Jackson: 'We got a quality win; really proud of my guys'
Harrison Barnes contributed nine points and five rebounds to the Warriors' 108-82 win over the Grizzlies on Saturday. (USATSI)
Marc Gasol wasn't there to offer his usual rude greeting and neither was Tony Allen. The Warriors didn’t care and shouldn't care. Bullied for years every time they set foot in Memphis, they simply wanted to stand up for themselves.
They did that and more in a cathartic 108-82 triumph over the Grizzlies on Saturday night at the FedEx Forum.
The Warriors had lost 11 consecutive games to Memphis, leaving each time with bumps and bruises as souvenirs. No one on the roster had won in Memphis while wearing a Warriors jersey. This was about slaying a familiar dragon, even if it was limping, so it's absolutely significant.
"The Memphis Grizzlies were a team that we needed to beat,'' said David Lee, who bounced back from an awful game on Friday to deliver 23 points and 11 rebounds.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't (have significance),'' coach Mark Jackson said. "It's been a long time coming. These new guys here, they don't know the history. People talk about the San Antonio (losing) streak and all of that – that's not our history. This is the one streak that's ours. We own it. And it's very refreshing and means a lot to come here and get a `W.' ''
Yes, Memphis was without two starters. But the Warriors also were limping a bit, missing forward Andre Iguodala and backup point guard Toney Douglas. And the entire team was stung by the blowout loss taken at Houston on Friday.
Those who played worst on Friday – Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut and Lee – recovered well on Saturday. Thompson scored 11 points in the first seven minutes and finished with a game-high 30. Bogut scored 8, grabbed 12 rebounds and played smothering defense on Grizzlies star Zach Randolph.
The leader of the gang on this night was point guard Stephen Curry, who didn't make a field goal in the first half but finished with 22 points. Moreover, he had 15 assists and only one turnover – after committing eight the previous night.
And, by the way, he also become the team's all-time leader in 3-pointers, with 701, breaking Jason Richardson's record.
"His overall game tonight was a thing of beauty,'' Jackson said.
Jackson conceded to feeling a sense of urgency from the moment he stepped into the arena. He was disgusted with the team's performance on Friday and, too, there was that pesky losing streak.
"For the first time in my coaching career, I was locked and loaded to call an early timeout,'' he said. "Fortunately, it didn't have to take place because of the way we came out.''
Thompson's sizzling start; he scored 16 points in the first quarter. Then there was the assertiveness of Bogut and Lee, who owned the glass early and won the battle of big men. Curry's leadership and playmaking; few players have experienced 15-assist, one-turnover game.
Not much. The Warriors were as good on Saturday as they were bad on Friday.
Backup point guard Toney Douglas (stress reaction, left tibia) is on the trip but is listed as day to day. Forward Andre Iguodala (strained left hamstring) also is on the trip but did not dress and remains out indefinitely.
The Warriors wrap up the three-game road trip on Monday when they meet the Bobcats in Charlotte. The Warriors swept the two-game series last season. It's a homecoming for Curry, who grew up in Charlotte, where his father, former NBA player Dell, works on Bobcats broadcasts. It's something of a homecoming for Barnes, who attended North Carolina for two years.