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Short-Handed Warriors Suffer Road Loss to Grizzlies

What we learned in Warriors’ last-minute loss to Grizzlies originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

On the second night of a back-to-back, the Warriors were even more short-handed than they were the first.

In addition to missing Steph Curry, James Wiseman and Eric Paschall, center Kevon Looney entered the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols just hours before the game.

Whether or not Looney was the Warriors’ missing piece Saturday, the game was a 180-degree turn from what they accomplished the previous night.

The Warriors (22-21) fell to the Grizzlies (19-20), 111-103, in an ugly game with nearly as many free throws (55 total for both teams) as field goals (68). But the Warriors should be at least a little pleased they managed to stick around at all Saturday, as they shot 34.4 percent from the field to finish 2-1 on the three-game road trip.

Jordan Poole (26 points) and Andrew Wiggins (20) once again led the Warriors’ offense, but neither player scored very efficiently. Golden State had a chance to win, but was outscored 12-3 over the final two-and-a-half minutes.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ loss.

Anything but pretty

Unlike Friday, Saturday’s rematch featured almost no finesse. There was plenty of grit, but not much grind, as both teams struggled to score in the paint.

The Warriors shot just 31-of-90 from the field, staying in the game while shooting 28-of-34 from the free-throw line. In a first quarter indicative of things to come, Golden State shot just 4-of-20 from the floor and 13-of-16 from the stripe.

By the final horn, the Warriors and Grizzlies combined for 47 personal fouls.

Yet both teams remained evenly matched, with the Grizzlies holding a one-point lead heading into the final two minutes. Whichever team went on a run — or just find the slightest bit of offensive rhythm — would win.

The Grizzlies did just that, trapping Andrew Wiggins and forcing a turnover with 1:44 left. Grayson Allen dunked a second later, and Brandon Clarke gave the Grizzlies a five-point lead on another dunk. Ja Morant grabbed his own miss for a tip-in 36 seconds after that, capping off a 6-0 run that was all Memphis needed to win.

Poole’s still the real deal

It feels almost redundant to highlight how far Poole has come since his stint in the G League. But on a night where the Warriors could barely buy a basket, Poole continued to display his growth.

He followed up his career-high performance Friday with 26 points on Saturday, marking the first time he has scored 20-plus points in three straight NBA games.

One of the few Warriors with any offensive rhythm, Poole’s teammates hunted for him on the floor. Golden State ran plays to get him good looks, and otherwise let him cook when he had the ball.

Poole almost led the Warriors to a win, giving Golden State a one-point lead with 2:43 remaining and cutting Memphis’ lead to four with 32.7 to go. He’s showing he can be the bench scorer the Warriors need, and he’s consistently proving it.

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Warriors health taking a hit

Let’s face it, there’s only so much you can take away from a game as ugly as this one. But it’s clear that the two days between Saturday and the Warriors’ next game Tuesday couldn’t come at a better time for Golden State.

The Warriors are returning to the Bay Area bruised and battled.

Two centers (Looney and Wiseman) are in the league’s health and safety protocols, as is a small-ball center (Paschall). Their star player has missed two games with a tailbone contusion. And in the third quarter Saturday, Green momentarily went down after rolling his left ankle.

He remained in the game after the timeout, and played nicely down the stretch, but the Warriors don’t want anything minor to become something else. Green can play through some discomfort and pain, but he cannot play through a significant injury.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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