Warriors 128, Mavericks 114: Curry bails out Kerr, who claims he didn’t have his team ready

As part of the pre-game customary opposing coach fluff, Rick Carlisle was asked to assess the Warriors’ All-Star backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He laid it on thick.

“We’ve never seen better shooters than these guys ever in this game,” Carlisle said, among other glowing verbal bouquets.

Unfortunately for Carlisle, his words proved prophetic. Even after Dallas had their best first quarter of the season — 42 points — and held a 22-point lead at one early juncture, 40-18, you just had a feeling this was the kind of swat in the nose that would get the Splash Brothers going.

And oh, did they splash. The Warriors made 19 of 38 3-point attempts (50 percent), and Curry and Thompson made 14 of them on just 26 tries. Curry, of course, made 10 himself and was 6-for-7 in his 26-point third quarter. He had another corner three nullified by an Andrew Bogut foul. Everything about Curry’s big night is in the game story here.

So we’ve had two third quarters for the ages in less than a month, and speaking of which, how does James Harden win NBA Player of the Month over Thompson when Thompson won Player of the Week twice, had the individual game of the season so far and the quarter for all time? Guess the league has to spread some of the love around, but really now.

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Warriors 106, Suns 87: Pence got the crowd going, but it was Andre Iguodala that got the Warriors going

Hunter Pence gave the Warriors a bit of a lift Saturday night at Oracle Arena. Sitting courtside next to owner Joe Lacob, the Giants’ outfielder was introduced during a timeout in the second quarter when Golden State wasn’t going so hot.

Pence smiled widely, stood up out of his seat, waved his arms and started shouting encouragement to the crowd. They responded with a thankful roar after a decidedly flat start to the game. It was probably coincidence, but the Warriors appeared to immediately play better the rest of the half, too, then they really kicked it gear in the third quarter.

No, Pence didn’t go to the locker room for one of his R-rated motivational speeches. The Warriors had plenty of speech-making going on among themselves, according to Andre Iguodala.

“When you lose like we did last night (in Utah) then have a tough start in the first half, you have to get it right,” Iguodala said. “Draymond (Green) has done a great job being the voice and letting guys know when it gets rough, that you just have to grind it out. Defensively is where it happens to get out of a rut.”

The Warriors definitely got out their defensive rut in the second half and it helped their sputtering offense get untracked as well. More than anybody, it was Iguodala leading the way, looking more spry and dynamic than he has in recent games.

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Bulls 113, Warriors 111 OT: Once again, unfortunately, we’re reminded Warriors can’t win it all without Bogut

First off, fabulous game at Oracle Arena Tuesday night. It was a Warriors’ loss, but Chicago came to play and the Warriors did, too. Except for one guy — Andrew Bogut, who begged out after lineup introductions with flu-like symptoms.

The Warriors win this game against the Bulls with Bogut, just as they would have beaten the L.A. Clippers in the playoffs last year with Bogut. The Warriors have seven losses all year, and five of them have come with Bogut out of the lineup.

So it should be readily apparent. The Warriors are clearly destined for a great season. They only have to go 24-15 the rest of the way to achieve a franchise record 60 wins. They’ll more than likely do better than that. They’ll have to stumble badly not to have the No. 1 seed in the West.

But in the final accounting, they’re still going to need Bogut to win it all, or even go deep into the playoffs. Without him, they are eventually going to run into a big team like the Bulls and get worn down inside without a rebounder/rim protector.

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Warriors 114, Celtics 111: All wins count the same, even if they aren’t always historic like the last one

Even if it wasn’t as historic as his 52-point night, Klay Thompson still fought through a grinder of a game and scored 31.

This was a game the Warriors would have lost last year. They didn’t know how to grind through an uninspired night. Remember Charlotte? Remember Minnesota? Remember Cleveland, before they brought back LeBron? The Warriors lost 14 games at Oracle Arena last season under Mark Jackson and half of those losses were to lightweights.

Golden State’s meeting with Boston Sunday very easily could have been one of those kinds of trap games. A hangover seemed imminent following the extreme emotion expended during Klay Thompson’s miraculous 37-point quarter and 52-point game Friday night against Sacramento. The Warriors didn’t even practice Saturday. With a 5 p.m. start, they also skipped their morning shootaround Sunday.

The Celtics, meanwhile, came into Oracle bolstered by road wins at Denver and Portland despite their 15-26 overall record. And they played pretty well.

But the Warriors somehow found a way to grind out yet another victory, their 36th in 42 games and 19th in a row at home. They’re that good now, even when they’re not that good on a given day.

“We’re going to start getting some closer games against some tough teams,” said Andrew Bogut. “The next game (against Chicago on Tuesday) is going to be very tough at home. Getting ready for the playoffs, we have to get used to executing under pressure. Tonight we didn’t do a good job of that, especially late. These kinds of games help us address some things now, so it’s kind of a good thing.”

