The Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday produced a devastating first-quarter scoring spree in a blowout 131-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors in the latest installment of their rivalry with the NBA champions.
The Grizzlies erupted for 48 points in the first period to take a stranglehold on the contest as Golden State’s suspect defense was exposed once more.
Tyus Jones led the Memphis scorers with 22 points, while Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr had 21 points apiece as six Grizzlies players finished in double figures.
The emphatic victory was a welcome piece of good news for Memphis after a challenging week that saw star point guard Ja Morant dropped by the team and put under investigation by the NBA for posting a video on social media of himself waving a handgun in a strip club.
The win also gave Memphis bragging rights over a Golden State team with whom they have developed an increasingly fractious rivalry.
The Warriors beat the Grizzlies in the Western Conference playoffs last season en route to the NBA title and the buildup to Thursday’s game had been marked by public feuding between Memphis’ Dillon Brooks and Golden State’s Draymond Green.
The bad blood threatened to spill into the clash, with the two men getting into a tense confrontation in the second quarter which ended with them being separated by a member of the officiating crew.
Brooks stoked the controversy last week by voicing his antipathy toward Green and the Warriors, saying: “I don’t like Draymond at all. I just don’t like Golden State. I don’t like anything to do with them.”
Green later returned the fire, declaring on his podcast: “I quite frankly wouldn’t like a team that beats me all the time either.”
Nevertheless, it was Brooks and Memphis who had the last laugh after completing a wire-to-wire victory.
“We’ve had a rough couple of weeks, but we’ve got dogs on our team,” Brooks told an on-court interviewer from broadcaster TNT. “You should give that mic to Draymond so he can keep talking about me and making me play better.”
Green brushed off Brooks’ verbal volley in post-game comments to reporters, dismissing once again suggestions that Memphis were serious “rivals” to the Warriors dynasty.
“Rivalries are created by, you know: ‘You win, I win.’ Our organization has won four championships [since 2015] and I think their organization has won zero championships,” Green said. “I don’t consider that a rivalry. Anybody can win a game in March. What does that mean? I have a hard time getting out of my bed in March.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was left lamenting the first-quarter tactical gamble of starting four guards that saw his team routed.
“We’ve gotten off to bad starts in the last six or seven games, so we were looking for a little daylight early in the game,” Kerr said. “We wanted to get some good shots early, but we didn’t do that. We were impatient and took some really tough, quick shots. I think in hindsight we got a little too cute with that, but we are where we are. We took a gamble and it didn’t pay off.”
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Bucks overcame the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo to extend their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 118-113 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Bobby Portis led the Bucks scorers with 28 points, while Brook Lopez added 24 and Grayson Allen 19.
The Bucks jumped out to a 22-point lead early in the second quarter, but Brooklyn chipped away and got within two points with less than a minute remaining. Milwaukee held on for the victory and now lead the East by 2.5 games from the Boston Celtics with a 48-18 record.
In Sacramento, California, the Kings ground out a 122-117 win over the New York Knicks in a thrilling duel that went down to the wire.
Sacramento led 69-53 at halftime and stretched their lead to 21 points early in the third quarter.
New York rallied in the fourth to draw level, before the Kings pulled away to seal the win, with seven players finishing in double figures.
Elsewhere, the Jazz mastered the Magic 131-124, the Hornets swatted aside the Pistons 113-103 and the Pacers downed the Rockets 134-125 in overtime.
TROUNCED: Taiwan beat Palestine in six innnings on day three of the Asia Baseball Championship, while it took just five innings for Japan to defeat Thailand Taiwan yesterday beat Palestine 19-0 at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on the third day of the Asian Baseball Championship. The Group A game was over in six innings after a 6:03pm start. Taiwan went on the offensive from the first inning, scoring three runs, but the real damage was done in the third inning, when they scored seven. The Palestine players are all studying or working in the US. In another duel between two unevenly matched teams, Japan thrashed Thailand 16-0 in their late Group B game at the Taipei Dome. They won in five innings thanks to the mercy rule, which states
CUP READY: Although Taiwan lost, they qualified, along with Japan and South Korea, for next year’s U-23 World Baseball Cup, which is to be held in China for the first time Japan yesterday edged Taiwan 1-0 to win the Asian Baseball Championship at Taipei Dome, despite star pitcher Hsu Jo-hsi giving up just four hits in six innings. Unlike their showdown in the 2019 tournament when Taiwan pipped Japan 5-4, this time the teams battled for every hit, with the Wei Chuan Dragons’ Hsu striking out eight batters, giving up just one run off four hits. That was all world No. 1 Japan needed for the title, and after outlasting Taiwan for a 1-0 victory in 10 innings in the Super Round on Friday, they finished the tournament unbeaten. Yesterday’s first two innings flew
NATIONS LEAGUE: England crushed Scotland 6-0, but their Olympic hopes were ruined when the Netherlands beat them on goal difference with a 4-0 win against Belgium Germany and the Netherlands on Tuesday booked their places at the UEFA Women’s Nations League finals , where they are also to fight for spots at next year’s Paris Games, but there was heartbreak for England whose hopes of competing in the Olympics were dashed, despite beating Scotland 6-0. Germany drew 0-0 in Wales, but secured their passage thanks to Iceland’s 1-0 win over Denmark. The Netherlands needed a 95th-minute goal from Damaris Egurrola to see them to a 4-0 win over Belgium which meant they edged England on goal difference in Group A1 after the FIFA Women’s World Cup runners-up hammered
Now that Shohei Ohtani has his money — a record US$700 million, 10-year contact with the Los Angeles Dodgers — some fans in Japan are waiting for one more thing to complete the deal. “I want Ohtani to play in the World Series,” said Isshin Watanabe, a baseball fan speaking yesterday near Tokyo’s famous Ginza shopping area. “That’s my hope,” he added. Baseball fans across Tokyo yesterday lined to buy special editions of the Yomiuri Shimbun, announcing Ohtani’s move across town from the Los Angeles Angels to the Dodgers. This is perhaps the largest contract in sports history, topping highs believed to be set