Jackson: 'We're a no excuse basketball team'
In Wednesday's loss to Memphis, Mark Jackson's bench contributed just seven points, eight rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in only 34 total minutes. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Programming note: Warriors-Lakers coverage tips off tonight at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply)
As Warriors coach Mark Jackson asks for more production and general manager Bob Myers window shops for potential help, the team's unreliable bench soon should begin looking as it did when training camp opened eight weeks ago.
The Warriors had six players worthy of starting: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. They added three veterans capable of producing off the bench: Jermaine O'Neal, Marreese Speights and Toney Douglas. And second-year forward Draymond Green was sure to earn playing time.
Not once this season have all 10 been fully healthy and available for an entire game.
With Curry likely to return on Friday to face the Lakers in Los Angeles, O'Neal expected any day and Douglas possibly returning next week, it's conceivable that could change during the Warriors' four-game road trip beginning next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the starters are playing big minutes. In their overtime loss to Memphis on Wednesday, Barnes led with 49 minutes, followed by 48 each from Iguodala and Thompson. Lee and Bogut slogged off the court having played 43 minutes each.
"Yeah, but that's no excuse," Lee said, "Because their starters played a lot of minutes, too. It's early season, something you've got to just fight through."
Actually, the Memphis bench did a nice job of supporting the starters, contributing 16 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three turnovers in 71 total minutes. The Warriors, by contrast, received seven points, eight rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in only 34 total minutes.
So it wasn't as if Jackson rode his starters by choice. And not until Curry, O'Neal and Douglas return fully healthy can he turn to his bench and expect satisfying results.
THE GOOD: The Warriors surprisingly outscored Memphis in the paint, 50-42. Bogut (12 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks) battled Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (18, 11 and four) to a virtual standoff, something necessary for the Warriors to stay in games against Memphis. Barnes started well, making his first three shots.
THE BAD: Barnes faded badly, making only three of his last 11 shots. Iguodala, burdened with defending Memphis point guard Mike Conley, also faded. Conley made 2-of-8 shots in the first half, 6-of-11 in the second and overtime.
INJURY UPDATE: Curry (mild concussion) and O'Neal (bruised right knee/right groin strain) are listed as day-to-day, with Curry considered slightly ahead. Douglas (stress reaction in right tibia) is out, as is third-string center Ognjen Kuzmic (fractured right pinkie finger).
THE FUTURE: The Warriors on Friday face a Lakers team they destroyed, 125-94, in the season opener at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is 7:30 at Staples Center. Lakers star Kobe Bryant (Achilles surgery) returned to practice this week but did not practice on Thursday and is not expected to play.