4 takeaways from game 1
The Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors faced off in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinals series on Sunday afternoon.
Despite being the bottom seed and facing the Grizzlies in Memphis, Golden State found themselves favored in the series opener.
The game turned out to be one of the best of the NBA playoffs so far, with the two teams trading blows in the final minutes. In the end, a Klay Thompson three-pointer with 36.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in a 117-116 Warriors win. Here we take a look at four takeaways from Game 1.
Related: NBA Playoff and Championship Predictions
Jaren Jackson Jr. came to play for the Memphis Grizzlies
There’s no doubt that 22-year-old Jackson Jr. is one of the most talented young forwards in the NBA. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistencies have delayed the former No. 4 pick. In Memphis’ first-round series against Minnesota, Jackson Jr. has averaged just 11.8 points on 39% shooting since the start. ground. It was Ja Morant and others who led the Grizzlies past a team of Timberwolves.
That said, Jackson Jr. came on to play big in Game 1. He scored 33 points on 10 of 18 shooting, including a brilliant 6 of 9 from range. Jackson also used his height advantage against Andrew Wiggins to grab 10 rebounds. A game that saw Morant score 34 points also saw the Grizzlies find that legitimate No. 2 scoring option. That could be huge moving forward in the series.
Related: Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green & NBA’s Highest-Paid Players
Officials manage to eject Draymond Green from Golden State Warriors
At the end of the second quarter of Game 1, Green found himself sent off after a heavy foul on Brandon Clarke. Officials went to review and spoke with Secaucus before calling it Flagrant 2. While Green has a reputation for being a hothead, the NBA looked really bad in this situation.
As NBA players have pointed out, they must referee the game and not the player. That is to say, Green’s reputation should not have played a role in the decision-making process. It’s the NBA Playoffs. Green is one of the most important players in the game. Making this play on the officials was a bad look. It’s so simple.
Jordan Poole is the man for the Golden State Warriors
Poole hosted a coming out party in Golden State’s five-game series victory over the Denver Nuggets in the first round. He averaged 21.0 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 48% from range. However, he has struggled in the last two games – averaging just 9.5 points on 30% shooting.
This is one of the reasons why Poole was replaced in the starting lineup by Gary Payton II. Steve Kerr also wanted that score off the bench. Boy, did Poole deliver. The dude led his Warriors in scoring with 31 points while grabbing eight rebounds and delivering nine assists. He also shot a stellar 12 of 20 from the field. In a game that saw Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry struggle (12 of 33 shots), Poole acted as the biggest difference-maker in a huge Warriors victory.
Related: Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant & The NBA’s 50 Best Players
Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors are going to be an epic series
We knew it. Memphis has won 56 games in the regular season. Golden State walked away with 53 wins. Stephen Curry and Ja Morant’s match got everyone talking. Despite the Warriors’ experience advantage, there’s no reason to believe this would prove to be too big a step for the Grizzlies.
It was clear in Game 1. If Morant had made that layup (one he nails 90% of the time), Memphis would have come away with a clear win. Instead, it was out of place and gave the Warriors a dramatic victory. Expect a lot more of the same development in this hotly contested series.
WATCH: Sportsnaut’s Carolyn Manno on the latest NBA rumors