Star point guard Stephen Curry is expected to return from an 11-game absence when the Golden State Warriors host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. Curry has been sidelined with a sprained right ankle and the team was playing well without him until losing 111-100 to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.
The stunning home loss against the Hornets represented the team’s fifth home defeat of the season — matching the number of all last season — and dropped Golden State’s record to 9-2 during Curry’s injury stint. “I would say most likely he’ll play,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters of Curry’s prognosis. “We had a talk with him and he was feeling good. So we’ll see how he’s feeling (Saturday) morning.” Memphis is enduring a poor campaign after seven consecutive playoff appearances but is looking to win for the third time in the past four games. The loss of standout point guard Mike Conley decimated the Grizzlies and is a prime factor why the club is last in the Western Conference but his loss also opened the door for Tyreke Evans to play a big role.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Memphis), NBCSN Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (11-24): Evans, a former NBA Rookie of the Year with the Sacramento Kings in 2009-10, poured in 32 points as Memphis posted a 109-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The 28-year-old is averaging 23.9 points over the past seven games and has scored 20 or more points in 10 of his past 15 contests to take over the team scoring lead with a 19.4 average. “He’s really good,” interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. “He’s been given an opportunity here that he hasn’t been given in a while, probably not since his rookie year in Sacramento. We’re depending on him to do everything. We all know he has the ability to score but his playmaking is huge because it gives his teammates confidence.”
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (28-8): Kerr pointed out the turnover issues (18 leading to 32 Charlotte points) after Friday’s game and had to make an admission not heard often considering Golden State’s longstanding home prowess and the fact the Hornets entered with a 2-12 road mark. “They took it to us, they were great, they totally outplayed us,” Kerr said afterward. “We never really got going defensively.” Small forward Kevin Durant scored 27 points Friday and has failed to reach 20 only three times this season.
1. The Warriors have won nine of the past 12 meetings but are 1-1 versus the Grizzlies this season.
2. Golden State PF Draymond Green matched his career best of 16 assists against the Hornets.
3. Memphis F Jarell Martin scored a career-best 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting against the Lakers.
PREDICTION: Warriors 117, Grizzlies 91