Warriors

Curry named Western Conference Player of the Month

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Curry named Western Conference Player of the Month

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been named the Kia NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for games played in February, the league announced today. The reigning MVP led the Warriors to a 9-1 month (7-1 on the road) with averages of 36.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.90 steals while hitting 54.9 percent from the field and 53.6 percent from three-point range, becoming the first player to average at least 36 points in a single month (min. 10 games) since Kobe Bryant in March 2007 (40.3 points) and the first Warrior to do so since Rick Barry in February 1967 (39.7). Curry, who also won the award in October/November, is the first player in franchise history to be named Player of the Month twice in one season, earning his fifth career monthly honor.

Curry’s month was highlighted by a pair of 51-point performances (Feb. 3 at Washington & Feb. 25 at Orlando), making him the first player since LeBron James in February 2009 to tally multiple 50-point games in a single month. The 6’3” guard earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games played from Feb. 22-28, a stretch that saw him tie the single-game NBA record for three-point field goals with 12 on Feb. 27 at Oklahoma City—equaling the record on a 37-foot game-winner with 0.6 seconds remaining in overtime—and break his own single-season three-point record (currently at 288 threes) in addition to setting a new NBA-mark for consecutive regular-season games with a three-pointer, which now stands at 129-straight games. Curry closed the month by becoming the first Warrior since Barry in 1967 to score at least 40 points in three-straight games and led all players with four 40-point performances in February.

The Warriors earned their franchise-record 29th road win on Feb. 27 at Oklahoma City, eclipsing the previous mark of 28 set last season, and have won 43-straight regular-season home games, one shy of the NBA record. Golden State currently owns a 54-5 record, the best mark in NBA history through 59 games, and clinched a playoff berth on Feb. 27, becoming the first team to clinch a spot in the postseason in February since the 1987-88 Lakers.

Curry is on pace to become the first Warrior to lead the league in scoring since Barry in 1966-67, averaging an NBA-best 30.7 points to go with 6.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.11 steals. After averaging 23.8 points ­during his MVP campaign in 2014-15, the seventh-year guard has increased his scoring average by 6.9 points this season, seeing the highest year-over-year scoring average of any reigning MVP in league history. Curry is on pace to hit better than 50 percent from the field (.515), 40 percent from three-point range (.468, third in the NBA) and 90 percent from the free throw line (.908, second).

In addition to Curry, only Chris Mullin (January 1989 & November 1990) and Bernard King (January 1981) have earned Player of the Month honors for the Warriors since the NBA began giving out the award in 1979.

Cleveland’s LeBron James earned the accolade in the Eastern Conference.  

Golden State Warriors media services

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

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USATSI

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.

Eventually.

They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

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USATSI

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.

So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.

The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.

INJURY LIST:
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) has been ruled out.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.

GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.

HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.