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Warriors’ Steve Kerr, Clippers’ Doc Rivers weigh in on Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan as Defensive Player of the Year

OAKLAND – Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers repeated his contention that DeAndre Jordan is the Defensive Player of the Year before his team goes up against the Warriors’ Draymond Green.

“I just believe that DJ’s No. 1,” Rivers said Sunday. “I don’t think there’s a No. 2.

“I mean, Draymond Green’s great. I love his energy. He’s phenomenal, but DJ’s the best defensive player.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was more coy in his approach. When asked about Rivers’ thoughts that Jordan was “clearly” the Defensive Player of the Year deadpanned that Green was “clearly” the man who will win the award.

Kerr after Green led the defensive charge in a win at Boston was asked about the game being an advertisement for the Defensive Player of the Year candidacy and said, “Please write that because he deserves some accolades for what he does.”

Kerr said before the Clippers game both Green and Jordan have been phenomenal.

“They do different things, but DeAndre has been fantastic,” Kerr said. “He’s all over the place. He covers so much ground.”

Kerr said Green’s versatility on defense was important now that the league features more 3-point shooting and needs defenders to get out on those shooters.

“To have a guy who can do that and protect the rim and grab rebounds and switch on the pick and roll with point guards and stay in front of them, it’s incredibly unique and important,” Kerr said.

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Warriors’ David Lee did not play in win against Dallas, and Steve Kerr explains why

OAKLAND – David Lee, the Warriors’ highest-paid player, did not play in Friday’s win against Dallas.

The former All-Star was healthy, but has seen his already-diminished role shrink even more this month. The 104-89 win marked the fourth straight game in which Lee did not play in the second half for coach Steve Kerr.

“I didn’t make that decision until during the game,” Kerr said of not playing Lee. “I haven’t played Mo (Speights) much at all the last few games. I wanted to play Mo. I liked the matchup. We needed some scoring with the second group. We needed a little shooting, so I went with Mo tonight.

“I was hoping to get David out there, but I wanted to stay smaller at the four and more versatile just with our switching game. And I think our defense was really good, so I stayed with a defensive lineup. Festus (Ezeli) did a nice job when he went out there. I wanted to get him on Tyson Chandler, so once I got Festus and Mo out there, it’s hard to keep going and play 13 guys.

“At the beginning of the fourth quarter, I just decided David hasn’t played to this point. He’s a vet. He’s not a guy you put out there for five minutes and clean up the game at the end. We talked about it in the middle of the fourth and just said, ‘You know what? Tonight’s not your night, and hopefully the next game is.’ But every game’s a little different.”

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Warriors’ Marreese Speights pleads no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving in Florida

The Warriors’ Marreese Speights pleaded no contest to a reduced misdemeanor charge of reckless driving Monday that stemmed from his arrest in Tampa in August.

Speights, who paid $903 in fines and court costs, was originally charged with driving under the influence. He was arrested the morning after his 27th birthday and submitted to two tests showing unlawful breath alcohol content levels of .103 and .106 percent, according to the incident log.

The plea agreement was reached two months after Speights’ attorney filed a motion that evidence was obtained as the result of an illegal traffic stop, Matthew Aycox of the State Attorney’s Office of Hillsborough County said Tuesday.

A key reserve player for the Warriors this season, Speights scored six points in seven minutes Monday in a loss at Brooklyn.

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Why Warriors starter Harrison Barnes usually skips pregame starting lineup introductions

Warriors forward Harrison Barnes has enjoyed a bounce-back season after returning to the starting lineup.

His disappearing act quietly comes before games.

Barnes more often than not is absent when the public address announcer calls his name unlike the other four starters who high-five their teammates.

He is usually missing during the playing of the national anthem while Warriors players and coaches stand shoulder to shoulder on the court.

The reason according to Barnes is certainly nothing against the anthem or his teammates.

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Warriors center Festus Ezeli suspended for one game

TORONTO — Warriors center Festus Ezeli was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA and will miss the Boston game after the league ruled he had initiated an altercation with Tyler Hansbrough by grabbing the Raptors player’s throat.

The incident with four tenths of a second remaining in the third quarter as the Warriors led by 41 points resulted in both players being ejected, but Hansbrough was not disciplined for racing up to shove Ezeli in response.

The two players battled for position under the basket before frustrations resulted in the altercation. Officials and players from both teams rushed to separate Ezeli and Hansbrough.

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Draymond Green fires back at Charles Barkley: ‘A guy who’s not a champion can’t talk too much about championships’

TORONTO — Draymond Green caught wind of TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley’s comments that the Warriors forward was small and not “tough enough” as Golden State lost to Cleveland.

Green fired back Saturday once again after previously having disagreed with Barkley’s characterization of the Warriors as a jump-shooting team that couldn’t be counted on to win an NBA championship.

“I think he was shorter than me. You would think he would support me,” said Green, who at 6-foot-7 noted he used to watch tape of Barkley’s playing days to improve himself. “But hey, maybe he thinks I can’t win one (championship) because he ain’t got one. So if he’s the same size, and he can’t win a championship, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got a lot more years to do it than he’s got, you know?

“A guy who’s not a champion can’t talk too much about championships, can he? I’m not sure how much he won anything in his career team-wise. Been to the finals, but… For him to say that – they won’t win because he’s too small – maybe that’s why he didn’t win. Because he was too small.”

TNT’s Chris Webber, the color commentator who called Thursday’s game when the Warriors lost at Cleveland, had a different opinion on Green than the Hall of Fame player Barkley.

“The heart and soul of this team is Draymond Green,” Webber said. “He is their best defender and their toughest guy. Having him on the floor is great for the Warriors.”

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry expected to speak at White House on Wednesday

WASHINGTON – Warriors guard Stephen Curry is scheduled to speak at the White House on Wednesday in support of the fight against malaria and could meet with President Obama.

Curry, whose team plays at Washington on Tuesday, for the past three seasons has donated three insecticide-treated mosquito nets for every 3-pointer he makes as part of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign.

Curry traveled to Tanzania in 2013 as part of the campaign to assist in the distribution of 38,000 bed nets, which are designed to be cost-effective in helping families in sub-Saharan Africa avoid malaria infection.

Curry has been active with malaria issues since attending Davidson College, where his roommate, Bryant Barr, encouraged him to get involved.

The White House event will mark 10 years of American leadership in fighting malaria, according to the President’s Malaria Initiative, which was launched by George W. Bush in 2005 and expanded under the Obama administration.

Nothing But Nets’ Chris Helfrich said in a statement the White House would release a new strategy on malaria for the future.

Obama praised Curry in an interview with TNT last February.

“I gotta tell you, Curry is the best shooter I have ever seen,” Obama said. “I believe that.

“In terms of being able to, you know, off the dribble get his shot off from anywhere that fast, best I’ve ever seen.”