NBA Playoffs: Warriors Respond in Game 4, Stephen Curry Shows MVP Colors

By Vincent Frank

With their backs against the wall and facing the real possibility of losing three consecutive games for the first time all season, the Golden State Warriors pushed through a ton of obstacles to even up their playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

Steve Kerr’s squad turned the ball over 21 times. They were out-rebounded and put up less assists than the home-standing Grizzlies. They were facing a brutal Memphis defense in the Grindhouse.

All this should have led to a 3-1 series deficit heading back to Oakland for Game 5 on Wednesday night.

Instead, the Warriors dominated tempo and got back to their old ways in a 101-84 win over the Grizzlies.

League MVP Stephen Curry, who had combined for 42 points on 38 percent shooting in the previous two games, went off for 33 points on 11-of-22 from the field, including 4-of-9 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Andrew Bogut exerted his power inside to the tune of nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.

From the time the whistle blew to end the first quarter with Golden State up by eight, it was readily apparent that the Western Conference’s top seed had Memphis on lock down. Continuing his stellar overall play, Harrison Barnes put up 12 points and six rebounds with a much more aggressive style than we have been accustomed to. And Draymond Green, who started off by scoring eight of his team’s 10 points, controlled the tempo in an up-and-down game. Heck, even Klay Thompson added 15 against Tony Allen.

While this may be a momentum changing victory for the Warriors, who now head home for Game 5 with home-court advantage, it was an extremely disappointing loss for the Grizzlies.

Unable to change its offensive scheme to take into account a philosophical switch on defense by Golden State, the Grizzlies struggled putting the ball in the hoop. Seeing double-teams throughout the night, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for just 31 points on 12-of-29 shooting. Mike Conley shot just 4-of-15 from the field, while Tony Allen played a total of just 16 minutes. Talk about getting away from your team’s identity.

Overall, the Grizzlies shot just 38 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times.

This series now heads back to Oakland for Game 5. And while Memphis did win Game 2 on the road, the Warriors have lost a total of three games at home all year, postseason included.

The math is simple here. If Golden State wins its two remaining games at home, it will advance to the Western Conference Finals. In order for Memphis to pull off the upset, it will have to steal another one in California. That’s how big the Warriors Game 4 victory was.

Photo: USA Today Sports