10

The Dub-Stitutes Carry the Warriors to 93-90 Win Over Sacramento

Game story for tomorrow’s paper

It took coach Mark Jackson well into the third quarter Tuesday to find an advantage to milk. And when he found it, he rode it to a 93-90 victory over NorCal rival Sacramento.

The advantage was the second unit, known as the Dub-stitutes: guard Nate Robinson, swingmen Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson, forward Dominic McGuire and big man Ekpe Udoh. Those five turned a nervously close game into a much-needed Warriors victory.

Golden State’s bench outscored Sacramento’s 43-21. In the fourth quarter,GoldenState’s bench outscored the Kings’ starters 25-11.

Rush scored 15 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter and totaled six rebounds in 24 minutes. Robinson had 11 points and five assists in 23 minutes.

“The second unit did a great job of just battling on the defensive end,” Jackson said. “And we got quality offensive trips. Even when we did not make shots, we got what we wanted out of it. They did a great job of bringing it home.”

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7

What to Watch For – Game 19

Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart told the Sacramento Bee he heard from Warriors owner Joe Lacob when he got the job with Sacramento.

SMART: “When I got this position here, Joe Lacob texted me to say, ‘Congratulations,’ and ‘I’m glad you landed on your feet.’ “

Smart’s a nice guy. A really nice guy. He’s not going to talk about seeking revenge or set out to prove anyone wrong. But you have to believe this one means something to him. Playing against the team that let him go despite the improvements he made. Playing against the team that replaced him with a rookie who’s never coached before.

The Kings are probably going to be up for this game anyway. They’ve had a couple days off. It’s a NorCal rivalry. And they rarely face opponents with a record as bad as theirs. If that’s not enough, you know they’re going to bring it for Smart.

Watch how hard they play. What how into the game they are. Watch to see if they outwork, outenergy and outhustle the Warriors. That shouldn’t even be possible, considering the Warriors hold out hopes for the playoffs. But recent history shows it is entirely possible.

SMART (to SacBee): “New ownership came in and even with Joe Lacob saying, ‘Hey, we have our own guy,’ I understood that. I didn’t like it, because I would’ve loved to continue to build, but I had that feeling that it was going to probably change. New ownership, people want their own people, and when you pay $450 million for it, you do what you need to do with it. I just focused on doing my job, knowing what I need to do to coach in the NBA and prove that I can coach in the NBA.

Here are some other things to watch for tonight.

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Curry’s willingness to attack the basket: Since returning from his ankle injury, Curry has noticeably settled for outside shots.

Curry has attempted 28 3-pointers his last four games. The last time he took that many threes over a four-game stretch was in March 2011. The last time he took at least six 3-pointers in four straight games was his rookie year, when he did it over four games bridging January and February 2010.

The obvious reason is his conditioning isn’t on point – 15 consecutive days off will do that to you.

CURRY: “You can be in shape or what you think is in decent shape to play. But when it gets to the schedule we have and being ready in the fourth, that’s a process after missing so much time. So, I’m still working on being in shape for the minutes I’m playing. But I’m doing pretty well.”

Curry said initially he didn’t feel much of a difference after sitting out so long. His ankle still hurt, was still sore after games. But he’s played in the last four games – his longest stretch without an ankle incident this season.

He said his ankle doesn’t respond well after games. Though he doesn’t think about it during games, it dominates a lot of his focus between games – daily rehab and special treatment, trying to get rid of the soreness.

CURRY: “Hopefully us staying on top of it now and me continuing to play on it will help me get through this.  So, next year when I come back it will just be a normal ankle and I can keep going and keep pushing hard.”

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Warriors defense: The Sacramento Kings have one of the worst offenses in the league. They rank 30th in field goal percentage (39.9), 24th in points per game (90.6) and 29th in scoring differential (-11.7 points per game).

The Kings have scored in triple digits twice in 20 games, both times were victories (Lakers/Bucks).

Will the Kings’ poor offense come alive Golden State’s mediocre-at-best defense? The Warriors are 21st in field goal percentage defense (45 percent) and 28th in points allowed (99.72). Or will the Warriors defense take advantage of a limited offense?

