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Warriors’ Camp Proving Intense, Competitive

Toney Douglas played college ball in the vaunted ACC and cut his NBA teeth playing home games at Madison Square Garden. And he makes his living on the defensive end of the court. So he knows something about intensity.

His comments about Warriors practices, following Day 3 of training camp on Monday, comes with that context.

“Oh yeah. Every possession,” said Douglas, who signed with the Warriors in July to back-up Stephen Curry. “This is a different level. … We’re so deep. We have like 12 guys who could play. Blue team against white team, and we go at each other We make it fun and we make each other better.”

Coach Mark Jackson said being two deep at every possession, with some capable talent at the end of the bench, has made for some competitive practices.  The drop off in talent on the depth chart is minimal enough to force the best players to go hard, yet the gap is wide enough to make the reserves have to step it up to earn minutes.

You better believe Curry has his hands full in practice, either being hounded by the pesky Douglas or trying to get around the long and athletic Kent Bazemore. Veteran center Jermaine O’Neal described going up against starting center Andrew Bogut as “a wrestling match.”

Forward David Lee and Marreese Speights, former Florida Gators, are buddies with a history of going at each other, and Speights has the skills to make Lee look bad if he doesn’t bring it. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are both having to contend with the All-NBA-caliber defense of Andre Iguodala.

And you know whoever second-year work horse Draymond Green gets matched up with is getting the business.

“We were an extremely hard working team in the past, and we’re continuing that,” Jackson said. “The difference right now is probably the battles at every position. … I think that’s what stands out the most. Last year we had young guys facing Bogut or David. … This year, there are big live bodies that are really competing and attacking one another.”

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David Lee Named All-NBA; Stephen Curry is Not

All-Star forward David Lee was named third-team All-NBA, the league announced Thursday.

Lee is the first Warrior to make All-NBA since Latrell Sprewell was first-team in 1993-94. Back in February, Lee became the first Warriors’ All-Star since Sprewell in 1997.

Lee was the only player in the NBA to average at least 18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. He’s the fifth Warrior to post those numbers in a single season. The other four: Wilt Chamberlain, Nate Thurmond, Jerry Lucas and Neil Johnston. Led led the NBA with 31 games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, the most since Thurmond in 1971-72. Golden State was 25-6 in those games.

Despite a monster second-half of the season, Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was not selected.

MARK JACKSON: “Happy for and proud of David Lee. It is well-deserved. As far as Steph, the great thing is that the world now knows, even if the voters don’t.”

Here are the selections:

First Team

Forward           LeBron James, Miami                       595

Forward           Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City         555

Center              Tim Duncan, San Antonio                392

Guard               Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers                 521

Guard               Chris Paul, L.A. Clipper                   537

Second Team

Forward          Carmelo Anthony, New York            397

Forward          Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers               132

Center             Marc Gasol, Memphis (38)                295

Guard              Tony Parker, San Antonio (16)         273

Guard              Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City 306

Third Team

Forward          David Lee, Golden State                      79

Forward          Paul George, Indiana                          73

Center             Dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers             203

Guard              Dwyane Wade, Miami                        145

Guard              James Harden, Houston                    253

Curry totaled 72 points, the most of any guard not selected (next was Ty Lawson with 8 votes). But Curry was well behind Wade, who had the fewest points of any guard selected.

9

Predictions & Matchups: This Series Will Be Closer Than Many Think

curry
Admittedly, I underestimated Stephen Curry in the Denver series. I also overestimated the Nuggets. But I picked Denver in six mostly because I figured Curry could get 30 points and the Warriors still lose. It’s happened before.

What I didn’t account for was the impact stars make in playoffs series, good and bad. Their ability to change games, seize momentum, do the prolific, it matters so much more in the postseason. It’s not that Curry can score, it’s that he impacts nearly every single aspect of the game: how the opposing defense responds, the amount of pressure on the opposing offense to score, the confidence of the supporting cast, the looks they get, the adrenaline and feel good that helps on the defensive end, the momentum they create.

That’s what stars do in the playoffs. And Denver didn’t have that.

Such is factored into my prediction for this series: Spurs in 7.

My first impulse was to say San Antonio in five games. But I can’t shake the feeling the Warriors will win one in San Antonio. Why? Because that’s the type of thing stars pull off. And if the Warriors win one in San Antonio, this isn’t the route many are expecting. In the first meeting here, on Jan. 18, the Warriors trailed by 4 inside of three minutes – without Curry (Spurs didn’t have Manu Ginobili). In the second matchup at San Antonio, March 20, Golden State trailed by 4 inside of four minutes left. So both games were close. It’s not like this Warriors’ team can’t win in San Antonio.

Golden State is 2-0 against San Antonio in Oakland. Andrew Bogut didn’t play in either game, and Oracle wasn’t the ridiculously raucous arena it has been for the playoffs. Still, San Antonio is good enough to get one in Oracle. Especially if the Warriors steal one of the first two in San Antonio and put the Spurs in must-win mode. But will their role players be as good in such an environment?

