How to watch
Date: Wednesday December 20, 2017
Time: 7:30pm PST
Location: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA
TV: NBATV; NBCSN Bay Area
Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
Last updated 12/19/17
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Zaza Pachulia, Shaun Livingston, Draymond Green
Grizzlies: Mike Conley; Chandler Parsons; Wayne Selden
With starting point guards, Stephen Curry and Mike Conley, out with injuries — along with a bevy of other players — tonight’s matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies will showcase a number of bench players.
Gasol in the hot seat
A fourth quarter benching, a fired coach and a 9-21 season have plunged Marc Gasol into deep water as he finds himself answering for the Grizzlies’ seeming collapse.
But on Monday, the all-star center reiterated his desire to play in Memphis, saying, “I just want to win games.”
Despite that sentiment, the Grizzlies haven’t made much progress in that respect. Memphis has lost 17 of their last 19 games and don’t seem to be moving in the right direction. With the injury to Conley, it will be up to Gasol for the Grizzlies to have any chance at putting a halt to the Warrior’s nine-game win streak.
Warriors go deep
In their most recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors’ depth was on full display. Golden State was missing starters Curry, Zaza Pachulia, and Draymond Green, as well as key bench player, Shaun Livingston. To top it off, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were struggling, going a combined 16-for-53 from the floor.
But the bench stepped up, scoring 63 points and shooting 50 percent from the floor, and helping to secure the overtime victory.
All season long, head coach Steve Kerr has gone up and down the roster, giving opportunity to players like Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney and Quinn Cook. This appears to have paid off as the bench has provided exactly what it should — depth.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team struggle after losing a key starter — much less three — but the Warriors have been keeping it together during Curry’s absence. It’s easy to point to the fact that the wins keep coming because the remaining starters happen to be Durant and Thompson. But it’s undeniably encouraging to see Kerr’s faith in his bench players be rewarded.
Despite the fact that both teams are missing players, Golden State definitely has the edge when it comes to the “next man up” and should be the favorite in this matchup.
Final Score: Warriors 111 - Grizzlies 100
High Scorer: Kevin Durant