Point guards absent for Grizzlies-Warriors matchup
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two teams experiencing different results without their star point guards go head-to-head Wednesday night when the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Golden State Warriors.
The Grizzlies headed west Tuesday for a stretch of seven of eight games on the road, with the knowledge that standout Mike Conley won’t be available for any of the contests.
The team leader in assists and third-leading scorer hasn’t played since Nov. 13 because of soreness in his left Achilles.
The Grizzlies, who have made the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, were 7-6 at the time. They are now 9-21.
At about the same time the club was announcing that Conley would miss at least the next two weeks on Tuesday, general manager Chris Wallace was expressing optimism for the remainder of the season.
“Let’s see how soon we can get Mike and Wayne Selden (strained quad) back in here and playing up to their par,” he said. “And also get Brandan Wright (strained groin) back, and everybody together and see where we go from there. The season isn’t lost. The record isn’t one we expected. We have to own it. But the season isn’t even at the halfway point yet.”
Selden and Wright have returned to practice. Wright is likely to return within the next week, while Selden should be ready by the time the schedule gets more home-friendly in January.
The offensively challenged Grizzlies have been held to 96 points or fewer in each of their last four games. They are coming off a 102-93 home loss to Boston, their 17th defeat in the last 19 games.
Failing to score 100 points has proven deadly to most Warriors opponents this season. Golden State has gone 8-1 when holding its foe to 98 or fewer, 12-1 when opponents score 104 or less.
Scoring wasn’t a problem for the Grizzlies when they hosted the Warriors in the first week of the season. Marc Gasol poured in 34 points as Memphis handed Golden State the first of just six losses so far, 111-101.
The Warriors will go without former two-time Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry for the sixth straight game Wednesday. They’ve hardly seemed to miss him the first five times.
The Warriors have won nine in a row, averaging 108.4 points with an 8.2-point margin of victory in the five games without Curry.
Kevin Durant has averaged 34.2 points in those five games, including 36 on Monday in a 116-114 overtime road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Kobe Bryant’s jersey-retirement night.
Klay Thompson, who contributed 17 points to the win, said being present for Bryant’s halftime ceremony aided in the victory.
“It motivated all of us,” he said. “It motivates us to get to his level because he worked so hard for that.”
The Warriors have lost the first game of the season series to the Grizzlies six times in the last seven seasons. Golden State has rebounded to square the four-game series twice and win it once.
They lost twice to Memphis last year before winning the final two to get a season-series draw.