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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies figured Tony Allen's absence would hurt on the defensive end.
They hoped that Jeff Green and Vince Carter could make up for the defensive stopper's injury on the offensive end.
Instead Green and Carter struggled to make shots and Marc Gasol was unable to dominate inside as the Grizzlies fell 98-78 to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of their second-round series on Wednesday night.
"Once a guy doesn't play you don't look for another guy to do what Tony Allen does, because Tony Allen has a special talent," Gasol said. "If you bring somebody else that has different talent that can bring something different to the party."
That didn't happen and now the Grizzlies head home for Game 6 trailing the best-of-seven series 3-2 and uncertain whether Allen's sore left hamstring will be healthy enough for him to play Friday night.
Allen's was relegated to cheerleader status and he spent much of the game exhorting his teammates from the bench in a suit instead of frustrating the Warriors.
"That had nothing to do with us putting the ball in the basket," Carter said. "That had nothing to do with us not being on the same page together. We can't use that as an excuse. I refuse to let us use that as excuse. He gives us a major boost. Yes he does. As much as he means to us, we still have to match the level of intensity regardless."
Green started in his place and scored 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting. Carter was even worse, missing 7 of 10 shots and scoring just eight points as the Grizzlies failed to get the offensive boost they had expected.
Gasol shot just 8 for 22 and the 13-point lead the Grizzlies built in the first quarter behind a fast start by Zach Randolph was erased with a 16-2 run capped by Stephen Curry's 3-pointer in the closing seconds that gave Golden State the lead for good.
"We just got a little careless," point guard Mike Conley said. "We lost focus. We let their stars get too many easy looks. Once that happens they got a little rhythm. It's tough to come back, especially when they're playing at home."
Allen missed the final nine games of the regular season with the hamstring injury. Coach Dave Joerger said Allen re-aggravated the injury in Game 3 and was limited to four points on 2-for-9 shooting in 16 minutes in a Game 4 loss that left the series tied at two games apiece.
In Game 4, the Warriors often left Allen open on the perimeter so center Andrew Bogut could be a help-side defender and double-team Gasol and Zach Randolph in the paint.
Allen had dominated the previous two games defensively to help Memphis take a 2-1 series lead. He helped hold Klay Thompson in check on the perimeter and the players he guarded shot just 29.6 percent overall.
Thompson didn't go off in Allen's absence like he did late in the regular season when he scored 42 points and made 8 of 10 3-pointers in a Golden State win on April 13. But he did score 21 points to lead the Warriors.
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