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The Golden State Warriors were hoping to close out the Western Conference Semifinal series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday: up 3-1 and as Memphis prepared to play without All-Star Ja Morant.
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins brought his team ready to play and decimated the Warriors, 134-95 in Game 5.
The Grizzlies’ season was on the line, and role players stepped up in Morant’s absence. Three of Memphis’ starters tallied 21 points on offense, including Desmond Bane, Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson, Jr.
Memphis knew coming in that Golden State would assume a series finale was in store with Morant sidelined with a right knee bone bruise. The Warriors were surprised to find themselves on the wrong end of a routing.
Golden State’s Steph Curry and Klay Thompson played 25 minutes each, sitting out the majority of the fourth quarter as Memphis controlled the game with a sizable lead.
The Splash Bros’ 29 combined points were a bad sign for Golden State’s chances of coming back from the deficit.
Starters Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga played small on defense and shot a combined 1-10 from the three-point line.
Memphis had a better night from beyond the arc: shooting 43.9 percent to help lead their scoring onslaught.
The Warriors look to erase the memory of the uninspired outing in Game 5 with a Game 6 matchup back home at Chase Centers.
Memphis, should they pull off the improbable win in San Francisco on Friday night, will come back to FedEx Forum for a potential Game 7.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela