Warriors

Curry's shooting vs Bucks sends calming breeze through Oracle

Curry's shooting vs Bucks sends calming breeze through Oracle

OAKLAND -- The focus of this Warriors resurgence will be on the defense, as it should be, especially after they closed out a perfect week at home Saturday night by limiting the Bucks to 40.4-percent shooting.

But there was palpable relief with seeing Stephen Curry’s shots falling through the rim so cleanly the net barely noticed.

The defense, the Warriors know they can bring at any time. It’s their staple, the one basic element they can rely on times of strife.

But Curry’s offense Saturday night was the eye-opener. If the defense drove this 117-92 victory over Milwaukee, his shooting sent a gentle, relaxing breeze through Oracle Arena that dried those beads of sweat that had been collecting for weeks.

It wasn’t so much Curry’s 28 points but the sheer efficiency of it all: 9-of-13 shooting, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc, and 4-of-4 from the line. It was the first game in three weeks in which Curry didn’t miss most of his 3-point shots.

With the sight of those shots going down, the team’s swagger, which took a massive tumble when Kevin Durant went down with an injury on Feb. 28, has materialized once again. That’s the magic of Hot Steph.

“Thank God I rested him last week,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr joked, referring to Curry being held out of the March 11 game at San Antonio.

“No, Steph was great. Without any sarcasm, getting through that stretch last week, we know, looking at the schedule it was going to be a tough stretch. We didn’t know Kevin was going to get hurt. But it was the double-whammy.”

Curry surely appeared refreshed. In three games at home this week he was 13-of-28 from beyond the ar.

In the seven games before this three-game homestand, for all practical purposes road games with a gruel travel schedule, Curry was 18-of-76 from deep.

Not that he ever wavered.

“Keep shooting,” Curry said. “That’s it, really. Can’t get discouraged by misses, can’t get too big-headed about good games. Keep pushing, keep your routine up and feed off your teammates’ energy. And keep the confidence.”

Curry made his first 3-ball, a 26-footer with 4:53 left in the first quarter. He missed his second and third attempts, then made his last four in a five in a row, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the first and a 33-footer in the final minute of the half.

“He’s going to make shots,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “You can be on him. He’s going to make them from halfcourt. He’s going to make some very tough shots . . . that’s just who he is.”

That’s not who he was for the better part of three weeks. Those days appear to have faded into history.

“I haven’t been worried about him at all,” teammate Andre Iguodala said. “I really look at his bounce, more than anything, the way he’s running and the way he’s shooting. The schedule is brutal; 82 games is a long time. That’s to be expected.”

 

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.