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Warriors assistant coach Lindsey Hunter takes time away for special moments

Warriors assistant coach Lindsey Hunter was not on the bench with the team Saturday as it lost to San Antonio at Oracle Arena, as he was spending time in Michigan watching his son play in a state championship basketball game.

And what a moment it was for Southfield Christian School’s Lindsey Hunter IV, who reportedly was stunned by his father’s surprise trip all the way to East Lansing, Mich. for the big game.

“Lindsey was in tears because his dad didn’t tell him he was coming here for his last game,” Southfield Christian coach Clennie Brunridge told the Detroit Free Press.

Southfield Christian ended up winning the game 63-61, as Hunter IV scored 16 points and fouled out in the fourth quarter. On his way off the court, there was another emotional moment as Hunter IV was consoled by the Warriors assistant who had made the long trip to see the final high school game.

As Warriors coach Mark Jackson noted earlier this month when Klay Thompson missed a game to attend his grandfather’s funeral, there are indeed things more important than basketball. For the Hunters, it appeared those moments were experienced because of basketball, just on that day away from the bright lights of the NBA.

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Game 71 rewind: Warriors look forward to five-day break after falling to Spurs

OAKLAND — The Warriors are looking forward to a five-day break after a week that confirmed much of what we already knew about this team.

The Warriors are better than the worst of the Eastern Conference. They can compete and beat some contending Western Conference teams. Also, the San Antonio Spurs are just a nightmare for Golden State to face.

That was already known, and so now the Warriors will see where they can go from here after getting humbled by San Antonio once again with a lineup missing starters.

“Disappointing loss,” coach Mark Jackson said. “It’ll make us better. Hopefully we see them down the road again, but there’s a reason why they’re the best team in basketball.”

The Warriors hope that getting healthier during the break from games will help them greatly going forward. Andre Iguodala could be back as early as Friday when the Warriors face Memphis. David Lee hamstring and shoulder get some days to get better as does Andrew Bogut’s ankle. Stephen Curry’s quad gets time away.

“We’ve got a lot of guys banged up, and we get an opportunity to take a couple days off to reboot the system and let the body heal for the stretch run,” said Jermaine O’Neal, who himself has been dealing with a hip issue. “Between No. 4 (seed) and No. 9 (seed), it’s going to be whatever team stays focused.”

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Game 70 rewind: Warriors explain why they’re feeling good after squeaking past Milwaukee

OAKLAND — Warriors coach Mark Jackson insisted that beating the Bucks was a good win. The reason? His team had struggled against such Eastern Conference teams at home before, and frankly, these are games the Warriors might have lost in the past.

“As a coach, you’re not going to be satisfied with giving up 35 points in fourth quarter, but I’m also not going to nitpick,” Jackson said. “The bottom line is we made progress because we beat two teams that we were supposed to beat in our building (Orlando and Milwaukee this week).”

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Game 69 rewind: Warriors missing three players, but take care of business against Orlando

OAKLAND — Warriors coach Mark Jackson explained Jermaine O’Neal’s DNP by saying, “I was getting my Pop on.”

Jackson of course was referring to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich resting star players who were otherwise healthy. The difference is that the Warriors are banged up.

Andre Iguodala is down at least three games with knee tendinitis. Andrew Bogut went through shootaround, but it didn’t cooperate enough for him to play against Orlando. O’Neal, the 35-year-old veteran, needed a break after taking a hit at Portland.

Through it all, the Warriors took care of business against the Magic, with ball movement being the key for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to make things happen as part of a smaller lineup featuring Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green.

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry hopes to avenge 3-point shooting loss to Mark Jackson, unveils 16-shooter bracket

OAKLAND — After Mark Jackson easily took down Stephen Curry in a 3-point shooting contest two weeks ago while on a practice court at Indiana, the Warriors coach had said he would retire on top having bested the top shooter on the planet.

But now, Curry might get a chance at revenge after releasing the bracket for a 3-point Championship tournament the Warriors will hold among players and staff members.

“We got Coach out of retirement,” Curry said Tuesday. “I was giving him so much crap. He wants to take that one victory in Indiana to the grave with him. I can’t let that happen.”

Curry, Jackson, Klay Thompson and Steve Blake have the No. 1 seeds in the 16-shooter bracket. The way the contest works is alternative shooting five 3-pointers in one spot beyond the arc. The shooter winning the best of five spots moves on to the next round.

“I was basically saying just like in college, the No. 1 team, nobody’s going undefeated besides Wichita State, and they’re not even No. 1, so you’ve got to have a true test of shooting ability,” Curry said. “The only way to do that is that kind of a bracket.

“Hopefully in the next two weeks before the season’s over with, we get through the bracket. The real shooters lasts to the end.”

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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith praises Warriors’ Stephen Curry as ‘a bad boy’

The Warriors were a point of discussion on ESPN’s “First Take,” and Stephen A. Smith took the opportunity to heap praise on Warriors guard Stephen Curry on Monday after a 113-112 win at Portland.

Take it away, Stephen A:

“Steph Curry is special. He’s a superstar in this league. He’s the best shooter in the game. He can boogie on anybody. It’s one thing to be a shooter, but it’s another thing to have the ball-handling skills to create your own shot.

“Steph Curry’s a superstar. This boy can play. A sup-er-star because he’s money. Everybody can’t play above the rim, OK? Sometimes you’ve got to have the requisite skills. If we could call Chris Paul a star, we can call Steph Curry a star.

“I look at a Chris Paul, and I see an Isiah Thomas. Well you know something? As impressive as that is, and that’s why Chris Paul is a superstar, when I see Steph Curry, you know who I see like him? No one. Let me tell you why. Because as beautiful as that boy can shoot that basketball, who could handle the ball like he could handle the ball? Pass the ball like he could pass the ball? And still shoot it! This boy is legit! Now it’s not high percentage, but he certainly makes it seem that way, doesn’t it?

“Look at people who defend him. They’re petrified. They’re scared to death. You know why? Because I’m sitting there, and even though he doesn’t sometimes, I’m sort of engaging in hyperbole when I talk about how Kevin Durant can pull up from 30, I’m not engaging in hyperbole when I say that about Steph Curry. He regularly pulls up from 30! He is just…forget Aaron Rodgers (who Smith has referred to as a “bad man”). Steph Curry is a baaad boy. You understand? I said a bad boy, bad man, whatever is complimentary most.

“Steph Curry is a bad boy. And I’m going to say it again. Sup-er-star. Not a star. He’s not only a star that has elevated his game to another level.

“Steph Curry comin’ to town. You gonna see Golden State ‘cause Steph Curry’s in town. It’s like that! He’s that nice! He’s that nice.”

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Game 68 rewind: David Lee got benched, but like the Warriors, got back up

PORTLAND, Ore. — Warriors starting forward David Lee was benched for 15 minutes up until the middle of the fourth quarter. Coach Mark Jackson said it was due to his defense as Draymond Green got those minutes instead.

“We were trying to get it going, and up until that point, David hadn’t played his best basketball defensively,” Jackson said after the Warriors beat the Trail Blazers 113-112 on Sunday. “They put small guys on the floor. Dorell Wright hit a couple of shots.

So just trying to get it going and being able to defend the pick-and-roll a little better, and then at the end of the day give David credit because I’ve been part of teams and I’ve watched teams where a starter says, ‘Forget you, Coach. I’m not going back in. And if I do, I’m going to give a halfhearted effort.’”

Lee ended up coming back into the game and coming through with layups on back-to-back possessions. Jackson also credited him with setting a screen to free up Stephen Curry as the ball swung around to Klay Thompson for the game-winning shot.

“It’s not a position I’m normally in,” said Lee, who played 24 minutes. “Coach was unhappy with a few of my rotations early in the third quarter and decided to go with Draymond, who played unbelievable.

“I’m always going to be ready. Steph came over to me and said, ‘Continue to be ready.’ Like I said, I trust Coach. You saw me, I’m cheering like I’m in the game, so it doesn’t matter to me. All I want to do is get the win and was able to come back in. When I finally got my chance again, I was ready to go. I thought I made some good defensive plays and a few offensive plays to end the game.”

That’s a sign of where this team stands at the moment. Jackson was able to hold Lee accountable for defensive lapses. Lee was able to accept it, understand it, and bounce off the bench to make a difference in the final moments when he was needed after Green fouled out.

One game after an 18-point lead was blown, an 18-point deficit was overcome. Lee certainly didn’t have his best game with 16 points and three rebounds in a game in which Golden State lost the edge on the boards 48-41.

But the Warriors rallied with hot shooting and a team effort in a game that helped them avoid matching a season-long three-game winning streak. And Lee was there to soak it in afterward.

“I was really proud of how our team came together,” he said.