Entries in Grizzlies (4)


S.F. Examiner: Andre Iguodala settling into familiar role for Warriors: Being important and impactful however he can

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

He’s the man who goes unnoticed until you can’t stop watching him, the guy who gets his teammates’ — and his coach’s — praise, but rarely gets the headlines.

Andre Iguodala’s problem is not that he isn’t a key component of the Warriors but that he’s not Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. Or Draymond Green or Kevin Durant.

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner


Warriors historic but can’t get a Sunday playoff slot

By Art Spander

They’re not the Knicks, or the Celtics. Or the Lakers. They’re merely the best team in pro basketball, the team that on a historic Wednesday night set a record for the most wins ever in an NBA season. Yet, perhaps because of their geographical location, or maybe because they still aren’t taken seriously, the Warriors do not get respect due a champion.

Moments after the W’s crushed the Memphis Grizzlies, 125-104, at the Oracle, head coach Steve Kerr learned they would be opening the playoffs Saturday afternoon, which is known as the worst possible viewing period on TV. And as a onetime commentator, Kerr was well aware of the slight.

“I always thought the Sunday time slot was the coveted TV slot,” Kerr remarked. “But maybe that’s changed, because two years in a row we’re playing Saturday afternoon. So very little time to prepare. But obviously, the same goes for Houston.”

But Houston isn’t the defending NBA champion. Houston didn’t finish a regular season with 73 wins (73-9) breaking the record of 72 set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, on which Kerr and Michael Jordan played. The Warriors, who won all three games from Houston during the regular season, are the attraction — but apparently not that much of an attraction.

Unless it’s the Lakers, the people in the NBA, at ESPN, at TBS, have little regard for franchises in the Pacific time zone. The folks in Brentwood and Beverly Hills are sophisticated. Up north? Have you seen those people parading on Market Street or Telegraph?

Of course, when and where should be inconsequential when compared to who and what, and the who and what of the NBA are the Warriors and what they’ve done. So, Kobe Bryant’s farewell was classic Hollywood. He scored 60 in a game that meant nothing except that it was a last hurrah. But Steph Curry scored 46 for the Warriors — and set a season mark of 402 three-pointers, after hitting 10 of 19 attempts — in a game that for the 19,596 spectators, the 175th straight sellout, meant everything.

It likewise meant a great deal to the Warriors players. And so, as they’ve done so often this season, they grabbed it early, building a 20-point lead before the second quarter was done.

“I told our guys I never in a million years would have guessed that record would be broken,” said Kerr. “I thought it was like DiMaggio’s hit streak, really, and I was wrong.”

That’s because his players treat basketball for what it essentially is, a game. They play with élan, with joy. They’re like high school kids out for a good time as well as for wins, and throughout they’ve had both.

“But I will say the same thing now I said 20 years ago,” Kerr offered. “I don’t think this will ever be broken. Somebody’s got to go 74-8, and I don’t see it. I hope our fans aren’t expecting that next year.”

Right now they’re expecting a second straight championship. For good reason. The Warriors play fearless, if not exactly flawless, basketball. They can shoot you to bits — they were 52 percent on field goals and 42 percent (20 of 47) on three-pointers. They can play effective defense, which experts will tell you is where games are won. And they have the confidence born of success.

There was no possibility the Warriors were going to lose last night. By the early part of the third quarter, the only way the W’s were going to lose was to hit two balls into the water on the 12th hole. OK, an obscure analogy, but we’re not that far removed from the Masters.

When asked if with Steph’s and the team’s numbers — Curry didn’t get off the bench in the fourth period — this was as close to perfection as imaginable, Klay Thompson gave a flip answer that was as close to perfection as possible.

“If I would have shot 25 more threes and got to 300, yes,” quipped Thomson, who scored 16, “but I’m amazed by Steph, especially as a shooter. To get to 400 threes in a season, that’s hard to put into words. That’s hard to do ... so congrats to Steph and the 14 other guys in the locker room. We fought hard and didn’t take a night off all year.”

Someone asked Curry the difference between the 2016 Warriors and the 1996 Bulls — not that he would know, since he wasn’t even out of elementary school 20 years ago. 

“I think the game has evolved a lot,” said Curry, “but we have a certain identity of how we play.”

Which by the Bay is considered state-of-the-art but elsewhere isn’t good enough to get them a Sunday spot in the opening round of the playoffs.



