MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies no longer have home-court advantage, but they say they didn’t lose their confidence with their Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Having lost Game 1 before rebounding to win their first-round series against Minnesota, the Grizzlies are leaning on that experience as they try to even the series against Golden State on Tuesday in Game 2.
“[Losing Game 1 two weeks ago] taught us that it is a long series,” point guard Tyus Jones said on Monday. “Not to weigh too much on one game but also to correct things quickly. You got to learn from [the Game 1 loss]. It doesn’t mean the series is over.”
Despite the fact that the Grizzlies finished with 56 wins and the second-best record in the NBA this season, they don’t have the playoff and championship experience that many Warriors like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala do.
Entering this series, the Warriors had combined to play 670 career playoff games while the Grizzlies had 198, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.
“What, are we not supposed to show up tomorrow?” forward Kyle Anderson said when asked about the Warriors’ massive advantage in playoff experience. “We don’t really pay attention to that. We are trying to win the series.”
After losing on Sunday, the Grizzlies stuck to their same routine after losing Game 1, 130-117, to Minnesota. They watched film and broke down adjustments and areas for improvement. Memphis went on to win Game 2 by 28 points. They took four of the next five games from the Timberwolves after their series-opening loss.
“The obvious thing to notice is how tough-minded they are,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Two of those four [wins], maybe three of the four, they were down double figures in the fourth quarter.”
Kerr added: “They are a young, up-and-coming team. Great athleticism. Taylor [Jenkins] does an amazing job with them. They are deep … we have been through this before. You win one game, you move on to the next one.”
Memphis knows it cannot let any frustration from losing Game 1, which saw Green ejected in the first half for a flagrant 2 foul, linger into Game 2.
“A lot of confidence,” Jenkins said of what he sensed from the team on Monday. “A lot of encouragement. I told the guys I am super excited we lost by one. We did some good things and we did some things that are definitely within our control that we can do a whole lot better.
“And we have responded all season long. We responded last series. Obviously a different level of playoffs now in the second round, but our guys have always shown that ability to turn that page, get better, understand where we need to be pissed off. But also encouraged that we played super hard, lost by one. We can beat this team if we play to the standards and capabilities that we are capable of.”