Offensive end also an issue for Curry-Ellis


Offensive end also an issue for Curry-Ellis

When people talk about the Warriors backcourt of StephenCurry and Monta Ellis and whether they can play together and succeed mostof the focus centers on their defense.Those that dont believe the Warriors can go anywhere withthat backcourt usually cite its smallish-ness and how that lack of size is toomuch of a deficiency to overcome.By and large, few talk about Curry and Ellis at theoffensive end, with the common belief being they form an explosive, dynamic andpotent scoring duo.For the most part, they score a lot, they assist a lot and thatsabout as far is it goes. Clearly when Mark Jackson called Curry and Ellis thebest backcourt in the business on Saturday he was mostly thinking about themat the offensive end.

Look, its easy to pile on after the Warriors blew a20-point lead on Monday night to the Memphis Grizzlies, but its also true thatthe collapse provided a glimpse of the offensive limitations of thatduo.RECAP: Warriors self-destruct in 4th, fall to Grizzlies 91-90
Do Curry and Ellis make each other better at the offensiveend? Do they make other teammates better? In short, do Curry and Ellis reallycomplement each other? Is either one of them a strong and sound decision-maker?Do Curry and Ellis form a heady backcourt, one that consistentlymakes the right play? Are Curry and Ellis consistently smart with thebasketball and understand time and circumstance?The bottom line is that if youre going to live with some ofthe CurryEllis defensive deficiencies then they have to be much better thanthey have been at the offensive end. Much better.Curry and Ellis have to have a much better combinedassist-to-turnover ratio than they do. Right now they average 12 assists andnearly eight turnovers a game between them.Thats not a strength, thats a liability.The other thing that stood out in the loss to Memphis wasthe inability of either Curry or Ellis to get to the foul line when itmattered. Many times, when a team is struggling at the offensive end, one ofthe guards can create something on his own, make something happen and at theleast get to the line to get some easy points.Curry hasnt taken a foul shot in the past two games. Ellishas taken six free throws in the past two games. That tells you that theyresettling for outside shots or theyre not getting it done in terms of drawing contacton drives.Curry and Ellis put up numbers, no doubt about it.But intangibles are a huge part of a guards game likerecognizing important possessions and knowing when you have to get good shots,like figuring out ways to get David Lee more than two shots and Dorell Wrightmore than none, like not continually turning the ball over at the top of thefloor, leading to fastbreak buckets, like making sure to get your team intosets as early as possible in the clock. And many, many more.Conventional wisdom suggests that if the Warriors keep thebackcourt of Curry and Ellis together, theyre going to have to find a way toget better at the defensive end of the floor. That is true.But they also have a long way to go at the offensive end,too.

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


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.


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


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.

Warriors by 8.5

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) 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.

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

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.