|Healthy Warriors hopeful in again facing skidding Grizzlies|
The Golden State Warriors are expected to suit up 12 healthy players for the first time since before Halloween when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
Golden State welcomed back Draymond Green, D'Angelo Russell and Kevon Looney during their just completed five-game Eastern swing, which they capped with a 100-98 win at Chicago on Friday.
All 11 Warriors who suited up scored against the Bulls.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr indicated at the end of the trip that Jacob Evans, who has missed the last 21 games with a strained left adductor, has been given the green light to join the action on the two-game homestand that tips off Monday night and continues Wednesday against the New York Knicks.
The last time Golden State suited up 12 healthy players was in its fourth game of the season against Phoenix on Oct. 30.
Kerr took time after Friday's win, which came in the wake of 25- and 15-point losses at Atlanta and Charlotte, respectively, to praise his guys for hanging in there while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are sidelined, and while an assortment of others have been in and out of the lineup.
"Our guys have been fighting and competing all season long," he assured reporters. "The last two games (before Chicago), we sort of got off track. I think they knew that, they took that to heart, and everyone who stepped on the floor (in Chicago) came out with a purpose."
The win was just Golden State's fifth of the season. The short-handed club did not respond well to its first four wins, losing three, seven, three and four in succession immediately after a victory.
One of those wins came at Memphis last month, a game in which the Warriors suited up just nine guys, with Russell and Looney yet to return from their injuries.
Remarkably, all nine who played not only got into the scoring column, but also each had at least one rebound and one assist.
The Grizzlies offered no such balance in the defeat, with Ja Morant (20 points), Dillon Brooks (18), Brandon Clarke (17) and Jae Crowder (15) combining for 70 of the team's 95 points.
Things have gone from bad to worse for the Grizzlies, who lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games Saturday night in Utah, 126-112.
Memphis has lost three of four since losing Morant to a back injury.
Fellow rookie Clarke went down one game later with a strained left oblique. The Grizzlies have dropped all three in his absence.
Clarke, a former standout at San Jose State in the San Francisco Bay Area, has been ruled out of Monday's potential homecoming. Morant is questionable.
Clarke's injury has created more playing time for Grayson Allen, and the first-year Grizzlies forward has taken advantage.
The former Duke star celebrated a return to Utah -- which traded him in the Mike Conley deal over the summer -- with 13 points in Saturday's loss, and has scored in double figures in three of the last four games.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters in Salt Lake City that Allen has been an asset to the franchise even while he wasn't playing much earlier in the season.
"He does a great job of rallying the group together," Jenkins noted. "He's obviously been through so many battles at the highest levels, and when we first sat down, he said, 'I want to impart that wisdom on our guys.' He's great at communicating.
"And then he's competitive, plays super-hard. He sets the tone for us."
--Field Level Media