Grizzlies-Warriors: What to watch for

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Grizzlies-Warriors: What to watch for

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Warriors Pregame Live begins at 7:00 on CSN Bay Area, with the opening tip slated for 7:30. Log on and chat with Matt Steinmetz during the first quarter! Also, when the game is over, don't change the channel as Warriors Postgame Live starts immediately following the final buzzer.

The Warriors return home after a five-game road trip and arelooking to build some momentum. But theyll have to do it against the MemphisGrizzlies, a team that has won eight of their past nine games.The Warriors (15-20) knocked off the Washington Wizards inthe final game of the trip on Monday, and now theyll try to erase the memoryof two tough losses earlier in the season to Memphis (22-15).On Jan. 23, the Warriors blew a 20-point lead in the secondhalf and wound up losing to Memphis 91-90. On Feb. 18, Memphis shooting guardTony Allen converted an offensive rebound in the final seconds to help give theGrizzlies a 104-103 win in Memphis.REWIND: Warriors self-destruct in 4th, fall to Grizzlies 91-90
Here are some things to watch for during Wednesday nightsgame:Rebounding: Although the Grizzlies aremissing their All-Star power forward Zach Randolph, they are still a big andphysical frontline with Marc Gasol and Marreese Speights. In the Grizzlies104-103 victory on Feb. 18, Memphis outrebounded the Warriors 45-31, and gaveup multiple second shots in the fourth quarter.REWIND: W's fall in Memphis, despite big nights from Monta, Curry
The Warriors front line of Ekpe Udoh and David Lee have tomake a conscientious effort to rebound, and its also imperative that theteams perimeter players get in there and help out in that area.Limit turnovers: Over the course of theseason, turnovers have periodically hurt the Warriors. There are some games theWarriors treat the ball quite well, and consequently they usually have moresuccess in those games. But too often this season careless turnovers have hurtthe Warriors. The most recent time that occurred was in Sundays loss atToronto when turnovers in the fourth quarter cost them.In the teams first meeting, the Warriors completely melteddown in the fourth period, committing nine turnovers and giving away whatshould have been a victory.Make 3-pointers: There was no betterindication of how important the 3-point shot is to the Warriors than on theirrecent five-game road trip. During the first four games of the trip, theWarriors went just 13-for-71 from beyond the arc (18.3 percent). Notsurprisingly, the won just one of those games a low-scoring, grind-it-out85-82 victory against Atlanta.On the final game of the road trip, the Warriors broke outand made 15-of-23 from 3-point range, and not coincidentally, blew outWashington 120-100.Scrap early: There is a school of thoughtin the NBA that a teams first game back after a lengthy road trip is adifficult one to play because it feels like another road game what with thetravel back to your hometown the previous day.Thats why its important that the Warriors starters comeout with energy early and that the bench then follows through.

Kerr befuddled by Barkley's criticism of Warriors: 'I think he goes overboard'

Kerr befuddled by Barkley's criticism of Warriors: 'I think he goes overboard'

As Charles Barkley continues to throw rubber darts at the Warriors, disparaging their style of play at every opportunity, sometimes going out of his way to do so, the Warriors continue to shrug them off.

They believe the only significant response to Barkley or any other critic is by producing successful results.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has known Barkley for years and he basically sees his act as perfect made-for-TV moments.

“Having worked with Charles in TV, for TNT, I understand that there’s a show that has to happen,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast. “There’s an entertainment value that he brings that nobody else can bring. I think Charles is hilarious. He’s really good at what he does.”

Yet Kerr is at least slightly puzzled when Barkley constantly singles out the Warriors for being a “jump-shooting team” or playing “little girly basketball,” as he said Thursday on TNT.

“I think he goes overboard with his criticism of us,” Kerr said. “Everybody is the league is basically doing what we’re doing. Cleveland takes more 3s than we do. They beat us last year in The Finals by going small and shooting 3s and LeBron (James) playing the 4. The series came down to Kyrie (Irving) making a 3.”

It’s apparent to those paying attention that Barkley, who retired in 2000, has not made the observational transition to basketball as it is played in 2016.

The Warriors average 32.2 3-pointers per game, behind the Rockets (37.0) and defending champion Cavaliers (34.8). Only one team, the Pistons, at 19.8, averages less than 20 shots beyond the arc per game.

When Barkley retired in 2000, only the Kings, at 20.2, averaged more than 20 3-pointers per game. The Rockets were second, at 19.8, and Barkley was a member of that team.

“This is just the way the game is played these days: spread the floor, very few low-post plays,” Kerr said. “The game has changed a lot. I don’t know why Charles continues to crush us. But the game’s changed, and almost everybody is playing like this now.”

Whereas the big men of yesteryear – Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson etc. – tended to operate in the low post, those of today are more likely to venture out beyond the elbow, and even the arc.

“The big guys that you see now who are coming into the league, the best players, guys like Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re out there shooting jump shots, because they grew up handling the ball,” Kerr said. “They grew up as guys who wanted to be Kevin Durant, and not Charles Oakley.”

Though some of the transition is due to bigger players being more versatile, it’s also a matter of coaches understanding new rules and finding rosters that can exploit them. Gone is the hand-check, as well as the days of zone defenses being illegal.

“We do what we need to do to be successful,” Kerr said. “. . . Our players are suited to play the way we play, and we’re not going to apologize for that. But we know that criticism and judgment are just part of the deal. It really doesn’t bother us.”

Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

There were days and nights when he was in agony, when no medication – and he tried many – could stop the headaches from corroding his mere existence.

So Steve Kerr tried something once considered radical.

The Warriors coach sought relief in weed.

“I guess maybe I can even get in some trouble for this, but I’ve actually tried it twice during the last year and a half, when I’ve been going through this chronic pain that I’ve been dealing with,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast.

“(After) a lot of research, a lot of advice from people and I have no idea if maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don’t even know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA.”

During the summer of 2015, Kerr underwent two surgeries on his back, the latter procedure in part to alleviate the pain from the first. Still, the pain continued. He arrived at training camp to coach the defending champions and two days later realized he was not up to the grind.

Kerr, now 51, took a leave of absence that lasted nearly four months, during which time he sought comfort through various painkillers and treatments.

He returned to coaching in January 2016, but it was during his absence from the team that he reached the same conclusion as many medical professionals.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr said. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

Vicodin (hydrocodone) and other pain relievers come with side effects – including nausea, vomiting, constipation and blurred vision – that can be even more damaging to the body. Moreover, painkillers invite the risk of addiction that, for some, can lead directly to death.

“I know enough, especially over the last couple years, having gone through my own bout with chronic pain, I know enough about this stuff – Vicodin is not good for you,” said Kerr, who still has experiences discomfort. “It’s way worse for you than pot, especially if you’re looking for a painkiller and you’re talking about medicinal marijuana, the different strains what they’re able to do with it as a pain reliever.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before the NBA and NFL and Major League Baseball realize that.”

Marijuana has been legalized in some form by 26 states and the District of Columbia. It has been used to treat patients suffering from chronic or acute pain. Yet it remains stigmatized in certain segments of American society.

“There’s this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine, but pot is bad,” Kerr said, explaining that some folks continue to resist the notion that pot is somehow more treacherous than, say, alcohol, while others have studied the subject and become advocates.

“I would hope,” Kerr said, “especially for these NFL guys, who are basically involved in a car wreck every Sunday – and maybe four days later, the following Thursday, which is another insane thing the NFL does – I would hope that league will come to its senses and institute a different sort of program where they can help these guys get healthier rather than getting hooked on these painkillers.”