SAN FRANCISCO — Ja Morant was out with right knee soreness, so the Memphis Grizzlies couldn’t call 12 like they have so many times this season.
Someone else had to step up, so Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins called on Jaren Jackson Jr. With the Grizzlies trailing by one and 45 seconds left, Jackson got an isolation on the right wing against Draymond Green. He attacked left towards the rim and shot a short contested jumper that rimmed out.
The Grizzlies led for most of Monday night, but they failed to close the game in a 101-98 Game 4 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center.
Golden State now takes a commanding 3-1 lead. Game 5 will shift back to Memphis on Wednesday.
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Here are some observations from Game 4:
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins announced that Ja Morant was out about 90 minutes before the game. As expected Tyus Jones started in place of Morant. Memphis also made another adjustment by starting Steven Adams in place of Xavier Tillman. Adams started Games 1 and 2 of the first-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves before being benched and entering health and safety protocols. He returned for Game 3 against Golden State, but didn’t enter the game until late in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors made a similar adjustment as Game 3. They started Otto Porter Jr. in the second half after beginning the game with Jonathan Kuminga.
A combination of bad shooting and sound defense led to an offensive struggle. Both the Warriors and Grizzlies shot under 40% in the first half. The Warriors missed their first 14 3-pointers and Memphis wasn’t much better after shooting 4-for-20 in the first half.
Grizzlies offensive struggles were highlighted by Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane. Brooks shot 2-for-13 through three quarters. Bane was held scoreless in the first half before he scored eight points in the third quarter and made a big 3-point buzzer-beater.
Memphis got big performances from Jones, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Kyle Anderson, but Brooks’ shot selection came back to bite them far too often.
12 couldn’t answer
The fourth is where the Grizzlies missed Morant the most. These were the moments where the Grizzlies would have given him the ball to put the game away. Memphis entered the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead. The Grizzlies didn’t lose the lead until Curry made two free throws with 45 seconds remaining.
Memphis gave itself a chance with a much better defensive effort than Game 3, but the lack of a closer hurt in the final minute.