Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson is aware of the rigors of the grueling NBA season, so when his team came out flat he quickly made a change.
After resting their starters for much of their last game, the Warriors hope to take the court with more energy Friday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.
Golden State (20-16) completed a dramatic 130-121 overtime victory over San Antonio on Monday, but had little left for Wednesday's game against Portland, and ended up losing 109-91.
The Warriors fell behind 27-10 in the first quarter Wednesday, and Nelson decided to rest his starters for much of the rest of the game. Golden State is the second-highest scoring team in the league (108.2 points per game), but its starters combined to score just 23 points against the Blazers while shooting 9-for-31 from the floor.
"You have an emotional win like we did the other night, then a letdown comes," Nelson said. "There was just nothing there. We used this as a game for guys who don't play as much to get some playing time and we gave the starters the night off after the first quarter. That's not such a bad thing at this point in the season."
Nelson got a chance to play rookie guard C.J. Watson, who finished with 11 points and four assists in 30 minutes in his NBA debut. Watson, who played college ball at Tennessee, was called up Tuesday from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the Developmental League, where he was averaging 26.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
"He's got pretty good hands, and is a nice surprise," Nelson said.
Baron Davis had just four points in a season-low 14 minutes against Portland after scoring 34 in a season-high 48 minutes against the Spurs.
Davis, who is averaging a team-high 21.9 points, had 22 points and eight assists in the Warriors' 125-117 win at Memphis on Dec. 17.
Stephen Jackson had 28 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in that contest. However, he had season lows of five points and 17 minutes against Portland on Wednesday.
Golden State has won nine of 12 at Oracle Arena after opening the season 0-4 at home. Memphis, meanwhile, has lost 13 of 17 road games this season.
The Grizzlies (10-25) opened a three-game road trip Thursday with a 116-113 loss to Sacramento. Memphis led by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter before being outscored 29-16 in the final 6 1/2 minutes.
"This one hurts, definitely, we thought we had this game," said the Grizzlies' Rudy Gay, who had 31 points and shot 9-for-13 from the field.
Gay matched a career high with 32 points against Golden State last month.
Mike Miller had 20 points against the Warriors in December after averaging 39.0 points on 64.3 percent shooting in his two games against them last season. Miller, who had 18 points Thursday, is also shooting 61.0 percent (25-of-41) from beyond the 3-point arc in his last five games against Golden State.
Memphis has lost two straight overall and 15 of its last 19.
The Warriors have averaged 120.3 points while winning four straight over the Grizzlies.
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