Grizzlies rout Warriors to avoid elimination, force Game 6

Thursday, May 12, 2022

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies fought off elimination with the highest-scoring performance in their franchise’s postseason history.

And with All-Star guard Ja Morant cheering from the bench. Then Morant upped the ante by chanting “Grizz in seven!”

Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones each scored 21 points and the Grizzlies routed the Golden State Warriors 134-95 on Wednesday night to force a sixth game in their Western Conference semifinal.

“We’ve exceeded expectations ever since I’ve been here,” Bane said. “It almost seems whenever someone thinks we can’t do something, we end up doing it. So I never want to put a limit on this team on what we can do because anything’s possible.”

Dillon Brooks added 12 points for Memphis. Ziaire Williams and Brandon Clarke had 11 apiece and De’Anthony Melton 10. Steven Adams had 13 rebounds, six offensive as Memphis outscored Golden State 24-5 on second-chance points.

The Grizzlies never trailed, turning in their best performance of this series to pull within 3-2 even with Morant out a second straight game because of a bone bruise in his right knee. They improved to 4-11 when facing elimination.

“We knew what was at stake,” Jackson said. “We didn’t change anything, though. We just calmed down, looked at the film, understand what we had to take away from the last game and just went out there and executed.”

Memphis scored 77 points in the first half, the most in franchise postseason history. The Grizzlies pushed their lead to 55 in the third quarter, threatening the three biggest postseason blowouts in NBA history.

Their 52-point lead after three tied for the largest in a playoff game in the past 70 years.

“Obviously, this was a very impressive win for our group, great bounce-back for sure,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.

When Memphis fans chanted “Whoop That Trick! Whoop That Trick!” early in the fourth, Stephen Curry laughed on the court while Draymond Green swung a towel in unison with the crowd. Green said he doesn’t respect people who only bring energy when winning.

“When you spew it out, you’ve got to be willing to take it and not hide from it and not duck from it and not hide from it. Embrace it,” Green said. “So, I appreciated the crowd tonight and the energy they brought to the game. If they want to whoop that trick, we’re going to whoop it together.”

Game 6 is Friday night in San Francisco, where the Warriors have won five straight playoff games and their last seven overall.

Klay Thompson led Golden State with 19 points, Jonathan Kuminga added 17, Curry had 14 and Damion Lee and Moses Moody each had 10.

The Warriors lost for the first time with assistant Mike Brown filling in for coach Steve Kerr, who missed his second straight game since testing positive for COVID before Game 4. Thompson said they expected to close out this series only to play “like a shell of ourselves.”

“It was awful,” Thompson said. “It was embarrassing from the opening tip. We didn’t have great flow. They were more aggressive than us, reflecting their 30 free throws to our 13.”

The Grizzlies got back to doing the things that helped them post the second-best record during the regular season. They outrebounded Golden State for the first time in this series 55-37, dominating the offensive boards 18-4. They forced 22 turnovers and got their best production from the bench of this series.

Golden State, thanks to Jordan Poole coming off the bench, had outscored Memphis’ reserves each of the first four games. Facing elimination, the Grizzlies had a 28-8 edge through the first two quarters and finished with a 52-35 margin. Poole had three points.

Category: