MEMPHIS — Confidence in the Memphis Grizzlies was restored Wednesday night with a statement-making performance. The Grizzlies rebounded, shot well, played defense and showed tons of energy.
More than anything, they dominated. The Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 134-95 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Grizzlies set franchise playoff records for points scored, 3-pointers made and margin of victory.
Jaren Jackson Jr. played like a dominant force by attacking smaller Golden State defenders, then keeping them honest with 3-pointers. Desmond Bane has been battling lower back soreness, but he sliced his way around screens and had his 3-point shot working.
The energy in FedExForum was electric. Ziaire Williams drew an offensive foul on Draymond Green and let him know about it on the way up the floor. “Whoop That Trick” was played late in the fourth quarter as Green and Stephen Curry watched while nodding their heads.
Here are three key takeaway from Game 5:
Jackson had a different look in his eye
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins showed his faith in Jackson by drawing the first play of the game up for him. Jackson made a hook shot and turned around running back on defense with a mean look on his face and eyes. It was the first sign that he was ready to be the No. 1 option with Ja Morant out due to right knee soreness. The Grizzlies called play after play for Jackson early in the first quarter, and he responded. Jackson nailed two first-quarter 3-pointers after going 0-for-7 in the Game 4 loss.
An aggressive Jackson changes things for the Grizzlies.
Clicking on all cylinders
The Grizzlies slowed the heartbeats of the FedExForum crowd in no time. Memphis led by 10 after one quarter, but it was the next 12 minutes where the game got out of hand. The Grizzlies outscored the Warriors 39-22 in the second quarter to build a 27-point halftime lead. Five Grizzlies were in double figures, and the Grizzlies had 22 assists on 29 made baskets. The defense was also active and had a 25-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
Memphis played its most complete game of the series and shined in all of its signature statistics. Fastbreak points, second chance points and points in the paints were all controlled by the Grizzlies.
Pounding the glass
The Warriors have used a small lineup with Green starting at center. On paper, the Grizzlies as the No. 1 rebounding team in the NBA had an easy advantage, but it hasn’t played out that way. The Grizzlies were outrebounded in each of the first four games, but they looked like the team from the regular season on Wednesday. Memphis had 13 offensive rebounds in the first half to Golden State’s 17 total.
A big reason for the rebounding dominance has been the return of Steven Adams in the last two games. Brandon Clarke also returned to form after struggling most of the series.
Follow Damichael Cole on Twitter @DamichaelC.