Warriors

Bucks-Warriors: What to watch for

704538.jpg

Bucks-Warriors: What to watch for

Programming note: Chat with Warriors Insider Matt Steinmetz during the first quarter of tonight's Warriors - Bucks game in our Jack in the Box Ask the Expert chat!

All of sudden what was looking like arelatively uneventful Friday night game between the Bucks and Warriors atOracle Arena is going to be as interesting as all get-out.Shooting guard Monta Ellis, who wastraded to Milwaukee on Tuesday, will be playing against his former team, theWarriors, in his initial game with the Bucks.Ellis played seven-plus seasons for theWarriors and was one of the franchises most well-liked players. On Tuesday,Ellis, along with Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown, were traded to Milwaukee forAndrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. The Warriors subsequently moved Jackson alongto San Antonio for Richard Jefferson.It should be a very intriguing eveningat Oracle Arena, with some kind of tribute or honoring of Ellis to likely comebeforehand. Here are some things to watch for during Friday nightsBucks-Warriors game:
Ellis role: MontaEllis will likely start for the Bucks and be paired alongside Brandon Jennings.That makes two quick, explosive guards in the backcourt for the Bucks, and theWarriors are going to have to combat that in some way.The Warriors started Nate Robinson andKlay Thompson in the backcourt against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.Regardless of which player guards which, Thompson will have his hands full witheither Ellis or Jennings.Effort level: Iftheres been one consistent pattern in the two games the Warriors have playedwithout Ellis, its that the Warriors have been playing with energy and effort.They blew out the Kings in Sacramento on the night the trade went down and thencame back on Wednesday and played the Celtics more than tough at OracleArena.Expect no shortage of effort from theWarriors again on Friday.Jeffersons possible debut:Warriors general manager Larry Riley said on Thursday that it waspossible, though not assured, that newly acquired small forward RichardJefferson would play against the Bucks.If Jefferson does play, hed likelyback up Dorell Wright. But its no secret that Wright has struggled at timesthis year, and that coach Mark Jackson has kept him on the bench for longstretches.If Jefferson comes in and catchesJacksons eye, its very possible we could have some competition for theWarriors small forward spot.Lee vs. Udoh:Warriors power forward David Lee and Ekpe Udoh, his former teammate,went up against each other a lot at practice over the past two seasons. Theyrelikely to be matched up occasionally on Friday.Lee is more of an offensive player, andUdoh is more of a defensive player, which should make for a nice littlegame-within-a-game.

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.

The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.

The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.

“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”

Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.

“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.

“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”

Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.

The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.

Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.

That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.

“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.