OAKLAND Warriors point guard Stephen Curry played in abasketball game for the first time in almost seven months on Mondaynight.He didnt play very long, but Curry and his right ankle madeit through the Warriors 83-80 preseason win over the Jazz at Oracle withoutincident.Curry played just 12 minutes all in the first half andfinished with two points, six assists and a turnover.He played a seven-minute stretch to start the game, thenreturned in the second quarter for an additional five minutes. He didnt doanything mesmerizing or jaw-dropping, but he controlled the offense and foundopen teammates for easy buckets.Curry missed 40 of 66 games last season with recurring ankleissues. The last time Curry played in a five-on-five game was back on March 11against the L.A. Clippers.Warriors coach Mark Jackson has made no secret of the factthat he is going to be conservative and then some when it comes to Curry.Jackson elected to hold Curry out of the Warriors preseason opener on Sundayagainst the Lakers because he didnt want Curry to play in back-to-backgames.Ezeli shining: Perhaps Jackson wont sayit, but it seems apparent that rookie center Festus Ezeli is ahead of AndrisBiedrins on the teams depth chart.Its not just because Ezeli has started in each of theteams two preseason games, its because Ezeli has been significantly moreeffective than Biedrins when hes played.
SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James has joined the NBA's 30,000-point club.
James became the seventh player with 30,000 career points when he hit a jumper with one second left in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.
The bucket that made LeBron James the only player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 7,000 assists pic.twitter.com/dmtE46ozjG— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 24, 2018
James was recognized by the arena before the second quarter and got a standing ovation from Spurs fans. James patted his heard and said "thank you so much."
James needed seven points Tuesday to get there. He missed his first two midrange jumpers before making two driving layups and a 20-footer. He hit the milestone jumper over Danny Green from 19 feet out.
The 33-year-old James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list.
At 33 years and 24 days, James is the youngest to reach the mark. Bryant was 34 years and 104 days when he got there.
The 14-time All-Star has averaged 27.1 points since breaking into the league as an 18-year-old in 2003.
Striving for consistency in their performances at Oracle Arena, the Warriors open a three-game homestand Tuesday as heavy favorites to beat the New York Knicks.
After three seasons of utter dominance at home -- including a record 54 consecutive wins -- the Warriors (37-10) have more losses at Oracle (six) than elsewhere (four). A variety of factors, with ennui and a lack of urgency at the top, have conspired to make them merely good at home.
The Knicks (21-26, 6-17 on the road), particularly with star forward Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup, are the kind of relatively toothless squad capable of testing the resolve of the Warriors. The Warriors last home game was a 125-106 loss to a Clippers team without Blake Griffin and three other regular starters.
Warriors by 16.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Kevin Durant vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.: With Porzingis out, the scoring burden falls to the son of former Warriors great Tim Hardaway. Junior, who was born in Alameda, is New York’s No. 2 scorer (18.4 points per game) and is capable of big nights; he hung 38 points on the Raptors earlier this season. Even if Hardaway has a big night, it’s not likely to offset Durant, who is playing fine defense and may be the most complete scorer in the league.
Warriors: F Jordan Bell (L ankle sprain) is listed as out.
Knicks: F Kyle O’Quinn (L calf contusion) and F Kristaps Porzingis (L knee irritation) are listed as out.
Warriors: 8-2. Knicks: 3-7.
James Williams (crew chief), Brent Barnaky, Brett Nansel
This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Warriors swept the two-game series last season, have won eight of the last nine and 23 of the last 29.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE INTENSITY LEVEL: The Warriors often start sluggishly at home and sometimes find themselves in a hold. Though they usually dig out, it’s a habit they are trying to break. It starts with defense. If they come out locker room like a pack of wolves, they are able to run the Porzingis-less Knicks off the floor. If not, they are capable of keeping the Knicks in the game.
THE TURNOVER GAME: The Warriors are prone to commit a lot of turnovers; only the Lakers and 76ers commit more. But the Knicks, who play at a slower pace, actually commit a higher percentage of turnovers and rank 26th in that category. The number of points off turnovers could be high, and might be significant enough to affect the outcome.
THE BENCHES: The Warriors haven’t had a plethora of 3-point shooting off the bench but they do have a bench that uses solid defense and offensive spurts to extend leads. The Knicks, however, have a special scorer in Michael Beasley. If he gets hot, as Lou Williams did two weeks ago, Beasley can carry a subpar roster.