The Golden State Warriors must feel like a contestant on The Bachelor.
Each time they get comfortable as one of the West’s top contenders, there’s another test and another opportunity to be tripped up and ousted.
After delivering the Los Angeles Clippers, the league’s hottest team, their worst loss of the season at Oracle one week ago, the Warriors (22-11) then imploded on their trip down south. The embarrassing 115-89 defeat to Los Angeles on Saturday was the worst loss of the season.
Another stretch, another rose ceremony.
In tonight’s matchup against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies (22-10), the Warriors face another team ahead in the Western Conference and another checkpoint in a first half of tests.
The Warriors have lost seven in a row against Memphis. The Warriors last defeated the Grizzlies on Nov. 3, 2010. Memphis has already won the first round this season with a 104-94 victory at Oracle on Nov. 2.
Golden State has responded well after a loss this season and has only lost back-to-back games once this seasons. The team boasts a record of 9-1 in games that follow a loss. It happened on Nov. 9 and 10 against the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets.
Handling the size of Memphis
The matchups don’t necessarily look good.
The Warriors weren’t able to handle the Clippers inside on Saturday, being outrebounded, 41-30, and losing the battle in the paint, 56-28.
Memphis is stacked inside. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol create arguably the best front court in the league.
Randolph is averaging 16.8 points and 12 rebounds per game while Gasol scores 13.7 points and adds 7.5 rebounds per game. Rudy Gay, at 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, adds another layer of strength.
In the early-season loss to the Grizzlies, Zach Randolph had a double-double on 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Marc Gasol scored 21 points and added six rebounds and five assists.
The Warriors will counter with Festus Ezeli and David Lee, with Carl Landry and Andris Biedrins rotating in off the bench.
Part of a tough stretch
The Grizzlies matchup is one of many difficult games on the schedule. Of the Warriors’ next 10 games, nine are against teams above .500. Of the next 10 opponents, only the New Orleans Hornets on Jan. 19 is not currently slotted as a would-be playoff team.
Mini-milestone for coach
Warriors coach Mark Jackson will take on game No. 100 in his young coaching career. He has compiled a 45-54 record in his first two seasons, but has the Warriors off to their best start since 1991-92.
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