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David Lee Finishes the Victory Dominic McGuire Inspired; Warriors win 85-82

Game story for tomorrow’s paper

ATLANTA– Warriors forward David Lee converted the game-winning basket in the Warriors’ 85-82 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Guard Monta Ellis had the standout numbers, as his 24 points and eight assists were both game-highs.

But the star of Golden State’s bounce-back win was forward Dominic McGuire. Starting in place of injured point guard Stephen Curry (sprained right foot), McGuire made a definitive impact on the game.

And he didn’t score a point.

His 15 rebounds, his season-high, helped Golden State win the battle of the boards (53-50). His defense helped hold Joe Johnson to 18 points on 17 shots with three turnovers. His willingness to roll up his sleeves and mix it up helped play with a gritty, urgent swagger they needed after getting embarrassed at Indiana on Tuesday.

“Dominic McGuire embodies everything we’ve preached about from Day 1,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “I thought it was important to make a statement and start the guy who has done everything we’ve asked him to do. I knew exactly what I was going to get from him. Great defense, going after every rebound, and chasing down all the loose balls.”

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35

In Exchange for Monta Ellis, Warriors Not Interested in Any Magic Player Not Named Dwight

Multiple team sources said Golden State is NOT interested in trading Monta Ellis to Orlando unless the trade would involve Dwight Howard.

Sources did confirm Orlando has expressed an interest in trying to acquire Ellis to pair with Howard, as ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported. Ellis was previously listed as someone Howard would like to play with. But the Warriors aren’t interested in any other player the Magic has to offer, especially not in exchange for Ellis.

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7

Warriors PG Stephen Curry (sprained right foot) Will Miss Second Straight Game

UPDATE: Warriors coach Mark Jackson threw a twist in the lineup. Instead of starting Charles Jenkins, or Nate Robinson, Jackson gave the nod to Dominic McGuire.

Here’s why it makes sense: Monta Ellis is about the only Warriors who can keep up with Jeff Teague, the Hawks’ second-year point guard who is bursting at the seams. Joe Johnson is playing after all, and the Warriors would do well to put some size on him, so Dorell Wright might work. The biggest match-up problem is perhaps Josh Smith. So the Warriors can put their best defender on him: Dominic McGuire.

That leaves a question mark for the second unit, and may lead to some limitations on offense. But Jackson has finally sat down at the chess table instead of going with the “if we do what we’re supposed to do” approach. That’s something, right?

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was ruled out for tonight’s game at Atlanta. He tested his sprained right foot before during pre-game warm-ups. He said he felt good, but the decision was made to sit him out.

That is now two straight games Curry has missed because of a sprained deltoid ligament in his right foot. He initially sustained the injury Feb. 22 atPhoenix. He sat out the entire second half.

Curry has now missed 11 of the Warriors’ 32 games. Nine of those games was for a sprained right ankle. Since he is sitting out tonight, Curry will have eight full days off since the injury Friday’s game atPhiladelphia. He is still listed as day-to-day.

Who should start in Curry’s place? Charles Jenkins is usually the guy. But he was ineffective last game against Darren Collison. Should he get the nod tonight against the Hawks’ Jeff Teague, saving Nate Robinson for the DubStitutes? Or should Nate get the start?

 

7

To Warriors PG Stephen Curry, Sitting Out Long Term Isn’t an Option

Before Tuesday’s game, just to see his reaction, I asked Stephen Curry a question I already knew the answer to. And I was correct in my presumption. The conversation went something like this (paraphrased):

Me: Would you sit out for an extended period to rest your ankle and take one for the team?

Curry: What you mean?

Me: Well, if you’re out a while, it’s going to be that much harder to get wins. If you finish in the top 7 in the lottery, the Warriors get to keep the pick.  So you sitting out could help the team get more talent.

Curry: (Irritated look, like why would I even ask him that) No. That doesn’t even make sense.

The hypothetical conversation illustrated where Curry stands regarding his foot injury. He’s not trying to sit out. Shutting it down, taking a month off, however you put it, he isn’t trying to hear that. That’s good to hear in a franchise who’s had a few players shut it down for lesser reasons. That’s not good news for those of you hoping the Warriors tank to keep their pick.

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9

PG Stephen Curry Forced to Sit and Watch Warriors’ Blowout Loss at Pacers

Game story for tomorrow’s paper

INDIANAPOLIS – After the way Golden State played Tuesday without point guard Stephen Curry, getting down by as much as 33 en route to a 102-78 loss at Indiana, the obvious question becomes how long will Curry be out?

“That’s an excuse,”Jacksonsaid regarding impact of Curry’s absence. “We were bad tonight.”

As Curry sat and watched thanks to a sprained right foot, the Warriors set a season-low with 34.1 percent shooting. They totaled more turnovers (16) than assists (15) while failing to score 80 points for just the second time this season.

Golden State didn’t get the big games it needed from its other stars. Guard Monta Ellis finished with 14 points on 7 of 19 shooting with five turnovers and forward David Lee need 11 shots to get 12 points and turned the ball over five times.

The other three starters – forward Dorell Wright, center Andris Biedrins and point guard Charles Jenkins – combined to shoot 1-for-15.

“Just a bad game by all of us, all the way across the board,” Lee said. “Like coach said, if anyone thought they played well tonight, they’re kidding themselves.”

