After going down in the series 2-1 to the Memphis Grizzlies, many people are questioning if the Golden State Warriors can live up to their season long expectations.
Golden State seemingly handled Memphis in Game 1 with ease, but once Mike Conley was introduced back into the Grizzlies' lineup it became an entirely different story.
With 22 points and three assists in 27 minutes in Game 2, Conley led Memphis to a crucial win away from home to tie the series at 1. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph both hit double digits in this game as well while grabbing a combined 13 rebounds, and their "big man" presence is causing the Warriors a number of problems offensively and defensively.
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Game 3 resulted in another win for the Grizzlies as the majority of the Warriors' players didn't seem up for the occasion. While Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had trouble shooting in Game 2, combining for only 3-17 from three-point range, they were shooting slightly better in Game 3 scoring 23 and 20 points respectively.
Harrison Barnes also had a decent showing, dropping 16 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. However, the remainder of the Golden State roster were extremely poor in Memphis on Saturday. Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green combined for only 8 points and 14 rebounds, whereas Gasol and Randolph had a combined total of 43 points and 23 rebounds.
When you look at those statistics, it becomes rather obvious as to where the problem lies for the Warriors at this point.
Bogut is averaging just over 23 minutes per game which means Steve Kerr is having to rely on Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes to do a lot of the work against the Grizzlies' big men. At any other time during the season, this wouldn't seem to be much of an issue as Draymond Green was dominant over his opponents all year long, and was even able to give Anthony Davis of the Pelicans a hard time as Golden State swept New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs.
But for some reason Green is approaching this matchup very tentatively and isn't showing his typical aggressive dominance in the paint. If the Warriors are going to have any chance of advancing to the next round, the Michigan State alumnus must bring back his almost cocky demeanor and compete more physically with the Grizzlies' big men, especially Gasol.
Green chipped in with 16 points, five boards, and two steals as the Warriors were victorious in Game 1 at Oracle Arena. Steve Kerr and his players will be desperate for the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up to replicate this earlier performance, and hopefully regain the insane levels of competitiveness he showed throughout the regular season.
If Green isn't able to perform at a higher level than he has in the last two games, the Warriors are in big danger of falling to 3-1 down in the series which would be the first time the No.1 seed in the West lost 3 in a row this season.
If Green can provide the numbers his teammates are used to seeing him put up, his contagious enthusiasm will allow for them to follow suit and hopefully pull through with a victory against this high flying Grizzlies team. It's up to Green as the team's leader to catapult them into a commanding position at 2-2 heading back to Oracle Arena.