MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the Golden State Warriors prepare for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies, there is a particular aspect of the game the Warriors are bracing for: physicality.
« It’ll be the most physical game we play all year, » Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday morning after shootaround.
« We cannot come in here and let your guard down knowing what we’re going to face in terms of their physicality. »
The Grizzlies are a team that creates some of its best offense through forcing turnovers and gathering rebounds — which sounds like could be disastrous for the Warriors. But in Game 1, the Warriors were the winners on the glass, out-rebounding Memphis 51-47.
The Grizzlies spent a lot of time since Game 1 talking about how they cannot let that happen again.
« You can’t let your guard down, » Kerr said. « You can’t let people run by you when the shot goes up, ball watch. You’ve got to find a body and box out. If there’s a ball on the floor, you’ve got to go get it.
« They pride themselves on winning hustle points, hustle battle. They’ve done that all year long. If we can match that and keep the possession game manageable, then we like our chances. »
In terms of what the Warriors need to match the level of physicality they expect the Grizzlies to enter Game 2 with, Klay Thompson had one answer: Draymond Green.
The Warriors were forced to play half of Game 1 without Green after he was ejected after picking up a flagrant 2 on Brandon Clarke at the end of the second quarter.
« He embraces these moments, he embraces being a villain and we need that, » Thompson said. « He really makes us go and without him, we aren’t the Warriors…he is the best in games like this. »
The Warriors are hopeful that having Green back — in addition to the kind of play they got on the glass from Otto Porter Jr., Kevon Looney, Gary Payton II and Andrew Wiggins — will give them enough edge over the Grizzlies.