Programming note: Warriors Playoff Central starts Sunday at 11:30 a.m., and resumes immediately following the game, on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. CHANNEL LISTINGS
OAKLAND – The weeklong wait is over. So are the intrasquad scrimmages. The Warriors are ready, even eager, to move into Phase II of their quest for an NBA championship.
"I've been ready to play," hyperactive forward Draymond Green said Friday. "The break has gotten old now. I've been ready to play. The only thing we got going good for us is it's an early game. We don't have to wait all day on Sunday."
Idle since sweeping away the Pelicans with a Game 4 victory April 25 in New Orleans, the Warriors return to the court at 12:30 Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena for Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series against Memphis.
It'll be their first game at Oracle Arena since April 20, when the Warriors won Game 2 of the first-round series with New Orleans.
Might the Warriors be a bit rusty?
"I'd prefer to look at as we had a week off and we'll play two games, so we'll get into our rhythm," coach Steve Kerr said after practice Saturday. "And then we've got a few days off. My glass is half-full. I don't think this is going to be a problem.
"We know how this works. If we play well, it'll be because we were rested and we had practice time. If we don't, it'll be because we're rusty. You guys get to write those stories."
Kerr, media savvy, was grinning when he said this. Truth is, though, the Warriors privately believe they're better off for the rest. And they're hoping that Memphis, which didn't advance until beating Portland on Wednesday, might have some lingering fatigue.
And while the Warriors are fully healthy, with the exception of fourth-string center Ognjen Kuzmic (sprained left ankle and in a walking boot), the Grizzlies are hurting. They are expected to be without starting point guard Mike Conley (facial surgery) for at least the first two games and his backup, Beno Udrih (right ankle sprain), is listed as questionable.
The Warriors say they're planning and practicing as if all Grizzlies will be available. They certainly know the brawny center/forward combination of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will be on the court and ready to bang and bump.
The Warriors will try to counter with speed and quickness – and, of course, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson dropping 3-pointers from all angles.
"We're confident against them, think we can beat them," center Andrew Bogut said. "But they're a great basketball team, they play very physical and they play a tough style to play against.
"We don't mind a physical game, though. We got a lot of pub for our offense, but the main reason why we’re here at this point of the season and the main reason why we had the win-loss record that we did is because we guard defensively. We're just as physical as most teams we play against. It just doesn't get noticed because we've got two guys (Curry and Thompson) that just fill up he score sheet, shooting 3s from all over the court."