I won’t presume to know how Grizzlies fans were feeling during the first few minutes of last night’s Game 5 loss to the Warriors. It was certainly too early for them to be feeling confident, but the Grizzlies being up by double digits early, with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph doing their thing and the Dubs throwing turnovers all over the court, had to have elicted at least a few declarations of, “Hey, we might do this!” That’s a dangerous frame of mind to be in when your team is playing the Warriors.
With less than three minutes to play in the first quarter, the Grizzlies were up 23-12. And then the Warriors did the following things:
Steph Curry runs a clumsy break with Shaun Livingston, one that ends with Livingston flicking a weak pass that could have easily been stolen out to Curry in the corner and Curry firing up a rushed three as two defenders closed in on him. 23-15.
Andre Iguodala hits an open mid-range jumper. 25-17.
Steph Curry catches a screen at the top of the key, and, despite being very well-defended, launches one of those stop-and-pop bombs that would get 93 percent of the other players in the NBA sent straight to the bench. 25-20.
Curry strips Courtney Lee and leads a 3-on-2 break, which he cuts short by stopping on a dime on the left wing and firing yet another three—again, this is the kind of thing that would earn most players a reaming from their coach—which he misses. But Draymond Green snatches the rebound away from two Grizzlies, absorbs a foul, and muscles in the layup. After the free-throw, it’s 25-23.
26-25, Warriors. And that was basically the game, man. The Grizzlies would stick around for a little while longer, but every time they would get within single digits, the Warriors would just do something else silly—Klay Thompson corralling a terrible pass in the corner and heaving a desperate three right into the hoop; Draymond Green shutting giant-ass Marc Gasol down in the post and then throwing a lob to Andrew Bogut—and widen the lead.
This is what makes the Warriors so cruel, so unfair. Plays that should end up producing turnovers, shots that should be bricks, matchups that should be series-long headaches—they all come up gold when the Warriors are involved.
Steph Curry and his crew are the guys who ace every test despite never studying. They are the dudes who can walk into a job interview hungover and wearing mismatching shoes, and walk out owning the company. It’s not right, but you can’t even be mad at it.