The Warriors have lost five consecutive games which equalsa season-high and Tuesday night theyll try to avoid a season sweep at thehands of the Memphis Grizzlies.The Grizzlies already have defeated the Warriors three timesthis season, including two by just one point. Memphis is two games behind thefourth-place L.A. Clippers in the battle for homecourt advantage in thefirst-round of the playoffs.The Grizzlies are playing Game 2 of a back-to-back-to-backset against the Thunder, Warriors and Dallas.Here are some things to watch for when the Warriors play theGrizzlies in Memphis on Tuesday:Play uptempo: The Grizzlies are comingoff a hard-fought win against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Monday. It was agame in which all their key players Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, O.J. Mayo and ZachRandolph logged significant minutes.In other words, the game against the Warriors has letdownwritten all over it for the Grizzlies. But it will be up to the Warriors topush the tempo and keep the pace moving quickly.Energy from centers: The Grizzlies frontline is big and skilled, but the Warriors should have the advantage when itcomes to energy. Despite giving up size to Gasol, Marreese Speights andRandolph, the Warriors have a chance to mitigate some of that.But it will take plenty of activity from Jeremy Tyler andMickell Gladness, two of the Warriors young centers.Productivity out of RobinsonJenkins:Memphis starting point guard Mike Conley didnt play on Mondaybecause of a sprained right ankle, meaning Jeremy Pargo was the starting pointguard.Nate Robinson emerged from a shooting slump in Sundays lossto the L.A. Lakers, and the Warriors need him and rookie Charles Jenkins to winthat matchup at point guard.Defend Gay: Rudy Gay has a history ofscoring big against the Warriors. And yet Golden State has more than one playercapable of slowing down Gay.Whether its Dorell Wright, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rushor Dominic McGuire the Warriors have plenty of candidates to defend Gay. Whatthey need is to find at least one who can turn Gay into a volumeshooter.
OAKLAND -- No matter the place in the standings or the collection of accolades or the number of representatives in the All-Star game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr never stops chasing perfection.
Sometimes it’s major issues, other times minor details. But it’s always something.
Three days into training camp, one such area of concern is passes. Whether its bounce passes, chest passes, skip passes, outlet passes, fancy passes or lobs, Kerr has his team working on accuracy.
“We’re doing drills, some basic passing drills and harping on the accuracy of passes as we go through practice,” Kerr said Monday after practice. “No matter what we’re doing, there’s passing involved. So we’re talking about that accuracy constantly and showing some film. It’s a big thing for us this year.”
So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the NBA in assists, as well as assist-to-turnover ratio, to be more precise with its dimes.
So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the league in field-goal percentage to make it easier to connect on a higher percentage of shots.
“We’ve got such great shooters and we move the ball so well that if we can pinpoint our passes better I really believe our percentages as a team and an individual will go up,” Klay Thompson said.
Much of the focus is about passing the ball into the “shooting pocket” of each specific player, especially if he excels at the catch-and-shoot aspect of offense.
“It’s definitely something that I know I need to get better at,” said Draymond Green, who last season led the team in assists.
“It definitely helps, and we’ll get better at it this year,” said Thompson, a fabulous catch-and-shoot player.
“Some would say Coach might be nitpicking. But he expects perfection. And we want to be champs again. You’ve got to be near perfect to be champions.”
The reigning NBA champs have, in this area, gone back to basics. From former MVPs Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to the guys at the end of the bench, they’re doing elementary passing drills.
By all accounts, the players have been receptive to honing this element.
“With the shooters we have, if you deliver the ball on time and on target, it keeps them in rhythm,” Green said. “As opposed to you throwing the ball and it hits somebody in the ankles, it may take them out of rhythm a little bit. And it could be the difference in the game.”
OAKLAND -- Easing into a seat for an interview a half hour after the Warriors finished practice Monday, Draymond Green responded to the first six questions at decibels barely above a whisper.
There was candor on basketball matters, because there always is with Green, but the power forward’s tone was relatively relaxed.
Not until the next several questions, all related to America’s polarizing sociopolitical climate, did Green’s heart and mind lock into rhythm. Asked if he believes the current wave of protests against inequality will go away soon, his voice picked up volume and conviction.
“I hope not,” Green said. “If it goes away, then we still have a problem. So I hope it’s not going away in a few weeks. Then we’ve missed the message again.
“So, no, I don’t think it’ll be gone away in a few weeks. And I pray that it’s not, because it’s not a problem that can be fixed in a few weeks. So, no, it shouldn’t be gone in a few weeks.”
Green acknowledged that he did not see the demonstrations that were spread across the NFL landscape on Sunday. He was, he said, out shopping and enjoying the day with his children.
He was aware that some teams stayed in the locker room during the anthem, that others knelt on the sidelines and that some linked arms. Being aware was not enough for Green to feel comfortable addressing that aspect.
But he’s very familiar with the subject matter.
“You just have to stand for what you believe in,” Green said during an answer than lasted more than two full minutes. “What everyone else may believe in, you may not believe in.”
Articulating the difference between the life of the athlete and that of a soldier, Green explaining that he has the “utmost respect” for those in the military.
“I just hope that there can be an understanding that this isn’t against the military,” he said. “It’s not to disrespect anything they do. Because I think everyone respects what they do . . . I appreciate everything they do.”
It was evident, however, that Green is on the same page as those pushing for the progress that would make America great, allowing the country to live up to its pledges stated in the constitution and elsewhere.
That’s why he hopes this activism is not a trend but a movement.
“I’m not saying kneeling shouldn’t be gone,” Green said. “But this conversation, trying to make these changes, absolutely not. If it’s gone in a few weeks, we’re screwed.”