Warriors

Does Warriors opener forecast doom?

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Does Warriors opener forecast doom?

Give the Warriors this much they waste no time in making folks wonder how much doom is in the room.

Maintaining their long-held core belief that the teams motto should be, Its One Damned Thing Or Another, the Warriors displayed their limitations and frustrations in a 104-94 loss to Memphis.

And no, before you start sniveling about "negative" this and "dont give them a chance" that, were not talking about long-term anything. Were talking about the home opener, and how quickly the vibe turned gray.
STEINMETZ: Warriors defeated by Grizzlies in home opener, 104-94

There was, most significantly, Brandon Rushs first quarter knee injury eight minutes into the game, after an inadvertent shove by Memphis Zach Randolph. There has been speculation from the orthopedic wing of Twitter about a dislocated left kneecap, and while none of that is confirmed, the faces on his teammates and employers suggested strongly that it will be a long time before he is seen in work clothes again.

But there was, of course, more. Andrew Bogut confessing that he is already frustrated, though acquiescent, at the 20-minute limit being put on him by the coaching and training staff. This isnt likely to become a thing, but unhappy is unhappy, and as Bogut said after the game, When youre playing, and youre not 100 percent, nobody cares.

And then there was what looks like an exciting subplot when Carl Landry starts to get end-of-game minutes based on the benefits he provides, and from whom those minutes will be taken.

Landry played 23 minutes, scored 20 points and rebounded six, went to the line 12 times and was the only plus player the Warriors had. And while plus-minus is a stat that brings with it enraged dismissals, it has its uses, one of which will be to provide mathematical cover for what ones eyes already see that Landry is a closer.

But for whom, inquisitive buttinskys want to know. For Bogut, who played the final eight minutes in a game that largely annoyed him for all the things he is not yet physically ready to do on 1.75 legs? Or for David Lee, whose box score lines often seem like empty calories?

Right now, head coach Mark Jackson isnt saying, though the way he initially answered the question of Landrys finishing games seemed to suggest that Bogut would be the one to cede those minutes. Yet when asked if he could foresee situations where Landry might replace Lee, Jackson scrambled to offer scenarios where Landry was so good and Lee so not quite, that such a possibility existed.

The problem, you see, is that the Warriors have their best bench in years, and the clamor to play them in starters situations will only grow as people see the full wingspan and plumage of players like Landry and Jarrett Jack. Rush would have been the third of those, but his accordioned knee seems to have removed him from consideration.

And though small sample size is the handy caveat here, Landry gives every indication of being the one best positioned to close. This is a gift the Warriors havent possessed for two decades, give or take a few minutes with Baron Davis back in the oughts.

In sum, the Warriors spent their home opener showing the fans the following items:

1. That Bogut has some rows left to hoe before hes fully ready to go.

2. That Landry is going to create arguments among the population, with Jackson as the focal point.

3. That Lee still frustrates as much as he invigorates.

4. That they still can get someone hurt at the drop of a shoe.

5. That they are in the very early stages of a transition from bad team to not-so-bad, to so-so, to pretty-decent, to hey-now. And that transition is going to be as long and and agonizing as all of the other transitions they have begun over the years.

But if this helps, they still shoot T-shirts into the stands and perform the new international crime Gangnam Style. So theres that.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

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What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.

Eventually.

They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

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Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.

So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.

The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.

INJURY LIST:
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) has been ruled out.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.

GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.

HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.