Warriors-Nets: What to watch for

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Warriors-Nets: What to watch for

PROGRAMMING ALERT: Warriors Pregame Live begins at 3:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, with the tipoff at 4:00 p.m., followed by Warriors Postgame Live.

The Warriors will either come home after a so-so road trip or a good one. Theyre 2-1 with one game remaining on it on Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets.The Nets are without center Brook Lopez and havent won a home game this season. Lopez isnt expected back until February at the earliest after having right foot surgery. The Warriors have won two in a row and are staring at six straight home games after New Jersey.Here are a few things to watch for:Defend Deron: If the Warriors need to stop one player, it would be point guard Deron Williams. No, hes not having a good season, shooting just 36 percent from the floor, but thats because hes being asked to do too much without Lopez.Still, Williams is capable of putting a team on his back on any given night, and hes a point guard the Warriors have always had matching up against in the past. Rookie Charles Jenkins will get the first crack at him on the defensive end.Bench contributing: The Warriors bench has shown up and then some on this trip. In the teams 105-95 win over Cleveland on Tuesday, the Warriors substitutes came through in a big way. Nate Robinson had 17 points and Klay Thompson and Brandon Rush had 14 apiece and the bench as a group scored 50 points.Theres never a better time to get something out of the bench than on the last game of a road trip.Keep going to Lee: Warriors power forward David Lee has been the teams best player on this trip. Hes scoring in bunches and more important hes scoring at important times.Against Cleveland, Lee had 13 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter, which brought the victory home for the Warriors.Defend the 3-pointer: The Nets have several 3-point shooters all at various positions and the Warriors will need to be aware of them. Williams, ex-Warrior Anthony Morrow, Mehmet Okur, rookie Marshon Brooks and Jordan Farmar are all capable from beyond the arc.

NBA Gameday: Revenge on Warriors' mind against Grizzlies

NBA Gameday: Revenge on Warriors' mind against Grizzlies

OAKLAND -- Forgive the Warriors if they have a measure of vengeance on their minds when the step on the floor Sunday afternoon.

They’ll be staring at the Memphis Grizzlies, who came into Oracle Arena on Jan. 6 and handed the Warriors perhaps their most galling regular-season loss in three years, wiping out a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a 128-119 victory in overtime. It was the first time in 55 years a team had staged a comeback of that magnitude against the team with the best record in the league.

The Warriors (58-14), who have been the NBA’s best home team since 2014, will be seeking to even the season series as well as win their seventh consecutive game.

One of the surprise teams of the NBA in the first half of the season, the Grizzlies (40-32) have come back to reality, going 6-8 since the All-Star break. They’ve lost their last two, at New Orleans and at San Antonio.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: It has become cliché to say Conley is underrated, so we’ll just say he’s the NBA’s finest unsung point guard. Curry and his teammates know this. Conley this season is averaging career-highs in scoring (20.0 points per game), field -goal percentage (44.9) and 3-point field-goal percentage (39.7). Curry, of course, is the back-to-back MVP and the man most likely to feel salty about that Jan. 6 loss. He also has been playing well of late. These two will generally dictate the fortunes of their respective teams.

INJURY REPORT:
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) is listed as questionable. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) is listed as out. G Wade Baldwin, C Deyonta Davis and Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 7-3. Grizzlies: 4-6.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have lost two of three meetings earlier this season but have won nine of the last 12 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE PACE GAME: The Grizzlies are deliberate and ultra-physical. They prefer to play at a crawl; they rank 28th in pace. Their philosophy is to stay close through three quarters and find a way to win in the fourth. The Warriors want to play at jackrabbit speed; they’re third in pace. The team that can impose its style gains a massive advantage.

OPENING/CLOSING STATEMENTS: The Warriors will seek to build an early lead in hopes of enlarging their margin for error. They may need any cushion they can create, as they well know the Grizzlies thrive in the clutch. Memphis is 15-6 in “super-clutch games (within 3 points in the final minute or regulation or OT).

KLAY AND THE GRINDFATHER: Memphis guard Tony Allen takes particular pride in his ability to defend, and he goes after Klay Thompson like a lion chasing a gazelle. Each has had his individual triumphs over the other, and their battle occasionally influences the outcome. Thompson won the last, torching the Grizzlies for 36 points last month in Memphis. Allen surely remembers that.

 

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

OAKLAND -- Though Kevin Durant is eager to get back to the court, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants are in preliminary stages of planning his return.

One thing is certain: There will be restriction on the number of minutes Durant is plays in the first few games after he receives medical clearance.

“It’s something we’ll consult the training staff on,” Kerr said Saturday after practice. “I imagine we’ll ease him back by playing him shorter minutes to start, so he can build up his rhythm and his conditioning.”

Durant has been out since Feb. 28, when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bone bruise to his left knee. After several days of strict immobilization, he has over the past week progressed to the point where he is engaging in vigorous workouts and shooting sessions.

Yet Durant will not be re-evaluated until next Thursday, which means he likely will not be cleared before the week of April 3. Not until then will the coaching staff devise a plan to reintegrate Durant.

“That obviously has a domino effect on the entire rotation,” Kerr said. “When we get to that point, we’ll figure that out. But it’s not something I’m giving a lot of thought to right now because he’s still at least a couple weeks away.”

The Warriors lost five of seven in the immediate aftermath of Durant’s injury but have recovered to win the last six in a row.