Preview: Warriors @ Grizzlies

After two ugly losses, the Dubs return to action against a Memphis Grizzlies team that does not look like the one that has both season meetings to date.  In both those games, Rudy Gay played a hand in putting the games out of reach with his ability to go one on one with defenders and shoot over the top.  Tonight, old vet Tayshaun Prince replaces Gay in the lineup that allows only 90 points a game, tops in the league.  His defensive presence will likely keep that number where it is or even push it lower.

For the Warriors, it is an Aussie game.  Both of the previous meetings were minus Andrew Bogut, in his current form mind you, so his ability to match-up with All-Star Marc Gasol will be something to watch for.  Bogut played in the first meeting but was severely hampered by the ankle injury that kept him out most of the season and Gasol patrolled the paint like Andre the Giant (“anyone want a peanut”) without much resistance.  

The perimeter defense for the Warriors has been the undoing the last two road games.  Despite the defensive emphasis throughout the season, the last two games have been somewhat alarming.  With Bogut in the game, they should be able to not leave shooters like they have been in recent games.  That alone should help reverse the recent trend of bombing from the outside that has put the Dubs in large deficits early in games.

Bogut may be in, but Double J, Jarrett Jack, may still be out after he still has been slowed from a hard fall late in the Houston game.  He is likely a game time decision.  Everyone else should be a go for tonight and have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder to, not only but the last two blow outs behind them, but get a win against Memphis who bullied them in their first two contests earlier in the year.

Keys to the Game:

Which side of the (rookie) wall are you on? - Harrison Barnes seems to be awakening while Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli are waning.  Barnes has put together a nice string of games where it seems like he is realizing that he can get to the rim and finish over just about everyone.  The flip side is that Green and Ezeli have been non-factors until garbage time when the Dubs may need a clothesline.  The rooks need to be making contributions for the Dubs to win, and right now, two out of three aren’t cutting it.

Where art thou’, Klay?: With everyone injured last week, he was dropping 32 with ease on the Cavs.  This week, he’s been solid but not the same since.  He’s going to have Tony Allen tonight which is no walk in the park, but he needs to make contributions other than scoring.  No silly fouls, no silly turnovers, no bad shots.  His mark on the game tonight should be rebounding and defending and may be a three in transition, when he’s open in the flow of the game.  

No JJ:  Missing Jack really hurts because he provides that scoring punch with Landry off the bench.  Bazemore shows flashes but he needs to realize if he’s playing point guard, then play point guard.  Get others involved, push the ball up and get easy shots.  He’s not a true point guard but he needs to attempt to TRY and be one.  If not, put Jenkins in please so he can bully folks with the 40 inch pythons.  Seriously, he’s more of a point guard than Bazemore and will get people involved but either way, play the position if that’s why you’re in the game.

WHO: Golden State Warriors (30-19) at Memphis Grizzlies (30-18).
WHERE: Fed Ex Forum
WHEN: Friday, 5:00 p.m., CSN Bay Area

Prediction: Low scoring, grinding, ugly game.  Lots of non-calls down low because of who’s playing (Bogut, Gasol, Z-Bo, Lee).  Warriors probably get some pay back due to the Memphis roster overhaul. 97-92 Dubs

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