Balls: Warriors dilemma: Too few drivers, too many passengers 

click to enlarge Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33), of Spain, shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) as Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) blocks in the first half of Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball Western Conference playoff series Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. - AP PHOTO/MARK HUMPHREY
  • AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
  • Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33), of Spain, shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) as Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) blocks in the first half of Game 3 of a second-round NBA basketball Western Conference playoff series Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn.
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry need help. And, no, Balls doesn’t mean Dr. Phil, either.

Not yet, anyway.

After the Memphis Grizzlies spanked them on Saturday night, 99-89, the Warriors are in trouble for the first time in this magical season. For that, Thompson and Curry will get much of the blame for it. But the Memphis Grizzlies are too savvy, too experienced, not to know how this works. Crowd the 3-point line, and the Splash Brothers aren’t as effective. Make them earn their points. Better yet, force someone else to beat you. Pure and simple, the Warriors haven’t scored enough points to win the last two games — 90 in one, 89 in the other.

“We’ve been fine defensively in this series,” coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “They’re scoring in the 90s. We should be able to score 100 points.”

But the Warriors won’t do it with two or three drivers and a bunch of passengers. Too many of them look scared as heck. It’s almost as if they had visited Graceland and saw Elvis came back from the dead.

Harrison Barnes stepped up with 16 points, but he had only a dozen total shots. Draymond Green had a nightmare game — eight points on 1 of 8 in the field. Andrew Bogut should have a bigger role in the offense, but he was quiet again.

As for the bench ... What bench? Andre Iguodala hasn’t shot well in the playoffs and is reluctant to hoist one. Shaun Livingston wants no part of the ball — he attempted one shot in nine minutes. Leandro Barbosa didn’t attempt a single shot in 11 minutes. David Lee was glued to the bench.

“You know what? It’s not the end of the world,” Thompson said. “We’ll learn from it. I mean, still we’re still one win away from the homecourt advantage. That’s our goal.”

The Warriors might want to get it in Game 4 on Monday night. Because the longer this series goes, the more odds favor an underdog Grizzlies team that has a lot of mojo at the moment.

CAN ERRRYBODY SPELL?: Folks in Memphis don’t get out much — by any survey, Tennessee is one of the lousiest states to live in — so the series is a big deal there.

Grizzlies fans targeted Green as the villain for his love tap on Mike Conley in the second game. Even Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., threw a log on the fire when he tweeted, “Cheap shot by Green. He knew what he was doing and to whom. #Warriors should be ashamed. #GOGrizz!”

This was the same Cohen who told TMZ last fall, “Eli and Peyton [Manning] don’t do sexual assault on people other than their wives.” Grizzlies business operations chief Jason Wexler billed the series as “Memphis vs. Errrybody” and sent some rather peculiar tweets of his own:

“Errrybody else wants them to rain down Threes. Folks down here want us to get Twos & play Twice as hard.”

“Errrybody else talks about the Splash Brothers. Folks down here talk about the Brothers From Another Mother.

Errrybody else values a Stretch 4 hitting Threes. Folks down here value their True 4 getting Z-Bounds.

“Errrybody else prefers to be with the Golden ones. Folks down here prefer to be with the ones in the Mud.”

SIT, TOM, SIT: The NFL will reportedly suspend New England Patriots fraud Tom Brady in the next few days, and let’s hope the punishment fits the crime.

Balls lobbied for an eight-game ban, or half the regular season, which is generous in comparison to what other quarterbacks received in recent years. Ex-Raider Terrelle Pryor was suspended five games because he undermined draft eligibility rules. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger had to sit out four games (originally six) even though he was never charged with an offense of any kind. Now compare that to Brady, who knowingly violated a rule that affected his performance on the field, lied to cover it up then refused to cooperate with the league. Balls would hate to think that a four-month investigation and a 234-page report would result in little more than slap on the hands.

TEAM FEEL-GOOD: Under the terms of the Sharks’ new long-term agreement with the SAP Center, most of their lease money will be used for arena upgrades and not to line San Jose’s pockets.

Which means the biggest off-season improvements for the San Jose Hockey Country Club will be Euro-style toilets, extra-wide, custom leather chairs and an 80-inch television in the home dressing room, because, you know, a two-way forward, a top four defenseman and an elite goaltender aren’t important right now.

MORE B.S. ON THE WAY : ESPN parted ways with Bill Simmons, the first superfan-sportswriter of any relevance. As long as amateurs such as Bleacher Report continue to lure young wannabes who can barely string together a paragraph let alone conduct an interview, we haven’t seen the last of the B.S. clones, sad to say.

THE LIST: Things for Warriors fans to do in the Memphis area:



National Civil Rights Museum


Elmwood Cemetery

Rum Boogie Cafe


YOUR TURN ...: “ Great job! You are the first person I have read who has it right. The Sharks lost a great coach and kept a marginal GM who has no idea what he is doing. Someone is going to get a great coach and my bet is Todd (McLellan) will be hoisting Lord Stanley long before the San Jose Sharks do.” — Fred Holzheiser, Forestville

(Bring back the California Golden Seals!)

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