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Warriors Defense Not Looking So Good vs. Clippers

Remember the suffocating, play-making defense the Warriors displayed in blowing out the Lakers on Wednesday? Apparently, it was stuck in traffic on the way to Los Angeles.

Or maybe Chris Paul is just that good.

The All-NBA point guard torched Golden State for 18 points and nine assists in the first half. The Clippers took a 68-55 lead into the locker room after shooting 51.1 percent the first two quarters.

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Sources: Clippers Break Tradition and Refuse to Have Chapel With Warriors

It’s a long-standing tradition for Christians on both teams to have chapel together. Each NBA arena offers this service to the players, and there is usually one time and one room.

That wasn’t the case Thursday.

According to multiple sources, the Warriors were surprisingly given a separate, earlier, time for their own chapel services. The Clippers held their own private chapel.

“Man, they don’t want to have chapel with us?” one team source asked. “I never heard that before, but OK.”

The bad blood between the Clippers and Warriors extend back to last season, when Golden State took 3 of 4 against Los Angeles. One of the biggest victories of the last season was an upset of the Clippers at Staples Center in the third game of the season. It was the game after Brandon Rush was lost for the season with a knee injury, and the Warriors responded with a spirited performance.

The Clippers took exception to the Warriors’ celebration antics.

Once, the Warriors bench went crazy laughing at Blake Griffin clanking a 3-pointer off the side of the backboard in Oracle. Another time, a few Clippers expressed dislike of Curry’s galloping down court after a big three-pointer late in another win.

Several members of the Warriors organization took that as a continuation of last year’s heated rivalry.

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Game 1 Rewind: Warriors Smash on Kobe Bryant-less Lakers

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 7.06.00 AMAfter all the preseason hype, all the talk of high expectations, many presumed the Warriors to come out and struggled. Especially after the Lakers thumped the much-ballyhooed Clippers on opening night, a let down wouldn’t have been surprising.

But that didn’t come close to happening Wednesday night.

The Warriors, instead, made an emphatic statement, beating the Lakers125-94 at Oracle on Wednesday.  Was the statement that Golden State is for real? Or was it that the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers are really bad?

Perhaps it’s too early to answer that definitively. But it certainly looked different.

These Warriors smelled blood and pounced. They went for the jugular of a vulnerable team — playing without Steve Nash on the second night of a back-to-back — like you’d expect from a legit contender.

Maybe it was the energy of the season opener. Or maybe they fed off the passion in the arena whenever the Lakers come to town. Or maybe this is just who they are.

“We understand we’re going to have to have a lot of energy at home,” Andre Iguodala said. “I’ve been in a situation where I’ve won a lot of home games. (Last year with Denver, we) had the best home record in the NBA. Still, you’ve got to take care of business on the road. Energy gets you wins at home, but its how you go on the road, compete against the top-tier teams.”

The Warriors will have a chance to do that tonight against the host Los Angeles Clippers.

Before then, here’s the season debut of the game rewind …

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David Lee: ‘It’s got to start for me on the defensive end’

Warriors forward David Lee has established himself offensively. In three seasons with Golden State, he’s averaged 18.2 points on 51 percent shooting.

He feels the same about his rebounding, having averaged 10.3 boards per game as a Warrior.

“I’m going into my ninth season,” Lee said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “Offensively and rebounding, you know what you’re going to get from me.”

But Lee has his mind set on taking his play to a different level. And the most obvious area of improvement is on the defensive end.

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UPDATED: Harrison Barnes to Miss First Two Games; Klay Thompson Named Starter

Second-year forward Harrison Barnes will miss at least the first two games of the season, coach Mark Jackson announced after Tuesday’s practice.

The left foot inflammation that has kept Barnes out of the last three weeks is still bothering him. Jackson said he’s made progress, but not enough to play.

“He’s doing things now without pain,” Jackson said. “But we want to get closer to when he was 100 percent healthy — practicing, running with no issues. There are some restrictions right now and, because of that, it makes no sense to throw him out there tomorrow night.”

The team hasn’t revealed the details of Barnes’ injury — such as what’s causing the inflammation, how it happened, how its being treated or how long Barnes could be out — which is usually up to the player. But it’s serious enough to keep him on the shelf, which is unnerving news for diehard Warriors fans.

Tuesday, Barnes could be seen smiling, shooting free throws and walking around without a limp. Jackson said Barnes, who missed just one game last season as a rookie, is making progress but some movements still cause him pain.

When and if Barnes does return to action, he will do so as the sixth man as Jackson also announced Klay Thompson will remain a starter.

Jackson previously said he was deciding between Thompson and Barnes. The first two preseason games, Jackson brought Thompson off the bench to see how it would work. Jackson never got a chance to see how Barnes fit off the bench, but he’s seen enough.

So your Golden State Warriors starters: Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut.

“That’s my starting five,” Jackson said. “I don’t want to cheat those guys. They’ve earned it.”

Barnes — being dubbed a rising star after his breakout playoff performance — didn’t make a strong case to be a starter. Hobbled by an ailing left foot, he totaled just 34 minutes of action in two games, checking out for good in the first quarter of a home game on Oct. 7. In his short stint, he managed just 10 points on 3 of 18 shooting with five turnovers.

Thompson, who came off the bench in three of the seven exhibition games, led the Warriors in scoring during the preseason. He averaged 16.9 points on 44.5 percent shooting.