Tuesday suggested the Warriors chances of making a playoff run without Curry. Such leaves the Warriors in a tough spot. Forcing Curry to sit an extended period to rest his right wheel just might doom Golden State to a season-killing losing streak. (That may not be the worst thing to many Warriors fans since the Warriors get to keep their first round pick if they are top seven in the lottery). However, playing Curry could prolong the woes he’s been having with his right heel.

Still, the consensus seems to be that Curry will only need a couple more days. He tried to play Tuesday but in pre-game workouts, he couldn’t fully plant and pivot. He said he will test his foot before Wednesday’s game at Atlanta.

Warriors general manager Larry Riley said the team isn’t yet considering shutting Curry down for an extended period. He said the doctors aren’t recommending such and everyone is encouraged since the deltoid ligament Curry sprained is not the same surgically repaired part of his ankle.

However, Jackson said Curry won’t be playing until his foot is healed.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to use wisdom and make sure he’s 100 percent healthy.”

Curry scoffed at any notion of sitting out an extended period, saying he’ll rest in the offseason. He said the day after the injury, which he sustained in the first quarter of a Feb. 22 win at Phoenix, doctors told him he needed to sit out a week.

He has no plans to sit out much longer than that.

“I am trusting the fact that I’m doing everything I can do,” Curry said. “I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s just an unfortunate situation that something keeps happening.”

It appeared the Warriors could have really used Curry, especially when the game got away from them. Golden State trailed 44-38 late in the second quarter. But Indiana closed the half with an 8-0 run, including three layups, to take a 52-38 lead into the locker room. The Warriors went 0-for-5 with three turnovers over the last 3:15.

It took just over three minutes for the Pacers to put the game away. Golden State gave up a 10-2 run to start the third quarter. During that span of 3:07, the Warriors went 1 for 5 shooting with three turnovers. A putback dunk by Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert gave Indiana a 62-40 lead early in the third.

It only got worse from there as Golden State showed little fight. Jackson said he was disappointed his team let its poor offense carry over to the defensive end.

“Embarrassing,”Jackson said. “We got outworked. We got thoroughly outplayed.”

The timing of Tuesday’s dud probably couldn’t be worse since Golden State was expecting to make a push. The Warriors appeared zapped of all the momentum they’d gained by winning five of eight before the All-Star break, capped with the emotional road win over Phoenix.

Watching his team lose usually gives Curry more of an itch to get back on the court. However, he said he fights the urge to rush back by taking a big-picture perspective.

No, not that perspective, the one that involves losing big, retaining their first-round pick and adding a rookie stud to the mix. No doubt, losing Curry for a significant stretch could help that cause.

But the big-picture perspective Curry is referring to involves him being on the court soon.

“I played 80 games my rookie year and 74 my second year,” Curry said. “I’ve only missed 10 games this year. It’s not like I’m missing half a season because I’m plagued with injuries. In the grand scheme of things, if I miss a couple of games, come back and play well, no one will remember these games.”

 

* The Warriors poor shooting performance Tuesday is one for the record books. They shot season lows from the field (34.1 percent) and from the 3-point line, where they missed 19 of 22 ( (13.6 percent).

The last time the Warriors shot that poorly from the field was March 27, 2010. They made a third of their shots in a home loss to Dallas. The last time they shot that poorly from 3-point range was Feb. 7, 2011. They went 2-for-18 from deep in a home game vs.Phoenix.

 

* Certainly, it wasn’t the return Brandon Rush had envisioned, at least the part where his team got run out of the gym. But Rush’s performance showed just why the Warriors are happy they acquired him from the Pacers.

Rush — in his first game back at Indiana, the team that acquired him on draft day in 2008 — finished with 14 points on 6 of 11 shooting with seven rebounds in 36 minutes. The league leader in 3-point percentage made half of his four attempts.

“We’d love to have him back (next year),” Jackson said of Rush, who would become a restricted free agent after this season if Warriors extend qualifying offer. “He’s carved a niche of who he is and how he can be a helpful part of a winning situation.”

Rush said he feels free to play his game with the Warriors. Coming off the bench with Golden State, Rush said he’s not a better player than he was with the Pacers. But he acknowledged his shot is falling at a career pace and he’s doing some of the small things.

He did say, however, he doesn’t have the pressure on him with the Warriors that he experienced in Indiana.

“I’m capitalizing on a great opportunity,” Rush said. “At times (in Indiana) I was starting, then coming off the bench. It was so inconsistent, and my play was inconsistent.”

* With Curry out, Jackson turned back to his rookie point guard and not heavily used reserve guard Nate Robinson.

But Charles Jenkins, who has played sparingly since he started eight straight games back in January, didn’t look to be the same effective floor general.

Jenkins played 18  minutes, missing all five of his shots. He did fill out the stat sheet, recording two rebounds and two assists with a steal, a turnover and a block.

He didn’t look as confident on the floor — which could be expected since he appeared in only seven of the last 16 games, totaling 27 minutes. But Jenkins did all he could to stay ready.

He comes in four hours early before every game to get up shots and prep for game situations. He diligently watches film of each opponent as if he’s starting.

“I just like playing,” Jenkins said. “I like any chance I get to get on the floor, any chance to help the team, whether it’s two minutes or 20.”

11

What Are Your Keys to the Warriors’ Second Half of the Season?

The Warriors are set to kick off the second half of the season tonight. Many a Warrior fans think the Warriors should tank the season and finish in the bottom seven, keeping their first round pick. But how many are eyeing a post-season berth considering the Warriors are just three games back with 36 to play?

Presuming the latter, that you want the Warriors to make a charge for the playoffs, what do they need to do to get it done? Here are my keys. But I’m much more interested in yours.

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