weren’t confident in his earlier choices trying to reinforce their bench.

            the team went 1-1 with rivers starting, and his true shooting pct. for the post season is a hundred points above what he posted in the regular season, easily his career best for a comparable stretch of play.

            if youth has been the rationalization for mr. barnes’ inconsistency, he’s older than rivers by two months, and before the trade, on a much better team. mr. barnes’ playoff shooting numbers are a bit better than rivers’, though he’s taken thirty fewer attempts. his supporters often praise his three point shooting, which stands at .40 for the playoffs, but he’s attempted just ten. green might only be hitting .35 of his, but the offense requires someone to take the shots if barnes can’t — iguodala misses too many but he understands someone has to take ’em. a fair number of green’s shots don’t look pretty but he’s scored 18 pts. more than barnes from long range.

  18. The media are really playing up the Tony Allen v. Klay Thompson angle. I really don’t think Allen can guard Klay, but let’s see.

    • The issue may be whether Klay thinks Allen can guard Klay.

      Klay was spooked in the last game. Over time he will lose that… fragility, but this year, right here and now, it’s an issue.

      It’s up to Klay to decide otherwise. He’s a 6’8″ guard with a quick shooting stroke. He really can score against anyone. He just has to do it.

      • thompson’s shooting numbers have been better at home than the road. he’s in the youthful portion of his prime, no longer a novice on any level. this post season will be a test for both his and curry’s competitive focus ; both lapse into a casual arrogance at times, and most opponents can’t make them pay for sloppiness. kerr and his team might get through it all without facing a top coaching staff and a sound roster, but we’ll see first if Mem has enough in both aspects for a what would be a huge upset.

        • “…casual arrogance…”

          I can’t say for sure that that is accurate. An occasional “casualness,” perhaps, but arrogance is another matter.

          Curry and Thompson can score against anyone. They haven’t proved it yet, and they know it. Until then, I don’t see any arrogance, just a loss of focus.

          • of course it’s only my subjective impression that the two seem casual sometimes. arrogance/overconfidence might be preferable to laziness, malaise, immaturity, or ignorance.

        • I think they were over confident. A loss like that, part of the blame has to go to the coaches.

          • concur, the easy going, collegial style of coaching can sometimes bring lapses like this. the great lacob hasn’t yet hired an underboss who has established solid success as a coach with other organizations, and the harder nosed personalities (like malone) might not be compatible with how he wants his colony.

  19. Unfortunately, I have a ton of committments the next few days, and will have very limited time to comment on the next two games, no matter which way they go.

    I still expect the Warriors to have very little trouble with this team, but in case it goes the other way, just letting u know I’m not hiding. And Matt Steinmetz will make sure I face the music, if that wasn’t already a given.

    • It is unfortunate that you can’t participate in your own blog.

      I’m considering a website called TheBBallScientistFKABeltbot.com. It will be an open discussion forum, much like this one. What do you think?

    • I think you should start a new blog that takes for its name the title of this post, “One-Eyed Charlie.” Not sure what you’d do with it, but the possibilities are intriguing.

      I got da jitters. I don’t know what this team can do. They just haven’t been tested enough, or failed most of the few tests they had. A seven game series might get them into shape, as the Spurs series did the Clips.

    • Feltbot, keep the tweets coming.

  20. kerr might not get to match his chops against popovich, carlisle, thibodeau, or budenholzer in the playoffs, so it’s good to see Joerger giving him everything he can handle.

    curry appeared pretty casual with the ball in the first half ; thompson was focused. mr.barnes’ shot was unstoppable, mostly over a defender about five inches smaller.

  21. The last 2 losses are on Kerr. I been posting opposing coaches would eventually figure out Kerrs version of motion offense. It happened now. Kerr has no Plan B. Joeger out coached him.

  22. Did anyone else notice- Really seemed like Barry was rooting for the Grizzlies ?? The W’s will still win this thing.

  23. 80% or more of their wins did nothing to prepare the Warriors for this series. A handful of losses and close wins did however, or should have.

    The whole point of a motion offense is to have pressure points across the lineup to tax the defense and create openings. There are no shooters who inspire confidence after Steph and Klay, except maybe Mo. There is no front court scoring. Bogut can’t or won’t, Green is too small. Barnes early on was left unguarded, though I won’t complain about his performance as he scored when he got openings. So the pressure is all on Steph and Klay, and without support, it will be hard for them to get into a rhythm. Kerr just said they lost the last two games because of turnovers. That’s baloney. There were bad passes, but they couldn’t get anything going anyway.

    Positive spin time: if the Warriors can work themselves out of this hole, it should help them later. Holding my breath here.

  24. Sometimes you just get beat by a better team, and there’s no shame in that. But I’m not ready to say that Memphis is the better team yet.

    Not having any semblance of a post player on O makes it that much easier for a team to gameplan against the Dubs. They’ve managed to overcome this fact all year with flying colors, but it’s hurt the last two games- check out the performances of our Big3. Andrew pulled one of his road disappearing acts and Liv$ and Iggy$ were detrimental with their ineffectiveness. The Blur was more of skid mark. It’s not fair to ask Draymond to guard guys like ADavis and Gasol game after game, but he’s our best shot.
    I have no idea what’s in store for Monday night. Stephs really been clamped down on, and has over-dribbled, at times.