Memphis Grizzlies shouldn't let loss to Golden State linger. There's much more to come | Giannotto

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SAN FRANCISCO — Gut reactions from the Memphis Grizzlies' 110-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series.

Don’t let this loss linger

It happened just like that.

Desmond Bane hit the stepback 3-pointer. The Grizzlies were leading with seven minutes to go. A Game 7 suddenly seemed within reach. The Chase Center crowd knew it. Memphis knew it. Golden State felt it.

And it vanished just as fast.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Memphis Grizzlies season ends with Game 6 loss to Golden State Warriors

First came an Andrew Wiggins 3-pointer to take the lead back. Then Dillon Brooks dribbled the ball off his leg for another Wiggins dunk. Steph Curry, as he so often does, delivered the defining blow. A 3-pointer, on a night when he missed so many before it. A 2-point advantage was now a 6-point hole.

The barrage had begun and Memphis finally had no more answers. Golden State had bested these Grizzlies, advancing to the Western Conference Finals with a 4-2 series win. But as it ended, as the Chase Center crowd gleefully started their own “Whoop That Trick” chants, Curry untucked his jersey and let out a long exhale.

Memphis, without Ja Morant, had forced Golden State to dig deep into its reserves, and that resiliency and refusal to give in is what will define these Grizzlies. Not the fact that they weren’t quite ready to stare down the favored Warriors.

They didn't have their full arsenal, they let a couple games slip away, but they still feel on the cusp of so much more.

This is the end of the beginning for this group, and even Golden State seemed to understand that. As much as this loss stings, it nonetheless caps off one of the greatest seasons in franchise history, and its greatness is partly the result of how much there is still to come.

What comes next is an important and potentially defining offseason because playoff losses won’t ever feel quite as satisfying as this one will once the initial pain wears off. Memphis made progress unlike anyone expected this year, and how it grows from this experience will affect how this series is remembered.

Series-long backbreaker

The supposed advantage inside most observers figured Memphis would have over Golden State materialized just once in this series, and it’s an underlying cause of the Grizzlies demise. After a dominating performance in the paint in Game 5, the rebounding battle reverted to what it had been in the first four games.

Golden State balanced out its lineup by starting Kevon Looney, and it grabbed too many long offensive rebounds to count. Though the Warriors weren't successful turning those extra opportunities into second-chance points in the first three quarters, they proved devastating late. The very fact that a Memphis strength had become a vulnerability proved hard to overcome.

Golden State counteracted that at times with its careless turnovers and surprisingly erratic 3-point shooting. The Warriors were 7 of 13 from 3-point range in the first quarter and 8 of its next 32 until about seven minutes remained in the fourth quarter.

That’s how Memphis stayed within striking distance when its efficiency in the paint waned. When it counted, though, Golden State got chance after chance, culminating in Klay Thompson's eighth 3-pointer of the night after four different offensive rebounds in the final minutes.

Full Dillon Brooks experience

The Chase Center boos ran the entire spectrum of boos this time for Dillon Brooks. They were still loud. They were still laced with hate. But they were boos born from the shots Brooks made, and they were boos from the shots he took.

Brooks had a heat check moment that kept the Grizzlies afloat when they took some early haymakers from Thompson’s latest Game 6 shooting explosion. He had a heat check moment that veered way too close to his Game 4 disaster than anybody wanted. He got called for a flagrant foul for shoving Steph Curry to the court, and he picked up a technical foul for jawing at Thompson.

It was the Brooks cycle, and it all happened before halftime.

He has remained a prominent figure in this series until the very end, for better or worse. But his five 3-pointers and 18 points in the first half were especially important, at one point leading to a Golden State timeout that resulted in the sort of jeers Grizzlies fans would prefer to happen a little more.

His defense also continued to make the shaky shot attempts more palatable. He had three steals before halftime and again made most every shot Curry attempted more difficult. With Jackson not hitting from outside and hounded by Draymond Green, and Tyus Jones contained by Andrew Wiggins, Brooks was put in a position to spearhead the Grizzlies attack.

That inevitably came with some mixed results. He finished with 30 points on 28 field goal attempts. Every make seemed crucial. Every miss made you groan.

It was a complicated form of redemption for a player who inspires complicated feelings, even from his own fanbase.

You can reach Commercial Appeal columnist Mark Giannotto via email at mgiannotto@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter: @mgiannotto

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis Grizzlies shouldn't let series loss to Golden State linger