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The dominance of Jason Thompson: He usually plays well against the Warriors. For his career, he averages 12 points and 10 rebounds. The only other team he averages a double-double against for his career is Philadelphia,

Keith Smart has started Thompson the last six games. He averaged 9.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in those games. He’s the kind of hyperactive, athletic bigs who tend to give the Warriors fits (he averages better than four offensive rebounds per game against the Warriors). He’s usually inconsistent, but if he’s on, he’s what Jackson calls a “motor guy.”

31

Andris Biedrins: “Maybe I Could Have a Little More Fun”

You could tell center Andris Biedrins was being extra careful choosing his words, calculating his responses. The veteran center doesn’t want to cause any discourse.

With that said, Biedrins tipped his hand about his thoughts regarding his role under new coach Mark Jackson. Biedrins is averaging a career-low 2.9 points per game. And his 16.5 minutes a night is the lowest since he became a regular starter in his third year. He rarely plays in the fourth quarter.

So what does he think about his role?

BIEDRINS: “I don’t know if that’s in my control. He’s the head coach, and he makes all of the decisions. I just have to do what he’s telling us to do.”

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26

With a “Different Motor,” Oklahoma City Cruises Past Warriors 120-109

Game story for tomorrow’s paper

The Warriors, on a given night, can beat any team in the NBA, so this year’s mantra goes.

Not when they turn the ball over 20 times. Not when they get outrebounded by 19. Not when two of their top scorers total 28 points on 11-for-33 shooting. That’s the kind of night the Warriors had against Oklahoma City, so it’s no wonder Golden State fell 120-109.

The Warriors (6-12) missed their chance to gain some much-needed momentum, which is exactly what beating the owners of the NBA’s best record would have done.

“We didn’t do it today,”Jacksonsaid. “They dominated us. … They dominated us.”

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0

What to Watch For – Game – 18

Safe to say Warriors point guard Stephen Curry likes playing against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged30.5 points against the Thunder last season, including 39 and 35 in Oklahoma City.

In seven career games against the Thunder, Curry averages 25.9 points on 58.6 percent shooting – which includes 21-for-39 from 3-point range. He also averages 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals. He would never say it, but I’d bet he relishes playing against Russell Westbrook, who many consider the standard for point guard converts. Perhaps it’s a bit of validation for all his haters, who love Westbrook but question Curry.

Of course, Curry may be looking for validation from Westbrook in other areas, such as his expected contract extension. Westbrook recently signed a five-year, $80 million extension with Oklahoma City. That begs the question: how much should Curry get?

CURRY: “There’s no point in talking about that right now. I want an extension. I want to be here. But right now I’m focused on helping our team win some games and getting us where we need to be. There will be a time to talk about that stuff, but that time is not now.”

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20

Warriors Send a Rook to the D-League (No, Not That Rook)

The Warriors are sending one of their rookies to the NBA Development League. Forward Chris Wright – and not Jeremy Tyler – is head to play for the Dakota Wizards.

Wright, signed as a free agent on Dec. 12, has appeared in just five games this season. He totaled 5 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes. It makes sense that the rookie out of Dayton is headed to the D-League. A super athlete who has the raw skills the Warriors like, he needs game experience more than anything.

Tyler, on the other hand, has game experience having played in Israel and China. What he needs is to learn the NBA game. Coach Mark Jackson said he has been happy with Tyler’s progress, which is why he rewarded Tyler with a season-high 8 minutes on Wednesday. The way Tyler played, I wouldn’t be surprised if he saw more such spurts.

 

10

Stephen Curry Lights it Up in Warriors’ Rebound Victory Over Portland

Game Story For Tomorrow’s Paper

Spend enough time around the Warriors and you’ll hear talk about how great they are on offense. Wednesday night against Portland, it actually was the truth.

Point guard Stephen Curry scored a game-high 32 points to go with seven assists and forward David Lee totaled 26 as Golden State bested the Blazers 101-93, rebounding from Monday’s embarrassing collapse against Memphis.

“We weren’t stressing about it at all, we just knew that we had an extreme lapse of play last game,” Curry said. “We know when we have the opportunity that we are capable of closing out games.”

The Warriors set season-highs with 33 assists and 11 3-pointers while snapping a three-game losing streak and getting their first win against a Western Conference opponent. The Warriors offense, which shot 51.9 percent, was clicking well enough against the Blazers that guard Monta Ellis didn’t even need to score.

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