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sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Draymond lights firecracker to spark Warriors' blowout of Grizzlies

o NBCSBA (Poole): Draymond lights firecracker to spark Warriors' blowout of GrizzlRobin Miller

NBCSBA (Poole): Draymond lights firecracker to spark Warriors' blowout of Grizzlies


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA (Poole): Draymond lights firecracker to spark Warriors'
blowout of Grizzlies
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2024 00:18:36 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Fri, 22 Mar 2024 04:18 UTC

Draymond lights firecracker to spark Warriors' blowout of Grizzlies

By Monte Poole

• Published March 20, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO – With the Warriors stepping deeply into another dreary
Chase Center performance against an undermanned opponent Wednesday
night, Draymond Green decided to inject some life into the room.

He grabbed a firecracker – not a grenade, as was the case earlier this
season – lit it and tossed it into the festivities, touching off a brief

What immediately followed was predictable, the Warriors and Grizzlies
trickling into a midcourt standoff quickly quelled by officials and
security intervention. The extent of the tangible damage was that Green
and Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane, who engaged a brief scuffle
during the kerfuffle, were assessed double technical fouls.

From that moment, the Warriors played with genuine conviction. They
tightened the defense and outscored Memphis 19-10 over the final six
minutes of the half – including a 10-0 burst over the final 1:54 – and
rode that jolt of energy to a 137-116 victory.

“It kind of woke our team up,” Green said.

“Those last few minutes in the second quarter were really key, just to
give us some momentum and a lead at halftime,” coach Steve Kerr said.

After trading leads several times through the first 18 minutes, the
Warriors outscored the Grizzlies 42-17 during an 11-minute stretch
spanning the second and third quarters.

Green’s wake-up call was precisely what the Warriors needed. They
summoned the defensive disposition required to smash a plucky team
missing two starters and three additional rotation players.

The temperature the building began to rise shortly after Grizzlies
forward Santi Aldama slipped an elbow into the chest of Green under the
basket. Green pushed back and then briefly grabbed Aldama’s jersey.

Seconds later, with the Warriors up 49-47, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins
called timeout and joined Aldama in practically sprinting over to
officials. Green noticed it and, rather than going to the Golden State
bench, raced over to join the conversation. Which led to several members
of each team walking over, with Bane’s arrival and a chest-to-chest
meeting with Draymond. Both Jenkins and Warriors forward Gary Payton II
stumbled harmlessly onto the floor before order was restored.

Firecracker tossed – as if it should be needed against a team that has a
contentious history with the Warriors.

The Grizzlies (22-47) were without stars Ja Morant and Marcus Smart, as
well as Luke Kennard, Derrick Rose and Brandon Clarke. They’ve been
shorthanded most of the season, but that did not stop them from coming
into Chase and going after the Warriors.

“It’s always been very competitive,” Kerr said. “They’re just tough.
Physically tough. They never back down. When we play them, there’s
usually some kind of dust-up.”

This latest dust-up led to a closing run that gave the Warriors a
10-point halftime lead (68-58) that grew to 25 (89-64) in the first four
minutes of the second half. They had the rout they should have had from
the jump.

The Warriors turned this into a runaway by flashing the defensive
disposition that was at the heart of their February revival, which led
them to reasonably believe they could rise from 10th place to sixth in a
crowded Western Conference playoff race.

Golden State’s defense forced three turnovers in the final two minutes
of the second quarter, during which Memphis shot 37.5 percent, and two
more in the first two minutes of the second.

The absence of that defensive disposition largely explains how the
Warriors have lost four of their last seven games, with three of the
losses to teams below .500 or missing multiple starters.

That defensive disposition has been missing for most of March, leaving
them with only the faintest hope of avoiding the NBA play-in tournament.

Maybe, maybe, Draymond helped them find it on this night.

sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Draymond lights firecracker to spark Warriors' blowout of Grizzlies


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