Even if the Warriors lose the first two in San Antonio, I can certainly see the Warriors going 2-0 at Oracle and heading back to San Antonio for a pivotal Game 5.

Another reason I think this series will be close: Manu Ginobili is not the same Ginobili. He’s good enough to torch the Warriors for a big game. But over a seven-game series, his injuries and age might get the best of him. I certainly see the Warriors being able to manage him. If so, who’s the third scorer for the Spurs. It could be one of five people. But if the Warriors stay home, not fall into trapping and doubling so much, those extra guys can be held in check. After Ginobili, they’re relying on Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Gary Neal for offense. So if Bogut can guard Tim Duncan and keep the Warriors’ defense honest, and Klay Thompson can hold his own against Tony Parker, the Warriors are not in bad position.

Here is an in-depth look at the match-ups:

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6

Warriors’ Win Gives David Lee Something to Smile About

When rookie forward Harrison Barnes drove the lane and dunked it backwards over Nuggets forward Anthony Randolph, Golden State’s bench went crazy in celebration. Warriors forward David Lee, on the bench in a blazer, wanted to join them. But with his torn right hip flexor, which has knocked him out for the rest of the playoffs, he had to be very careful with his celebration.

LEE: “I had to wait an extra second to stand up. I had to let the traffic clear out, then I stood up and cheered.”

It’s killing Lee to not be out there. But he said it didn’t bother him at all watching the performance his teammates put together in Tuesday’s improbable win at Denver, the Nuggets first home loss in more than four months.

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Warriors David Lee’s Going to Leave Live Tweeting to Kobe Bryant

Warriors forward David Lee, out for the season with a torn right hip flexor, has attending every practice. He’s participates in every meeting. He is filling his teammates eat with whatever insight he can offer.

But Lee said should he be inactive for Game 2, you don’t have to worth about him live Tweeting.

“Can you imagine that?” Lee said with a laugh. “Nah. I’ve got too many holes in my game to be on Twitter breaking down other people’s games.”

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s in-game Tweets became national news. Out for the year due to a torn Achilles, Bryant couldn’t be with the team for Game 1 at San Antonio. As he explained, flying would increase the swelling in his injured foot. So Bryant did some live coaching on Twitter, offering critique and strategy to his followers.

He has since said he would stop live Tweeting because it had become a distraction.

NBA legend Jerry West, in a radio interview with ESPN, doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

WEST: “That’s Kobe. I have nothing but respect for him. The social media, I just don’t think it’s good. Therms enough pressure on everyone now. I don’t understand that at all. I never have understood it. … It’s just something I wouldn’t do.”

5

Warriors Need Carl Landry to Get Buckets Inside

Warriors coach Mark Jackson still won’t say who will start in place of injured forward David Lee. No matter whom Jackson taps, veteran Carl Landry will play a significant role in Game 2 on Tuesday.

That isn’t the worst fall-back plan. Landry, in his fourth playoffs, represents one of Golden State’s most experienced players.

“I’m not David Lee. I’m not an All-star. I don’t average 20 points and I don’t average 12 rebounds per game. But I can pick up some of the weight that was lost.”

Landry proved to be a coup for Warriors management. General manager Bob Myers pulled off the improbable signing late in the summer, inking Landry to a two-year deal worth $8 million (with a player option for next season). But Landry can etch himself and Myers into Warriors’ lore with a big performance in place of Lee.

Such is even more likely if Landry gets back to the inside game that helped lead the Warriors into the playoffs.

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21

David Lee Out For Rest of Playoffs

Warriors All-Star forward David Lee is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a torn right hip flexor.
MRI taken Monday confirms he sustained a Grade 3 tear, which requires months to heal. The Warriors will be sending out official word shortly
Ken Berger of CBS Sports was first to report.

The injury happened at the 11:34 mark of the fourth quarter. He drove down the right side of the key for a layup and was fouled in mid-air by Nuggets center JaVale McGee, knocking Lee off balance.

He came down on his right foot, which appeared to jam into the hardwood and causing an awkward contortion.

It was clear immediately something was really wrong as Warriors forward David Lee squirmed on the court, grunting and grabbing the top of his right thigh.

“Ahhhh, I felt a pop,” Lee could be heard saying on the video of the injury.

The preliminary diagnosis was a strained right hip flexor. The MRI confirmed Lee had the worst possible kind.

Hard not to feel bad for Lee. He’d waited 8 years to make the playoffs, and put together a career year to make it happen. He was crushed after the suspension prevented him from playing in New York. So you know he’s got to be devastated.

This could be a devastating blow for the Warriors, too. They only only lose their second-leading scorer, they lose their best rebounder — right when Denver’s best rebounder, Kenneth Faried, is set to return.

Carl Landry will likely start and play big minutes at power forward. After that, the Warriors will have to go small with the likes of Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Richard Jefferson at power forward.