MEMPHIS, USA – The Memphis Grizzlies dealt Golden State their first defeat in more than a month on Tuesday, December 16, snapping the Warriors NBA winning streak at 16 games with a 105-98 triumph.
Spanish center Marc Gasol scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Memphis in the battle between the top two teams in the league.
It was the first Golden State defeat since a November 11 setback against reigning NBA champions San Antonio.
Memphis clamped down defensively early in the second quarter, forcing 11 consecutive Golden State misses. The Warriors didn’t score a point in the period until the 6:49 mark as the Grizzlies racked up 20 points to build a 14-point advantage.
They never relinquished the lead, although the Warriors twice pulled within two in the final frame.
“Just too much to overcome,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his team’s attempt to rally.
“That’s a great team over there and we had to fight really hard just to get back to where we were. We were close but we couldn’t quite get over the hump.”
Zach Randolph scored 17 points with 10 rebounds, Mike Conley supplied 17 points and four steals and Vince Carter nailed four three-pointers as he chipped in 16 points for the Grizzlies, who have won five straight.
Klay Thompson netted 22 points for Golden State. Stephen Curry contributed 19 points, six assists and four steals, but never really caught fire.
“Our biggest problem tonight was our execution offensively,” Kerr said. “We were scattered. We weren’t moving early in the game and then we started moving but we were sort of careless with the ball. We had key turnovers at really important times.
“In the end, I love this team, they’re competitive, they defend, they pull for each other. But come playoff time you have to execute offensively, you can’t have empty possessions. We had a lot of them tonight.”
The Warriors, again playing without injured David Lee and Andrew Bogut, had trimmed the deficit to two when the Grizzlies scored seven straight points to rebuild their cushion to 97-88 with 3:05 to play.
A Curry layup cut the margin to 99-96 with 38.3 seconds remaining.
Conley floated in a shot for Memphis before Golden State’s Marreese Speights knocked down a jump shot with 25.3 seconds left.
But Gasol made a brace of free throws and Curry was off-target with two three-point attempts to seal the Warriors’ fate.
Kerr said he didn’t think the winning streak had weighed on or distracted his players.
“I don’t feel like there’s been a circus around us or anything,” he said. “I haven’t thought about the streak really at all other than just enjoying the winning part.
“We’ve just got to bounce back.” – Rappler.com