Warriors

Five lessons Warriors learned in Boston

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Five lessons Warriors learned in Boston

Here are five things that were learned about the Warriors during a 92-88 loss Thursday night in Boston.

1) CAN’T ALLOW THE CELTICS TO BREATHE

This was going to be the toughest game of the season, and they knew why. It was the day after a cross-country flight, in a place known for hostility toward visitors and, above all, against a Celtics team coached by Brad Stevens.

Every time the Warriors have played the Celtics since Stevens arrived in 2013, the Warriors have had the superior roster. Yet the Celtics generally are able to make them and keep them sweating for most of the game’s duration.

The Celtics know that. Down 17 with 5:25 left in the second quarter, they got within five at the half. Down 17 with 4:59 left in the third quarter, they went on a 19-0 run to take a lead inside the final minute of the quarter.

The Bucks and the Heat disrupt can Warriors’ offense enough to hang around. The Spurs and Grizzlies can at times make things tough for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Only the Celtics can consistently do both.

2) WARRIORS DIDN’T ADAPT TO THE WHISTLES

The officials -- chief James Capers, Pat Fraher and Tyler Ford -- were at best a middling crew by NBA standards. Capers is an ordinary lead, Fraher a mediocre No. 2 and Ford one of the weakest officials in the league.

The Celtics are a physically aggressive team. That’s particularly true of Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown, each of whom plays as if gunpowder is running through his bloodstream. On a normal night, they practically dare referees to call fouls. On this night, with this crew, they were in heaven.

The Warriors were, by contrast, in purgatory. Never adjusting and rarely matching Boston’s physical intensity, the Warriors were outrebounded 52-47 and, moreover, lost the second-chance points battle 18-5.

The Celtics earned their decisive 38-19 margin in free throw attempts.

3) CAN’T CRUISE AGAINST CONTENDERS

The Warriors, supremely confident, will go through stretches of a game where they simply lose interest or focus. There is a growing belief within the league that they will allow comebacks.

That belief is based in fact, at least as it pertains to the league’s better teams. The Warriors led the Pistons by 14 and lost by eight, led the Grizzlies by five and lost by 10, led the Rockets by 17 and lost by one.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone reminded his players of that on Nov. 4 in Denver. They wiped out an early 13-point deficit to go up by 2. It didn’t last, but . . .

Now this. The Warriors can look back and say they should have won all four of their losses. Quality opponents can look back and believe the Warriors are lack killer instinct.

They had it during 2017 playoffs. Maybe they’re waiting for the REAL season.

4) STEVE KERR SOMETIMES HAS TOO MUCH FAITH

The coach believes in his team, as well he should, for it has rewarded him with three consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and two championships.

That said, there was no emphatic response to the Warriors giving back 12 points of a 17-point lead in the first half and all of a 17-point lead in the third quarter.

Kerr called a timeout at the 3:17 mark of the second quarter, after Boston whittled a 44-27 Warriors lead down to 45-34. There was no timeout over the remainder of the half, which ended with the Warriors leading 47-42.

Another timeout was called with 3:46 left in the third quarter, after the Celtics shrank the 17-point lead to 10, 66-56. Out of the timeout, Boston went on a 12-0 run, taking a 68-66 lead with 53.8 seconds remaining in the quarter.

The game was arrhythmic. The officials seemed overmatched. Kerr, believing in his players and anticipating a close game down the stretch, wanted to save his timeouts. He used them all, but one timeout during a 19-0 run seems sparse.

5) STRANGE FEAR OF THE CUP

Boston plays tremendous team defense, but the Warriors made it easy on the Celtics, particularly down the stretch by forgetting they have no rim protector.

The Warriors were 7-of-21 from the field in the fourth quarter. Within that they were 3-of-12 from deep. They fired four triples for every three shots in the paint. Six of the eight shots they took over the final 2:21 were from deep.

We know the Warriors love the 3-ball and that it has been very good for them. But in a close game featuring mediocre officials, they settled for long jumpers rather than going right at one of Boston’s few defensive weaknesses. The Celtics rely on team defense because they rank 24th in blocks.

