OAKLAND – There won’t be many, if any, more teams coming into Oracle Arena less equipped to battle the Warriors than the Grizzlies that took the floor Monday night.
They were heavy underdogs that morning and lost most any realistic chance of upsetting the defending champions when Mike Conley, the point guard and hub of the roster, was declared out of action a hour before tipoff.
So the Warriors took care of business without fanfare, coasting to a 110-93 win. Here are some positives and negatives taken from the game:
Andre Iguodala’s tendency to move the ball – an overt attempt to set an example for his teammates – renders him reluctant to shoot. He took only three shots, all 3-pointers, making each one and finishing 10 points. That’s efficiency. He’s 7-of-12 from deep over his last five games and scored in double figures in the last two.
Iguodala’s scoring continues to be an X-factor, though not as much as in the past. When he’s able to keep defenses honest, creates space and sends a jolt of energy through his teammates.
Draymond’s shooting troubles
Draymond Green’s shooting woes continued in a graphic way. He was 1-of-8 from the floor, 0-of-1 from beyond the arc and missed badly on a couple shots in the paint. In four games since returning from the injury list, he’s shooting 29.2 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from deep. He is not shooting with confidence.
Because he does so many other things, scoring is last on the list of Green’s priorities. But he has never been this bad. If he can’t pose a threat, his teammates are going see more defensive traffic.
Defense on demand
After strolling through the first quarter with the intensity of a light scrimmage and still building an eight-point lead, the Warriors decided to put the game away in the season quarter. They brought the heat. With Green leading the pack, they held Memphis to three field goals while forcing four turnovers in the first eight minutes to go up by 19.
When the Warriors are aggressive on defense, most teams are at their mercy. These Grizzlies had no chance.
Bell looks lost
Jordan Bell, the most athletic “big man” on the roster, failed on two dunk attempts, one banging into the front of the rim and the other getting blocked. When he finally converted one late in the third quarter, there was a mock celebration. That’s how far he has fallen. He played 12 minutes and finished minus-1 – the only Warriors to play in both halves to land in the minus column.
With Damian Jones lost to injury, Bell has an opportunity. He has not been able to take advantage of it. He’s struggling in a time of need.
Stephen Curry needed 10 points to reach the 15,000 for his career and got there on a transition 3 in the second quarter. He’s now at 15,010. Kevin Durant needed 9 points to pass Larry Bird and move into 33rd place on the all-time scoring list with 21,806. He achieved it with a free throw late in the first half. Klay Thompson needed 8 points to reach 11,000 and zoomed past it in the second quarter.
It has long been evident that the Warriors have three all-time great scorers on the roster. The numbers are heavy and they will keep coming.