Rookie coach Steve Kerr says his Warriors are going through a learning process as a very young team.
The Memphis Grizzlies are using their hefty postseason experience to make the lesson as painful as possible.
Zach Randolph scored 22 points and Marc Gasol added 21 points and 15 rebounds, as the Grizzlies beat the Warriors 99-89 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
“This was a huge win for our franchise, a huge win for our team,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “The crowd was fantastic.”
MVP Stephen Curry finished with 23 points for Golden State but was 8 of 21 from the field, including 2 of 10 outside the arc. Klay Thompson had 20 points, and Harrison Barnes added 16.
“I have to play better for us to win games, especially on the road,” Curry said. “I hold myself to a high standard. I haven’t reached it yet. So looking forward to the challenge of getting that level in Game 4, setting the tone and (it) could be a different outcome.”
Mike Conley and Courtney Lee both finished with 11 points for Memphis, which has yet to lose this postseason with Conley in the lineup.
The swelling has eased enough in Conley’s face that he switched to a new mask for a more snug fit. He didn’t shoot nearly as well as he did Tuesday night. Officials did take a timeout early in the third quarter for Conley to get some blood wiped away from his left eyebrow after popping some stitches loose. He didn’t miss a second and even took a charge from Leandro Barbosa late in the third quarter.
For a second straight game, the Grizzlies made the Warriors look nothing like the team that was the NBA’s best home or away during the regular season. The Warriors missed seven straight 3s during one stretch, several wide-open looks, and the Grizzlies harassed them into a handful of ugly turnovers.
The Warriors went just 6 of 26 from 3-point range, tying their season-low at 23.1 percent, and 19 of 28 at the free throw line.
“They’re learning,” Kerr said of his Warriors. “It’s part of the process. You see teams go through this all the time in the playoffs. It’s the only way to figure it out, to go through the pain of losing a game like tonight.”
The Grizzlies improved to 7-2 overall in Game 3s since 2011 and 6-1 when playing that game on their home court. With Game 4 at home on Monday night, the Grizzlies have their sights set on ousting the West’s No. 1 seed for the third time in their five-year playoff run as they try to reach their second conference final in three years.
“It’s not a must win, but it’s pretty freaking close,” Thompson said of Game 4.
“We know what’s at stake,” Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos said. “They are a very good team. They can come back no matter what lead we have.” “We understand what our strengths are, and of course at the end of games we’re not going to panic,” Gasol said. “We might not play great or we might not make the shot or we might make mistakes or we might get really slow. But we’re going to stay in the moment. We’re going to play the next possession always, and we got to try to get stops.”
Memphis outscored Golden State 46-32 in the paint and outrebounded the Warriors 44-39. The Grizzlies forced 17 turnovers they turned in 22 points, offsetting the Warriors’ 22 fast break points.
Golden State trailed by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter and tried to recreate its big comeback after being down 20 in Game 3 of its opening series at New Orleans. The Warriors got within 88-84 on a fast-break layup by Barnes with 3:16 left.
Lee hit a 3, then Gasol beat the shot clock with a long jumper changed from a 3 after review. Green turned it over, and the Grizzlies finished the win.