Warriors

Grading Warriors' performance vs. Lakers

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Grading Warriors' performance vs. Lakers

JARRETT JACK        A+
With 29 points and 11 assists, Jack becomes the first Warrior reserve to notch at least 25 and 10 since box scores started keeping track of starters and non-starters back in 1970 .  And, they weren’t “empty calorie” points.  He was hitting shots when the pressure was on.  He only scored five fewer than Kobe, on 22 fewer shots than Kobe.  Great game.

DAVID LEE        A
When a guy gets 20 points and shoots 50% for the 12th straight game, he’s absolutely getting an “A.” And, for a guy who gets criticized for his defense, Lee did a great job of keeping Pau Gasol quiet as a church mouse.

HARRISON BARNES    B
In the 4th quarter, Barnes was in full attack mode, making plays and (temporarily) saving the Warriors bacon.  After seven points in the 4th, it’s a little surprising he didn’t play at all in O.T.

KLAY THOMPSON    B
Can’t be mad at 18 points.  However, he does seem to shoot a few too many threes.  And, he had real defensive trouble with Metta World Peace in this one. Also, when guarding Kobe, Thompson occasionally left Kobe open while helping someone else on “D," a good idea against many players, but not Kobe.

STEPHEN CURRY    B
His 8-23 performance Saturday night notwithstanding, Curry's shot was a real weapon.  I would like to see him eliminate the “pull up after running forward full speed” jumper from his arsenal, though—or at least save it for blowouts.  Also, I think he’ll take his next step as a player when he studies Steve Nash’s shot selection and Steve Nash’s game management in the late going.  That’s not to say Curry doesn’t have an impressive grasp of the point guard position.  But, I do think there’s still a nuanced understanding of pacing and shot selection that he could learn from watching a little more tape on Nash.

CARL LANDRY        B
That tall Lakers front line kept Landry at 3 for 8 shooting.   But, he still brought that toughness—and 12 points.  If only he had been able to get that shot before halftime up 1/10 of a second sooner, the outcome might have been different.  But, I still love it that tough-guy Carl was there for the offensive board in the first place.

FESTUS EZELI        C
Yes, Ezeli had some real troubles handling the ball in this one.  And, those troubles were costly.  But, you had to be impressed with the way he battled Dwight Howard.  He played no small role in holding Howard to just 11 points and 6 rebounds.

DRAYMOND GREEN    C
Green's shooting touch was m.i.a again, but—again—he checked with his usual assortment of non-box score plays.  Did you notice who was guarding Kobe when he missed the shot that would have won the game for the Lakers in regulation?

Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC

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USATSI

Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC

When it rains, it pours for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After starting the season 24-9, they have cratered. Including two losses to the Warriors and one to the Kings, the Cavs are 3-8 over their last 11 games.

During the stretch, they suffered through a four-game losing streak and nearly blew a 23-point lead against the Magic on Thursday.

But nothing was worse than what happened in front of a national TV audience on Saturday. The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder strolled into Quicken Loans Arena and hung 148 points on the defending Eastern Conference champs and won by 24 points.

Saturday's performance was so bad, former Cavs head coach David Blatt took a shot at them before coaching the Team Europe in the Turkish Basketball Super League All-Star Game in Instabul.

Asked by a sideline reporter for his thoughts on the game he was about to coach, Blatt offered this:

"Well, I don't think we're going to have any problem scoring. I'm just wondering if we're going to defend anybody. That's what I'm worried about," Blatt said.

The reporter followed up by asking for his expectation of the final score. That's when Blatt threw a haymaker at the team that fired him during the 2015-16 season despite a 30-11 record.

"Well, I hope we don't give up as many points as the Cavaliers did last night," Blatt said.

Ouch.

Unfortunately for Blatt, Team Europe lost 151-142 to Team Asia.

Clint Capela claims Rockets are better than Warriors; champs not worried

Clint Capela claims Rockets are better than Warriors; champs not worried

The Rockets are riding high after their 116-108 win over the Warriors on Saturday night.

Maybe a little too high.

After the game, starting center Clint Capela had some bold things to say about the rivalry.

"We're confident because we know if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we're going to beat them. We've got to keep playing. We know that they're going to come back if we have the lead, and we've just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we're doing what we're supposed to do on defense -- all the switches, the weak side -- and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them. We are better than them," Capela told ESPN after the game in Houston.

The young big man doubled down.

"We're definitely the best in the league with everybody healthy. We've definitely got a chance to get that 1-seed back. The thing is, of course, we're excited because it's the Warriors, but Monday is an important game, too. If we lose and the [Warriors] win their game, what was the point? The next game, every single time, is going to be the key to go get the No. 1, first seed," Capela told ESPN.

Guard Eric Gordon didn't go as far, but still compared the Rockets favorably to the Warriors.

"Offensively, we're just as good as them, no question. Defensively, they're a championship team. They're consistent, whether they win or lose. Us, we still have peaks and valleys. We just can't have those. That's why we've got to play well the next game, because we just have to sustain the same effort," Gordon said via ESPN.

The Rockets won the season-series with the Warriors by taking two out of the three meetings. They now trail the Warriors by 3.5 games in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.

But are they really better than the defending NBA champs? Are the Warriors worried at all about the Rockets?

"The season starts over when you're in the playoffs anyway, so it doesn't matter. You're going to have to get through these teams to get to where you want to go. You have to play at home and on the road, so it really doesn't matter. We just want to be playing good basketball when it comes down to that point," Warriors forward Kevin Durant told ESPN after the game.

Draymond Green really didn't want to hear about home-court advantage.

"It's game 40-what? Seven, eight? Who we play on Tuesday? We just got to get ready for [New York]. Home court will take care of itself down the road," told reporters after the game.

With no more meetings during the regular season, the next time the two teams could meet, assuming they finish with the top two seeds, is in the Western Conference Finals. So we'll have to wait until May to see if the Rockets can back up the tough talk.