Ezeli already making physical presence felt for Warriors


Ezeli already making physical presence felt for Warriors

Programming Note: Insider Matt Steinmetz is in Las Vegas following the NBA Summer League. Stay logged on and tune into SportsNet Central as Matt files reports all week long with the latest on the Warriors.

LAS VEGAS About five minutes Thats how long you needed to watch the Warriors summerleague team practice on Wednesday afternoon before you noticed Festus Ezeli.It happened that quickly.What catches your eye first about Ezeli is his sheer size.Hes 6-foot-11, 270 pounds and he looks every bit of it. But if youre aWarriors fan, it gets even better.Of the 20 or so players participating for the Warriors atSierra Vista High School, nobody was more intense, more physical or more activethan Ezeli. He patrolled the lane, he helped beaten teammates with rimprotection, and, with all due respect, he didnt shut up.Lets just say hes going to help, said Warriors assistantcoach Pete Myers. Hes a specimen. He likes playing inside, likes settingscreens and he enjoys being physical. Hes got good lateral quickness for a bigguy.It would seem to make sense that Ezeli would assume the rolethat Kwame Brown had for the Warriors before he got hurt: rebounder, fouler atthe rim, lane-clogger and good, all-around teammate.Brown played only nine games before suffering aseason-ending pectoral injury, but in those games he averaged 6.3 points and6.3 rebounds per game. But if you watched each of those games you know Brownwas more valuable than the numbers.Simply put, Brown brought something the Warriorsdidnt have. Perhaps Ezeli can do the same in 2012-13.Thats why Im here, answered Ezeli, about becoming adefensive anchor. Thats what I am for this team. Thats what theyve asked meto be and thats what Ill be. Its what Ive always known. Vanderbilt was myfirst organized program and they trained me to be a defensive anchor so thatsall I know.Warriors coach Mark Jackson said one difference betweenBrown and Ezeli is that Brown, a veteran, knew all the tricks of the trade.Ezeli will have to figure those out.Myers said Ezelis biggest challenge right now is figuringout the Warriors defensive schemes and terminology. Ezeli agreed, but its notsomething he thinks will be a long-term problem.Its coming along, Ezeli said. Im trying to learn. Thereare a lot of things here that are different. Sometimes I have to fight myinstincts and try to learn how its done here. This is my new family, my newteam. Ive got to learn how to protect my teammates.As for Ezelis offensive game, well have we talked abouthis defense?His offense is still a ways away, Myers said. Hes notafraid, though. You throw it to him in the low post and hes going to look toscore. Hes not one of those guys who will pass it right out and set a screen.Hell try to be physical and get to the rim, which I like.I just think it will take some time to develop somelow-post moves."

Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one


Kevin Durant takes shot at Zaza Pachulia while center's kid play one-on-one

Kevin Durant doesn't take it easy on anyone. Not even the children of teammate Zaza Pachulia.

After practice on Saturday in Philadelphia, Pachulia's two sons, Davit and Saba, were playing one-on-one at the facility the Warriors were using. Kevin Durant filmed one sequence and posted it to his Instagram Story.

One of Pachulia's sons grabbed the ball and drives around the other without dribbling. As he makes the shot, Durant offers his commentary and took a shot at the Warriors starting center.

"That's a travel. Such a travel. Same thing your pops do," Durant said, taking a shot at Pachulia.

Durant also had another message for Pachulia written on the video.

"Yo, @zazapachulia at some you have to teach the boys how to play off the bounce," Durant wrote.

Gameday: Warriors limited Embiid, Simmons once; Can they do it again?

Gameday: Warriors limited Embiid, Simmons once; Can they do it again?

After losing the biggest test of the season thus far, the Warriors will try to get back to winning Saturday, when they face the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 3:30, with tipoff scheduled for 4:35.

The Warriors (11-4), who are coming off their first loss in eight games, a 92-88 defeat at Boston on Thursday, laid a 135-114 beating on the 76ers one week ago in Oakland. They shot a season-high 58.5 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent beyond the arc.

The Sixers (8-6) started the season by losing four of their first five games but have recovered nicely, winning seven of their last nine. They rebounded from the loss to the Warriors by sweeping the Clippers and Lakers in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Warriors by 8.5

Draymond Green and Co. vs. Joel Embiid: The Warriors used a tag-team effort to lock down the Philadelphia big man last week, holding Embiid to 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds while forcing seven turnovers. It was a lesson in team defense, and they’ll try to repeat that performance. No fewer than five Warriors -- Zaza Pachulia, Kevin Durant, JaVale McGee, David West and Green -- will get chances to defend Embiid, who responded to a poor game in Oakland by combining for 87 points and 31 rebounds in torching the Clippers and the Lakers in LA.

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

76ers: G Jerryd Bayless (L wrist bruise) is listed as questionable. G/F Justin Anderson (L shin splints), G Markelle Fultz (right shoulder scapular muscle imbalance) and G Nik Stauskas (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.

Tony Brothers (crew chief), Bennie Adams and Lauren Holtkamp.

The Warriors have won the last nine meetings overall, the last four in Philadelphia. Their last loss in Philadelphia was on March 2, 2013.

WHAT ABOUT STEPH? Stephen Curry has fallen into a bit of a shooting rut, and it’s not necessarily related to the thigh bruise sustained last Saturday against 76ers. He is 20-of-61 (32.8 percent) from the field, including 9-of-33 (27.3) from deep, over his last four games; he was 34-of-58 (58.6) and 18-of-32 (56.3) in the four games before that. He’ll get opportunities against the Philly defense. Can he snap out of it?

I-N-T-E-N-S-I-T-Y SPELLS INTENSITY: The Warriors are have a tough time shaking the habit of strolling through too many parts of games. After a first half in which they committed 13 turnovers and allowed Philly to shoot 52 percent, the Warriors last week used a third-quarter barrage to put the game away. After being freshly burned in Boston, expect them to bring some early fire, trying to bury the Sixers early and totally.

BEN SIMMONS PT. II: In sending a variety of defenders at the 6-foot-10 point guard, the Warriors kept Simmons off balance and turned him into a volume shooter. He took 17 shots, his second-highest total of the season, and made six. There is no reason to expect a substantial change, and this time the Warriors will add Andre Iguodala into the defensive mix.