MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies battled elimination with the best performance in their franchise’s postseason history.
And with all-star guard Ja Morant cheering from the bench. Morant then upped the ante by chanting “Grizz in Seven!”
Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones each had 21 points and the Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 134-95 on Wednesday night to force a sixth game in their Western Conference Semifinals.
“We’ve exceeded expectations since I’ve been here,” Bane said. “It’s almost as if if someone thinks we can’t do something, we’ll do it. So I never want to put a limit on what we can do for this team because anything is possible.”
Dillon Brooks added 12 points for Memphis. Ziaire Williams and Brandon Clarke had 11 each and De’Anthony Melton had 10. Steven Adams had 13 rebounds, six of them on offense, as Memphis defeated Golden State 24-5 on second chance points.
The Grizzlies were never behind and put on their best performance of the series to draw within 3-2, despite Morant losing a second straight game to a bruised right knee bone. They improved to 4-11 as they faced elimination.
“We knew what was at stake,” Jackson said. “But we haven’t changed anything. We just calmed down, watched the movie, understood what we needed to take away from the last game and just went out there and executed.”
Memphis scored 77 points in the first half, the most in franchise postseason history. The Grizzlies extended their lead to 55 in the third quarter, threatening the three biggest postseason blowouts in NBA history. Their 52-point lead after three points was the widest in a playoff game in 70 years.
“Obviously this was a very impressive win for our group, certainly a great recovery,” said Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins.
As Memphis fans “Whoop That Trick! Oops, that trick!” Early in the fourth, Stephen Curry laughed on court while Draymond Green waved a towel in unison with the crowd. Green said he doesn’t respect people who only bring energy when they win.
“When you spit it out, you have to be willing to accept it and not hide from it and not duck from it and not hide from it. Embrace it,” Green said. “So I really appreciated the crowd tonight and the energy they brought to the game. If they want to cheer this trick, we will cheer it together.”
Game 6 takes place Friday night in San Francisco, where the Warriors have won five straight playoff games and their last seven overall.
Klay Thompson led Golden State with 19 points, Jonathan Kuminga added 17, Curry had 14, and Damion Lee and Moses Moody had 10 points each.
The Warriors lost for the first time when assistant Mike Brown stepped in for coach Steve Kerr, who missed his second straight game since testing positive for COVID before Game 4. Thompson said they expected to finish this series just to be “like a shell of ourselves.”
“It was awful,” Thompson said. “It was embarrassing from the opening tip. We didn’t have a great flow. They were more aggressive than us and rolled over their 30 free throws to our 13.”
The Grizzlies were again doing the things that helped them set the second-best record during the regular season. They overtook Golden State for the first time in the series 55-37 and dominated the offensive boards 18-4. They forced 22 turnovers and pulled off their best performance off the bench of the series.
Golden State had topped Memphis’ reserves in each of the first four games thanks to Jordan Poole, who came off the bench. Given the elimination, the Grizzlies held a 28-8 lead through the first two quarters and ended with a 52-35 lead. Poole had three points.
Memphis led 38-28 at the end of the first quarter and continued a 24-8 run in the second quarter to soar at 53-36. They finished in second place with a 20-4 run, including 14 in a row, topping Golden State 39-22 for a 77-50 lead at halftime.
Then the Grizzlies opened up the third quarter and beat Golden State 20-6. They kept pushing, beating Golden State 42-17 in the third for a 119-67 lead in the fourth.
Brown benched most of his starters at 3:44 of the third, and Jenkins followed to start the fourth to rest for a flight to California and Game 6.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/12/nba-playoffs-2022-grizzlies-crush-warriors-in-game-5/ Grizzlies destroy warriors in game 5