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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.

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Game 67 rewind: Warriors sluggish in bad loss to Cavaliers, search for answers

OAKLAND — The Warriors have suffered bad losses before this season. David Lee mentioned the one against Washington, the one to Charlotte a week later at home.

But this one was very much unexpected after the Warriors had entered the contest having won 10 of 13 after the All-Star break and shook up the team enough to where individual meetings were held.

Stephen Curry was at the center of it after a fine night for himself, and held others around him accountable in support of what Mark Jackson had told the team. Defensive collapses like this one would not be tolerated.

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry celebrates 26th birthday, gets cupcake shoes with baby pic

The Warriors’ Stephen Curry turned 26 today, and just in time for his birthday and tonight’s game against Cleveland, Under Armour has created another pair of shoes for the star guard.

The cupcake-colored shoe features the blue and yellow pastels you might find on a celebratory treat. The shoe liner has a picture of Curry as a baby holding a basketball along with this message that explains why he’s “Rated R.”

“Having the nickname “Baby Face Assassin” requires accompanying by your parents Sonya and Dell.”

The shoe also praises him for “lights out shooting and ankle breaking crossovers.”

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Game 66 rewind: Warriors face off, get testy with Clippers star Blake Griffin

LOS ANGELES — The Warriors and the Clippers don’t like each other. That much we knew, and that much was on display Wednesday as the Clippers held serve at Staples Center and even afterward.

Clippers beat writers witnessed an apparent airing of the grievances in the hallway after the game between Blake Griffin and Jermaine O’Neal, who reportedly initiated the whole thing to get his heated points across face to face.

“Why you want to walk up on me? Leave that (stuff) on the court,” Blake told O’Neal, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Brad Turner.

Replied O’Neal: “I’m a monster off the court.”

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Game 65 rewind: Warriors super subs Draymond Green, Jordan Crawford underappreciated?

OAKLAND — Ask Andrew Bogut to identify what it is that’s been sparking the bench and making the second unit go, and his answer might surprise you.

Steve Blake has been doing that for sure after arriving from the Lakers in a trade and bringing stability with him. Freed up to shoot, Jordan Crawford has brought the offensive firepower the Warriors needed. And Jermaine O’Neal right now is laughing in the face of Father Time.

Bogut went with one of the players who’s been there all along this season — Draymond Green.

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Warriors guard Klay Thompson’s goatee becomes a thing

OAKLAND — The Warriors have gone on a roll after the All-Star break, and it is any coincidence that in the meantime Klay Thompson has grown a goatee?

Maybe, but either way, Thompson is drawing attention when it comes to what’s on his chin.

After Thompson hit a game-winning shot last week at Indiana, Grantland’s Chris Ryan wrote that “he did it all despite looking like he bought a Captain Jack Sparrow facial hair kit right before the game.” The headline of the piece referred to “Evil Klay Thompson.”

Thompson’s facial hair, which seven months ago became a discussion point on reddit after a fan snapped a photo and deemed him nearly unrecognizable, has received mixed reactions from his teammates. Asked on KNBR if the latest look was “cool or creepy,” center Andrew Bogut said with a laugh, “A couple guys have said ‘creepy’ on the team. It’s really growing well, so he’s done a good job with it. I don’t know if he’s changed his diet or not, but it’s looking very, very good.”

Thompson, who grew the goatee during the All-Star break because as he told KNBR “I was just too lazy to cut it,” indicated Tuesday after shootaround that it might be a while before he shaves it off.

“We’re 9-2 with it, so if we can go about 15, we’ll see,” Thompson said. “Kind of just do it day by day.

“I was probably doing something different. Why not while I’m young?”

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Game 64 rewind: Warriors feeling fine after unloading on Phoenix with big third quarter

OAKLAND — The Warriors spent much of the first half trying to chase down Phoenix. Time and time again, they drew close before the Suns hit big shots to extend the lead. Goran Dragic and Gerald Green were lighting up Golden State.

But then, the Warriors opened the floodgates. Klay Thompson put them ahead in the third quarter with a 3-pointer, and by the time he hit a shot to start the fourth, the Warriors were leading by 18 points.

That’s how powerful the Warriors offense can be when it is clicking along with a defense that continues to shine.

Don’t think the Warriors are a threat to knock off a team in the first round of the playoffs? Right now, Golden State is showing it can play with anyone.

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