Raiders

Warriors own the glass in win over Thunder

386980.jpg

Warriors own the glass in win over Thunder

Feb. 13, 2011BOX SCORE WARRIORS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Even as Oklahoma City stumbles into the All-Star break, Kevin Durant insists it's far too soon for the Thunder to worry.That, says Durant, would only complicate things."We can't panic at all," said Durant after scoring 29 points in a 100-94 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. "If we do that, then that's when we'll really start to go downhill. We have to keep it positive, continue to keep working every day and learn from our mistakes."The Thunder made plenty of mistakes against the Warriors, a growing concern for a team that went into the night as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference behind the Spurs and Lakers. NBA STANDINGS
Five days after an overtime home loss to Memphis and one night after having to hold off lowly Sacramento 99-97, Oklahoma City committed 20 turnovers, had only two offensive rebounds to 20 for Golden State and were outscored in the paint 44-28.
GAME STATS
That wound up being the difference as the Warriors led the entire fourth quarter and responded nicely following their 24-point loss to Phoenix on Thursday.RECAP: Flat Warriors run through by Nash, Suns
"We knew we had to rebound ... to have a chance," Golden State coach Keith Smart said. "We couldn't give up second-chance points. Our guys did a great job of going to the glass early."Monta Ellis had 32 points, David Lee added 23 points and a season-high 19 rebounds and Stephen Curry scored 23 points and had a season-high 13 assists to lead the Warriors to their sixth win in seven games.Oklahoma City, the NBA's fifth highest-scoring team going in, failed to reach 100 points for the second consecutive night after hitting triple digits in its previous seven games.The Thunder's 20 turnovers, three shy of their season-high, led to 20 points for the Warriors."I blame it on me," said Russell Westbrook, who had 21 points and five assists. "I've been not taking care of the ball and it's been rubbing off on my teammates. I have to figure out how to take care of the ball and make smart decisions for my teammates and not put them in bad situations."Like Durant, Westbrook shrugged off the Thunder's recent stretch of games as a minor bump in the road. Oklahoma City has one more home game left before the break."I don't know why it would be panic time," Westbrook said. "All three games, we should have won. We just have to close out games and we didn't do that tonight."Ellis made a 3-pointer, then fed Dorrel Wright for a fastbreak layup to give the Warriors (24-29) a 91-85 lead with 2:31 left. Westbrook then scored on back-to-back trips down the court, and following a bucket by Ellis, Green sank a 3-pointer to pull the Thunder within 93-92.With Oklahoma City focusing its defense on Ellis and Curry, Reggie Williams buried a 3-pointer with 47.2 seconds remaining to bring the sold-out crowd at Oracle Arena to its feet. After Durant made two free throws, Curry drove the lane, then dished to Lee under the basket for a game-sealing dunk.Curry's 13 assists were a season high for Golden State. He also didn't turn the ball over, a notable achievement for the second-year guard."Everything felt good out there," Curry said. "I was composed and if I got myself into tough situations, I was able to get out of there. It was a matter of being aggressive, but staying smart about it."The 23 points are Lee's most since he had 31 in a loss to San Antonio on Jan. 24. Since then, the Warriors' prized offseason acquisition had been in a scoring slump and was averaging only 14.1 points in his previous eight games before busting out against the Thunder.Oklahoma City (34-19) struggled offensively and looked out of sync most of the night while playing in the second half of a back-to-back. The Thunder beat Sacramento 99-97 on Saturday, then made the hour-long trip south to Oakland for the nationally televised game against the Warriors where they came up short most of the night.Smart preached to his team before the game about containing Durant, but the Thunder's All-Star selection had nine points in the first quarter while Westbrook sat on the bench saddled in foul trouble.Smart's message to his players kicked in in the second quarter as Durant scored just two points and took only two shots.Westbrook took over, scoring the final nine points of the half for Oklahoma City but Golden State closed out the second quarter with a 10-4 run to take a 47-43 lead into halftime.The Thunder briefly led in the third following a 3-pointer from Westbrook, but Curry and Lee combined for 10 points apiece, 14 of the Warriors' last 17 points, to help Golden State increase its lead to eight points.Notes: The Thunder are 6-4 the second night of back-to-backs. ... Oklahoma City F James Harden left the game with a lower-back injury in the fourth quarter after he fell to the floor after getting the ball stolen by Ellis.

