12

Game 48 rewind: Warriors earn no-styles-points-required victory

Style points are nice. We like big, easy wins. They are easy on deadlines, fun for the fans, and good for the bench to get some playing time. Right now, it seems those are only coming when the Warriors play against top-four teams in the Western Conference.

Tonight’s game was a time where you could brush aside the style points. I think we all saw a game like this coming. Fresh off a back-to-back, fresh off an emotional wins it’s a game that is a prime candidate for a letdown. And for about 3 1/2 quarters, that’s what it looked like.

The first 10 minutes of the game were good, when the Warriors established a 23-14 lead. But the Jazz got back in it with a 12-0 run and really controlled the play all the way until midway through the fourth quarter. With David Lee out with issues with his shoulder and his hip, the Warriors needed to find extra scoring. They didn’t.

Andrew Bogut was the one guy who did deliver, pouring in 16 points, grabbing 17 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals. But outside of him, it was all Stephen Curry and nobody else. Curry had a season-high 44 points. He made 14 of 26 from the field and 8 of 13 from 3-point range. He and Bogut combined to go 22 of 39 — that’s 56.4 percent. The rest of the team: a putride 11 of 49 for 22.4 percent.

Klay Thompson had an awful night offensively. He scored 11 points — the only other player besides Curry and Bogut in double figures — but that came on 3 of 20 shooting. He managed to make just 1 of 14 shots from INSIDE the 3-point arc.

So how did Golden State win? It only turned the ball over nine times and turned it up defensively in the second half. The Warriors allowed just 19 points in the fourth quarter and showed why coach Mark Jackson preaches playing defensive basketball. They won a game despite making only 37.5 percent of their shots, even with their opponent hitting nearly 48.

Under different circumstances, you could lament this win for not being more convincing against a bad opponent. Do the Warriors get a complete pass for winning ugly? No. You’d like to see them dominate teams more, even on a back-to-back. But as Andrew Bogut said, “A win in this league is like gold. You’ve got to cherish it no matter who it’s against.” Or how it comes.

 

0

David Lee (shoulder, hip) out vs. Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY — Warriors forward David Lee will not play Friday night against the Utah Jazz, with his sprained left shoulder and an ailing hip leading to his absence.

Coach Mark Jackson made no mention of Lee’s absence when speaking before the game but Lee told the San Francisco Chronicle that he won’t be able to play tonight after testing out the shoulder and hip before the game. Harrison Barnes will start in his place.

Lee sprained the shoulder Jan. 20 against the Indiana Pacers and had played through the pain in the four games since. But this is the first time playing games on back-to-back nights since suffering the injury and he told the Chronicle that he wasn’t able to get the necessary anti-inflammatory injection on the road. His injury came during the first game of a five-game home stand.

Lee is averaging 19.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Warriors.

3

Motivated Warriors deliver strong statement in routing the Clippers

OAKLAND — The Warriors were fired up tonight about not having come into games with fire at times this homestand, leading to some bad losses.

Harrison Barnes told the team’s TV production crew a day after the loss to Wizards that it was “embarrassing.” Andrew Bogut described a shootaround before the game as “rough,” as players and coaches alike expressed their opinions on what was happening.

Then the Warriors came out and blasted the Clippers. There were no technical fouls and not much chippiness. It was just a beatdown, with Golden State dominating on both ends of the floor.

For a night, Stephen Curry didn’t have to carry the team on his back. The bench once again played well. After three quarters, a heated rivalry game was all but decided with the Warriors building a large lead and the weary Clippers accepting their fate.

“The energy was bad,” Blake Griffin said.

“Everybody has to play games like this; coming off a seven-game road trip, go home, fly here, back-to-back. It’s tough, but everybody has to do it, and we just didn’t have it tonight. They played better than us.”

Nights at Oracle Arena like this one should take place more often, based on just plain common sense. The Warriors have plenty of talent and can dominate teams, even the one at the top of the division. It just hasn’t happened with consistency. Maybe it took a lackluster homestand to drive that point home?

Either way, the team continues to respond when challenged by coach Mark Jackson, who in turn praised the makeup of the locker room. The pieces are certainly there. And now, those pieces appear to realize wins against lesser teams don’t just come from showing up to the arena.

Tonight, a statement was simply delivered on what a Warriors peak performance looks like.

4

Report: Warriors’ David Lee passed over as Western Conference All-Star Game reserve

OAKLAND — Warriors forward David Lee was left off a list of seven All-Star reserves who earned selections Thursday to play for the Western Conference in the All-Star game in New Orleans on Feb. 16, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

Lee had been hoping to be named an All-Star for the second straight season and third time overall. He has averaged 19 points and 9.8 rebounds this season.

There remains a chance Lee could make the team if he is named by the NBA commissioner as an injury replacement for a player unable to participate, with Western Conference starter Kobe Bryant being one such player. Lee was initially snubbed in 2010 while with the New York Knicks before being named to the squad as an injury replacement.

