Does Warriors opener forecast doom?

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Does Warriors opener forecast doom?

Give the Warriors this much they waste no time in making folks wonder how much doom is in the room.

Maintaining their long-held core belief that the teams motto should be, Its One Damned Thing Or Another, the Warriors displayed their limitations and frustrations in a 104-94 loss to Memphis.

And no, before you start sniveling about "negative" this and "dont give them a chance" that, were not talking about long-term anything. Were talking about the home opener, and how quickly the vibe turned gray.
STEINMETZ: Warriors defeated by Grizzlies in home opener, 104-94

There was, most significantly, Brandon Rushs first quarter knee injury eight minutes into the game, after an inadvertent shove by Memphis Zach Randolph. There has been speculation from the orthopedic wing of Twitter about a dislocated left kneecap, and while none of that is confirmed, the faces on his teammates and employers suggested strongly that it will be a long time before he is seen in work clothes again.

But there was, of course, more. Andrew Bogut confessing that he is already frustrated, though acquiescent, at the 20-minute limit being put on him by the coaching and training staff. This isnt likely to become a thing, but unhappy is unhappy, and as Bogut said after the game, When youre playing, and youre not 100 percent, nobody cares.

And then there was what looks like an exciting subplot when Carl Landry starts to get end-of-game minutes based on the benefits he provides, and from whom those minutes will be taken.

Landry played 23 minutes, scored 20 points and rebounded six, went to the line 12 times and was the only plus player the Warriors had. And while plus-minus is a stat that brings with it enraged dismissals, it has its uses, one of which will be to provide mathematical cover for what ones eyes already see that Landry is a closer.

But for whom, inquisitive buttinskys want to know. For Bogut, who played the final eight minutes in a game that largely annoyed him for all the things he is not yet physically ready to do on 1.75 legs? Or for David Lee, whose box score lines often seem like empty calories?

Right now, head coach Mark Jackson isnt saying, though the way he initially answered the question of Landrys finishing games seemed to suggest that Bogut would be the one to cede those minutes. Yet when asked if he could foresee situations where Landry might replace Lee, Jackson scrambled to offer scenarios where Landry was so good and Lee so not quite, that such a possibility existed.

The problem, you see, is that the Warriors have their best bench in years, and the clamor to play them in starters situations will only grow as people see the full wingspan and plumage of players like Landry and Jarrett Jack. Rush would have been the third of those, but his accordioned knee seems to have removed him from consideration.

And though small sample size is the handy caveat here, Landry gives every indication of being the one best positioned to close. This is a gift the Warriors havent possessed for two decades, give or take a few minutes with Baron Davis back in the oughts.

In sum, the Warriors spent their home opener showing the fans the following items:

1. That Bogut has some rows left to hoe before hes fully ready to go.

2. That Landry is going to create arguments among the population, with Jackson as the focal point.

3. That Lee still frustrates as much as he invigorates.

4. That they still can get someone hurt at the drop of a shoe.

5. That they are in the very early stages of a transition from bad team to not-so-bad, to so-so, to pretty-decent, to hey-now. And that transition is going to be as long and and agonizing as all of the other transitions they have begun over the years.

But if this helps, they still shoot T-shirts into the stands and perform the new international crime Gangnam Style. So theres that.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

OAKLAND -- It was with impeccable timing, for the Warriors and for Andre Iguodala, that he has spent recent weeks summoning all the best parts of his game.

He has been a disruptive force on defense, as usual, but at a time when the Warriors needed something extra at both ends of the court, he is providing an abundance of offensive electricity.

Iguodala came through once more on Sunday as the Warriors suffocated Memphis in the fourth quarter to take a 106-94 win at Oracle Arena. Though the team’s Sixth Man again scored at an efficient clip -- 20 points on eight shot attempts -- his ability to energize teammates from Stephen Curry to Draymond Green to Klay Thompson and beyond is no less significant.

“We feed off his energy when we see him get a rebound or get a steal, push up the court, make a crazy inside-out dribble and finish at the rim, knock down threes or play-make for other guys,” Curry said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Iguodala’s rise has coincided with the loss of Kevin Durant, the team’s leading scorer and someone who plays the same position. With Durant out, Iguodala has taken on additional playing time, which can be risky for someone in his 13th season.

“He’s been fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He looks incredibly athletic, bouncy and fresh. He’s a pro. The guy just knows how to take care of his body. He’s done a great job of stepping up in KD’s absence and recognizing what we need from him.”

The Warriors have played 13 games since Durant went down with a knee injury, and Iguodala has played in 11 of them, shooting 44 percent from deep and 61.8 percent overall. The man who shot 62.3 percent from the line in his first three seasons as a Warrior is at 70.1 percent this season. Leadership also is part of the package.

“I try to read (what’s needed) when I get into the game,” Iguodala said. “Try to bring that energy. And, more than anything, lead by example. Not say too much. Just show it.”

When Iguodala is sprinting up and down the court, rising and dunking on one end, stripping balls away on the other, the Warriors are appreciably better team. If the Curry-Durant-Green-Thompson foursome is the engine, Iguodala is the turbo boost.

“We’re a completely different team when he’s as aggressive as he’s been of late,” Green said. “When he’s moving the way he’s been moving -- he’s beating everybody down the floor -- it makes us a completely different team. “

Igoudala’s minutes have spiked, from 23 per game in November, to 26 in December, to 27 in January and February, to almost 29 in March.

“I don’t want to run his minutes up too much,” Kerr said. “But if he has to play a couple extra minutes while KD is out, then that’s fine.”

It’s fine with Iguodala and it’s paying off for the Warriors.

Iguodala hopes it pays off, literally, when he becomes a free agent in July.

Though free agents entering their 14th season don’t often command big money, he is making a very impressive audition for the Warriors or any team that might be interested in his services.

Iguodala has made it clear he’d prefer to stay in the Bay Area, and at this rate the Warriors may have to find the necessary coins to bring him back.

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- There was plenty of tension and more than a few pulse-stopping moments, but the Warriors found a way to win their seventh consecutive game.

The Warriors’ 106-94 victory Sunday over the admirably recalcitrant Memphis Grizzlies was a work in persistence and overcome moments in which the worst of their work was on full display before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson scored 31 points to lead the offense. Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 11 assists, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Matt Barnes finished with 10 as the Warriors evened the season series with the Grizzlies at 2-2.

The Warriors (59-14) fought off numerous Memphis rallies but turned up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Grizzlies to 13 points on 5-of-25 (20 percent) shooting over the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors offset 18 turnovers, giving the Grizzlies 16 point, by shooting 54.2 percent from the field.

Mike Conley scored 29 points to lead Memphis, which fell to 40-33.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As good as the Splash Brothers were, and they were superb, it was Iguodala’s play at both ends that made a major difference.

Iguodala’s line: 20 points (7-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, 4-of-5 from the line), a team-high-tying seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. He played 32 minutes and was plus-9 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After the Grizzlies pulled into an 81-81 tie with 25.2 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to go up 96-86 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 4:57 remaining.

Memphis got no closer than nine in the final minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain and bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) was listed as questionable and declared out prior to tipoff. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) was listed as out. C Deyonta Davis and F Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors travel Monday to Houston, where on Tuesday night they face the Rockets at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.