Warriors

Green makes Warriors history -- 'It's a hell of an accomplishment'

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USATSI

Green makes Warriors history -- 'It's a hell of an accomplishment'

HOUSTON -- David West limped out of Warriors locker room Thursday night with a sprained left ankle, leaving him questionable for the game against the Clippers on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Which puts Draymond Green on alert.

Few guys in the NBA are as good as Green is at sensing what his team needs and finding a way to deliver it. Which is why he is, at age 26, already the Warriors all-time leader in triple-doubles.

His 21st came Thursday night in a 124-114 win over the Rockets. The Warriors were without Kevin Durant, so Green provided 17 points and 14 rebounds. With Stephen Curry spending a fair amount of time at shooting guard, the Warriors needed another playmaker. So Green dropped 10 assists.

Add it all up, and he’s the franchise leader in a category that illustrates versatility. The Warriors are 21-0 when Green posts a triple-double.

“It’s not something I ever thought about or thought would happen, especially not playing much my first two years,” Green said. “It’s kind of crazy. But it’s definitely something to be proud of.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr often cites Green as a player whose varied skills make him a candidate for regular triple-doubles. Still, the power forward needed only three-plus seasons as a starter to surpass previous franchise leader Tom Gola.

“It’s a hell of an accomplishment,” Kerr said. “Tom Gola is a Hall of Famer. It was an amazing night for Draymond. He did everything for us.”

Green played some point guard. Played dash of center and a sprinkle of small forward. And, of course, mostly power forward.

“He’s huge; he’s made a nice living off his uniqueness and what he brings to our team,” Stephen Curry said. “There may be nights where he doesn’t stuff the stat sheets, but he still finds a way to be impactful. And based on the eye test, just watching the game, you can see him all over the place. Like tonight, he played the whole floor game, offensively knocking down shots, rebounding the basketball, finding open guys, playing great defense.”

Green did not start the game particularly well, missing four of his first five shots and committing two turnovers in the first quarter. He pulled it together as the night went on, most notably in the second half, when he basically controlled the game at both ends.

He was minus-1 in 20 first-half minutes, plus-17 in 18 second-half minutes.

“I just settled in and let the game come to me,” he said. “There were some plays in the beginning where I had it but didn’t make the pass quick enough and the gap closed. I settled in and made the easy play, the for sure pass, and stopped trying to make the big play.”

Green stopped trying to force passes in pursuit of the spectacular and began simplifying his game.

It worked well enough that the Warriors, without Durant, were able to come into Toyota Center and put away the Rockets, their chief competitors in the Western Conference.

And if West’s bum ankle keeps him out Saturday, that’s one more void for Green to fill. It might mean more minutes. It might require more toughness.

Check that. Green’s toughness is his most reliable asset. It’s there even on those occasions when little else is working.

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.