Warriors win physical, ugly game to match 9-0 best start

Draymond Green (centre) of the Golden State Warriors during their game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Oakland, California, on Nov 4, 2015.
Draymond Green (centre) of the Golden State Warriors during their game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Oakland, California, on Nov 4, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

MEMPHIS (Tennessee) • The Golden State Warriors knew what to expect at the FedExForum.

The Memphis Grizzlies would try to drag them into the mud, hold them there as long as they could, and hope that they could bring the National Basketball Association's only undefeated team down to their low-scoring level.

"Very similar to the last time we were here," said Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who scored 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half of Golden State's 100-84 victory on Wednesday.

"Ugly game. Real physical.

"Congested (in the paint) the whole time."

A little more than a week after the Grizzlies absorbed a franchise-worst 50-point defeat by the Warriors (9-0) in Oakland, California, Memphis scrapped to within a point of the champions in the third quarter. After a pair of free throws from forward Zach Randolph (19 points, seven rebounds) with 3:37 left in the third quarter, the Grizzlies trailed 56-57.

But Curry's 17 points in that period were too much, and a steal and a long buzzer-beating three-pointer from the league's reigning Most Valuable Player gave the Warriors a 74-63 advantage going into the final frame.

The Grizzlies never got closer than seven points after that, and the Warriors led by as many as 21.

Memphis (3-6) lost their fourth straight and shot just 34.3 per cent, going 24-for-70 from the floor.

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, who scored four points on 1-for-12 shooting, was so annoyed, he immediately went to the team's practice court to put up shots after the game.

So did forward Jeff Green who missed the only two shots he took.

Golden State shot 48 per cent from the floor. They hit 11 of 27 (40.7 per cent) from three-point range en route to tying the old Philadelphia Warriors for the best start in franchise history.

Swingman Andre Iguodala had 20 points off the bench, and forward Harrison Barnes finished with 19. That said, this would not be confused with one of Warriors' better games - they had 23 turnovers.

"We feel like we can play a lot better," interim coach Luke Walton said. Asked about winning 72 games, the all-time mark set by Michael Jordan's 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, he replied: "The season's too long to be talking about 72 wins."

They also remain several wins away from the all-time record for the best start of 15-0, shared by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and 1993-94 Houston Rockets.

But the Warriors have outscored their first nine opponents by a combined 158 points. Only four teams in NBA history - the 1997 Bulls, 1965 Celtics, 1972 Bucks and 1970 Knicks - have had a better points difference after nine games.

While the season is still young, the Dallas Mavericks have already delivered a big victory for their fans, winning their grudge match against the Los Angeles Clippers.

It was DeAndre Jordan's first match in Dallas since reneging on a summer free-agent deal which would have seen him leave the Clippers for Texas.

Jordan, who was jeered all night, was restricted to just nine points in a 118-108 victory for the Mavericks.

German legend Dirk Nowitzki stole the show for the home side, pouring on 31 points.

He said: "Obviously, there was a lot of hype in the air but we tried to stay cool and play our game."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Warriors win physical, ugly game to match 9-0 best start'. Print Edition | Subscribe