BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies rebounded from an early 19 point deficit to hand the Warriors their first loss of the season, 104-101 Thursday evening at Chase Center.
Golden State raced out to a 39-20 lead early in the second quarter, but sloppy play leading to 22 turnovers enabled the Grizzlies to climb back into the game as they proceeded to outscore the Warriors in each of the three remaining quarters to force overtime.
Steph Curry also uncharacteristically went cold down the stretch, going scoreless in the fourth quarter and overtime in spite of still finishing with a game high 36 points. He ended up shooting 11-29 from the field, adding seven rebounds and a game-high eight assists.
The Grizzlies benefited from balanced scoring, led by Ja Morant’s 30 points on 11 for 22 shooting. He was supported by 19 from Desmond Bane and 15 from Jaren Jackson Jr.
Asked if the turnovers were the main issue in the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr agreed: “Pretty much. We had a great first quarter, the ball was moving, and then we just got a little crazy out there. I give (Memphis) credit they are on a back-to-back. They came in and dug in and played defense and forced some of those turnovers, but a lot of them were unforced. We got to do a better job taking care of the ball. It’s early in the season, I’m confident that we will learn and we’ll get better.”
Curry concurred, stating “It’s huge. It is one of our staples to take care of the ball. When you have 22 turnovers in any game, doesn’t matter if it is professional, high school, AAU, you are putting your back against the ropes. Turnovers, obviously, was the main Achilles heel for us today. Cutting down on that will definitely help us.”
The Warriors return to action Saturday night when they host Oklahoma City at Chase Center in a game scheduled for a 5:30PM tip-off.
The loss snapped the Warriors season-opening four-game winning streak. Golden State last started 4-1 in 2018-19 on the way to their fifth consecutive Western Conference championship.
The game was the first match-up between the two teams since Memphis ended the Warriors 2020-21 season in a play-in game on May 21st.
Draymond Green recorded five blocks, one shy of his career high.