Lots of talk about the Warriors. Former players taking shots at their throne. Critics questioning their place in history.
Even point guard Stephen Curry is getting annoyed.
He isn’t alone. Mary Babers-Green, mother of All-Star Draymond Green, is getting annoyed by the criticism, too. She penned this letter, an exclusive to Bay Area News Group:
WHO ARE WE ALL WATCHING?
That’s right the GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS! Last year was supposedly a fluke. Critics were talking, calling it luck, attributing Warriors success to other team’s injuries. But, as I was always told, a WIN IS A WIN. Whether it’s by 1 point or by 50, a win is a win. And in the case of the Warriors, a CHAMPIONSHIP IS A CHAMPIONSHIP! Every team that has hoisted the trophy has benefited from breaks. That’s always a part of being the last team standing. So whether all the opposing players are suited up or not, the Warriors did their job: they won.
*Leandro Barnosa voice* WE BE CHAMPIONSHIP
Despite recently announced new plans to move the team to San Francisco, Oakland has united to show support for the Warriors, who will host Game 3 against the Clippers on Thursday.
* AC Transit buses will read “Go Warriors” on headers
* Oakland City Hall will shine blue and yellow lights
* City Hall and the Tribune Tower will fly a Warriors flag
* “Good Luck” ads have been posted in the Oakland Airport
* Jack London Square will feature “Go Warriors” ads on their marquees
* Oakland Marriott City Center front line staff will wear Warriors apparel
* “Oakland is Warriors Ground” posters have been distributed throughout the community and posted inside local business and restaurants
This is exactly how it should be. Down the stretch, in every game where defeat is an option, the ball should be in the hands of Stephen Curry. The fifth-year point guard showed exactly why in the Warriors’ 115-113 win over the NorCal rival Kings.
Curry was dominant down the stretch. The ball was in his hands and he refused to let the Warriors lose.
No. he wasn’t off the ball zipping around screens, fighting off hands-on defenders and relying on the pass to be delivered properly. He wasn’t a decoy, pulling the defense away to create space for someone else to post-up.
This night, Curry was in control, calming the nerves of his team and its fan base though the Warriors were a blink from a second straight gut punch of a loss.
“I mean, he is our best player,” forward Harrison Barnes put it frankly. “When he has the ball in his hands, we’re not worried.”
He scored eight of the Warriors’ last 10 points. All of them were either to tie the game or give the Warriors the lead.
Sure, it was the Kings, one of the worst defenses in the NBA. The better teams in the league put up much more resistance. But Curry needs all the practice he can being that guy for this team. He’s the only player capable of carrying this team.
And with the Warriors struggling through injuries and sporadic effort, they need to be carried.
Mark Jackson doesn’t share your panic.
Yes, the Warriors have lost three straight and have fallen to the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. But as they take on the upstart New Orleans Pelicans tonight, Jackson described his bunch as … you guessed it … “fine.”
“We’re a team that’s trying to get back to who we are,” Jackson said after Tuesday’s shootaround. “We’ve had some tough injuries but its important that we stop the bleeding and get a quality win tonight.”
There was one resounding tone from the Warriors’ last two losses, one that burns coach Mark Jackson more than the losses themselves. Both opponents wanted the win more than Golden State.
Based on the eye test, that was the case in Friday’s 102-95 loss to the host Los Angeles Lakers and Saturday’s 113-101 loss to visiting Portland. The Warriors didn’t look like the hungry team bent on exerting their will. They looked like a comfortable team expecting the light bulb to go off any moment, like someone appeased their hunger with a few Snickers.
“We were just bad – just bad,” Jackson said. “I thought there were some times where we let our inability to make shots affect the way we defended. That’s not who we are. We didn’t give the same energy the same effort. The 50/50 balls, the long rebounds and loose balls – they got every single one of them. When we are on top of our game, those are ours and we turn them into transition baskets. That’s a team that scored 64 points in the second half — 48 points off turnovers and second chance opportunities. You can’t win, you can’t win that way.”
It’s Thanksgiving week, and the Warriors embark on a three-game road trip extremely thankful for the 8-3 start that has cushioned their fall.
Losers of three straight, the Warriors have the seventh-best record in the Western Conference. Not that long ago, they went to San Antonio with a chance to claim the best record in the west.
“The expectations inside our locker room are the same,” Stephen Curry said. “It’s healthy that we’ve gone on a three-game slide and being 8-6 this early in the season. Guys are frustrated figuring out how to turn it around. We’re in a good spot right now.”
More on the last two games …
The NBA will levy a one-game suspension on Warriors’ center Andrew Bogut for his role in Saturday’s altercation. USA Today was first to report.
Forward Draymond Green, who was the only player ejected, will be fined, team sources said.
Replays show Bogut initiated the scrum when he shoved Portland center Joel Freeland, who had his arm locked while jockeying for a rebound. It appeared Bogut might have thrown a punch, at least a high elbow that scarcely missed landing.
Eventually, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Mo Williams and Wesley Matthews got involved. Then Green would have to be restrained. Williams was reportedly suspended as well.
The Warriors visit New Orleans Tuesday. Back-up center Jermaine O’Neal has missed the last four games with a bruised right knee and a right groin strain. If he can’t go, the Warriors will likely start Marreese Speights at center.
The Warriors will also be without Andre Iguodala, out indefinitely with a strained left hamstring.
SANTA CRUZ — You could tell how rough a shooting night Seth Curry had by the way his brother reacted. Having missed six straight 3-pointers, the younger Curry finally got one to go at the 4:16 mark of the third quarter.
Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star, jumped out of his seat and tossed a t-shirt high in the air in celebration, posing with his arms spread as if he’d released a dove into the clouds.
“I’m sure it was pretty funny,” Seth Curry said.
Despite just 3 of 14 attempts, it was not a lost night for the rookie out of Duke. He’s not in the D-League to shoot.