Warriors to welcome back Curry against Grizzlies
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors will welcome back their star point guard Saturday night for a game in which the Memphis Grizzlies will be without theirs for the 23rd consecutive time.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced before Friday's game against Charlotte that Stephen Curry, who missed his 11th straight game in Golden State's 111-100 home loss to the Hornets, has been given the green light for the second half of the back to back.
"He's excited. He's fired up," Kerr said. "(Saturday) should be a good game for him. Then we don't play again for a while. Should be a good time for him to go for it."
The Warriors have gone 9-2 in Curry's absence, but have done it in a different way than the high-powered attack that helped produce a second championship in three years last season.
After holding just six of their first 25 opponents below 100 points, the Curry-less Warriors have given up 100 or more just five times in their last 11 outings.
Golden State allowed 111 to the Hornets on Friday night, but the Warriors' offense played a role in that. The Warriors committed 18 turnovers, which Charlotte turned into 32 points, almost one-third of its total.
Meanwhile, Golden State, benefiting from just eight 3-pointers, barely hit the century mark offensively against the Hornets.
With or without Curry, the Warriors figure to have a good chance to hold the Grizzlies to double digits. The Grizzlies have topped 100 just six times in 22 games since losing Mike Conley to Achilles soreness last month.
Memphis is hoping to get its floor leader back early next month, but he won't play on the club's ongoing five-game trip. The Grizzlies already have split games against Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers, with matchups against Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers remaining after the Oakland visit.
The Warriors and Grizzlies met just 10 days ago, also in Oakland, with Memphis struggling big-time offensively in a 97-84 defeat. The Grizzlies shot just 33.3 percent in the game.
Center Marc Gasol was the club's leading scorer with 21 points, but even he missed 10 of his 15 shots. No other Memphis player had more than 10 points.
The Grizzlies flew into Oakland riding the momentum of two uncharacteristic offensive performances in wins over the Clippers at home before heading west and facing the Lakers on the road in their most recent game Wednesday.
Sandwiching a 97-point output Tuesday at Phoenix, the Grizzlies poured in a season-best 115 and 109 in wins over the Los Angeles teams.
Tyreke Evans had 32 points, Jarell Martin 20, Andrew Harrison 15 and Deyonta Davis 14 to complement Gasol's 11 in a balanced attack against the Lakers that thrilled interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
"This is who we need to be," he said after the win, just his team's fourth in Conley's absence. "We're never going to be a super-fast, break-neck team. But we need to play with more thrust. Even in the half-court, our cuts have to be more powerful."
Updated December 30, 2017