Warriors lose to undermanned Grizzlies 116-107 despite Draymond Green’s return

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Vince Williams Jr. scored 24, GG Jackson added a career-high 23 points and the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 116-107 on Monday night in the return of Draymond Green from his league suspension.

Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 18 points despite going 4 of 20 from the field.

For Memphis, which is short-handed due to a rash of injuries, some of them long-term, the win came as a bit of a surprise against a Warriors team that was basically at full strength. Memphis had seven players unavailable for Monday’s game, but Jaren Jackson Jr. and Santi Aldama, who both missed Saturday’s loss to the Clippers, did return.

“I’m happy that guys who got that opportunity, like Vince and GG, took advantage of it and played really well,” Memphis center Xavier Tillman said.

Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins noted that the win was a nod to the organization’s approach.

“Big win for the Grizzlies, and definitely got to shout out big with for the Hustle as well,” Jenkins said referring to the Grizzlies G-League team, where several players saw action this year. “This is a product of full-on development.”

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 26 points and eight assists, and Jonathan Kuminga finished with 20 and 11 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins scored 16.

Green, suspended by the league indefinitely after he hit Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face Dec. 12, played 23 minutes, scoring seven points.

But the Warriors defense let them down as well as committing 19 turnovers. Add to that Memphis going 32 of 40 from the free throw line compared with 9 of 10 for Golden State — the largest difference in an NBA game this season — and the Memphis advantage was clear. Memphis was 20 of 54 from outside the arc.

“We played very poorly defensively, but a lot of that had to do with our offense,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Nineteen turnovers that turned into 30 points.

“Their game plan was simple: Shoot as many 3s as possible, and get into transition as often as possible. For us to foul 25 times to their 12, that’s the story. They just played a really clean game.”

Kerr and Green both harped on the fact that even the deep bench Memphis players had made it to the NBA, so they have talent to compete. Green said the Warriors have to have pride in themselves and treat every team — no matter who is available — with the same intensity.

The game was close throughout with neither team holding a double-digit lead in the first three quarters. Memphis went on a 10-1 run in the fourth to lead 110-98 with four minutes left, enough for Memphis to snap its two-game losing streak.

The game was the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the Grizzlies. The civil rights icon was killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1968 on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, a short distance south of FedExForum where the Grizzlies play their home games.

There was a smaller-than-expected crowd for the game due to temperatures in the teens and about 6 inches of snow in Memphis. The Grizzlies — anticipating the small crowd — announced two hours before the game that any ticket-holder unable to attend because of the wintry conditions could exchange their tickets for one of the next three home games — Jan. 23 against Orlando, Jan. 29 against the Sacramento Kings or Feb. 1 against the Cavaliers.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Close a four-game road trip at Utah on Wednesday.

Grizzlies: Start a four-game road trip on Thursday at Minnesota.

Reporting by The Associated Press.


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