What we learned about Warriors’ opponents on road trip: LA Clippers, Utah, Memphis, Minnesota and New Orleans

The Warriors just finished up their five-game road trip with a thrilling 113-109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. They went 4-1 on the trip, with their lone loss to the Grizzlies. Next up is the New York Knicks, who come to Oakland on Thursday. But before that let’s take a look at what we learned about the five Western Conference teams Golden State played on this road trip.

You can find all the links to “Warriors WrapUp,” the postgame show on 95.7-FM The Game, the team’s flagship. Still efforting the Utah game.

LA Clippers: They still can’t get there, not the way they’re constructed. Their two big men — Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan — simply cannot play together and be effective against the Warriors’ “small” lineup: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.

Utah: We learned the verdict is still out on Utah — at least as far as the Jazz pertain to the Warriors. The Utah was too injured last Thursday so it’s impossible to gauge. When healthy, Utah has the look of a team that could possibly compete with the Warriors. But we still don’t know whether Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors can play together against Golden State when it goes small.

Memphis: The Grizzlies are intriguing. Probably should have been paying more attention to them, but they have an interesting blend of their original core and youth and athleticism. I’m not sure they’ll be able to play a lot of their younger players during the postseason — many of whom hurt the Warriors in their loss on Saturday — but that’s a short-term thing. The Grizzlies knew they had to begin to salt and pepper their core roster with younger, longer, more athletic players and that’s what they’ve done. This team is a playoff pain for some team in a big way.

Minnesota: This may be the most underachieving team in the league right now. They’ve got a lot of young talent but there are some questions: Are Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins really suited to play with each other? Is Tom Thibodeau the right coach for this group? What’s up with Ricky Rubio? He’s now one of these point guards … if he’s your starter, that’s not so good; if he’s your PG off the bench, then I like him more. Gotta believe  this team is going to make a move … Thibodeau isn’t going to be able to withstand this too much longer.

New Orleans: One thing we learned about New Orleans is that the Pelicans are much better with Jrue Holiday than without him. And that was on a night where the boxscore wasn’t very kind to him — against the Warriors. But that’s a team that needs players, more than anything, and whether Holiday is too high on the pecking order (at No. 2) or not, he means this team can beat you on a given night. And they almost did just that on Tuesday.

“Warriors WrapUp” from last Wednesday’s game vs. Clippers.

“Warriors WrapUp” from Saturday’s game against Memphis.

“Warriors WrapUp” from Sunday’s game against Minnesota.

“Warriors WrapUp” from Tuesday’s game against New Orleans.



About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
This entry was posted in LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Warriors and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.