Grizzlies' defence foils Warriors' hunt for 21st win

MEMPHIS • Centre Marc Gasol is not much for the TV highlights, predictions or even his own statistics line.

"Basketball's a pretty simple game," said the Memphis centre, who nonetheless had a strong line - 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal as the Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday at the FedExForum.

"Anything can happen if you do the right things."

And the Grizzlies did just that.

Their defence dominated from the start and they scored 30 points off 23 Golden State turnovers.

It was only the second time this season that the Warriors failed to score 100 points. Their previous low was 97 in a 20-point setback to the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov 4.

"We couldn't have played much worse and I thought they were great," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "They earned everything."

Playing without starting point guard Mike Conley (back injury), Memphis also had big games from Tony Allen, who scored 19 points and was at the forefront of the defensive effort, and forward JaMychal Green, who had 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

"It's emotional to beat one of the best offensive teams in the league," Allen said, "but hey, we're one of the best defensive teams."

Memphis (17-8) also stopped the Warriors' four-game winning streak. Golden State (20-4) won 16 of their previous 17 games, but were never close and trailed by 28 points early in the fourth quarter before Kerr pulled all of his starters.

The Grizzlies have been playing shorthanded for much of the season and squeezing out close wins, often against teams with losing records.

"A lot of people want us to roll up and die," said Memphis coach David Fizdale. "It's a regular-season game, I don't want to make too big a deal out of it."

The Grizzlies led by 23 at half-time and started the third quarter with a 7-0 run that pushed their lead to 68-38 at the 10min 39sec mark after a dunk by guard Troy Williams. Seven Memphis players reached double figures.

"You gotta tip your hat to them," said forward Kevin Durant, who led the Warriors with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Stephen Curry finished with 17 points and eight rebounds but was just four of 14 from the floor and three of 11 from three-point range.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2016, with the headline 'Grizzlies' defence foils Warriors' hunt for 21st win'. Print Edition | Subscribe