FINAL SCORE: Warriors 117, Grizzlies 116
If Game 1 was any indication of how the rest of the second-round series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors will be, then we're in for a treat. In a back-and-forth battle that came down to the very last possession of the game, the Warriors were ultimately able to prevail with a 117-116 win to take a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors were able to win despite the fact thatfor a flagrant foul that the referees found to be egregious enough to kick him out. Without Green for the second half, Golden State had to dig deep, and was able to do just that. Jordan Poole led the Warriors with 31 points, nine assists and eight rebounds off the bench. Steph Curry had 24 points and four assists, and Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and eight rebounds.
On the other side, the Grizzlies got major contributions from their two young stars. Ja Morant led all scorers with 34 points along with 10 assists and nine rebounds, and Jaren Jackson Jr. had a double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds. Ultimately, though, their combined production wasn't quite enough to propel Memphis to a Game 1 win.
The Grizzlies will now have to regroup and look to bounce back in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Before moving ahead to that game, though, here's a look at four takeaways from Golden State's Game 1 win.
1. Poole party
Poole was Golden State's best player on Sunday afternoon, and his production was a major factor in their victory. Steve Kerr opted not to start Poole, but that didn't diminish his overall playing time as he ended up playing a team-high 38 minutes in the game. In those 38 minutes, Poole dropped 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the floor, and he also grabbed eight rebounds. In addition to his scoring, Poole's playmaking was also huge for the Warriors, as his nine assists were also a team high.
Poole's presence makes the Warriors especially dangerous this postseason, and you saw exactly why in Game 1. None of Curry, Klay Thompson or Green had an especially great game, and in the past the Warriors likely would have lost such a contest. Now, though, Poole was there to kind of offset the struggles of the star trio. Without him, the Warriors would have dropped this one. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if Poole starts or not as long as he's logging major minutes and helping his team win.
2. Morant and Jackson make Grizzlies history
Memphis didn't get the win, but its young star duo of Morant and Jackson did make some major franchise history as they became the first pair of teammates in Grizzlies history to each score 30 points in a playoff game.
It's a pretty impressive feat given the talent that the Grizzlies have had on their roster in the past. The bad news for Memphis obviously is that it wasn't able to get a win even with Morant and Jackson making history. Moving forward in the series, the Grizzlies will need a bit more from the rest of the roster.
3. Kerr bolsters postseason resume
Kerr is no stranger to postseason basketball, and more importantly, he's no stranger when it comes to winning in the postseason. With Golden State's victory in Game 1, Kerr climbed up to ninth on the NBA's all-time playoff wins list with 82, passing K.C. Jones in the process.
Kerr now sits seven wins behind Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who is eighth all-time. It might be hard for Kerr to catch up to Spoelstra this postseason given that Spoelstra's Heat are also still playing, but Kerr certainly has a real chance to move up into the top five before all is said and done.
4. Young talent on full display
The NBA's young talent was on full display in Game 1. Three players in the game scored 30-plus points (Morant, Jackson and Poole) and all three of those guys are 22 years old. That marks the first time in NBA postseason history that three players age 22 or younger all had 30 points in the same game.
With players like Morant, Jackson and Poole, the league is clearly in good hands moving forward.