Grizzlies lose thriller against Warriors, remain 9th seed to host Spurs in play-in game Wednesday

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Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, right, is defended by Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Grizzlies lost a thrilling game against the Golden State Warriors, 113-101, at the Chase Center.

The loss means that Memphis will remain the 9th seed to play the San Antonio Spurs at home in a must-win play-in game on Wednesday.

Both the Grizzlies and the Warriors came into this match-up on a five game winning streak. At stake? The 8th seed, which means it would be an easier route to the playoffs. 

In the play-in tournament, the 7th and 8th seed just has to win one game to make it to the postseason, and if they lose, they have another opportunity to win to go on to the playoffs. On the other hand, the 9th and 10th seeds must win two games – one over each other, one over the 8th seed – to make it to the postseason, leaving no room for errors.  

The Grizzlies jumped out early against the Warriors and led by as many as 9 points. But Golden State continued to chip away at the Grizzlies lead in the first and led by one to close out the quarter. The game of runs continued through the second quarter, but the Warriors really took over in the third.

Warriors G Stephen Curry scored 17 pts in the third quarter shooting 6-13 from the field and 4-9 from behind the arc.

The Grizzlies struggled, as they collectively scored 20 points and shot a dismal 9-23 from the field. They Grizzlies entered the fourth quarter down by 17 points, but Dillon Brooks and the Grizzlies wouldn’t stay down, rallying to the tune of a 22-5 run to tie the game at 91.

But with a little more than six minutes left in regulation, Dillon Brooks fouled Warriors F Draymond Green and fouled out of the game –  the Warriors took over, went on a 16-2 run for almost four minutes and never looked back.

“I should’ve not fouled. I feel like the outcome would’ve been different,” Brooks said. “I play as hard as I can and leave the chips where they fall.”

“Great resiliency, great fight, I mean we went down 17 points to come back and take the lead. I mean, this is a tough cover. This team has been clicking on all cylinders for awhile now. Thought we gave a great fight there,” said, Grizzlies head coach, Taylor Jenkins.

The highly anticipated match-up for the first time between Ja Morant and Steph Curry didn’t disappoint. In 48 minutes in a game of runs, fans were treated to the spectacle of Morant dunking, Steph Curry shooting endless threes, good defense on both ends on the ball, and Dillon Brooks taking over the beginning of the fourth quarter.

But when the game ended, Curry and the Warriors secured the 8th seed, and the Grizzlies are the 9th seed.

“We kinda didn’t make enough shots in the second and third quarters, and they were able to go on a run and get some tough shots,” Jenkins said.

After the game, the message was simple: the Grizzlies would put this game behind them and focus on the San Antonio Spurs. Now that Memphis is the 9th seed, the Grizzlies will play two elimination games to get in the postseason.

“We gotta take it one day, one game at a time,” Ja Morant said. “I’m just proud of our fight. No matter what’s thrown at us and what’s going on in the game, we continue to play hard.”

Morant finished the game with 16 points, shooting 7-21 from the field. All of the Grizzlies starters were in double-figures led by Jonas Valančiūnas who had 29 points.

The Grizzlies will come back to Memphis and will play host to the Spurs in the play-in tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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