Kerr: Only one bright spot from Warriors' victory over visiting Knicks

Kerr: Only one bright spot from Warriors' victory over visiting Knicks

OAKLAND – This was offensive basketball in its purest form, as John Almighty Wooden taught it 50 years ago, yet it was simultaneously discordant, a group striving to harmonize but stumbling into the clash of notes going flat.

It wasn’t enough to deny victory, but it was plenty to indicate to Warriors coach Steve Kerr that his team needed a full-day refresh.

So the previously scheduled practice for Friday was cancelled late Thursday night in the wake of a listless and desultory 103-90 rolling of a Knicks team even most New Yorkers would have trouble recognizing in full dress.

Facing the Knicks without Carmelo Anthony or Derrick Rose and only 15 minutes of Joakim Noah, the Warriors succeeded mostly because they may be the most intelligent team in the NBA and also because they understand the grind game better than the likes of Ron Baker, Lance Thomas, Courtney Lee and Kristaps Porzingis.

Each of the Warriors’ first 36 baskets also came with an assist, creating a showcase of sharing that far exceeds even their lofty standard. The passes never stopped, even though sometimes they should have. The Warriors had 41 helpers, on 45 baskets.

“I thought that was the lone bright spot of the game was our guys’ willingness to share,” Kerr said. “They really look for each other. That’s a theme almost every night. That’s such a great quality to have as a team. So that was great.”

Kerr barely paused before making it evident he was able to look past the happy teamwork see a team trudging through its first game at Oracle Arena – which came 40 hours after returning from a diabolical five-game, seven-night road trip through three time zones.

“I didn’t think there was much purpose to anything we did at either end of the floor,” Kerr said. “We move the ball because our guys are instinctive with that and unselfish and they enjoy playing together with each other. So the ball movement was good, but no purpose offensively and very little interest defensively.

“We’re probably lucky we played a team without a couple of its best players, but we looked tired and disinterested out there.”

Despite scoring 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting, grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds and recording eight assists, Kevin Durant conceded that the Warriors missing their first five shots – and nearly a dozen shots within 10 feet – may have been an indication of a team dragging itself into a game.

“We were definitely a little sluggish,” he said. We need to be better in that area.”

The Warriors’ defense invited the Knicks to stick around, except they lacked the firepower to do so. With Anthony and Rose out and Kristaps Porzingis being shut down (8 points, 4-of-13 shooting) once again by Draymond Green, New York turned to the likes of Justin Holiday, who scored a team-high 15 points, and Baker, who chipped in 13.

That’s hardly enough to keep up with the Warriors (23-4), who have the comfort of being unselfish because they have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Durant and Green – even if that All-Star foursome, by the way, combined for 22-of-61 (36.1 percent) shooting.

“We moved the ball well offensively,” Green said. “But everything else other than that, it was a little off cue.”

So Kerr decided to pass on practice. Players can visit team headquarters to review video and receive treatment, but the idea is to spend the day recovering.

“We looked tired and we looked heavy legged,” Kerr said. “We weren’t making defensive rotations and we weren’t very active defensively. We did not look sharp. There is no question the schedule caught up to us, but it’s the schedule and you have to play through it.”

Play through it they did Thursday night, but practicing on Friday is gratuitous. They’ll come back Saturday morning for shootaround and that night face a Portland team with enough ammo to make the Warriors pay for a night without mojo.


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”