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

pagano-raiders.jpg
USATSI

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

ALAMEDA – John Pagano can’t implement his scheme in a week. He can’t import his plays and preferences cultivated during five seasons as Chargers defensive coordinator. Full offseason programs and training camps are required for that.

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired on Tuesday. Pagano will call his first Raiders game five days later against Denver at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders’ assistant head coach – defense believes he can impact how the Silver and Black does business.

“There’s always room for change and there’s always room for doing things better,” Pagano said Thursday. “Without telling you our game plan, it’s about how we go out and execute the call, bottom line.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio said the Raiders weren’t playing fast enough. They weren’t creating enough turnovers, weren’t doing well enough on third down and weren’t regularly affecting the quarterback due to a lack of both rush and coverage.

That’s why Norton had to go.

Pagano’s first objective, which must get accomplished in a few days, is getting the Raiders to play with confidence. Then he can add some design wrinkles with some of his personality.

“You have to have that ability of going out there, knowing your assignment and playing faster,” Pagano said. “It’s not to say that there have been times where we’ve simplified things, but taking the thinking out of the game and making them react is, I think, most important. Going out there and playing fast and that’s doing the little extra things, the attention to details of studying and getting those things processed. See ball, go get ball.”

That last sentence sums up how Pagano wants his guys to play. He’s a quality play caller and creative blitzer with a knack making simple plays look complex. He can find and exploit opposing weak links. His defenses have always been good creating pressure and turnovers alike. The Raiders need more of both.

To do that Pagano wants to relieve a player’s mental burden and keep them focused on using talent well.

“The one thing I’ve always stressed and always been about is technique, fundamentals and unbelievable effort,” Pagano said. “I think those three things can get you home.”

The Raiders haven’t been home much as a defense. They’re tied for last with 14 sacks. They’re dead last with six turnovers. They’ve gone 10 games without an interception, the longest single-season drought in NFL history.

A lack of big defensive plays has killed the Raiders this season. It obviously increases points allowed. Good field position has been hard to come by. The offense has to earn everything the hard way. That’s a recipe for losing football, a maddening turn after the Raiders finished second with 30 takeaways last year.

Pagano has a chart listing “MOPs,” short for missed opportunities. There have been many, especially in a secondary he oversaw before this week.

“I talked to these guys this week about we need to do simple better,” Pagano said. “What is simple? It’s fundamentals of covering. It’s tackling. It’s communicating. It’s catching the ball when it comes. We’ve had opportunities. It’s not like we’re out there struggling and straining to dive and layout for the thing. It’s hit us in the hands where we’ve had many, many opportunities.”

Missed opportunities have also plagued a pass rush featuring reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Pagano brought up a moment early in Sunday’s lost to New England, when Treyvon Hester forced a fumble near three teammates that the Patriots somehow recovered.

Pagano’s goal is to improve performance. Players must buy in to do that. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin headline a large group close to Norton, one with enough pride and professionalism to get behind a new playcaller in Pagano, who could be here long term.

“There is a human element to this,” Pagano said. “We are family. It’s sad any time a member of your family gets dismissed or something. At the end of the day, we have the Broncos coming in here on Sunday and we have to get our minds right to go play this game. That’s something that they’ve done a great job with this week, truly focusing in on what we need to do.”

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

jordan-bell-ap.jpg
AP

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell made an instant impact for the team this season. But as of late, his playing time has dwindled. In four of the Warriors' last five games, Bell has been inactive. 

“It's just the life of a rookie,” Bell said to The Athletic. “That's what Steve Kerr always tells me. It's not because I'm playing bad. Just gotta be professional about it and stay ready. It's like being a freshman all over again.”

While Bell wants to be on the court with his teammates, what he appreciates most from Steve Kerr is his communication. Kerr is always honest about when he won't play Bell and he keeps the former Oregon Duck encouraged. 

“He talks to me about it every time he sees me,” Bell said. “Lets me know I'm not going to be active. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing good. But it still f------ sucks. You're playing well and it doesn't mean anything because you're younger. It sucks, but you got to be professional about it.”

Bell has played in 12 of the Warriors' 18 games this season. The 22-year-old is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 8.3 minutes per game. 

The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls and selected Bell. On Friday night, the Warriors, and perhaps Bell, play the Bulls for the first time this season.