Helin: Warriors have tendency to 'play with their food' during playoffs


The new-look Golden State Warriors had a prime opportunity to accomplish a second-round gentleman's sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in FedEx Forum. But midway through Game 5 of their West semifinal bout, it was abundantly clear that they weren't ready to advance or hammer the last nail in their opponent's coffin. In fact, the Warriors confoundingly found themselves on the wrong end of some NBA history.

Memphis -- playing its second game without phenom Ja Morant -- staved off elimination with the highest-scoring performance in franchise history, as they crushed Golden State, 134-95, to force a do-or-die Game 6. The Grizzlies had three starters score 21 points apiece, and their huge 52-point lead after three quarters tied for the largest in an NBA postseason game in the past 70 years.

"Warriors have a history of this, don't they? Through this whole championship run, if they think that they're superior and in control, then they play with their food," NBC Sports writer Kurt Helin explained to the Reiter Than You show on Thursday. "They don't necessarily take everything seriously. And I don't know if they expected to lose that game, but that wasn't a great effort out of them last night. For the record, I don't want to take anything away from Memphis.

"Desmond Bane was so much better than he's been all series, Jaren Jackson Jr. was too. That was everything they needed from their guys. But I think that you're going to see a different Warriors team at home. They're going to come home in Game 6 and say, 'OK, we've got to end this.' Because I think they've realized that, if they get to a Game 7, it's trouble... I still think they will flip the switch in Game 6, but I don't think it's going to be as easy as they think."

Golden State, which earned the West's third seed with a 53-29 overall record, will play Game 6 against Memphis on Friday night at Chase Center, with tipoff scheduled for 10:00 ET. According to FiveThirtyEight projections, the Warriors have a 76-percent chance to reach the Western Conference Finals and just an 18-percent chance to make their sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015.

The entire basketball conversation between Helin and Reiter can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Reiter Than You show on Twitter @sportsreiter and @CBSSportsRadio, and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.