Defending Champs Seek Warrior Mentality Versus Pelicans

Whether the injury bug can be attributed to a shortened preseason or simply bad luck, the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors limp into Friday night's game against the New Orleans Pelicans

Forward Draymond Green, who twisted his left knee in the third quarter of a 122-121 season-opening loss to the Rockets, underwent an MRI on Wednesday, and the Warriors listed him Thursday as doubtful to play against the Pelicans on Friday night. 

The good news is the examination revealed "no new structural damage" to the knee, and Green accompanied the team on the three-game road trip, which includes the Warriors' first back-to-back Saturday night against Memphis and a Monday night game against Dallas. 

The Warriors are more short-handed than normal off the bench. Forward Andre Iguodala practiced Wednesday after missing the opener with a strained back, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he would be "day-to-day." 

"If Andre is banged up, he won't play, and we'll make do," Kerr said, "but he's pretty confident he's on the right track. We have a back-to-back, so we'll see." 

Also, shooting guard Omri Casspi sprained his left ankle in the season opener after coming in with a sore right ankle. 

Kerr said in the loss to the Rockets, the Warriors showed signs of not being in the kind of physical and mental shape they need to compete at their usually efficient level. 

"Conditioning is not just physical," Kerr said. "It is mental. We committed fouls (against Houston) that took us out of our rotations. Steph (Curry) picked up a couple he didn't need to. Then we're swimming upstream. After made baskets, we were giving up transition threes. That's not a physical condition -- it's mental." 

Kerr said he stressed with Curry that he can't pick up reach fouls by making "poor decisions" because the Warriors need him on the court, even if he's not shooting the ball a lot. 

"The thing with Steph is he was plus-17 at halftime (against the Rockets) in 11 minutes, and he made one shot," Kerr said. "He's so good and causes so much disturbance for the defense, we just need him out there. He's got to stay out of foul trouble." 

The Pelicans showed in a 103-91 loss at Memphis on Wednesday night that their twin towers -- Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins -- can post boxcar numbers. But the question remains: Can they get any help? 

Davis recorded 33 points and 18 rebounds, and Cousins added 28 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks, but guard E'Twaun Moore (11 points) was the only other Pelican in double figures. 

"Our two big guys are playing together, and we've shown they can co-exist and do a good job scoring and on the boards," New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. "Now, we have to get the other guys involved." 

Point guard Jrue Holiday scored four points on 2-of-11 shooting and had only four assists against three turnovers. Holiday has moved to the point while Rajon Rondo is recovering from sports hernia surgery. 

"He's an elite point guard, another coach on the floor," Davis said of Rondo. "When he's on the floor, I like our team a helluva lot better. But he's not, and we're going to try to figure it out."

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