In other words, it was a bit of a wakeup call that didn’t require losing to be shaken a bit. As sluggish and unemotional as the performance was, the Warriors led the entire way. Coach Steve Kerr called it “workmanlike” and wasn’t distressed at all. He knows as a former player that these are the “dog days” right before the All-Star break and it’s tough to be fired up for a losing team with limited weaponry.

So in that respect, the win was impressive. Here’s the game story providing more details of the Warriors’ grind-it-out win, as well as Tim Kawakami’s column on how the Warriors are trying to fight complacency as they win game after game.

Not a night anyone will remember forever, but one that should be remembered as it relates to even last year, when the Warriors weren’t as capable to succeed on an off night.


Warriors 122, Nuggets 79: Rejuvenated Livingston at the center of deepest bench onslaught yet

On a day where every Warrior who took the floor had something good to write home about in a 122-79 waxing of Denver, Sean Livingston might have been able to craft the deepest list of laurels.

The Warriors’ backup point guard was on the floor running the show Monday for all but a few seconds of the 22-2 second-quarter run that turned a 7-point lead into a 27-point bulge and made the 16th straight Oracle Arena victory a total laugher by halftime.

Livingston was also on the floor for the entire fourth quarter as the guiding hand for a patchwork lineup of reserves that shot 70.6 percent and outscored the Nuggets 33-19 when things just as easily could have gotten totally out of control.

Livingston’s own stat line for the day was pretty sweet, too – 6 for 6 from the field for 12 points, plus three assists, three steals and zero turnovers in 23 minutes. It was his first double-figure line in the last 14 Warriors games after a mid-December stretch when he played a very high level and it seemed almost criminal he had to come off the bench.

Of all the things he did Monday, Livingston was most proud of being the floor leader during those 12 minutes of fourth quarter garbage time with a lineup that included primarily Leandro Barbosa, Brandon Rush, Justin Holiday and a guy making his NBA debut, James Michael McAdoo. That was a novel lineup even for coach Steve Kerr, who was tried just about every roster permutation over the first 39 games.

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Warriors 116, Cavaliers 94: Too much in the tank at the finish for other teams to cope

Mark Jackson got his due, but he’s part of the past now, as the Warriors have moved on to bigger and better things.

One look at the final score and one might assume, “OK, another blowout win.” But it really wasn’t, and a lot of the Warriors’ double-digit victories haven’t been. This was grind-out game, against a Cleveland team that’s not bad even without LeBron James hanging within six points with five minutes to go.

But here’s what happens when you can play 10 guys and given them at least 13 minutes apiece as Steve Kerr did Friday night — you have a finishing kick. While the opposition is sucking wind just to stay in the game, the Warriors’ best players are fresh to finish the job.

The fourth quarter margins in the last five games: 30-23, 29-21, 33-26, 33-25 again and Friday night 28-18. The only exception on this 6-0 homestand was the first game against Minnesota in which Golden State finished the job in the third quarter then played a quarter of garbage time.

The Warriors are simply wearing down teams with their depth over the first 40 or so minutes then bludgeoning them with their defense and 3-point shooting at the finish. Moreover, you’ve got several players, notably Steph Curry and Draymond Green, who sense the kill and know how to finish. Curry and Green were both dynamite down the stretch, as usual, and Green, despite having an awful shooting night, still nearly wound up with a triple double — 10 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocks.

“That’s the beauty of Draymond is that he doesn’t need to make his shots to make a huge impact on the game,” said Steve Kerr. “His energy in the second half, I thought, really took over. It changed the game. His rebounding is incredible.”

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Warriors 117, Pacers 102: With Bogut back, Kerr has a new problem: too many performing players, too little time to give them

Klay Thompson goes for two of what seemed like an easy 40.

Draymond Green said it best: “Coach has some problems now. We don’t.”

Indeed, Steve Kerr has a pleasant problem of trying to find enough time for all the players who are playing well and want time and need time to continue being effective. It’s not going to be easy keeping everybody happy with a roster that got deeper with Andrew Bogut’s Wednesday night return, and one that will be ridiculous once Festus Ezeli returns soon from a sprained ankle.

“We have a lot of guys that can play and a lot of guys that are playing at a high level, but only so many minutes to go around,” Kerr said after the Warriors’ hard-fought win that was closer for a good long while than the final result indicated. “I told our players the sacrifice that they are going to have to make will not be easy. But they have to make it if we are going to be good. From one night to the next, it might be your night and it might not be. They have to accept that.”

With a 28-5 record, everybody’s saying the right thing right now. But egos are bound to be bruised as Kerr tries to juggle this deep roster. Rusty Simmons of the Chronicle offered a terrific Twitter post, noting that the Warriors might have had one of the highest-paid reserve front lines in history on this night with Bogut, David Lee and Andre Iguodala all coming off the bench. Indeed, that was quite a sight to see.

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