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!