Fast Forward: Stars align as W's enter Memphis house of horrors

Highlights: Slow start dooms Warriors in loss to Rockets

Fast Forward: Stars align as W's enter Memphis house of horrors
December 7, 2013, 1:30 pm
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In 30 career games against the Warriors, Zach Randolph averages 16.1 points and 9.2 rebounds. (USATSI)

Programming note: Warriors-Grizzlies coverage tips off at 4:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territory restrictions may apply)

The Warriors owe themselves a better representation than that which they gave Friday night in Houston. Fortune and the schedule-makers are giving them an opportunity.

They get Memphis on Saturday. It's a place where they get browbeaten, bullied and sent away weeping. The Warriors have lost 11 in a row to the Grizzlies, and they haven't won in Memphis since 2008.

For once, though, the stars might be aligned in favor of the Warriors.

Power forward David Lee was awful on Friday, and center Andrew Bogut was worse. They should want to redeem themselves. This is their chance.

With Grizzlies center Marc Gasol out with knee injury, the Warriors actually should have an advantage in the paint. That's where Memphis power forward Zach Randolph tortures Lee. This time, Z-Bo can expect to get a face full of Bogut. Not just any Bogut, but a Bogut who ought to be highly motivated after being rendered invisible by Dwight Howard on Friday.

"When you have losses like this," he said after the 105-83 defeat to the Rockets, "the best thing you can do is have a game the next day. Stop talking about and thinking about it."

Sounds as if Bogut wants to go out and prove he's better than he showed.

Meanwhile, Lee likely will get backup center Kosta Koufos, who alone in the gym couldn't score as Randolph does when matchup with Lee. The absence of Gasol, a skilled big man who also can initiate offense, changes the dynamic and swings the odds toward the Warriors.

That, and the Warriors' desire for vindication, could lead to an interesting game.

"We just have to play harder, play better, especially on the road," guard Stephen Curry said after Friday's game.

Coach Mark Jackson, noting that his players have started each the past two games with the zest of old socks, didn't hide his displeasure.

"Everybody sees it," he said. "We've got to hold each other accountable. And we've got to be much better."

Anything less, and the futility in Memphis and against the Grizzlies will only continue.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Point guards Curry vs. Mike Conley. When the Warriors come out of a funk, it's usually with the sweet sounds of nets being snapped by Curry's 3-point shots. Steph also has to prove he can contain Conley, who hit some key buckets when the Grizzlies beat the Warriors on Nov. 20 in Oakland.

Bogut and Lee vs. Randolph and Koufos. If the Warriors are outplayed here, it may not matter what Curry -- or Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes -- bring to the party. That reflects the difference between Gasol and Koufos.

SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors have lost the last five in Oakland, the last nine in Memphis and the last 11 overall.

INJURY UPDATE: Forward Andre Iguodala (strained left hamstring) and backup point guard Toney Douglas (stress reaction, left tibia) are listed as "out," indicating a possible setback with Douglas, who was a game-time decision on Friday.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors will wrap up this three-game road trip on Monday, when they meet the Bobcats in Charlotte. The Warriors won both games the Bobcats last season. 

 

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