Grizzlies vs. Warriors: What to watch for

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Grizzlies vs. Warriors: What to watch for

Programming note: Grizzlies-Warriors coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Warriors Pregame Live at 7 p.m. Stick around after the final buzzer for Warriors Postgame Live!

The Warriors take on the Memphis Grizzlies in theirregular-season home opener at Oracle Arena on Friday. This is not the bestopponent for Golden State to open up with, however. At least if you look at thepast.Memphis swept the season series -- 4-0 -- last year againstthe Warriors and have won the last six games overall against them. What has given theWarriors the most difficulty in that time has been the size of the Grizzlies,specifically Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Marreese Speights. This year, theWarriors are hoping that dynamic changes in large part because of theacquisition of center Andrew Bogut.Here are some things to watch for during Fridaysgame:Bogut vs. Gasol: Grizzlies center MarcGasol has consistently been the most dominant interior player when these teamshave met in the recent past.And thats one of the reasons the Warriors went out andtraded for Bogut last March -- to neutralize players such as Gasol. No doubt,Bogut will be on a minutes-limit against the Grizzlies, but even if Bogut plays20 to 25 minutes, his presence in the lane should make a difference.RELATED: No back-to-backs for Bogut
It also helps that the Warriors now have a big body off thebench to bring in: rookie Festus Ezeli.Depth advantage: The Warriors toutedtheir improved depth during the preseason, and sure enough it helped them wintheir opener against the Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday.RECAP: Warriors edge Suns in opener
Brandon Rush came up big for the Warriors in the first halfof that game, and Carl Landry hit a couple of big buckets late that helpedGolden State win the game.The Grizzlies, on the other hand, lost their most productiveplayer off the bench from a season ago: O.J. Mayo. In other words, the Warriorsmay be able to do some damage in the second quarter and some of the fourthquarter when the Grizzlies subs are in the game.Bounce-back games: Stephen Curry andDavid Lee are coming off poor shooting performances against the Suns. Currywent 2-for-14 from the field and Lee went 2-for-16. Still, the Warriors knockedoff the Suns 87-85 on the road. Its difficult to imagine those two playersstruggling like that from the field again -- or even close to that -- and beatinga quality team like the Grizzlies.

Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

BOX SCORE

MEMPHIS, Tenn -- Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points, and the San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-96 Thursday night to take the series 4-2.

The Spurs now have beaten Memphis four of the five playoff series between these teams, and this was San Antonio's second straight win over the Grizzlies in the first round.

Tony Parker added 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Patty Mills had 10 points off the bench for the Spurs. San Antonio outrebounded Memphis 46-28, with 16 of those offensive boards. That led to 17 second-chance points.

Their semifinal with Houston will start Monday night in San Antonio.

Mike Conley scored 26 points, leading the five Memphis starters in double digits. Marc Gasol added 18, Zach Randolph 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Vince Carter had 12 points.

The Grizzlies fell to 3-10 in elimination games, losing six straight.

This was a taut game with 16 ties and nine lead changes, especially with four ties in the fourth quarter.

The Spurs took control after the Grizzlies went up 88-81 on three free throws from Conley with 6:29 left. Then Leonard scored eight straight for San Antonio, starting a 22-8 run to finish the game.

Even with Conley and Gasol a combined 2 of 10 in the first quarter, the Grizzlies trailed only 24-22 after Conley knocked down a 3 at the end of the quarter for his first bucket of the game. Conley hit another 3 for the final shot in the second quarter, putting Memphis up 50-45. The team that led at halftime won each of the first five games.

Parker hit his first six shots before finally missing his seventh with 29 seconds left in the first half.

The Grizzlies took their biggest lead at 57-47 on a 3-pointer by James Ennis III. That gave Memphis as many made 3s (9 of 17) as the Spurs had attempted (3 of 9) at that point. Randolph's layup with 7:19 left matched that 10-point lead at 63-53.

Then the Spurs went on a 13-3 run over a 4-minute span to erase that lead on Aldridge's three-point play at 67-66. Aldridge finished with nine points in helping the Spurs lead 75-74 at the end of the quarter.

TIP-INS

Spurs: They improved to 36-15 with a chance to clinch a series under coach Gregg Popovich, who took over in the 1996-97 season. ... Manu Ginobili converted a four-point play with 1:31 left in the third, putting the Spurs up 73-69. ... The Spurs wound up tying the Grizzlies' reserves with 16 points thanks to Mills.

Grizzlies: The Grizzlies set a franchise record hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half, topping the previous mark of seven in the second half May 1, 2005, against Phoenix. ... Conley has 20 or more points in five straight playoff games, the longest such streak in franchise history.

FREE THROW WATCH

Memphis coach David Fizdale earned a $30,000 fine from the NBA for his "Take that for data" rant about the free throw discrepancy in Game 2. Well, Leonard was 9 of 10 at the free throw line through three quarters compared to the Grizzlies' 7 of 8. The Spurs were 18 of 20 through three quarters. The Spurs finished 22 of 25 compared to 20 of 24 for Memphis.

Warriors GM Myers 'very, very confident' Kerr will return to coaching

Warriors GM Myers 'very, very confident' Kerr will return to coaching

Steve Kerr did not coach in Game 3 or Game 4 against the Blazers and is out indefinitely.

On Thursday, Warriors GM Bob Myers spoke with Jim Rome about Kerr's situation.

“What he’s going through right now is not a product of stress, it’s not a product of coaching, it’s more a physical issue that will be solved," Myers started. "When it will be solved, no one can say. But it is solvable, it’s fixable and like I said, he’s going to coach, but right now he just can’t.

"There’s some things that need to be corrected. But I think he’ll get back. I’m very very confident he will be back coaching, I just can’t say when.”

Kerr was not at practice on Wednesday and is consulting with specialists at Stanford this week.

Kerr is finishing up Year 3 of the five-year deal he signed back in May 2014.

"I think this guy is going to coach for a long time, because he thoroughly enjoys it," Myers said. "He really loves the game, and he is a great teacher. And you’ve had him on, I’m sure you’ve met him and talked to him. It’s one thing to know the game, but he has the ability to communicate it and our players clearly respond.

"So I can see that’s why a question you’d ask I totally get it and other people have asked but no I think he’s going to be in this game for a long time, we just have to get him back healthy now.”

The Warriors' next practice and media availability is on Friday.

The next series against the Jazz or Clippers will start on either Sunday or Tuesday.