The Golden State Warriors are still in sixth place in the Western Conference.
For another night, at least.
Just two of those 14 came from Stephen Curry, who led all scorers with 33 points to go along with five rebounds, a steal, two blocks and a game-high eight assists. Klay Thompson chipped in 14 points, four rebounds, five assists and a steal, while Marreese Speights contributed 15 points and eight boards in place of David Lee, who missed the game with strained right hamstring.
But it was Golden State's third-ranked defense that stole the show. The Grizzlies, who've led the NBA in fourth-quarter field-goal percentage since the All-Star break, hit just 7-of-20 from the field in the final frame, including 0-of-6 after Zach Randolph scored to put Memphis up 93-86. Z-Bo led four Grizzlies in double figures with 21 points.
Golden State's defensive uprising came without the aide of Andrew Bogut. Golden State's chief rim protector left the game in the first quarter with a pelvic contusion after colliding with Marc Gasol.
The Warriors' bench—a weak spot all season—doubled up Memphis' reserves in scoring, 34-17, thanks in large part to 22 combined points from Draymond Green and Jermaine O'Neal. Green wound up as the leading rebounder in the game, as well, with nine boards in 32 minutes.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson had nothing but praise for Green after the game:
This was Golden State's first game since assistant coach Brian Scalabrine's demotion to the D-League brought concerns about Jackson's job to the fore.
The result helped ease the pressure on Jackson a bit while allowing Golden State to keep pace in the standings with the Portland Trail Blazers, who beat the Chicago Bulls on the road, 91-74. The Warriors sit a game back of the Blazers for the fifth seed in the West.
The win also marked Golden State's 45th of the season, after finishing with a 47-35 record in 2012-13. Not since the mid-1970s, when the Warriors topped the 45-win plateau in three consecutive seasons, had this franchise won 45 games in back-to-back campaigns.
As for the Grizzlies, they went from eying the sixth seed in the Western Conference with a win to falling into the eighth and final spot. The Phoenix Suns leapt past Memphis into seventh place with a 112-88 evisceration of the New York Knicks.
The Warriors may find themselves rooting for the Grizzlies soon, though. Memphis will be in Portland on Sunday while the Warriors welcome the Knicks to Oracle Arena.
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