Warriors 'not a surprise' in crushing the Grizz

By Art Spander

OAKLAND, Calif. — About the only thing that didn’t happen Monday was Dusty Baker taking over as the Niners' starting quarterback. But Blaine Gabbert is. And Dusty is about to become manager of the Washington Nationals. And, of course, Stephen Curry had another huge game — as did the unbeaten Warriors.

Down Santa Clara way, the 49ers, in either a fit of panic or of desperation, benched their QB, Colin Kaepernick, which, yes, was man-bite-dog news. Up here at the Oracle, where Curry finished with 30 despite not playing a single second in the fourth quarter and the W’s built up a 52-point lead in the third quarter, it was dog-bite-man stuff.

In other words, tell us when something remarkable happens, which these days doesn’t really describe any Warriors performance, even when they crush the Memphis Grizzlies, 119-69.

The Dubs are 4-0 now, every win against a playoff team, and their next game, Wednesday, is against the Los Angeles Clippers, who have a history with the Warriors. Meaning rough play. But Golden State didn’t take the NBA championship last season by backing away from anyone, rough or not so.

There’s a tradition of teams coming out the year after they win the title and playing better than ever — the Portland Trail Blazers of Bill Walton, father of W’s interim coach, Luke, did that — and wow, are the Warriors on a roll.

“We can’t wait to start in March or April,” said Draymond Green. “We got to start now.” They’ve started, and there’s no indication they’ll ever stop, and one of the reasons is they know how to stop the other team.

For the third time the in four games, Curry had a quarter of 20 points or more, getting 21 in the third. But it was at the other end of the court the Warriors grabbed the game, holding the Grizz to 12 points in the second quarter and 15 in the third. When a team scores only 27 points in 24 minutes, it has no chance. Memphis had no chance.

“It’s not a surprise we’re playing this well,” said Walton, who has replaced the ailing Steve Kerr for as long as needed. “This is what these guys do.” That sounds like one of those commercials. If you’re on the Warriors, who play to near perfection, that’s what you do.

“Our defense was fine in the first quarter,” Walton said, referring to a 22-21 deficit. “The message at the start of the second quarter was more that we needed to play with a faster pace. Twenty one points in a quarter is not points for us. The second unit was great again tonight. They came in with a smaller lineup and got some stops and we started pushing it, and they got some energy.”

They defended (Memphis shot 27 percent for the game), they rebounded (65 to Memphis’ 44) and they swept down the floor in waves as the sellout crowd of 19,596 joined in with roars and screeches. “Get Loud,” orders the matrix board over center court. As if the advice as necessary.

Walton was comparatively quiet in the postgame interview, but his words were meaningful. He gave high praise to Green — “Draymond has been awesome; that’s why we pay him $82 million” — and to Festus Ezeli, starting at center in place of Andrew Bogut, who has a concussion.

Green had 11 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three blocked shots. Ezeli had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

“This is a championship team,” Memphis forward Zach Randolph said of the Warriors, who held him to four points, “but they’re not 40, 50 points better than us. We know that.”

They were Monday night, and Walton who played on the champion Lakers in their glory days, said it’s not a surprise the Warriors have come out of the gate like, well, American Pharoah.

“When we play at a level like this,” said Walton, “we are very, very hard to beat.”

So far they’ve been impossible to beat.

“I’m impressed that we’ve started this well, and hopefully we just continue to do it," Walton said. "Confidence has always been something that our guys have, but it’s a fine line because you are also getting everybody’s best shot. But there’s also a little bit of an intimidation factor. When we start making shots and locking up on defense, it can cause some teams to fold.”


S.F. Examiner: Defense slows down Randolph

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

OAKLAND — It was a matter of adjusting, as it always is in the playoffs. A matter of cooling off the hot man, and for while there, the opening 3½ minutes of a game that was going in the wrong direction for the Warriors on Wednesday, that hot man was Zach Randolph of Memphis.

He’s 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, with mobility and a jump shot. Rebound, basket, rebound, rebound, basket, rebound, 25-footer. Unstoppable? Unimaginable. Eight and a half minutes into the game the Dubs almost had to win, they were down 11-4. And Randolph had nine of those points. And five rebounds.

Read the full story here.

© 2015 The San Francisco Examiner