Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35). Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors will seek to continue their recent mastery of the Memphis Grizzlies when the Western Conference clubs go head-to-head for the second time this season on Monday night.
The Warriors have beaten the Grizzlies in 13 of their last 17 meetings, including a pair of 13-point thumpings in their final two duels last season and 117-101 last month.
Golden State has won five of its last six but needed a 17-2 game-ending flurry to overtake the Sacramento Kings 130-125 in its most recent game on Friday.
It was the Warriors' third straight contest with all four of their 2018 All-Stars in the lineup, after both Stephen Curry and Draymond Green had injury-related, 11-game absences bridging November and December.
The Grizzlies saw the Warriors at full strength in their earlier meeting and were overpowered by 68 combined points by Klay Thompson (27), Kevin Durant (22) and Curry (19).
Actually, Memphis might be catching Golden State at a good time. A fifth 2018 All-Star, center DeMarcus Cousins, put in a full workout Sunday and appears no more than week or two from making his Warriors debut.
Cousins hasn't played since suffering a torn Achilles while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans last January.
"We didn't scrimmage, but we got up and down the floor and ran quite a bit," Warriors coach Steve Kerr revealed to reporters of the closed practice Sunday. "He (Cousins) took part in everything."
The 270-pounder made two trips to Santa Cruz, Calif., about 100 miles southwest of Oakland, to practice with the Warriors G-League affiliate last week.
More trips are planned, as the Warriors have no set timetable for his return.
"His last couple weeks have been very good," Kerr reported. "But, again, it's a really serious injury that he's dealing with. It's difficult for anybody to come back from, particularly a big man. So I want him -- and he wants to be -- very comfortable and confident when he's out there for the first time. So wherever that takes us, we're going to do."
The Grizzlies displayed a new look of their own in Saturday's home loss to Houston, but not one many had come to expect.
Jevon Carter, the club's second-round pick in June, made his Grizzlies debut after having spent most of the first two months of the season in the G-League.
The rookie guard found himself thrown right into the NBA fire, matched up at times with Rockets point guard Chris Paul and shooting guard James Harden.
He held his own defensively and found time on the other end of the court to contribute 11 points in 22 minutes to a 105-97 home loss.
"Man, I have no fear with the game of basketball," Carter assured the assembled media after the game. "What is there to be scared of? There ain't no point."
The Grizzlies hoped to have Kelly Oubre Jr. make his debut either against the Rockets or Monday against Golden State after a three-team deal appeared to be agreed upon Friday.
But the Phoenix Suns backed out when they thought they'd be getting Dillon Brooks, not MarShon Brooks, from the Grizzlies, shutting Memphis out of the deal that eventually saw Oubre go from Washington to Phoenix for Trevor Ariza.