Warriors falter in second half, lose to Grizzlies

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Warriors falter in second half, lose to Grizzlies

March 30, 2011BOXSCORE WARRIORSVIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Golden State Warriors built a 10-point lead early in the second half before the Memphis Grizzlies and Tony Allen kicked up the energy.With Allen scoring, rebounding and encouraging the Memphis faithful to their feet, the Grizzlies erased the double-digit deficit and left not only with a 110-91 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday night, but a tighter hold on their playoff hopes."(Coach Lionel Hollins) told us we just weren't playing hard at all," Allen said of Hollins' ranting about energy before the second-half rally. "He told us we needed to step it up a notch on the defensive end, and that's what we did."We put on our hard hats in the second half."Allen scored 21 points while helping reverse Memphis' lackadaisical first-half effort. He added eight rebounds and four assists as Memphis not only won its fifth straight at home, but assured the Grizzlies (42-33) of their first winning season since 2005-06, the last time the team made the playoffs.
NEWS: Warriors' Ellis day-to-day with ankle strain"I tell him to concentrate more on defense and less on offense," Hollins said of his conversations with the sometimes aloof Allen. "I think that some nights the opportunities are there. He slashes. There were a lot of transition buckets. There were a lot of times when the lane was open, and he just drove and beat his man to the basket."Mike Conley and Zach Randolph scored 20 apiece, with Conley also recording seven assists. Randolph had 13 rebounds and six assists. Coupled with Houston's 108-97 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night, the Grizzlies now have a three-game buffer on the Rockets.After the game, the Memphis locker room was intently watching the end of New Orleans' 95-91 victory over Portland. That left the Hornets and Trail Blazers tied for the sixth spot, only a game ahead of Memphis.Monta Ellis and Dorell Wright each had 16 points as Golden State lost its eighth straight on the road. David Lee had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Vladimir Radmanovic had 11 points, all in the first half."I think because we are a team that is still growing, you have to understand how to win on the road and how to win in tough buildings and tough environments," Warriors coach Keith Smart said. "And how to win when you are tired and banged up at this time of the year."This is all a learning stage for us."Ellis left the floor near the end of the game with a sprained right ankle. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day."Hopefully, he's OK," Smart said. "He's done a fabulous job for us all season long. Hopefully, everything checks out."Stephen Curry was 2 of 14 from the field and 1 of 6 outside the arc for the Warriors, finishing with only six points. He did have nine assists, but a half-dozen turnovers.Golden State, second in the league in 3-point shooting at 39.4 percent, was 6 of 21 from outside the arc (28.6 percent)."Tony Allen's out there anchoring the defense," Curry said. "They all work together and move well. They clog the paint, and when you get in the lane, it's tough to finish. They've got some big guys down there. We weren't making our shots on that outside, and that cost us."Meanwhile, Memphis, which leads the league in points in the paint, held an advantage there 76-50 and helped the Grizzlies shoot a season-best 56.5 percent on 48-of-85 shooting from the field.Radmanovic led a rally by the Warriors bench to overtake an early eight-point Memphis lead. While the rest of the Warriors had misfired on their first six 3-pointers, Radmanovic was perfect on his initial three.The Warriors were coming off an overtime loss at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, but the Grizzlies were the ones who looked a tad sluggish in the half, getting beat on the boards and not forcing turnovers - two keys to their success.The Grizzlies had a handful of steals in the third quarter - three by Allen, who scored 10 points in the period. Memphis used the energy to reverse Golden State's momentum and ended the quarter up 79-72. The Grizzlies then extended the lead to as many as 19 in the fourth quarter."(Hollins) definitely let us play through it," Randolph said of the early lack of energy. "We got it going. Tony got us going on the defensive end with his energy, and we started playing the game we know how to play."We definitely were a little lethargic when we came out, but we definitely picked it up toward the end."After the Warriors took their 10-point lead early in the second half, Memphis outscored Golden State 62-33 the rest of the way."They were dragging a little bit," Hollins said of the Warriors. "It's late in the season. I always say when you start putting pressure on teams that are near or out of the playoffs, you tend to find out if they'll fight, and most nights they don't."They didn't have enough fight. It's a long season, and they were losing and tired from a game (Tuesday) night. We just did what we had to do."Notes: The Warriors' 91 points marked the first time in the last nine games of the series that both teams didn't reach at least 104 points. ... Lee entered with double-doubles in 20 of last 36 games. He fell one rebound short of another double-double. ... Randolph had 10 points in the fourth quarter. Memphis is 10-0 when he reaches double-digits in the final quarter. ... Memphis' previous high field-goal percentage for a game was 55.7 against Denver on Feb. 13. ... Memphis is 17-1 against teams playing the second night of a back-to-back, including 14-0 at home.

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

OAKLAND -- Briante Weber’s 20 days with the Warriors came to an end Saturday night, creating a roster opening expected to be filled by veteran point guard Jose Calderon.

“We think we have something in place, but it’s not finalized,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after a 112-95 victory over Brooklyn.

