Some quick thoughts before I run down to the CSN Bay Area studios to talk about this game on Yahoo SportsTalk Live.
— Golden State’s defense was ferocious. They had 15 steals(!), with everyone who played at least 10 minutes getting at least one except Festus Ezeli, who had two blocked shots.
— Any MVP doubters need to watch this game, which the Warriors won 107-84 in a rare 23-point win where the game wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. Curry, who had 38 points on 12-of-22 shooting, was simply incredible. He made eight threes, and barely missed one where he was hammered right after the release. His one-handed backdoor pass to Klay Thompson for a layup from 35 feet away was the most memorable of his 10 assists.
— This wasn’t just an ordinary game. Draymond Green said as much in his weekly radio show on KNBR, and it was obvious early on that every single player was, as Curry likes to tweet, “locked in.”
— That included David Lee, who got some time against a rare team that doesn’t start a stretch-4, and he actually played better defensively than on the offensive end.
— I told Ted Ramey on Wednesday that I’d be surprised if the Warriors lost this game tonight. They’re playing their best basketball of the year, the Grizzlies most certainly are not, and the Warriors are tired of the chatter about how they can’t beat certain teams (like Memphis, who they hadn’t beaten until tonight).
— Yet another ridiculous third quarter — the Warriors turned a 54-49 lead into a 85-65 advantage.
— To steal from Eminem, “Nowadays everybody want to talk like they got something to say. But nothing comes out when they move their lips, just a bunch of gibberish, and (NBA fans) act like you forgot about Klay.” Thompson had 28 points and went 6-for-9 from three, and his wraparound pass to Draymond Green from underneath the basket was one of the best passes he’s made all season.
— This game was won by the starters — the huge third quarter lead got dicey in the fourth quarter, as Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Andre Iguodala, Lee and Ezeli defended pretty well but played a college-style offense (standing around, forcing crappy shots at the end of the shot clock). You know the starters were incredibly good when they beat a good team like Memphis on the road with Iguodala making 1-of-11 shots and Livingston going 2-for-8.
— Marc Gasol was SOOOO pissed off in the second half. He got a technical foul after throwing the ball off the stanchion after a Warriors bucket, then a little while later he came up as a trailer in transition and shot a wild, off-balance jumper from the top of the key that had no chance. Why was he so upset? He probablyrealized that when both teams are full strength, the Grizzlies have no shot in a seven-game series against the Warriors, especially since Golden State is guaranteed home court advantage. None. Also, Andrew Bogut (and Green, who got in foul trouble in the first half on a bogus call for foul No. 3) made Gasol’s night really difficult.
— Memphis isn’t a lock to get out of the first round. They’re 8-7 in March, and they’ve only scored 100+ points four times all month while allowing 100+ five times. You’d think they would’ve done more than play a sorta-OK first half against the No. 1 team in the conference after losing at home to the Cavs by 22, but they look like a team that peaked too early this season.
— A couple Curry vines before I throw a suit on and head downtown.
— When Charles Barkley makes those snide remarks about the Warriors being nothing more than a “jump-shooting team” that doesn’t have enough size to get far in the playoffs, he’s thinking about how they’d get bludgeoned down low by this team in particular. Sorry, Chuck. The Warriors are the best defensive team in basketball with the single most unstoppable offensive force of the 2014-15 season. Defenses collapse around Curry, and by either passing to the open man or scoring, he’s made them pay all season. That means everyone, as the Warriors have beaten everyone all season.
— Magic number to clinch the Western Conference: one
— Magic number to clinch the best record in the NBA: seven