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Game 2 Rewind: Chris Paul, Clippers Outgun Stephen Curry, Warriors in Round 1 of the Heated Rivalry

Mark Ayotte, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, David Lee
You could see it in their eyes. You could hear in their voice, as they talked through clinched teeth and bit their tongue.

The Warriors don’t like the Clippers. And they were mad at themselves for not bringing their best against bullies from down south, losing 126-115 at Staples Center.

“We had no business in this game,” coach Mark Jackson said. “But we fought. We battled. We hung in there. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”

The Warriors turned the ball over 25 times, something they knew was a no-no against the transition savvy Clippers. Their miscues, including a career-high 11 by Curry, helped the Clippers rack up 22 fast-break points.

The Warriors were beat down the glass, had a tough time staying attached to the Clippers’ shooters and had zero answer for Chris Paul. He torched the Warriors for 42 points, 15 assists and six steals in 37 minutes.

Yet, with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Golden State was down just eight. Victory was close enough to smell, and not grabbing it left a bitter taste.

“Certain teams kind of have that edge about them, for whatever reason,” Andre Iguodala said. “They’re kind of one of those teams. Even playing in Denver last year, it was the same chippiness. So we kind of have to be smart about it. Neither team has really done anything for it to really be a rivalry. Somebody has to establish something. So we’ve got to stay focused on the path ahead.”

More on Thursday’s game …

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Game 1 Rewind: Warriors Smash on Kobe Bryant-less Lakers

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 7.06.00 AMAfter all the preseason hype, all the talk of high expectations, many presumed the Warriors to come out and struggled. Especially after the Lakers thumped the much-ballyhooed Clippers on opening night, a let down wouldn’t have been surprising.

But that didn’t come close to happening Wednesday night.

The Warriors, instead, made an emphatic statement, beating the Lakers125-94 at Oracle on Wednesday.  Was the statement that Golden State is for real? Or was it that the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers are really bad?

Perhaps it’s too early to answer that definitively. But it certainly looked different.

These Warriors smelled blood and pounced. They went for the jugular of a vulnerable team — playing without Steve Nash on the second night of a back-to-back — like you’d expect from a legit contender.

Maybe it was the energy of the season opener. Or maybe they fed off the passion in the arena whenever the Lakers come to town. Or maybe this is just who they are.

“We understand we’re going to have to have a lot of energy at home,” Andre Iguodala said. “I’ve been in a situation where I’ve won a lot of home games. (Last year with Denver, we) had the best home record in the NBA. Still, you’ve got to take care of business on the road. Energy gets you wins at home, but its how you go on the road, compete against the top-tier teams.”

The Warriors will have a chance to do that tonight against the host Los Angeles Clippers.

Before then, here’s the season debut of the game rewind …

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David Lee, Stephen Curry Shine as Warriors Beat Los Angeles Lakers in China

No, I’m not in China. But I did watch the Warriors’ 100-95 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Beijing on Tuesday. As far as the Warriors are concerned, it’s already fair to call the trip to China can be considered a success if only for reason: it got David Lee going.

For the first time this preseason, Lee looked like the All-Star he is. Part of it was the matador defense of Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol. But most of it was the liveliness of Lee. He was simply quicker and more explosive than his Lakers front-court counterparts, and he had various elements of his game was clicking.

That’s a vital step for the Warriors to round into form as the regular season news. They have hardly looked like the team expected to be a force in the Western Conference. But you could see some signs that’s starting to happen.

Lee had 31 points on 12 of 16 shooting in the first of two games against the Lakers in China. Lee made his first seven shots – four layups, two jumpers and a turn-around out of the post – en route to 22 first-half points.

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Harrison Barnes Gets First Crack as Mark Jackson Experiments with Starting Lineups

ONTARIO, Calif. — Mark Jackson said he’s not into playing mind games. If he knew who his starters were for the season, he would just say it. He doesn’t, he assured. He’s still trying to figure out which lineup gives his Warriors the best chance to win.

It is with that context he revealed guard Klay Thompson, who has started 122 consecutive games with Golden State (including playoffs), will come off the bench for tonight’s preseason opener.

Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala will start in the backcourt, with Harrison Barnes, David Lee and center Andrew Bogut will start against the Los Angeles Lakers at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Is this insight into Jackson’s first choice, or is this his I’m-not-going-to-show-my-cards-early lineup? Is he anointing Barnes or motivating Thompson? Has Iguodala an automatic starter?

“Truthfully,” Jackson said, “there is zero to read into it.”

The Warriors, who have all five starters from last season, found themselves with a good problem to have by acquiring Iguodala — giving them six players capable of starting.

Curry, Lee and Bogut are etched in stone as long as they’re healthy, per Jackson. That leaves three wing players and two starting spots available. Jackson said he will use the preseason to experiment, figure out which five is the best fit. The odd man out will serve as the sixth man.

He said Thompson will get a chance to start this preseason. He also suggested you may see Iguodala come off the bench at some point in the exhibition.

“Don’t read anything into it,” Jackson reiterated. “It’s just the way we’re starting tonight. You could go either way. Klay and Iguodala (starting) or Klay and Barnes. … All those guys are going to play a lot. This is just the way I’m starting tonight.”

Here is a break down of each scenario:

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry Listed in the Starting Lineup

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (sprained left ankle) was listed in the starting lineup. Coach Mark Jackson said before the game he’d be “shocked” if Curry didn’t play.

Curry, who rolled his left ankle in the fourth quarter of Game 3 on Friday, was officially listed as a game-time decision. He has received ’round-the-clock treatment on his left ankle, which he initially sprained in Game 2 of the first round series against Denver on April 23.

“If he’s on the court, he’s pretty much the ball handler and the guy running show,” Jackson said.

Before tipoff, Curry jumped roped in the hallway outside the locker room and did other movement tests. He then took to the court where he ran lines and did some defensive sliding movements to further test his ankle.
Jackson said he spent time with Curry on Saturday. He said Curry was the same as usual, laughing and joking. He made multiple trips to the facility on Saturday for treatment.

Curry said after Saturday’s practice, which he sat out, that he expected to play. But everything was on hold until he saw how his ankle responded overnight. Jackson said Curry can play, he won’t be limited.

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Stephen Curry Ankle Update: X-Rays Negative; Early Game A Factor in His Chances of Playing

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is a game-time decision with a sprained left ankle.
X-rays were negative, a team official said, and no MRI was scheduled. Curry is getting ‘round-the-clock treatment. Officially he’s a game-time decision. But his chances of playing are made dicey by the earlier start. Sunday’s game tips off at 12:30, giving Curry about 36 hours of rest and rehabilitation.
MARK JACKSON: “Again, as usual, just staying true to the process. He’ll get treatment all day long. I’ll stay in constant contact with him. We’ll see how he feels and make a decision whether he plays or not tomorrow.”
At the 4:40 mark of the fourth quarter in Game 3, Curry, dribbling at the top, rolled his left ankle. He immediately began limping and gave up the ball. The Warriors eventually fouled to stop play, but he stayed in the game, waving off the substation.
It’s not his surgically repaired right ankle, which has given him problems the previous two seasons. It was the same ankle Curry sprained in Game 2 at Denver. It hadn’t been a problem since he got his second anti-inflammatory injection just before Game 4 at Oracle. Golden State had three days off before the Spurs series.
Curry has been the heart and soul of the Warriors (already without All-Star forward David Lee) and without him, their chances at upsetting No. 2 San Antonio appear suspect.
KLAY THOMPSON: “He’ll play. No question about it. He will play through anything. He’s got heart.”

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Stephen Curry Has Some Fun with Latest Ankle Sprain

Perhaps having been through it so much has made him comfortable. But Curry wasn’t moping about this latest injury. Instead, he decided to have some fun with it.

Curry checked out of the game with 2:26 left in the third quarter after spraining his left ankle. He tried to stop on a dime and rolled it pretty good. He came back in the fourth quarter and finished the game. Certainly, winning Game 2 helped his mood. And that it wasn’t his right ankle, which has given him problems for the last couple years.

Curry was feeling good enough to joke about his sprained left ankle on Twitter Monday. He  solicited his followers’ best ankle puns. The quips poured in.

“There were so many of them,” Curry said, sitting on the scorer’s table before practice.

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