OAKLAND -– Tony Allen may be one of the league’s best defenders, but with the guard out on Wednesday night due to a hamstring injury, it was the Grizzlies’ offense that struggled mightily.
Memphis shot just 39.8 percent from the field in a 98-78 loss to the Warriors, as Golden State took a three-games-to-two series lead with Game 6 set for Friday at FedEx Forum.
Allen’s anemic offense was a focal point after Game 4 when he was left open early and failed to knock down several open shots, going just 2-for-9 from the floor in the Warriors’ win.
“Everybody was saying we couldn't score because Tony Allen was on the floor, and we put up 78 without him. So, I'll defend the guy to the hilt,” coach Dave Joerger said after the convincing Game 5 defeat. “He's the best. Tremendous defender. He's a warrior. He plays with his heart every single night, and the juice that he brings to a game, especially when we're struggling…
“A guy like that goes and gets a loose ball, dives on the floor, gets a deflection, gets a steal, gets a putback. … Those kinds of things really help your team go, ‘you know what? We can get this done.’ We really missed that from Tony tonight, let alone what he does as a defender.”
Allen will return for Game 6 on Friday, according to a tweet from Yahoo’s Marc Spears. The Grizzlies will surely welcome him back, after they were thoroughly outclassed for the final 39 minutes of Wednesday night’s defeat.
“Tony gives you a lot of energy defensively,” Marc Gasol said. “Disrupts a lot of things, and he's somebody that is a special player.”
Kosta Koufos said: “He’s one of our key defenders. He’s a motor and keeps us going. That’s what makes him so unique.”