Calderon is in the process to be bought out by the Lakers, after which he will become a free agent. Once he clears waivers, the Warriors, according to multiple sources, will be waiting to offer a physical examination and a contract.

Though Warriors president/general manager Bob Myers stopped short of identifying Calderon by name, his insinuations late Saturday night line up with what was learned from league sources.

“You find that in the playoffs, experience matters,” Myers told CSNBayArea.com.

“I don’t want to diminish (Weber’s) contribution and say he’s not capable,” he added. “He could help a team. But I think sometimes you go with experience when going into the playoffs.”

While Weber is 24, with limited NBA experience, Calderon is 35 and has 12 seasons in the league, including three playoff appearances with two different teams. Moreover, Calderon is a career 41.1-percent 3-point shooter.

Calderon has played sparingly this season and has appeared only once, for five minutes, over the last nine games. In November, his most active month, he played in 11 games, averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 45.0 from beyond the arc.

Not that this made releasing Weber any easier. He had, in a short span of time, become popular with his teammates. Though Weber declined postgame interview requests, Stephen Curry spent a few minutes consoling and encouraging him.

Kerr struggled a bit in announcing that the team was releasing Weber, though the move was made by the front office in consultation with the coaching staff.

“We are making the decision thinking it’s the best thing for the team,” he said. “We make every decision based on that.

Weber played two minutes Saturday, scoring four points on 2-of-3 shooting. He logged a total of 46 minutes spread over seven games.

“He’s a good kid, did everything we asked of him,” Myers said. “But sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions. Sometimes you’re not even right, but you make the best decision you can at the time.

“But he’s got a future in the NBA. He’ll have options. That’s the best thing about his situation. He’ll be able to choose what’s best for him.”

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

VANCOUVER – One of the more appealing NHL road cities, Vancouver dazzles with its beautiful mountain scenery and walkable downtown avenues.

The Sharks undoubtedly relish those aspects of their trips to British Columbia, but more importantly they’ve enjoyed them on a professional basis, too. San Jose won its 10th straight game at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1, kicking off the final push to the playoffs with a victory coming out of the bye week.

“I think we definitely got better as the game went on, and that’s what you’re looking for,” said Mikkel Boedker, who was one of four Sharks’ goal scorers. “We came out with the win.”

Two Sharks in particular have enjoyed their recent excursions into Vancouver. 

Martin Jones was the best player on the ice, making 35 saves in his hometown. He was relied upon early as the Sharks predictably struggled to get their legs underneath them in what was their first game since last Sunday.

Jones made an impressive stop on Loui Eriksson in the first period, and in the second he stopped Jannik Hansen from point blank range with the Sharks holding a 1-0 lead. Later in the second, it was saves on Alex Edler and Hansen again that preserved San Jose’s 2-1 lead at the intermission. Vancouver was outshooting the Sharks 30-16 after 40 minutes, but trailed.

The Sharks rewarded their goalie with scores by Boedker and Logan Couture on the power play to make the final few minutes of the third period relatively easy.

“When [Jones] plays like that it gives us confidence, and we’ve just got to stick with it and keep creating chances, and we did that tonight,” said Boedker, who snapped a 19-game goal drought.

“[Jones] was our best player tonight,” coach Pete DeBoer said.

Jones improved to a perfect 4-0 in Vancouver, all in a San Jose sweater, with a 1.25 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. He spent the bye week in the area, and had several supporters in the stands.

“It’s always fun playing in front of friends and family,” Jones said. “Happy to get the win here.”

Chris Tierney is another player who seems to thrive in Vancouver. He notched a pair of assists and centered the team's most effective line, after getting his first career two-goal game here earlier this month.

His new line, featuring wingers Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward, opened the scoring in the second period, with Hertl finishing off a pass from Tierney after Ward’s breakaway attempt crept just wide of the net. Later, Tierney got a secondary assist on Patrick Marleau’s second period goal, restoring the Sharks' lead at 2-1.

“They did a good job. I thought some of those guys had our better legs early,” DeBoer said of his third line. “It took some of our veteran guys a little longer to get into it.”

Tierney, who was scoreless in eight straight games since his last time at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2, said: “I thought we generated some good chances. I think we can get better, too. We kind of talked on the bench throughout the game of what we can kind of do to improve and where each other is going to be on the ice, but it felt good playing with those guys. It’s easy to create offense with them.”

In seven career games in Vancouver, Tierney has four goals and three assists for seven points.

“Something about the Vancouver air, or Canadian air,” he said. “I always feel good when I play here.”

After dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to Boston in their final game before the break, the Sharks had a five-point lead over the rest of the division headed into a week off. Saturday’s win pushes the lead back up to five points again on Anaheim and Edmonton, and they now have games in hand on both of those teams, too.

It all adds up to a good start in what is the final stretch before the postseason, and a quest for a division title. Overall, the Sharks are 3-0-3 in their last six games, and have just one regulation loss in their last 11 (5-1-5).

“It’s huge, that’s what you play the regular season for,” said Boedker, when asked about the Sharks padding their lead. “You keep trying to gain as many points as you can, and lately we’ve had some overtime losses, but we keep gaining points.”