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

Gameday: Two Warriors All-Stars out for Friday's game vs Bulls

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USATSI

Gameday: Two Warriors All-Stars out for Friday's game vs Bulls

The Warriors will be without their starting forwards Friday night when they return to Oracle Arena not only to face the struggling Chicago Bulls but also in search of good habits.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.

Kevin Durant is out with a sprained ankle and Draymond Green will be resting.

The Warriors (13-5) are coming off a 2-2 road trip during which they blew a 17-point third-quarter lead in one of the losses and had to overcome a 24-point third-quarter deficit to earn one of the victories.

The rebuilding Bulls (3-13) are concluding a four-game swing through the Western Conference, having lost the first three games by an average of 15.7 points.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 15.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Omri Casspi & Co. vs. Lauri Markkanen: Markkanen has been one of the few bright spots for the Bulls this season. The 7-foot rookie from Arizona shares the team lead in scoring at 14.6 points per game, while leading in rebounds at 8.3 per game. The only Chicago rookies to score more points in their first 16 games are Michael Jordan, Derrick Rose and Elton Brand. With Green and Durant out, the task of defending Markkanen falls to Casspi, who will start at one forward, with rookie Jordan Bell also taking a few turns.

INJURY LIST

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) and F Draymond Green (rest) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Bulls: G Zach LaVine (L ACL rehab), F Nikola Mirotic (facial fractures), G David Nwaba (R ankle sprain) and G Cameron Payne (R foot surgery) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Bulls: 2-8.

GAME OFFICIALS

Bennie Adams (lead), Mark Ayotte and JT Orr.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams split the two-game series last season, each winning on its home court. The Warriors have won five of the last eight overall and 14 of the last 18 in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE INTENSITY METER: The Warriors believe, justifiably, that their biggest worry is about themselves. When they’re properly focused, they are the best team in the NBA. When they are not, they are susceptible to most any quality team. Insofar as Chicago doesn’t appear pose an explicit challenge, the Warriors must not only manufacture intensity but also maintain it.

KEEP ‘EM OFF THE LINE: The Bulls are dead last in the NBA in offensive rating (94.4), field-goal percentage (41.0), field goals made per game (35.7). The one thing they do well is shoot free throws, which they shoot at a league-leading 92.9 percent. The Warriors can be prone to fouls (only eight teams commit more), so they’ll have to play it smart against this opponent.

THE BENCH BUNCH: With Durant and Green out, along with this being the second game of a four-games-in-six-nights stretch, the Warriors will have to lean on their bench, which has been quite good. Its 54-percent shooting leads the league, as is its 4.2 blocks per game. The net rating 10.2 is second in the NBA.

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

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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.