The Warriors will be represented in the game by guard Stephen Curry, who was voted by the fans as a Western Conference starter. Second-year forward Harrison Barnes has been named to the Rising Stars Challenge roster for a game to be played Feb. 14.

5

Barnes to play in Rising Stars Challenge; Jackson jabs himself on his own cliche machine

It wasn’t announced until well after piractice, but forward Harrison Barnes was selected to participate in the NBA All-Star Weekend Rising Stars Challenge Feb. 14 in New Orleans, the league announced.

Despite an up-and-down season, Barnes is averaging 10.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 42 games, while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from 3-point range.

A first-team all-rookie in 2012-13, Barnes was voted by the fans to start in the Rising Stars Challenge last season, tallying 12 points in 19 minutes. Barnes will be the third Warrior to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge as both a rookie and second-year player, joining Curry (2010 & 2011) and Jason Richardson (2002 & 2003).

On Jan. 5, two days after Chris Paul went down with a separated shoulder, the Warriors and Clippers were tied in the Pacific Division standings at 22-13. Paul is still out, but since Jan. 5, the Clippers are 9-2 (5-2 on a current 8-game road trip that concludes with the Warriors Thursday) while Golden State, playing 6 of 10 at home, are 4-6. Hence, the Warriors need this game desperately against L.A., now trailing the division leaders by 4 1/2 games.

No other place for this amusing note but here, but Mark Jackson got so caught up in his own cliches after practice Wednesday, he actually caught himself. I had asked him after the 10-game winning streak whether it has been frustrating to fall into a one step forward/two steps back pattern of late. His answer:

“It’s a process,” he said. “We’re a confident bunch that refuses to let go of the rope, so at the end of the day … um, I sound like I just hit `bingo’ there.” It prompted a good laugh. Columnist Marcus Thompson noted that one of his own Twitter followers has actually devised a bingo board of Jackson’s pet phrases. Pretty sure that one would have been a winner.

8

Game 46 rewind: Warriors fans bring the energy nightly, so why don’t the Warriors?

OAKLAND — Warriors fans became a topic of discussion after the team’s 88-85 loss to the .500 Washington Wizards.

Andrew Bogut said it appeared as if the Warriors at times expect their raucous crowd to go out and win a game for them rather than the players holding up their end.

Coach Mark Jackson praised the Oracle atmosphere as well, noting that opposing teams get motivated to play in front of that hostile environment.

“The teams that we’re facing — the Washington Wizards — at home, they’re not playing in front of 20,000 people,” Jackson said. “When teams come into this building, they’re playing in front of 20,000 people going crazy, supportive. There’s bright lights, and they’re ready to play. And when you give teams life, you’re going to have to deal with them.”

Said Andre Iguodala: “Teams coming in here, they’re not sleeping on us anymore.”

The Warriors have repaid their home crowds with an underwhelming 13-8 record, which is the worst among the Western Conference’s top eight teams.

Fans too often have quietly walked out of “Roaracle” after Warriors lost games they should have won, and that’s a trend Jackson would like to stop.

It’s just that right now, they’re playing Whac-A-Mole when it comes to putting together a complete game. Golden State just in the past week has given up 121 points to Minnesota and lost. They started focusing on defense and still lost while limiting Washington to 88 points. If it’s not the bench struggle to provide support, it’s the starters all of a sudden getting into an offensive funk.

Intensity was one issue Jackson spoke of even though the crowd brings it every night. Iguodala conceded that it gets inconsistent in stretches.

“We made a point to make it known that just because we’re at home, we’re not just going to win games automatically,” Stephen Curry said. “Obviously we didn’t learn that lesson quick enough.”

5

Warriors’ Harrison Barnes says he has confidence, but needs consistency

OAKLAND — Struggling Warriors forward Harrison Barnes was asked to describe or grade his overall performance this season heading into the All-Star break and replied that it was a tough question.

“Obviously personally, probably not that high because one thing I wanted to focus on coming into the season was consistency,” Barnes said. “I haven’t been able to accomplish that, but as a team, we’ve been able to do well.

“We lost some games we should have won, but overall, we’re still doing well. We’re still battling. I think this team still has a great shot to accomplish our goals.”

While exclusively playing off the bench this month, Barnes has shot 35 percent from the field and averaged 6.7 points per game. Coach Mark Jackson has indicated Barnes is fully healthy.

The second-year player on Friday against Minnesota had an open look to hit a game-winning shot off a pass from Stephen Curry and missed.

“It’s a shot I’ve made a lot of times, so I feel confident taking it,” said Barnes, who committed three turnovers and scored two points in the 121-120 loss to the Timberwolves.

Barnes said he has maintained confidence in his shot despite seeing his shooting percentage dip from his rookie season.

“I feel good,” he said. “Coming in to do work every single day, putting in the time, so I’m confident shots will go in.”

For more analysis on what the expectations should be for Barnes, check out Marcus Thompson’s column from today’s paper.