“It’s just a role I’m comfortable with,” said Thompson, who has started 121  “It’s just basketball. Coming off the bench or starting, it doesn’t matter. I know me and Harrison can help the team win and be successful. So I’m not too worried about it.”

That leaves the Warriors bench with some serious holes, especially for the first couple games. With no Thompson or Barnes coming off the bench, the second unit will be short offensive punch.

Jackson said he didn’t know who would get the minutes. That, he said, would be determined by the situation.

“It depends on the flow of the game,” Jackson said. “Who I think needs a breather or who I think would help us in that juncture of the game. Normally when we’re healthy and whole, it would be Harrison. Right now, it could be anybody between Jermaine (O’Neal), Draymond (Green), Mo (Speights), Toney (Douglas). It just depends on the flow of the game.”

Perhaps the most likely scenario is heavy minutes for the starters. Instead of playing four reserves with one starter, Jackson could just mix in a reserve or two here and there with the starters. That keeps his best players on the floor.

That’s merely a stop gap, though. Even when Barnes returns, there are questions about how effective he can be coming off the bench. The former high school sensation and North Carolina star has never been a reserve. And in his short career, he’s had bouts with consistency.

Will coming off the bench, and being the top option of the offense, be a position he can thrive? Or will his confidence take a hit from the demotion?

“Harrison will look to build on a standout rookie year and embrace the role,” Jackson said. “I truly believe he can flourish in that role.”

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Warriors GM Bob Myers Adds Another Feather to Cap

Clearly, Bob Myers is good at this part. Bargain hunting. Negotiating. Working the angles. You don’t pull off this many favorable deals unless you have a knack for it.

Myers’ latest stunt is locking up Andrew Bogut with an incentive-laced deal. The three-year, $36 million contract extension, which Bogut signed Friday, can get up to $41.4 million. But make no mistake, in a league thirsty for big men, this could turn out to be incredible value.

Andrew Bogut showed in the postseason on one foot he was better than JaVale McGee and Tiago Splitter. If he stays healthy and plays well enough to earn his incentives, the Warriors would still be saving money as Bogut could go for upwards of $16 million a year on the market.

It’s not surprising this is Myers’ strength, being a former agent at all. But this skill of his blings like gold teeth in the context of a franchise infamous for its contract dealings. Warriors fans are used to general managers overpaying for players no one really wants. Myers, on the other hand, seems to have this ability to gauge value then use the angles to knock the price down a tad.

It takes some moxie to assume these risks, to stomach the anxiety of not knowing if certain ankles will disintegrate. If you’re afraid to be wrong, you don’t give up your star for an Andrew Bogut, and Curry is getting ready to open the season for the Bobcats right now.

It takes some analytical skills to gauge the reward and its probability. Digesting the statistical prowess of Kirk Lacob and the eye-test of Travis Schlenk, the instincts of Joe Lacob, and seeing how it all fits in the grand scheme.

It takes some self-assuredness to draw these conclusions outside the sphere of public relations, and some humility to not come across to players as egomaniacal. Being governed by insecurity and public opinion has led to some whoppers from the Warriors’ front office.

On top of that, you’ve got to have a healthy respect for and from players. They don’t take less money unless. They especially don’t take less they feel disrespected, or you’re out to hustle them. These negotiations go nowhere if the Warriors’ initial offer was at $8 or $9 million.

This all played out in the Bogut talks. Myers let Bogut know they wanted to re-sign him after the playoffs, a confession that was music to the ears of a player bordering depression. Even with that vote of confidence, Bogut was examined relentlessly. They negotiated for weeks, hammering out gives and takes.

But this is, clearly, what Myers is good at, waltzing on these fine lines, massaging the nuances. That’s the only way you get Stephen Curry at $11 million a year, which by all counts is a deal worthy of QVC. The only you way you get Jarrett Jack as an add-on in some footnote trade, or land Andre Iguodala for less than what the market was paying — with nothing but little-used reserves and late first-round picks as assets.

Certainly, Myers has some shortcomings as general manager. Try as he might, he hasn’t been able to land the big splash yet (Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, LeBron James). That Pat Riley-esque salesman quality perhaps needs some developing. And, though he’s proven he can usher a team into relevancy, it’s an unknown whether he can build a champion.

And maybe his approach cost him something more important than he knows in Jarrett Jack. No doubt, this Mark Jackson contract situation has a certain level of tension brewing and is worth watching.

But what you don’t have to worry about with Myers is him getting fleeced. No $50 million to Corey Maggette, or $40 million to Adonal Foyle. (Almost $40 million to DeAndre Jordan, but that’s not quite as bad). No $120 million offers to Gilbert Arenas. Such is even more paramount under this new CBA, where one bad contract can confine a team to a division cellar.

What you can expect, as we’ve learned, is for all the angles to be worked by a professional at snuffing out a bargain. So far, that’s been leading to good things for the Warriors.

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Some Details Regarding Andrew Bogut Extension

The Warriors thought it was too much a risk to let Andrew Bogut hit the free agent market.

They knew if he had a stellar season, he could be too rich for their blood next offseason. But they also knew they wanted him as the center of the near future, the anchor to go with the core they have assembled. With that in mind, Golden State accepted the risk and gave Bogut the extension. He is now under contract the next four seasons (he’s due to become a free agent the summer before the Warriors are hoping to move into their dream arena).

Here are the details about the contract I have been able to gather through sources:

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