Warriors

Instant Replay: Warriors 115, Bobcats 100

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Instant Replay: Warriors 115, Bobcats 100

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ORACLE ARENA – You don’t sense even the slightest drip of nervous tension as Klay Thompson sits back in his locker room chair an hour before tip-off.

The 22-year-old So-Cal kid looks plenty relaxed, more likely to grab a video game controller than an NBA basketball.

But before going on to score 20 points in the Warriors’ 115-100 win against the visiting Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night, Thompson admitted he still gets that twinge of nerves before game time.

“I’m still a real young player in this league,” Thompson said prior to the victory. “I get nervous before almost every game. It’s like an anxious feeling; I just want to get out there and play.”

It’s a familiar feel for most young players, especially for lottery picks like Thompson who are given prominent roles early on. Thompson, in his second season, is still dipping his toes in what could be a deep NBA career.

“It’s not as bad as it was my rookie year,” Thompson added. “I feel a lot more calm and collected.”

His play in Friday night’s win was another sign of continued maturity from the young shooter.

Headliners Stephen Curry and David Lee are going to take the lion's share of the spotlight. Lee recorded his third career triple-double on Friday with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. Curry had a career-high eight three-pointers to score 27 points, delivering eight assists.

Those two have been the story all year and they’re building an even greater case to be named all-stars.

But it’s Thompson who is consistently rounding out the attack. Thompson entered the night averaging 15.7 points per game for Golden State and connected on 4-for-8 three-pointers against the Bobcats.

“He’s been special, and the scary thing is he is only going to get better,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “These two guys in the backcourt is a thing of beauty. You’re shocked when they miss it.”

His teammates beam like older brothers when talking about the maturation of Thompson.

“He seems to have a lot better feel for the game,” Lee said following the win. “He’s always been one of the best shooters in the league, but he’s also making a lot better passes and he’s taking on a bunch of challenges defensively.”

Veteran Carl Landry added: “If you ask me, he’s an experienced player. He doesn’t play like a second-year player. At times we all make mistakes, it doesn’t matter what year you are, but Klay does a good job of adjusting to mistakes he makes and he’s becoming a better player.”

The balance of this Warriors team comes from the contributions of not just their two stars and Thompson, but also the even younger nucleus of rookies Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli.

Jackson discussed the rebounding and paint protection of Ezeli, the off-the-chart intangibles of Green and the aggressiveness of Barnes.

“I have guys that want to be special, that want to be great, that love the game,” Jackson said.

Green continues to impress, and scored 11 points on the night. The Warriors also continued to get production from the bench tandem of Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. Landry had 11 points and six rebounds and Jack tallied nine points and six assists.

“We have a great balance of youth and veteran leadership that is going to carry us to a lot of wins this year,” Thompson said postgame.

The Warriors shot 51.8 percent on the night and hit a combined 14-for-27 three-pointers.

Even Andris Biedrins contributed, playing 13 minutes and grabbing seven rebounds.

Thompson noted the balanced effort before the team’s win against Charlotte: “The biggest difference this year is the team atmosphere and team chemistry. No one is out there to get their own and just try to win.”

It was the 14th consecutive loss for the Bobcats (7-19), who were led by 23 points from guard Gerald Henderson and 12 points and 14 rebounds by center Bismack Biyombo.

The Warriors opened to a 21-4 lead and held a 58-49 lead at halftime behind seven-for-12 three-point shooting. Golden State is now a perfect 15-0 when entering the fourth quarter with a lead.

After allowing a season-worst 131 points to Sacramento on Wednesday, the Warriors held the Bobcats to 36.7 percent shooting, the lowest percentage of an opponent all season.

Follow @jimmypspencer for more Warriors news and analysis

Golden State, do we have a problem? Another loss to Rockets awakens Warriors

Golden State, do we have a problem? Another loss to Rockets awakens Warriors

In saying goodbye to their impressive road win streak and a chance to make franchise history, the Warriors also experienced an awakening that should linger somewhere in their minds for months to come.

The new and improved Houston Rockets are a serious threat to the defending champs having a parade in downtown Oakland for the second consecutive June.

That threat likely can’t be realized, however, unless the Warriors put the worst of themselves on full display, as they did Saturday night at Toyota Center in a 116-108 loss to the Rockets.

“In the first quarter, every time we made our push, we gave up easy baskets,” Draymond Green told reporters in Houston. “In the second quarter, we put them on the line the entire quarter, which slowed down our pace and let them control the tempo of the game. In the third quarter, we fought back to kind of get there but not get over the hump. And then we finally did, but we just didn’t have the right amount of focus it takes to win a game like that.”

Indeed, the Warriors were guilty of questionable shot selection at various points. They were largely allergic to rebounding, taking a 46-33 drubbing in that category. And far too often they were impatient and therefore utterly careless with their passing, resulting in 19 turnovers that led directly to 23 Houston points.

