The Golden State Warriors entered Game 5 feeling frisky after a fourth quarter comeback on Monday night to put them one game away from the Western Conference Finals, so much so that Stephen Curry couldn’t help but add another log to the fire in this series by saying their gameplan for Wednesday night in Memphis was to “Whoop That Trick.”
As Shaq said on the halftime show, the trick fought back as the Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies pummeled the Warriors in one of the biggest playoff blowouts in history, leading by 52 after three quarters and cruising to a 134-95 win. Memphis jumped in front early, and then the Warriors made their expected run to close the gap to one possession, but in the closing minutes of the quarter, that three-point edge ballooned to 10 as the Grizzlies got hot from three.
The floodgates opened in the second quarter, as Memphis kept piling on, as Adams continued his interior dominance and the rest of the Grizzlies continued to pour in bucket after bucket, outworking and outplaying the Warriors on both ends of the floor.
Their 77 points in a half were the most in Grizzlies playoff history, and if the Warriors were going to have any chance to come back from down 27, we’d know it by the mid-third quarter. There was no rally in Golden State, who looked like a team ready to fly home to San Francisco, coming out of halftime with the same lackluster energy and effort, while Memphis was happy to exorcise some demons. The Grizzlies continued to pour it on, with Jaren Jackson Jr. offering the exclamation point with back-to-back deep threes as Memphis opened up a 52-point lead through three quarters.
That tied some NBA history, as the biggest lead through three quarters since 1970 in the playoffs, and, naturally, the fans serenaded the Warriors bench with “Whoop That Trick” at every possible moment down the stretch.
The Grizzlies’ 52-point lead through three quarters is tied for the largest in NBA playoff history. (Previously, the 1970 Bucks led the 76ers 124-72.)
— Zach Kram (@zachkram) May 12, 2022
The final 15 minutes of the game were a glorified Summer League run, as both teams emptied the benches in the third quarter, with neither team playing a starter more than 25 minutes. Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, and Tyus Jones all finished with 21 points, while four other Grizzlies hit double figures on the night. Klay Thompson, meanwhile, was the high point man for the Warriors with 19.
It was one of the most jarring playoff performances we’ve seen in the modern NBA, as a team up 3-1 got run off of the floor after talking some cash sh*t mere hours before. From an objective (or Memphis) viewpoint, it was a pretty hilarious game, and even Warriors-inclined observers could mostly just laugh at the performance given all the noise leading up to it. Now the series shifts back to the Chase Center for a Game 6 where the Warriors will feel confident given how well they’ve played at home this postseason, but Memphis certainly won’t back down from the challenge now brimming with confidence themselves.