The Warriors are tired and Klay Thompson finally said so.
"We'll kick it up a gear the second half of the season. I don't wanna have any excuses, but we play like 100 games every year the past four years and that weighs on you," Thompson said on The Woj Pod. "Guys had vacations for five months while we're still playing, which is amazing, but you kind of have to pace yourself."
Still, nobody expected the Warriors to have 14 losses at the All-Star break. And nobody expected them to be in second place behind the Rockets in the Western Conference standings.
Count Thompson in as another person surprised by the Rockets' success.
"I'm very shocked how well Houston's playing," Thompson said. "I knew they were going to be a good team, but to only have 13 losses at this point of the season, that's pretty good. Chris Paul and James Harden are an amazing tandem."
While Thompson wishes his Warriors were at the top of the standings, he's finding the positives in how well Houston is playing and expects to battle them for a spot in the NBA Finals.
"It's not awesome Houston is in first place right now, but it's pushing us to be better, I really do believe that. I'd be shocked if we didn't see them in the West Finals or somewhere down the line."
The Warriors lost to the Rockets two out of the three times this season.
When looking at the NBA standings the last few years, there's usually one consistency -- seeing the Warriors at the top of the Western Conference with the best record in basketball. That's no longer the case.
With the Warriors' 123-117 loss to the Trail Blazers Wednesday night in Portland, they now sit behind the Rockets (44-13). The Warriors are a half game behind with a 44-14 record.
Nobody is happier than Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
The Rockets' social media team joined the celebration too.
In December, Morey said he was "obsessed" with beating the Warriors. At the All-Star break, that obsession is working in his favor. The Warriors have lost two out of three games to the Rockets this season.
Congratulations on your first-half championship. Hang up that banner proudly, Daryl.
SACRAMENTO -- Joe Johnson, we hardly knew you. Reports early Saturday morning have the veteran wing in agreement of a buyout with the Sacramento Kings.
According to multiple national reports, the seven-time All-Star will join the Houston Rockets once he’s cleared waivers from Sacramento.
Included in the Thursday’s three-team deal with the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Kings understood that a buyout was the likely outcome for the 36-year-old Johnson. It might even have been the reason they had him included in the deal.
“We knew looking at certain veterans that we’d have a set of options,” Brandon Williams said of Johnson following the trade. “No surprise to anybody in the room that veteran at that stage (of their career) might be looking at playoff teams. I think we think the same thing. So strategically, it’s right in line.”
The 17-year veteran posted 7.3 points per game over 32 games for the Utah Jazz this season. Once the buyout is complete, Sacramento will have an open roster spot to work with.
Johnson joins an elite club that includes Sam Cassell, Larry Hughes, Roger Mason and Marquis Daniels. All of these players were acquired by the Kings at the trade deadline only to never play a game in purple and black.