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Warriors vs. Grizzlies Preview: Steph Curry is back!

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Curry returns but will be on a minutes restriction

Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After going 9-2 in the 11 games Steph Curry has missed over the past month or so, it’s not like the Golden State Warriors were struggling in his absence. Still though, the return of the league’s most lethal scoring guard will be a welcome sight to Dub nation when Curry takes to the floor tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies in the final Warriors game of 2017.

Here’s hoping we ring out the end of 2017 with a solid win!

WHO: Warriors vs. Grizzlies

WHEN: Saturday, December 30; 5:30 p.m. (another early start!)

WHERE: Oracle Arena

WATCH: NBCSBA

RADIO: 95.7 The Game

STARTERS

GSW: Steph Curry (?), Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia

MEM: Tyreke Evans, Andrew Harrison, Dillon Brooks, Jarell Martin and Marc Gasol

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES

GSW: Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) is TBD, but I think he’ll play and start. Omri Casspi (sprained right ankle) is out. Team Notes

MEM: Mike Conley (left heel) and Chandler Parsons (right knee soreness) are out. JaMychal Green (right knee) and Wayne Selden Jr. (right quad) are questionable. Brandan Wright (left quad) is probable. Team Notes

Threesus returns to redeem our offense

While the Warriors have played very well while covering for Curry’s absence, there have been some...issues on offense - especially over the last few games. Check out this summary from Anthony Slater at The Athletic:

Take a look at some of the Warriors' offensive numbers in four out of the past six games:

vs. Memphis on Dec. 20: 46 percent shooting, 7 of 21 from 3, only two fastbreak points, 16 turnovers and 97 total points.

vs. Denver on Dec. 23: 38 percent shooting, 3 of 27 from 3, an offensive rating of 82.3, 18 turnovers and 81 total points.

vs. Cleveland on Dec. 25: 46 percent shooting, 10 of 37 from 3, an offensive rating of 104.5, 15 turnovers and 99 total points.

vs. Charlotte on Friday night: 46 percent shooting, 8 of 22 from 3, an offensive rating of 97.4, 18 turnovers and 100 total points.

So, that’s not great. In fact, it is pretty damn close to league average. Curry does more than just provide spacing on offense; having him out there is something of a prerequisite to the insanely efficient shooting that is a hallmark of the Warriors offense during Steve Kerr’s tenure.

Just goes to show you that success on the court requires more than just stacking a bunch of skilled players on one team (looking at you, OKC). While Curry will be on a minutes restriction, his presence is going to hopefully make everything just run smoother on offense. A welcome relief to fans’ eyeballs after a couple of grueling outings that recently featured outside shooting more reminiscent of my old man’s Friday night open gym basketball than the usual basketball mastery that we’ve all grown accustomed to.

Curry looks pretty good as of yesterday, so even with a minutes restriction, we are still lucky to have our main guy back.

Grizzlies aren’t having a great season, but tend to play well against the Warriors

In one of those weird matchup quirks, the Memphis Grizzlies are one of our toughest opponents. In spite of having the second most losses in the NBA, the Griz have split our two matchups this season (both teams won their home game) and have gone 3-3 against us over the past two seasons.

On top of that, the Griz are streaking recently - they’ve won two of their last three games (with the one defeat decided on a last-second alley-oop dunk). Mike Conley is out with another injury, but our old friend Tyreke Evans has filled in nicely and leads the team in scoring at around 19 points per game. Stalwart Center Marc Gasol continues to be one of the best bigs in the league and will challenge our players to slow him down from his season averages of 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists per game.

Interestingly, Javale McGee got a DNP - Coaches Decision last night against Dwight Howard - a move that coach Kerr called “a learning experience.” We are going to run into some of the same problems in this game and it will be key to watch how often the Warriors send a double team at Gasol.