The Warriors and Sacramento Kings meet for the fourth andfinal time this season on Saturday night at Oracle Arena. The Warriors have wontwo of the three meetings this season.The Warriors are coming off a split of their recent two-gameroad trip against New Orleans and Houston. The Kings are coming off a toughlast-second loss against the Utah Jazz on Thursday.Here are some things to watch for during Saturdaysgame:Evans off bench: Sacramento Keith Smarthas been bringing Tyreke Evans off the bench recently, and also playing himless at point guard. The change seems to have agreed with Evans, who has beenplaying well of late. If Evans plays against the Warriors subs, theyre goingto have to find a way to account for him.Will Benson play?: The Warriors areexpected to sign center Keith Benson out of the D-League to a 10-day contract.He should be in uniform tonight. The question is: Will he play?Benson averaged 15.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in 19 games forthe Sioux Falls SkyForce.Benson was a second-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks a year ago. The Warriorsalso recently signed Mickell Gladness out of the D-League. With Andrew Bogutand Andris Biedrins hurt, lets see whether coach Mark Jackson goes with one ofthose two players or uses David Lee a lot at five.Play better at home: Last season theWarriors went 26-15 at Oracle Arena, but this year their record is just 10-13there. In recent home games, the Warriors have struggled to maintain theireffort level.They have not played well in either of their past two homegames vs. Minnesota and Milwaukee. While the playoffs remain a longshot forthe Warriors, theres no reason why they cant remain competitive when theyplay at Oracle.Klays game: Klay Thompson has beeninconsistent since taking over the starting two guard spot, which is to beexpected from a first-year player. Hes had big scoring nights, but hes alsohad some tough shooting nights.With 21 games remaining, one of Thompsons goals should beto develop some consistency in his overall game regardless of how hesshooting the ball.
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.
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.
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) is listed as questionable.
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.
Klay Thompson is putting his money where his mouth is.
Shortly before Noon PT on Friday, Klay posted a 30-second video to Twitter to let it be known that he is donating to the North Bay fire relief.
"Hey everyone. As we all know, Northern California has been tragically effected by these wildfires for the past few weeks.
And I will be pledging $1,000 per point I score for the next three home games. And you can donate as well by clicking on the link below.
We will be donating to the Redwood Credit Union's fire relief efforts. Let's stick together because a lot of loved ones and families have been displaced and lost from these terrible events.
Property has been damanged but we can build this thing back up if we stick together and donate.
Thank you for listening."
The Warriors' next three home games are:
1) October 25 vs Toronto (18.7 points over 11 career games)
2) October 27 vs Washington (18.4 points over 11 career games)
3) October 29 vs Detroit (18.2 points over 11 career games)
Hopefully the Warriors will be able to create a lot of good looks for Klay during that stretch...
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller