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5 things we learned from Warriors’ 112-95 loss to Los Angeles Lakers

Here are five things we learned from the Warriors’ 112-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers:

1. The NBA schedule is a grind. The Warriors played a 12:30 p.m. after an off night in Los Angeles and appeared sluggish even against one of the worst teams in the league. Steve Kerr mentioned his usual line about how in the NBA, the other teams have talented millionaires, too. “We gave that speech, but it doesn’t always work,” Kerr said. The loss shows just how amazing the 55-6 record is and how the Warriors have avoided similar losses for much of the season.

2. The Splash Brothers struggled from 3-point range like they never have before. Stephen Curry made the first shot of the game and proceeded to miss his final 10 3-point attempts. Klay Thompson missed each of his eight attempts from beyond the arc. And that was the ballgame, as the Warriors didn’t have the firepower on this night to get back into the game.

3. The Warriors’ defense didn’t show up. D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson took advantage of turnovers and had their way. Backup Lakers point guard Marcelo Huertas looked unstoppable at times. Kobe Bryant in his final game against the Warriors showed off some vintage moves. That doesn’t usually happen when the Warriors clamp down on defense.

4. Andrew Bogut said he’s fine. He went to the locker room in the second quarter to address a left knee issue and after the game downplayed it. After all, he came back for the start of the second half. He said he simply collided with Julius Randle and just needed to ice the knee. That’s a big sigh of relief for the Warriors.

5. The Warriors respect Kobe Bryant. He said Curry thanked him for an inspirational career. Draymond Green struggled to come up with only one word to describe the career, calling him “legendary,” but adding that the word didn’t speak enough to Bryant’s competitiveness. Bryant even though his team won’t be going to the playoffs got the last laugh against the Warriors with the upset win.

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Warriors clinch playoff berth

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) and Draymond Green (23) begin to celebrate their National Basketball Association championship as they defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) and Draymond Green (23) begin to celebrate their National Basketball Association championship as they defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

The Warriors, the team with the best record in the NBA, clinched a playoff berth Saturday.

By virtue of the Houston Rockets’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors were guaranteed a playoff spot while in the middle of their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Warriors became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff berth in February since the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game of earning a berth in February. “It would be pretty impressive with lots of games left to go, but we haven’t talked about it as a team. So it’d be a nice accomplishment, but it’s not anything we discuss.”

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Draymond Green’s mom has something to say to Warriors critics

imageLots 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

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Warriors amused by criticism from ex-players

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr talks to the media at the team's practice facility in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, June 18, 2015. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr talks to the media at the team’s practice facility in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, June 18, 2015. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Warriors confirmed Saturday that yes, they found recent comments from former NBA players who think the teams of old would have beaten Golden State to be amusing.

“They obviously want to get in the media and have their name heard again,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said. “I just hope I’m not a bitter old man in my 50s and 60s. Every generation says the next generation is softer and slower and not as smart and not as physical. So I hope I’m not one of those guys that does that. It’s unfortunate. I respect all eras. Every era brought something different.

“When I’m on my couch with a beer open watching, I’ll respect everybody because I know what it takes to get to this league in whatever era you played in.”

It was Bogut who made it clear the Warriors were noticing comments coming from everyone from Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson to Cedric Ceballos and Wally Szczerbiak.

“It’s just funny to me. It’s just funny that you can ask anybody,” Bogut said. “You can ask 12th man on a championship team from 1965, and some journalist is going to print the article.

“To us, we don’t really care about it that much. It’s more just starting to get funny now because they’re just asking random people from random teams that didn’t even win championships. It’s like, ‘Alright, cool. Great opinion.’”

Even Stephen Jackson told ESPN  the “We Believe” Warriors would have beaten the current team. Steve Kerr, Jackson’s former teammate, smiled and said to take anything he said with a grain of salt.

“Every era is so different,” Kerr said. “The rules are different. The style of play is different. Would Wilt (Chamberlain) have been able to average 50 and 25 today with the rule changes? Probably not. But you can make an argument for every era. The 90s had dominant big men – Shaq (O’Neal) and (Hakeem) Olajuwon, (Patrick) Ewing and Rik Smits.

“But the rules have changed. It’s tougher to isolate. It’s tougher to post up. So you try to compare all this stuff, it’s pretty much impossible. So all that stuff, it’s meaningless, and it’s sort of amusing.”

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Warriors’ Draymond Green sneaks up on Stephen Curry again with water, ice

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) and Stephen Curry (30) enjoy the view from the bench along with coach Bruce Faiser as their team plays the Sacramento Kings late in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. The Warriors beat the Kings 122-103. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) and Stephen Curry (30) enjoy the view from the bench along with coach Bruce Faiser as their team plays the Sacramento Kings late in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. The Warriors beat the Kings 122-103. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)

MIAMI – Stephen Curry was the target of some ice Draymond Green tossed  at him right after he finished an interview with reporters on Wednesday.

“Unbelievable,” Curry said, smiling.

Green has poured water on the heads of his teammates throughout the season during television interviews after wins. He got Curry good on Monday in Atlanta during his interview with Warriors analyst Jim Barnett, prompting Curry to smile and exclaim, “Mother sucker!”

The video of Curry avoiding curse words was noticed by Curry’s family members.

“A hundred percent,” Curry said. “It started with my wife all the way down through the family. I didn’t see it coming. He always picks the coldest water in the arena. I don’t know how he does it. He’s getting really good at sneaking around, finding different angles even though I was looking out for him.

Curry smiled.

“I think JB just asked such a great question, I was in deep thought. I kind of blanked out.”

Curry took a piece of ice that Green had gotten him with and threw it no-look back toward the tunnel hoping to catch Green.

But Green had vanished by then, having gotten the best of his target again.

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Warriors sign Anderson Varejao, who ‘wanted to play’ and is expected to get time

ATLANTA – The Warriors signed center Anderson Varejao on Monday, and the Brazilian is expected to receive immediate playing time.

“I wanted to go to a team with a chance to fight for the title,” Varejao said in a statement in Portuguese. “But also I wanted to play.”

The 33-year-old Varejao only played in 31 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, averaging 2.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10 minutes before he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers and waived.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Varejao could make his debut for the team as soon as Wednesday when the Warriors play at Miami.

“I plan on playing him to get him some rhythm,” Kerr said. “He hasn’t played much at all this year, and he says he’s healthy, and he’s been practicing all year and feels good. So the one thing he’ll need is some rhythm, so we want to get him some minutes as soon as we can.”

Varejao reached agreement on a contract with the Warriors after also receiving interest from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs, according to his public relations agency.

“He’s hard not to like,” Kerr said. “He’s the guy who gives effort multiple times in one possession and competes every second he’s out there. And the enthusiasm that he plays with and from what I gather his personality in the locker room,  yeah, he’s going to be a fan favorite in Golden State just like he was in Cleveland.”

Varejao said his friendships with former Cavaliers teammates Shaun Livingston, Marreese Speights and Luke Walton along with countryman Leandro Barbosa weighed heavily in choosing the Warriors.

Kerr said according to Walton, Varejao was one of the best teammates he ever had and was similar as a passing and screening big man to Andrew Bogut.

“We also think he’s a perfect fit with the way we play because he’s a playmaker – dribble handoff, backdoor pass guy,” Kerr said. “He’s a lot like Bogues in his feel for the game, and he’s also a wonderful teammate.”

Kerr said there was no hesitancy with making a roster change with the team having a 49-5 record.

“No because we’re not changing anything dramatically,” Kerr said. “We’re still going to be who we are, and we’re not taking out a rotation player to do anything. We have our core intact.  We have our group intact, but we’re adding a guy who’s going to give us depth and adds another playmaker.

“To have another one means we have the depth where we can withstand some injury and still do what we do.”

Little-used forward Jason Thompson was waived to clear room for Varejao on the roster.

“It’s obviously tough to see one of your brothers, J.T., move on, but I think it’s a good move for us to deepen our lineup, especially at the big man spot with Festus out,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said.

Kerr said the 6-foot-11 Varejao was a true center while at forward the team preferred to go small rather than use the 6-foot-11 Thompson.

“Jason Thompson is a fantastic human being and teammate, and it was really hard to make the move because he’s been so good in our locker room,” Kerr said. “But he handled it like the true professional that he is. It was a very difficult conversation to have, and we wish nothing but the best for Jason. He deserves it.”

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Warriors used ‘caution’ in not displaying Year of the Monkey images on Chinese New Year uniforms

LOS ANGELES – The Warriors did not display monkey patches on their Chinese New Year uniforms, exercising caution with using the image of this year’s zodiac animal that appears on the Chinese calendar, according to the team.

The Warriors created the uniforms to honor their Chinese fan base and wore them in two games this season, omitting the monkey despite not having received complaints that the image was offensive. The Warriors did not display the monkey in Friday’s loss at Portland and in a Feb. 9 win at home against the Houston Rockets.

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins raised concern over his team giving away Year of the Monkey T shirts on the first day of Black History Month, and the shirts were removed.