“It seemed like we kept making one silly play after another,” coach Steve Kerr said.

Sounds familiar, eh? The Warriors know their greatest weaknesses and hear about them ad nauseam from the coaching staff, yet still struggle to consistently address them.

Stephen Curry, who committed a team-worst six turnovers, lamented two possessions in particular. On one, he missed Kevin Durant “butt-naked at the top of the key,” and on another he had Durant open for a dunk but flipped it to Klay Thompson for a 3-pointer that missed.

“I made two of the worst plays of the season on those two possessions,” Curry conceded. “It’s kind of one of those nights when I personally didn’t have the right vision on the floor I’ve got to take responsibility for that.”

This is why the Warriors deserved to lose this game, which gave the Rockets a 2-1 victory in the season series and the homecourt tiebreaker should the two teams finish with identical records.

The Warriors took a 122-121 loss to Houston at Oracle Arena on opening night, then went to Houston on Jan. 4 and claimed a 124-114 victory.

This is enough to prove the Rockets are capable of beating the Warriors. We also note that in the other loss, Warriors’ turnovers gifted 21 points to Houston.

“We know the recipe against this team,” Curry said. “They’re going to shoot a lot of 3s. They’re going to make some tough shots. But if you turn the ball over and if you foul, which we did both in the first half, then that plays right into their hands. It’s just a lack of focus on the game plan.”

That lack of focus is something that has nagged the Warriors numerous times over the course of the season.

Here’s Houston’s problem: The postseason Warriors tend to be a bit sharper than the regular season Warriors.

And the Rockets, well, remain a postseason mystery. Chris Paul, who was so magnificent Saturday night, has an inglorious postseason history, complete with multiple collapses. MVP candidate James Harden also has dubious postseason resume, with epic pratfalls against the Warriors and the Spurs.

So the events of Saturday night, and the three games in the regular season, serve as reminders that if the Warriors play smart and tough and are fully engaged, they’re still the better team. Despite the chance to set a franchise record with a 15th consecutive road victory, the Warriors were less than fully engaged.

There’s a better than even chance of them being fully engaged in the postseason, should these teams meet again.

“We always talk about hitting singles,” Kerr said. “Well, we were trying to hit home runs all night, and you can’t do that against these guys.

“On the bright side, we know we can play a lot better. And we will.”

Curry takes 'unpopular position' on All-Star draft, has picked assistant GMs

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Curry takes 'unpopular position' on All-Star draft, has picked assistant GMs

Steph Curry will be one of the leading players in the NBA's new experiment with the All-Star Game.

Curry and LeBron James will pick the teams from the pool of available All-Stars. Conferences are no more, giving the game a completely different look.

"It's the first time it's happened in the league, so you really don't know what to expect or how it's going to unfold, and just specifically, what it will look like on the floor with mixmatched rosters. LeBron has been an All-Star, what 14 straight years? And he's been with Eastern Conference guys every year, so to see him have to pick some Western Conference guys and vica versa, us in the West, you have the staple guys that are there every year. So to switch it up, I think it's going to be a fun look on the floor. Might take some getting used to, but the actual draft part of it will be cool<' Curry said to reporters after shootaround in Houston on Saturday.

LeBron has the first pick since he received more total votes than Curry. So that sets up the dynamic that LeBron picks Warriors forward Kevin Durant.

"That's a possibility. I'm putting together an assistant GM staff that can help me get my draft board and all that stuff and know how to respond if he picks a certain way. Get the algorythm going," Curry said.

Curry's assistant GM staff will consist of his father Dell and brother Seth.

"I may have to ask Riley and see what she thinks," Curry joked.

All-Star reserves will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23 and it's possible Draymond Green and Klay Thompson could be among the players Curry can select. Does he feel an obligation to pick them if they are available?

"I don't feel obligated. I would want to. To have the opportunity to play with them on the All-Star Game court, that's what it's all about, kind of embracing that moment, so we'll see how it goes," Curry said.

The big debate surrounding the new All-Star Game format is whether or not the draft should be televised or the results made public. As of right now, the NBA has no plans to show the draft on TV or reveals the order in which players were drafted.

"We've had a lot of dicsussions around that. There's a lot of people in favor of watching it live. There's also a lot of people that understand the reasoning why it's not this year. I'm sure as the new format unfolds year after year, it'll happen. But it won't be this first time," Curry said.

So which way does Curry lean in the debate?

"I've always been a proponent of protecting the players. I know that's kind of the unpopular position. I know we're all grown men, we can all handle it, We're all All-Stars, but we want to see how the new format the first time so it's presented in the right light," Curry said.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn't believe players should worry about where they get drafted.

"No shame in being the last All-Star picked. You're still an All-Star," Kerr said after shootaround.

The All-Star teams will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 and game will take play Sunday, Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.