Gasol, Grizzlies build big lead, hang on to beat Warriors

(TSX / STATS) -- MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In a hallway at FedExForum Saturday night, the Golden State Warriors stood in from of an interview background with the words "NBA Champions 2017." But once again, they didn't look much like it as they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 111-101.

Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were ejected with less than a minute left in the game.

"Just frustrated," said Curry, who scored 37 points and sat out the first half of the fourth quarter with five fouls. "I was fouling too much. That last play, I thought I got fouled and did something stupid (he threw his mouthpiece). I deserved to be kicked out."

Durant didn't like the no-call either, and as Curry and Durant made their way toward the tunnel Durant was seen apparently flipping off a fan. On opening night in Memphis, New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins yelled an obscenity at a female fan and the NBA fined Cousins $25,000.

"They're heckling us, calling us names," Durant said of the crowd. "It's all in good fun. Nothing personal or nothing serious."

Center Marc Gasol led Memphis with 34 points and 14 rebounds, and for much of the game the Grizzlies played as the faster, more fluid, team. The Warriors (1-2) committed 17 turnovers that became 24 Memphis points.

"It's ugly," said Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who had 14 points. "But better to be doing it now than Game 55 or 80."

The Grizzlies led almost the entire game and by as many as 19 points in the second half. The Grizzlies shot 37 free throws to 27 for the Warriors.

Asked if the Grizzlies are perhaps getting a little more respect from officials, point guard Mike Conley (10 points, seven assists) said: "I think the respect is there. But we're also playing with a lot more force. We're playing downhill with a lot more space. When there's a man down (in defensive rotations) people foul. We're getting a lot of ball movement and that causes breaks in the defense and they get behind."

Said Curry: "Three of my fouls tonight we're just trying to reach in and get a steal. That's on me. I gotta do better."

Golden State made a late push in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors never could make it a two-possession game. Ahead by five points at halftime, Memphis blitzed the Warriors with a 15-0 run in the third quarter and held an 88-71 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

The Warriors shot 39.3 percent from the floor and went 12 of 38 from 3-point range for 31.6 percent.

Memphis shot 46.8 percent from the field while going 10 of 27 from distance for 37 percent.

Curry said the Grizzlies seemed "a little different" from previous seasons when they played a slower, more post-oriented game.

"People aren't used to seeing us this way," Conley said, "to seeing Marc run the way he's running, me, James (Ennis), Jarell (Martin)... so many different guys that can run now it becomes a completely different atmosphere. Stops become transition points for us now. That's huge."

Said Gasol: "Guys are taking to heart what they're supposed to do. They're competing on the ball."

Ennis was the second-leading scorer for Memphis and finished with 13 points. Guard Tyreke Evans had 12 points and seven rebounds, and guard Mario Chalmers chipped in 10 points.

The Grizzlies' bench outscored the Golden State bench 41-18.

"That group does a good job of sharing the ball and sharing the game," said Memphis coach David Fizdale.

Durant said the Warriors won't panic about a 1-2 start, adding, "We got a long season ahead of us."

Meantime Golden State coach Steve Kerr wasn't exactly shocked by Saturday's result.

"Seems like every time we come here early in the year, this is what happens," Kerr said. "We have to be smarter, we have to be tougher."

NOTES: Memphis PF JaMychal Green suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener and is expected to be out a few weeks. F Jarell Martin took his place in the starting lineup Saturday night. ... The Warriors were held to 20 assists in Saturday night's 111-101 loss to Memphis, just the third time they've been held to 20 or fewer assists since the start of the 2016-17 season ... Memphis is now 13-10 vs. the Warriors since the start of the 2011-12 season. ...... Almost half of C Marc Gasol's 34 points Saturday came at the foul line, where he was 16 of 17. ... Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala was 0 of 5 from the field Saturday and didn't score in 29 minutes of action.


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