Warriors

Analysis: With Durant, Warriors will be different, but better

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Analysis: With Durant, Warriors will be different, but better

Programming note: Watch Kevin Durant's introductory press conference today at 1:30pm on CSN Bay Area, and STREAMING LIVE right here.

The Takeover has been a staple of the Warriors’ rise in recent years, with Steph Curry or Klay Thompson or Draymond Green going nuclear to put his stamp on a moment or a quarter to bury an opponent.

It’s part of The Show that is the Warriors. It’s the highlight. Fans jamming themselves into Oracle Arena do so as much to glimpse The Takeover as to experience the victory that follows, much as a boxing crowd yearns not to see a decision but to witness a knockout.

That won’t change Thursday, when Kevin Durant is introduced as the newest Warrior, his signature on a contract signaling an epic change for the team that entertained global observers while winning 140 games over the past two seasons and a record 73 in 2015-16.

Assuming good health, the regular-season wins total will be similar, high-60s to low-70s. Offensive efficiency will improve. So should rebounding, and the defensive numbers will be very good.

What will change, however, are the individual statistics of Curry, Thompson and Green.

The Splash Brothers now have a third sibling, which logic dictates is a benefit to all. And Green, a gold-plated toolbox of a player, will have another toy.

[RELATED: Warriors to introduce Kevin Durant on Thursday]

Though Curry’s scoring average will drop from a career-high 30.1 and he’s not likely to repeat as scoring champ, his shooting percentage should rise as defenses scramble to monitor Durant and Thompson. Curry’s assist totals, which have declined in each of the past two seasons, should go back up.

Life will be easier for Curry, and he’ll still have plenty of opportunities to transcend. The Steph Takeover is going nowhere.

Thompson’s scoring average, which has gone up in each of his five seasons and was 22.1 last season, almost certainly will decline. As the man most likely to break to offense with a questionable shot, he’ll have operate more judiciously. He will, as he knows Curry is not the only teammate that can demoralize defenses with shooting. The quality of Thompson’s shots will get better, and he’ll make them at a higher percentage. He’ll handle the ball a lot less, which is a good thing.

Life will be easier for Thompson, too, because he’ll prosper from the KD effect. And nobody is a better catch-and-shoot scorer than Klay Thompson. The Klay Takeover happens several times a season – the last one being a memorable Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals. There is no reason to expect that to change.

Green has the amazing ability to provide whatever it is the Warriors need most. He observes and responds. Need assists? Love it. Need scoring? OK. Need rebounding? That’s what he does. Green led the Warriors in assists and rebounding. Curry will threaten his assist numbers, and Durant is vastly superior rebounder to the departing Harrison Barnes.

The Draymond Takeover is the most variable of all, as Green can punish defenses as much with his will as with his skill, whether it’s rebounding and running one-man fast breaks or carving up defenses with artful passing. Nobody’s game, not even Curry’s should benefit more from the acquisition of Durant.

The KD Takeover is, well, both unfair and inevitable because Durant can take over a game as well as anyone, including Curry. At 6-foot-10, with the full offensive arsenal – he generates quality shots off the dribble or off the catch, operates well out of the high or low post and passes nearly as well as Green – no one in the NBA is tougher to defend.

When Durant is on fire, defenders are ambient noise. He’ll be given room to operate, more than he’s ever known; that’s one of the reasons he’s joining the Warriors.

The KD Takeover will be on display come October, and having it available is why the Warriors can become the most lethal offensive club in NBA history.

For those wondering if there will be enough balls to go around, Durant has spent the bulk of his career playing with Russell Westbrook, who dominates the ball as much as anyone not named James Harden.

Coming to an offense that believes in ball movement and rhythm, this will be an exceedingly welcome change for Durant.

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely

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AP

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely

NEW YORK — The San Antonio Spurs say Kawhi Leonard will be out indefinitely as he continues his recovery from a leg injury.

Leonard has played in just nine games after missing the beginning of the season because of right quadriceps tendinopathy. He also was sidelined briefly because of a shoulder injury.

Spurs general manager RC Buford said Wednesday that Leonard has made significant progress in his recovery but "this is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play."

The All-Star forward is averaging 16.2 points this season for the Spurs, who play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

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USATSI

Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

The Warriors will be without Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, when they aim to tie a franchise record for consecutive road wins Wednesday as they face the improving Chicago Bulls at United Center.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

In seeking their 14th straight road win, the Warriors (36-9) will be confronting quite a different herd of Bulls than the team they crushed 143-94 two months ago in Oakland. Neither Kevin Durant nor Green was available in that rout, which that was the highest point total allowed by the Bulls since November 1990.

After a 3-20 start, the Bulls (17-27) righted themselves with a seven-game win streak in December and have won 14 of their last 21. The offense has steadily improved, averaging 94.5 points in October/November to 112.0 in January.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Kris Dunn: Several factors are responsible for the rise of the Bulls, but none may be more important than the play of Dunn, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft. Acquired in the June 2017 trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Dunn is the engine of a Chicago offense that since Dec. 6 has operated at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA. He averaged 12.0 points and 8.4 assists over the last five games. Curry missed most of December but has been playing well since returning. He loves the challenge of a rising point guard. He’ll be out to make a statement.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Draymond Green (R shoulder soreness) and F Andre Iguodala (L calf contusion) are listed as out.

Bulls: G Cameron Payne (R foot surgery) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2.

Bulls: 5-5.

GAME OFFICIALS

Ron Garretson (crew chief), Mark Ayotte, Scott Twardoski

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 143-94, on Nov. 24 in Oakland. The teams split the series last season, each winning on its own floor. The Warriors have won six of the last nine meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

KD UNLEASHED: Since returning Jan. 10, after a three-game absence, Durant has been on a tear, averaging 30.8 points on 62.5-percent shooting, including 60 percent from beyond the arc. Most teams don’t have anyone that matches up with him, and the Bulls certainly don’t. The closest is Lauri Markkanen, and though he has the length (7 feet), he has no chance of slowing Durant. All indications point to another big night.

THE BOMBERS: Chicago has made at least 10 3-pointers in each of its last nine home games, the longest such streak in franchise history. They’ve made at least 15 treys in each of the last three games. Rookie forward Markkanen drilled his 100th career triple in his 41st game, the fastest rate in league history. He averaged 23.0 points over his last three games, making 15 3-pointers in the process. With Green out, the Warriors will give him a variety of looks, with one of them being Durant.

WARRIORS DEPTH: The absence of Green and Iguodala will hurt the Warriors, who are playing their fourth game in six nights. Jordan Bell will start for Green, but the Warriors will have to alter their offense -- Green leads team in assists -- while patching together a defense that will be without two players that make an impact on that end. Omri Casspi, Kevon Looney and Pat McCaw will have opportunities.