Warriors might have to be defensive team

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Warriors might have to be defensive team

Nice win for the Warriors 92-78 over the Knicks at Oracle.Makes the Warriors 2-1, with a home game against Philly on Saturday. Then theygo out on road for first time this season with games at Phoenix, San Antonioand the L.A. Lakers.Lets talk a little about the game If you dont think the Warriors are really a defensive team,take a look at their roster. Youcould make the case they have more defensive players than offensive players.Or, put another way, more players capable of being better defenders thanoffensive players.In fact, the only players on the Warriors who could reallybe considered offensive players are their three core players and first-rounddraft pick: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, David Lee and Klay Thompson.All the other significant contributors on the roster havemore of a defensive bent: Dorell Wright, Andris Biedrins, Kwame Brown, EkpeUdoh, Brandon Rush, Dominic McGuire and Ish Smith.Bottom line might be that this team couldnt beoffensive-minded anymore even if it wanted to...If this is the way its going to be, and Warriors coach MarkJackson is going to go with guys who are willing to play hard-nosed defense,then that doesnt bode well for rookie Thompson.Look, Thompson may very well be a nice player down the road,but right now hes not nearly at the defensive level of players such as Rush,Wright and McGuire.Thompson played seven-and-a-half minutes against the Knicks,and I wouldnt be surprised if Jackson makes sure to go to Thompson at leastonce a game but doesnt tolerate more than a mistake or two before he goes toone of the three guys mentioned above.And really, thats the way it should be.Ish Smith gave the Warriors better minutes at point guardagainst NY than any of the teams backup point guards gave them last year.Smith is not perfect, and thats why hes not a starter. But, still, theres alot to like. He can make some plays and you better account for his quickness ifyoure on the other team.Honestly, I didnt think Wright was the kind of player whocould help you if he had just eight points on 3-for-9 shooting in 42 minutes. Figuredhed need to be knocking down about six or seven 3s to be playing that manyminutes.But thats what he did against the Knicks, chipping in alongwith others to hold down Carmelo Anthony, getting eight rebounds and notturning the ball over.A few days ago, I thought Wright seemed a little lost. Hehadnt really had an impact in any of the four previous games (including twopreseason) and you could see down the road his minutes getting eaten at. Butagain, as long as Jackson is demanding defense and Wright is willing to playit Wright is going to get minutes.

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

OAKLAND -- It was with impeccable timing, for the Warriors and for Andre Iguodala, that he has spent recent weeks summoning all the best parts of his game.

He has been a disruptive force on defense, as usual, but at a time when the Warriors needed something extra at both ends of the court, he is providing an abundance of offensive electricity.

Iguodala came through once more on Sunday as the Warriors suffocated Memphis in the fourth quarter to take a 106-94 win at Oracle Arena. Though the team’s Sixth Man again scored at an efficient clip -- 20 points on eight shot attempts -- his ability to energize teammates from Stephen Curry to Draymond Green to Klay Thompson and beyond is no less significant.

“We feed off his energy when we see him get a rebound or get a steal, push up the court, make a crazy inside-out dribble and finish at the rim, knock down threes or play-make for other guys,” Curry said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Iguodala’s rise has coincided with the loss of Kevin Durant, the team’s leading scorer and someone who plays the same position. With Durant out, Iguodala has taken on additional playing time, which can be risky for someone in his 13th season.

“He’s been fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He looks incredibly athletic, bouncy and fresh. He’s a pro. The guy just knows how to take care of his body. He’s done a great job of stepping up in KD’s absence and recognizing what we need from him.”

The Warriors have played 13 games since Durant went down with a knee injury, and Iguodala has played in 11 of them, shooting 44 percent from deep and 61.8 percent overall. The man who shot 62.3 percent from the line in his first three seasons as a Warrior is at 70.1 percent this season. Leadership also is part of the package.

“I try to read (what’s needed) when I get into the game,” Iguodala said. “Try to bring that energy. And, more than anything, lead by example. Not say too much. Just show it.”

When Iguodala is sprinting up and down the court, rising and dunking on one end, stripping balls away on the other, the Warriors are appreciably better team. If the Curry-Durant-Green-Thompson foursome is the engine, Iguodala is the turbo boost.

“We’re a completely different team when he’s as aggressive as he’s been of late,” Green said. “When he’s moving the way he’s been moving -- he’s beating everybody down the floor -- it makes us a completely different team. “

Igoudala’s minutes have spiked, from 23 per game in November, to 26 in December, to 27 in January and February, to almost 29 in March.

“I don’t want to run his minutes up too much,” Kerr said. “But if he has to play a couple extra minutes while KD is out, then that’s fine.”

It’s fine with Iguodala and it’s paying off for the Warriors.

Iguodala hopes it pays off, literally, when he becomes a free agent in July.

Though free agents entering their 14th season don’t often command big money, he is making a very impressive audition for the Warriors or any team that might be interested in his services.

Iguodala has made it clear he’d prefer to stay in the Bay Area, and at this rate the Warriors may have to find the necessary coins to bring him back.

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- There was plenty of tension and more than a few pulse-stopping moments, but the Warriors found a way to win their seventh consecutive game.

The Warriors’ 106-94 victory Sunday over the admirably recalcitrant Memphis Grizzlies was a work in persistence and overcome moments in which the worst of their work was on full display before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson scored 31 points to lead the offense. Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 11 assists, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Matt Barnes finished with 10 as the Warriors evened the season series with the Grizzlies at 2-2.

The Warriors (59-14) fought off numerous Memphis rallies but turned up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Grizzlies to 13 points on 5-of-25 (20 percent) shooting over the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors offset 18 turnovers, giving the Grizzlies 16 point, by shooting 54.2 percent from the field.

Mike Conley scored 29 points to lead Memphis, which fell to 40-33.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As good as the Splash Brothers were, and they were superb, it was Iguodala’s play at both ends that made a major difference.

Iguodala’s line: 20 points (7-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, 4-of-5 from the line), a team-high-tying seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. He played 32 minutes and was plus-9 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After the Grizzlies pulled into an 81-81 tie with 25.2 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to go up 96-86 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 4:57 remaining.

Memphis got no closer than nine in the final minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain and bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) was listed as questionable and declared out prior to tipoff. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) was listed as out. C Deyonta Davis and F Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors travel Monday to Houston, where on Tuesday night they face the Rockets at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.