The Warriors, to be sure, shied away. They feared when there was nothing to fear.

Gameday: Kevin Durant vs Brandon Ingram on Kobe Bryant night

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Gameday: Kevin Durant vs Brandon Ingram on Kobe Bryant night

While the basketball world on Monday turns its eyes on Kobe Bryant Night, the Warriors will try to lock in on a Lakers team that tends to put up a real challenge against them in Los Angeles.

Despite being beset with multiple injuries -- three starters that have missed most of the games this month will be out once again -- the Warriors (23-6) behind Kevin Durant have held it together well enough to achieve an eight-game win streak.

After a four-game road trip during which they went 2-2 against Eastern Conference foes, the Lakers (10-17) return to Staples Center to host the retirement of the two jersey numbers, 8 and 24, worn by Bryant during his legendary 20-year career.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place at halftime, which has been expanded from the usual 15 minutes to 21.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 5.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kevin Durant vs. Brandon Ingram: Ingram, in his second season, is often compared with Durant, who admits seeing similarities between the “small” forwards. Ingram, 20, is averaging 16.2 points per game, second among Lakers and in his last game torched the Cavs for 26 points, six rebounds and six assists. Durant has spent the last four games -- since Stephen Curry was knocked out of action -- rampaging through opponents. It’s reasonable to expect a few teacher-student moments.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (R ankle sprain), F Draymond Green (R shoulder soreness), G Shaun Livingston (L knee soreness) and C Zaza Pachulia (L shoulder soreness) are listed as out.

Lakers: No injuries listed.

ROSTER NOTE

C Damian Jones has been activated by the Warriors from G-League Santa Cruz.

LAST 10

Warriors: 9-1. Lakers: 3-7

GAME OFFICIALS

Bill Kennedy (crew chief), Curtis Blair, Leon Wood

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors needed overtime to win the first of four meetings this season, 127-123, on Nov. 29 in LA. They won three of four last season and have won 12 of the last 15 meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE POINT MEN: With Curry and Livingston out, the Warriors are forced to rely on third- and fourth-string point guards against heralded Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Given Ball’s 6-foot-7 height, the logical option to start is 6-7 Pat McCaw, with 6-2 Quinn Cook slotted for backup minutes at the point. There will be others, such as Andre Iguodala and Durant, taking turns initiating the offense.

THE GIFTS: Only three teams commit more turnovers than the Warriors (16.2 per game), and one of them is the Lakers (17.1). The Lakers through giveaways are handing opponents an average of 19.3 points per game (third-highest in the league). The Warriors are gifting an average of 18 points per game, eighth highest. Put another way, the loser of this game is almost certain to bemoan turnovers.

THE POMP: With the Hollywood atmosphere sure to come with Bryant’s jerseys being hoisted into the rafter, it will be an emotional night. The experienced Warriors, having played in three consecutive NBA Finals, are accustomed to high-magnitude events. How will the Lakers, some of whom played with Bryant, handle it?

Santa Cruz Warriors acquire former first-round pick, Rockets forward

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Santa Cruz Warriors acquire former first-round pick, Rockets forward

The Santa Cruz Warriors acquired Terrence Jones off waivers, the team announced on Monday morning.

The Rockets selected Jones with the 18th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Over 76 games (71 starts) during the 2013-14 season, Jones averaged 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds, while shooting over 54 percent from the field.

He was limited to 33 games the following season, but still averaged 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.

Against the Warriors in the 2015 Western Conference Finals, he scored 12 points in Game 2 and 14 points in Game 4.

The 25-year old appeared in 54 games (12 starts) for New Orleans last season, averaging 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in 23.5 minutes.

The Pelicans waived Jones soon after they acquired DeMarcus Cousins.

He opened this season playing in China, but was released in late November.

Keep in mind -- Jones will play for Santa Cruz but his contract is through the G League.

Any NBA team can sign the forward at any time.

The Golden State Warriors do not have an open spot on the 15-man roster, or a two-way contract to offer (Quinn Cook and Chris Boucher are on two-way deals).

Jones will be active for Santa Cruz's next game on Friday against the Reno Bighorns.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller