© Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight was not a particularly memorable game for the Warriors, but thanks to an astoundingly efficient shooting performance from Kevin Durant, a near triple-double from Stephen Curry, a classic Draymond Green performance and a solid display from DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors overcame some poor first-half stretches to secure a win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Here are three observations from the Warriors’ 118-103 win in Memphis:
These late season games are not a sight to behold
If you have watched the Warriors over the last few games, you can be absolutely sure they want nothing more than for the regular season to come to an end. These late-season games are the doldrums. They affect playoff seeding, but for a Warriors team which has been nearly as good on the road (25-12) as it is at home (26-11) this season – and has won three of the last four NBA titles – seeding is not nearly as much of a concern as it is for a team like the Denver Nuggets.
This feeling of “let’s just get to the playoffs” has manifested in some underwhelming, energy devoid performances that are surely a product both of mental and physical fatigue with the longest period of the season which the Warriors would surely like to sim through. But, with that not being the case, nights like the Mavericks’ 126-91 drubbing on Sunday happen; and so do weird wins like tonight, in which the Warriors won in a way that you won’t ever regret if you missed.
Yet, tonight’s game was one of those games that quietly demonstrate just how great they are. They did not seem particularly enthused playing against the third-worst team in the Western Conference with the slowest pace in the NBA, but they secured a win, which, according to the score sheet, came easily.
An easy win wasn’t actually the case in a game which featured a 14-1 Grizzlies run, but because the Warriors are so immensely talented and played with that base level of energy required to beat any non-elite team, they moved one step closer to concluding the late regular season games they despise so much.
Durant nearly goes perfect
Kevin Durant was one – yes, one – shot away from his first ever perfect shooting night (of 10-plus shots). He had it taken away from him on a play in which he thought he was fouled. No such foul was called, and Durant fouled in frustration on the other end. Unfortunately for Durant, he had to settle for the massively disappointing shooting line of 12-of-13 from the field, 1-of-1 from 3-point range, and 3-of-3 from the line for a 28-point performance.
To be fair, that is the sort of thing that would only bother a player like Durant, who, in addition to his 28 points and game-high plus-30 plus-minus, tallied 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 turnovers in 25 minutes. He, and Stephen Curry – who also had 28 points (7-of-20, 6-of-12 from 3-pt, 8-of-9 from FT), along with 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 1 turnover – are very good at basketball.
Kevin Durant is 9-for-9 from the field on NBALP! #DubNation
— NBA (@NBA) March 28, 2019
“If you’re looking for trouble, You came to the right place”
Those are the words of the Memphis, Tennessee rock legend Elvis Presley. They fit for Draymond Green, who is now just one technical foul away from accruing his 16th of the season, and a one-game suspension, after picking up his 15th technical foul of the season tonight.
Draymond Green just got T'd up for unleashing on the ref. He now has 15 on the season, which puts him one shy of a one-game suspension.
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) March 28, 2019
That potential suspension comes on the same night that second-year forward Jordan Bell served a one-game suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team” tonight. Head coach Steve Kerr did not divulge any information related to what caused the suspension.
But, in the midst of a game in which Bell wasn’t allowed to play, Green set himself up for a similar situation, and the Warriors played down to the level of the Memphis Grizzlies, there was a moment of pure basketball poetry to end the first half. It came in the form of a full-court heave from Green to Durant:
Draymond touchdown pass to KD to beat the halftime buzzer 😮 pic.twitter.com/STeaZckucD
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 28, 2019