The Memphis Grizzlies tied the Golden State Warriors in one game with a 106-101 win in Game Two on Tuesday. Morant led all scorers with 47 points, joining LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only players in history to score multiple playoffs from 45 points before the age of 23, Per ESPN stats.
Stephen Curry led the way for Golden State with 27 points one night as the Memphis Warriors defense held just 18.4 percent of the 3-point range. Jordan Paul added 20 points in the loss. Match 3 is scheduled for Saturday in San Francisco.
Here are three takeaways from Memphis’s serial victory.
Ian Eagle has delivered every Ja Pun you can think of during this series, so we might as well continue it here. Morant is incredible. As noted at the top, his 47 points put him on a list with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as the only players in history to have scored multiple 45-point playoffs before the age of 23.
Morant got his break early when Gary Payton was second Who reported Steve Kerr after the match about a fractured elbow, which is terrible news – a threat on the ball, and with his out, Morant had favorable confrontations throughout the night. He took full advantage, busting paint and completing typical and powerful acrobatic costumes.After a Flagrant 2 foul by Dillon Brooks he was fired. Payton –
Morant, who brought the Grizzlies home with 18 points in the fourth quarter, was very aggressive, taking 31 shots, 12 of which were from outside the arc. The warriors retreated from him at the top, walked for 3s all night, and made five of them. If he starts hitting that shot on a consistent basis, which, with this kind of space out of the question, would officially be impossible to defend. It may already be.
2. Brick Brothers
Carey and Klay Thompson combined to shoot a 5-for-23 of 3 and 16-for-44 overall. Most of them were good, some completely unlocked. Curry had one look wide open late in the game that she missed everything, and even one of his three duets, a dead straight top-key shot, was a backlit brick that just happened.
It’s still a baffling shooting season for Curry, who is now 27 to 70 in the playoffs (38 percent). That’s not a bad number, unless you’re Carrie, who hasn’t been close to this season’s shooter throughout his career. He is erratic in the game and rarely hits crazy shots anymore. Can you tell how locked up the shooter is for his mistakes – are they short or long, the best mark, or are they missing left and right? — and Carrie, who is 8 vs. 23 through the first games of this series, has lost the worst this season than any time I can remember.
Meanwhile, Thompson was 2 for 12 from Tuesday which is 5 for 22 for the series. His case is less dubious; He’s still less than four months away from returning from two years ago with a ruptured ACL and ruptured Achilles. However, he needs to rein in some ways of unscrupulousness, especially when dribbling, which is not his strength. He tried so hard to get his way up to Tuesday’s rhythm and ended up shooting the Warriors into a deeper hole.
There will be a lot of talk about the 18 Warriors’ turnarounds in Game 2 and their inability, or unwillingness, to appreciate the ball in general, but this team has always been reckless/neglected/dumb with the ball. The difference now is that they can’t consistently shoot their way out of trouble because Curry and Thompson simply aren’t the shooters they used to be, or at least haven’t been this season.
3. News Payton is a huge bummer
To find out that Payton has a broken elbow is a real shot. The guy bounced back forever trying to find a steady job in the NBA, and not only did he find one with the Warriors, he started the first two games of the series and was an integral part of the title contender. It dramatically changes the complexion of this series. Payton was Morant’s No. 1 defender. If the Warriors had to make it to the conference finals and face the Suns, you’d see a lot of Payton on Chris Paul and Devin Booker. This was his moment.
And Dillon Brooks took it off. Steve Kerr called it a dirty play, and I agree. Nobody is saying that Brooks was trying to hurt Payton, but he played a reckless play on a man who was in midair with full knowledge that he was putting Payton in a very vulnerable position. This is dirty.
All we can hope for is Payton that he recovers from this and it doesn’t affect his free agency this summer. This is not the guy who made tens of millions of dollars. Once again, this is my first steady job in the NBA. This summer he was due to sign the first financial insurance contract of his life. I hope he continues to get the payday he earned, but you don’t know how dangerous it is right now.
As for the Warriors, Payton’s loss is a huge blow. His defense, cutting, finishing, and overall power are a big part of what warriors do. Hopefully Andre Iguodala can return to take on some of the ocean’s top assignments, but there is no substitute for Payton’s replacement and what it brings to both parties. There is no way around that.
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