Warriors

Instant Replay: Warriors' streak ends in Orlando

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Instant Replay: Warriors' streak ends in Orlando

BOX SCORE

Mama said there would be nights like this.

The undefeated road trip of the Golden State Warriors came to a clanking halt on Friday night with a 99-85 loss to the Orlando Magic.

The Warriors, who began their seven-game road trip with five consecutive wins, started sluggish with 14 first-quarter points and finished the night shooting just 37 percent from the field.

“We didn’t expect to go undefeated the rest of the way,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “We’ve had a great run. This team beat us tonight. … But the key is for us not to allow the loss to take us back to where we once were.”

The expectations aren’t lowered; they’re just set to realistic.

As the Warriors continue to mature, road losses and poor shooting nights are destined to occur. Golden State still has plenty areas of growth. Jackson said in his postgame interview that his team was a step slow but he still has plenty of confidence in his group.
 
“We’re not frontrunners,” Jackson said. “We are not going to start pointing fingers and making excuses. Hey we lost, it happens. The teams that are the top teams in this league, they bounce back.”

David Lee shined once again despite the loss, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Lee continued his streak of six consecutive games with at least 20 points or 10 rebounds.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors in scoring with 25 points but tallied just three assists. The tandem of Curry and Lee combined to score 49 of the team’s 83 points.

The Magic, who also delivered the Warriors’ last loss, on Dec. 3 in Oakland, was led by 8-for-11 three-point shooting and 46 points off their bench. J.J. Redick led all Orlando scorers with 16 points off the bench.

Orlando’s bench outscored the Warriors’ bench 49-22.

Road legs

The battery doesn’t always recharge, even after a win against the defending champs. Traveling legs ultimately become weary, especially in the Warriors’ sixth consecutive road game. The tired legs were exposed as the Warriors fell behind early on.

After dropping behind 29-16 early in the second quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to close the gap to three points with 5:34 remaining in the half. But Orlando responded with a 17-4 run of its own to end the half up 51-35.

Call it early-game fatigue or just poor shooting, either way the Warriors lost the game when they shot just 28 percent from the field and 12.5 percent (1-for-8) from three-point range in the first half. The Warriors finished the night 7-for-20 from three-point range.

Trend proves true
The Warriors entered the night with a record of 14-1 when they outrebound their opponent. The loss to Orlando was no exception, and Golden State lost the rebounding battle 53-49. 

Social media demands answers
@hippiemd tweeted: “@CSNWarriors How can the Warriors look great for five games but pathetic tonight? #warriorstalk”

The reasonable answer: The Warriors are still a young team, and learning to win on the road is supposed to be the final part of the growth process. Despite sudden results, the team will likely show ups and downs throughout the season.

In other words, it doesn’t always come all at once. Not every game is a measuring stick.

Optimism goes empty tweet of the game
@phiLMLwrote: “big leads are nothing in the #NBA. Pick it up #DUBS. #warriorstalk”

Nonetheless, the #webelong movement continues.

That one hurt
The knees of Festus Ezeli and Orlando's Moe Harkless collided with some emphasis early in the third quarter. Ezeli had played 12 minutes to that point and never returned. He finished with zero points and two rebounds.

Leave us alone, we’re tired
At one point in the third quarter, Jameer Nelson dribbled between two defenders and sliced unguarded through the lane for an open layup. The Magic scored 42 points in the paint and shot 47.7 percent from the field.

Wait a second … oh, nevermind
The Warriors rallied back to single-digits to 63-54 late in the third quarter before Orlando hit three consecutive open three-pointers to push the lead to 72-54.


The Warriors had one last gasp with an 11-3 run in the final moments to pull within 93-83 before Orlando pushed back to the finish.

Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for Warriors news and analysis.

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.

Gameday: Warriors won't have key defender against Rockets

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USATSI

Gameday: Warriors won't have key defender against Rockets

The Warriors will be chasing franchise history at Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday, when they face the Rockets in a battle of the NBA’s highest-scoring teams.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:30, with postgame coverage immediately following the conclusion of the national telecast.

The defending champions have won their last 14 road games, tying the franchise record set in 73-win season of 2015-16. The Warriors (37-9) are two wins away from tying the NBA record of 16 consecutive road wins set by the Lakers in 1971-72.

A victory also would give the Warriors a perfect record (5-0) in their most difficult road trip of the season.

The Rockets (31-12) spent the first two months of the season atop the Western Conference and are expected to provide the greatest threat to the Warriors making a fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 3.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: One week after Thompson faced one foe from his childhood foes in Southern California, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, here comes another in Harden. That Harden is playing on a recovering hamstring and will be on a minutes restriction could work in favor of Thompson and the Warriors. Thompson has been playing well; he’s having his best season. He’ll be a load for Harden or any defender, especially with starting wing Trevor Ariza out serving a suspension.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L calf contusion) was ruled out after shootaround. F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Rockets: F Trevor Ariza (suspension), F/G Gerald Green (suspension), F/C Chinanu Onuaku (sinus surgery) and PF Zhou Qi (R elbow suergery) are listed as out.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 9-1. Rockets: 6-4.

GAME OFFICIALS:
Derrick Stafford (crew chief), Derrick Collins, Kevin Scott

SERIES HISTORY:
The teams split the first two of three games scheduled this season, each winning on the other’s court. The Rockets came back for a 122-121 victory on Oct. 17 at Oracle Arena and the Warriors taking a 124-114 decision on Jan. 4 at Toyota Center. The Warriors won three of four meetings last season and 12 of the last 14 overall in the regular season. They have won eight of the last nine in Houston.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
EYES ON THE ARC: Whereas the Warriors routinely deploy the 3-point shot, the Rockets live by it, firing league-leading 43.5 triples per game. The Warriors are better at it, though, shooting a league-leading 38.9 percent to Houston’s 36.3. The teams have combined to shoot 151 3-pointers in their two meetings this season. The Warriors are 10th in the league at defending the 3, while the Rockets at 22nd.

THE BENCHES: The Rockets have the No. 2 (by net rating) bench in the league, behind reigning Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon, who leads the league in 3-point attempts (9.7 per game), and rugged forward PJ Tucker, a defensive specialist. The Warriors counter with the No. 1 bench, anchored by Andre Iguodala and David West. The benches rank 1-2 in effective field-goal percentage, with the Warriors on top.

THE LOONEY FACTOR: The absence of exciting rookie power forward Jordan Bell means possible minutes for JaVale McGee and certainly an additional load for Kevon Looney. He has played well enough that even if he doesn’t start, he’s likely to play more minutes than usual starter Zaza Pachulia -- as was the case when the teams met on Jan. 4.