Programming note: Watch "Warriors Playoff Central" Monday at 5:30 p.m. and immediately following Game 4 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
MEMPHIS, TN -- Marreese Speights’ strained right calf is expected to open minutes for David Lee, who has played only 8:35 in this series (0-for-5) and not at all in Game 3. Between his strained back and the difficult matchup issues he has against Memphis, he did not figure to have a significant role, and even now head coach Steve Kerr may well use more of his small lineup to try and change the pace of the game, which has been somewhat sluggardly by regular season standards.
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The Warriors haven’t lost a Game 4 on the road in 23 years, when they lost in Seattle to be eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. Of course, they’ve only had three of them since winning their last championship in 1975; they also lost at Detroit in 1976 and won in New Orleans to complete their sweep two weeks ago.
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The officiating crew of Tony Brothers, Mike Callahan and Pat Fraher is a veteran group, and based on the last five years’ records, a fairly neutral home-road group. The Warriors have only seen Brothers in the postseason, in Game 1 of the New Orleans series, while Callahan has worked mostly in the Midwest and Fraher only three times in the postseason. In case it matters, given that the Warriors have only lost 17 games this year, it may be worth noting that they have lost twice this year with both Brothers and Fraher, and that Kerr is overdue for a technical (he hasn’t had one since April 2 that was rescinded, and none that have stuck since February in Cleveland).