SACRAMENTO Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes started for thethird consecutive preseason game on Wednesday in Sacramento, but coach MarkJackson still says you shouldnt read anything into it.Jackson said he still hasnt made up his mind who will be thestarting small forward come opening night on Oct. 31 against the Phoenix Suns:Barnes or Brandon Rush.Jackson started Rush in the first two preseason games beforegoing with Barnes three straight.Not committed either way right now, Jackson said beforethe Warriors 98-88 victory over the Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Im verypleased with B. Rush and Harrison has done some good things on the floor and iscontinuing to get better. But Im not sold either way. The great thing about itis that both of those guys will have a key part to the success of theteam.After the game, Jackson was asked if either playerdistinguished himself and he made it clear hes not losing any sleep over whowill start.It would be different if the starter was going to play 40minutes and the other guy was going to be lost, Jackson said. Theyre goingto get their minutes and its not really a big deal.When it comes to Barnes and Rush, the reality is theyrelikely to split time at the position. There are 48 minutes to divvy up at thesmall forward spot, and Rush also has shown the ability to play shootingguard.The one thing Jackson has maintained throughout thepreseason is that hell start the player who blends the best with the startingunit. If thats the case, perhaps Rush is a better fit.The reason: Jackson said Rush is his best perimeterdefender.So it would seem to make some sense to have a defensiveplayer in a lineup that also includes point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guardKlay Thompson and power forward David Lee none of whom excel at that end ofthe floor.At the same time, Jackson could alleviate some pressure onBarnes by bringing him off the bench. That also would likely give Barnes moreof an offensive role since he would be more relied upon to score with thesecond unit.Then again, maybe Jackson has a comfort level with Rush as asubstitute. Rush was a major bright spot off the bench last year for theWarriors, putting together a career year in scoring and 3-point shootingpercentage.Barnes, on the other hand, said the last time he came offthe bench was in ninth grade.Said Jackson: We have the luxury of having two guys who canplay Im very pleased with both of them.
BOSTON – The NBA is an emotional game, but the feelings Jaylen Brown was working through on the eve of Thursday’s game against Golden State, are the kind you don’t wish anyone with the death of his best friend less than 24 hours before Thursday night’s tip-off.
Brown channeled his pain into a performance that was absolutely vital to Boston pulling off the biggest upset for them this season, a 92-88 win over the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
He led the Celtics with a team-high 22 points in the win which extended the Celtics’ winning streak to 14 straight.
But he was in no mood to celebrate afterwards.
“My best friend (Trevin Steede) passed last night,” Brown said after the game. “It was tough to accept it. Everybody was kind of in shock. I knew coming in today, he would want me to play.
Brown paused, and added, “It’s hard to get my thoughts together. After talking to his mom and family, they inspired me to come out. I wasn’t in any shape to come out. I didn’t want to leave my room. They inspired me to come out and play and I came out and played in his spirit today.”
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Here are five things 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 bloodstreams. 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 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 shrunk 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.