MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Andrew Wiggins scored a season-high 40 points, Jordan Poole added 25 while starting in place of injured Stephen Curry, and the short-handed Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-103 on Friday night in the first of back-to-back meetings between the teams.
Damion Lee had 21 points, also a season best, as the Warriors won their third in the last four games despite missing several key players. Draymond Green was 0 for 6 from the field and scored only two points but grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out 13 assists.
“It was fantastic, just the effort,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Really understanding what it was going to take to win this game in terms of not turning the ball over, fighting on the glass. I think we established in the first half that we weren’t going to give them anything easy.
“A lot of great individual performances, and a great team performance,” he added.
Ja Morant and Grayson Allen had 14 points each to lead Memphis, and Brandon Clarke scored 13. Jonas Valanciunas added 10 points and 16 rebounds.
“Golden State was way more competitive. Played harder than us,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “They set the tone early in the game. We didn’t have the fight tonight; we’ve got to have it (Saturday).”
The Warriors were without Curry, who bruised his tailbone in Wednesday’s victory over Houston. Meanwhile, rookie center James Wiseman and Eric Paschall both were unavailable under the NBA’s health and safety protocol. That was three of the team’s top five scorers on the sideline.
But the Golden State guards filled the scoring void starting in the first half – Wiggins had 27 points and Poole added 17. That took the lead to as many as 21 before the Warriors held a 67-48 advantage at halftime.
Wiggins knew he needed to step up to help the offense minus Curry, the Warriors’ leading scorer. And if Wiggins’ offense wasn’t enough, he added a season-high four steals on the defensive end.
Kerr called Wiggins’ performance “amazing.”
“Steph’s a big part of this team. He’s what makes this team go. With him being out, it was like everybody had to step up. I just tried to be aggressive from the start,” Wiggins said, adding: “I just tried to fill in as much as I could, do what I can to help the team go.”
Memphis’ offense was lackluster through the first half, shooting 42% and committing 10 turnovers. That kept the Grizzlies’ fast-pace offense in low gear, managing only two fast-break points before halftime. They finished with 11 for the game.
The ballhandling problems continued after the break, with Memphis committing seven more turnovers as Golden State maintained its 19-point advantage.
Memphis never really threatened in the second half.
“It’s nice to be able to turn around and flush it and play them the next night,” Allen said. “Get another chance to come out and play better.”
Warriors: Poole entered averaging 19 points over the past five games, while shooting 54% overall and 46% from 3-point range. … On Feb. 10, 2017, against the Grizzlies, Green posted the only triple-double without reaching 10 points in NBA history. In that game, Green had four points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals. … Kerr said Wiseman and Paschall flew back to the Bay Area on Friday morning.
Grizzlies: Valanciunas had his 25th double-double of the season. … Dillon Brooks was 2 for 10 from the field and is 7 for 30 in the last four games. … The back-to-back with Golden State is the second of an NBA-high 11 back-to-backs for the Grizzlies in the second half of the season.
MORE ON CURRY
Kerr said Curry was “still pretty sore. Frustrated. He wants to be going.” Kerr said Curry is day-to-day, but added he expects the star guard to be doubtful for Saturday’s game between the teams.
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