Warriors

NBA Gameday: Klay questionable against Grizzlies

NBA Gameday: Klay questionable against Grizzlies

Programming note: Warriors-Grizzlies coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

OAKLAND -- The Warriors will be seeking their 10th consecutive home victory Friday night, when they face the Memphis Grizzlies at Oracle Arena.

It’s a contrast of styles, as the Warriors (31-5) play at the third-fastest pace in the NBA, while the Grizzlies (22-16) operate at the third-slowest pace. It worked last month, as Memphis held the Warriors to a season-low 89 points.

Perhaps the only way Memphis, which has lost four of its last five road games, can keep the game close is by slowing the action to a crawl.

Would the veteran Warriors, who may be without Klay Thompson, allow themselves to fall victim to such a trap?

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 12.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley. Curry is the back-to-back MVP. Conley is the terrific point guard who never has been an All-Star but owns the league’s biggest contract (five years, $153 million). Each man accepts his role as the catalyst. A big night from Conley practically is a must for the Grizzlies to have a chance at victory.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Klay Thompson (illness) is listed as questionable.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (facial fracture) participated in shootaround and is a game-time decision. F Brandan Wright (L ankle surgery recovery) and C Deyonta Davis (L foot plantar fascia tear) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 9-1. Grizzlies: 4-6.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors had won six in a row before Memphis snapped the streak by taking the previous meeting this season, 110-89, on Dec. 10 at FedEx Forum. The Warriors have won the last four games in Oakland and eight of the last 10 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

1) Klay vs. The Grindfather: Grizzlies 2-guard Tony Allen, AKA The Grindfather, is a great on-ball defender, and he takes particular pride in his work against Klay Thompson. Thompson is averaging 10.0 points (on 13-of-34 shooting) in his last three confrontations with Allen. After managing only 14 points in a win over Portland on Wednesday, Klay will be looking to score. If Thompson is able to play, this could get interesting.

2) The Big Men: On paper, this is a mismatch. Memphis center Marc Gasol may be the most skilled center in the NBA. Warriors center Zaza Pachulia is a role player. But . . . he leads all centers in fan voting (it’s early) for the upcoming All-Star Game. Seriously. Pachulia’s task is to bring physicality without fouling.

3) Bring the D: The Grizzlies, quite simply, do not shoot well. They’re dead last in field-goal percentage (42.3 percent) and 28th in points per game. It reasonably solid defensive effort should be enough to spoil any chance for an upset.

Bravo For Durant: No White House visit proves he has a set of principles

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AP

Bravo For Durant: No White House visit proves he has a set of principles

Though the Warriors have yet to receive an invitation to visit the White House in the wake of their championship season, one of their superstars already has decided he would not participate.

Kevin Durant, the NBA Finals MVP who grew up practically in the shadow of the White House, said he would not visit.

"Nah, I won't do that," Durant told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now."

Bravo for Durant. For speaking up when so many others are silent and, by acknowledging that this is an individual decision, proving he is willing to stand on a personal set of principles.

Visiting his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Md. for “Kevin Durant Day,” the forward didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name but made clear his disdain for the man who currently occupies the White House.

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that," Durant said. "That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Durant is not the first Warrior to publicly express such sentiments. Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston have specifically said they would not be willing to make the visit that has become customary for American championship teams. Coach Steve Kerr and veteran forward David West have been vocal in denouncing Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric and boorish behavior.

Uncertain whether an invitation is forthcoming, the Warriors issued a statement in June saying any collective decision regarding a White House visit would be made “when and if necessary.”

Their championship season ended two months ago. Training camp for next season begins next month. There has been no invitation.

Durant’s comments Thursday represent his first that directly address the possibility of visiting the White House. The Warriors, after their 2105 championship, made the visit when Barack Obama was president.

"I just wanted to sit back and analyze everything and gather my thoughts," he told ESPN. "I wanted to say something immediately, but I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.”

Addressing the division that has infected the national landscape, Durant pointed directly at Trump.

"He's definitely driving it," Durant said. "I feel ever since he's got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and it's not a coincidence. When Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.

"So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top -- leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have someone in office that doesn't care about all people, then we won't go anywhere as a country. In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won't see any progress."

Though not all Warriors have publicly commented on the subject, Durant’s hunch is accurate. This team has a collective conscience. There are causes in which every member believes, and two such causes are equality and inclusiveness.

Those alone are enough to ensure they would not splinter on this issue.

Kevin Durant doesn't respect Donald Trump: 'Until we get him out of here...'

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AP

Kevin Durant doesn't respect Donald Trump: 'Until we get him out of here...'

If the Warriors get invited to the White House and accept, will Kevin Durant attend?

"Nah, I won't do that," the 2017 NBA Finals MVP told ESPN's Chris Haynes on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that. That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

The Warriors are scheduled to play the Wizards in Washington D.C. on Feb. 28 (which happens to be the same date of last season's game in D.C. when Durant injured his knee).

On Monday, Steve Kerr provided an update.

"We have talked as an organization about a potential White House invitation and what that would mean," he told Damon Bruce of 95.7 The Game. "A couple weeks ago we decided let's get the players together and talk about it later this summer when we can -- just before Media Day probably.

"And we'll do that, and I'll just leave it at that."

Durant -- who is from Maryland -- was in his hometown of Seat Pleasant on Thursday to celebrate "Kevin Durant Day."

He didn't hold back when discussing Donald Trump.

"I feel ever since he's got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and it's not a coincidence. When Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black President, and that was a first.

"So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top -- leadership trickles down to the rest of us.

"So, you know, if we have someone in office that doesn't care about all people, then we won't go anywhere as a country. In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won't see any progress."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller