OAKLAND Some Warriors got together for informal workoutsand a little pickup basketball on Monday at the teams downtown practicefacility the first time players have met up since the end of thelockout.David Lee, Stephen Curry, Dorell Wright, Jeremy Lin, JeremyTyler and Klay Thompson worked out in the late morning and then playedthree-on-three. Ekpe Udoh and Lou Amundson were also at the facility but camelater.Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Charles Jenkins and CharlieBell have not yet returned.Here are some quick impressions of the six thatplayed:David Lee: He said hes 12 pounds lighterthan he was when he came to training camp last season, which sounds aboutright. Lees still got that nice touch from 18 feet, and he hinted that hisrebounding numbers could climb if he can maintain his conditioning allseason.Remember, Lee sustained a human bite wound in a game againstNew York last season and missed nine games and close to a month inconditioning.Lee averaged 9.8 rebounds per game last year, afteraveraging 11.7 rebounds per game in each of the previous two seasons.Stephen Curry: Curry can roll out of bedand make shots and thats what he was doing on Monday. Curry says hes added 10pounds to his frame, and it does seem like hes gotten stronger uptop.Curry said he stayed off his right ankle for about fourmonths after he had surgery in late May, and that it is completely healed andhe is without restrictions. Hes had no pain or soreness in the ankle, but thenagain he hasnt tested it like he will beginning on Friday.Dorell Wright: The foundation of Wrightsoffensive game has become the 3-point shot. Period. He made 180 of them lastseason, almost three times as many as he had in 2009-10 with Miami. The factWright is now a deep threat has defined his game.Next step is to be able to take one dribble into the foulline area and deliver a pass to a teammate or knock down the mid-range shot.Its unrealistic to believe Wright is quick enough or strong enough at the rimto finish there consistently, so the in-between game could be big forhim.Hes also a player who you would figure might be able tothrive if Mark Jackson is as committed to defense as he says he is.Jeremy Lin: Lin worked with a shootingcoach this summer and tweaked the form on his jumper. He says its more fluidand it feels more comfortable. Until and unless the Warriors sign a perimeterplayer or two, Lin is in the mix when it comes to the backup reserves.The only way, however, he can contribute in a significantway is if hes consistent with his perimeter shot.Klay Thompson: Thompson has what you calla very nice stroke, and he seems to be shooting it pretty effortlessly from beyondthe 3-point arc. He also seems to have some hop around the bucket.Thompson is going to have to get stronger, theres no doubtabout that. He looked a little on thin side in the game he was playingin.Jeremy Tyler: Tylers hope is to be acenter, but his body doesnt resemble a center at this point. Hes got someskills and can shoot it some from mid-range, but dont think for a second hesa big body.Hes not. At least not yet. At this point, it seems like itcould be a stretch to think Tyler can guard big, strong fours andfives.
OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.
The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.
So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.
The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.
“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”
Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.
“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.
“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”
Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.
After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.
The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.
Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.
That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.
“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”
Draymond Green usually gets the last word.
Not this time.
"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.
The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.
"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.
"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.
Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.