Warriors

Lee, Warriors get first road win of the season in Detroit

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Lee, Warriors get first road win of the season in Detroit

BOX SCORE

The Warriors got plenty of contributions against Detroit and won their first road game of the season. After struggling at the defensive end on Saturday against Charlotte, the Warriors held the Pistons to just 42 percent shooting to raise their record to 4-8 for the season.Warriors 99, Pistons 91Star of the game: Warriors power forward David Lee had a team-high 24 points to go along with six rebounds. Lee played his most efficient offensive game of the season, going 10-for-12 from the floor. His consecutive double-double streak ended at six with this game, and yet he was as effective against the Pistons as he was at any time during the stretch."He's playing great," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said."He understands when he makes mistakes. He's our post presence, not just scoring but also facilitating. He's doing it all, he's battling. It's tough for me to take him or Monta (Ellis) out of the game when they're playing at that level."Key stretch: The Warriors outscored the Pistons 10-0 early in the fourth quarter to open up an 88-73 lead. The run was sparked at the defensive end, with Golden State forcing three misses and two turnovers during the stretch."Unlike the Charlotte game (a 112-100 loss) where we didn't make the extra-effort plays, our defense kept us in the game in the first half," Lee said. "That put us in position when we made our run in the second half it wasn't to pull back even it was to pull ahead."Monroe produces: Pistons second-year forward Greg Monroe, whom the Warriors passed on in the 2010 draft in favor of Ekpe Udoh, finished with 25 points and eight rebounds.Ellis out early: Jackson went to his bench early on Sunday, and in a surprise, removed Ellis just six minutes into the first quarter. Ellis had three turnovers and picked up two fouls, which helped usher in Klay Thompson.Ellis played just 13 minutes in the first half, and was shaken up late in the second quarter when he bumped knees with Ben Gordon. Ellis was able to walk off the injury, but it was the second game in a row in which Ellis banged-up his left knee.Ellis hung in there and scored 17 points in the second half and wound up with 22 for the night."He's gotten frustrated lately because he's been physically abused at times and not getting to the line," Jackson said. "But great players, in spite of adversity, in spite of not getting the whistle, gut it out. And I'm proud of the way he handled it tonight and began to make plays."Lees first quarter: Lee helped get the Warriors off to a good start on Sunday, establishing himself on the interior. Lee had 13 of his 24 points in the first quarter and went 5-for-5 from the field in the period. Lee took turns scoring on Jonas Jerebko, then went to work against Jason Maxiell.Jenkins contributes: Jackson had been using rookie point guard Charles Jenkins sparingly in recent games but not against Detroit. Jenkins set a career-high in minutes (28) against the Pistons, and there was reason for it: Jenkins was solid.He played the entire third quarter, contributed on defense and didnt make any mistakes at the offensive end.Jenkins finished with eight points, five assists and zero turnovers.

With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase

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AP

With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase

OAKLAND -- Getting to 73 wins is impossible for the Warriors, and the pursuit of it never entered their minds.

Reaching 69 wins, their average in three seasons under coach Steve Kerr, is highly improbable.

Even winning 67 games, the lowest total under Kerr, is extremely unlikely.

There is, however, a number the Warriors are aiming for that also happens to be within their grasp -- but only if they can fight through the regular-season malaise and break an unhealthy tendency.

They can get to 35 victories at Oracle Arena. Currently 16-6 at home, the Warriors would have to go 19-0 to reach 35, and it’s possible insofar as they are less than two years removed from posting an NBA-record 54 consecutive wins at home.

Can a team that once went 14 months without losing at Oracle summon a three-month stretch of perfection at home?

The schedule invites the possibility, but it’s still up to the Warriors and how they cope with tug of three long seasons and that tendency to float a bit in front of their home fans, two factors that have had more effect at home than on the road.

“In general, the appropriate fear we always talk about, it’s there on the road for most games and it’s not there as much at home,” Kerr conceded Monday.

Kevin Durant used different phrasing but echoed the comments of the coach.

“You tend to relax a bit when you’re at home because you’ve got your home crowd,” he acknowledged. “You’re just comfortable in that situation. You can go home and go to sleep in your own bed after the game. So you relax a bit.

“On the road, it just feels like this is the last game of your career. It just feels that way, especially when you’re playing a tough opponent and somewhere with a crowd that’s going to be really, really into it.”

Having gone 39-2, 39-2 and 36-5 over the last three seasons, the Warriors are assured of having their worst home record under Kerr. Still, 35 is not impossible.

The drop is not unanticipated, as Kerr experienced something similar as a member of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, when they won three straight championships as their regular-season wins steadily dropped, from 72 to 69 to 62.

“Where it has truly been the most tangible and palpable is home games against lesser opponents,” Kerr said. “We’ve lost six. Maybe two of those are playoff teams.

“We didn’t lose those games the last the last three years. We dominated the home floor. That’s where it really shows.”

The Warriors have lost at home to the Rockets, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Hornets and Clippers. Only Houston is a playoff lock. Detroit, Denver and the Clippers are on the fringe of the postseason race. Charlotte is a longshot, Sacramento a no-shot.

The Warriors, in every home loss, have started drowsily or played too carelessly or were self-destructive enough to give back a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

“This is the first year in my four years where we’ve lost a lot of home games that we shouldn’t,” Kerr said. “That just points to emotional fatigue. Trying to get up for 82 games is a difficult thing, especially in Year 4 of a quest to get back to The Finals.”

Coming off a successful road trip during which they won four of five games, the Warriors this week face the Knicks, Timberwolves and Celtics -- the latter two being playoff locks.

A home sweep is difficult, of course, but hardly inconceivable. And if the Warriors can pull that off, they’d have only four remaining home games against teams fighting for a top-four playoff slot: the Thunder and Spurs twice each.

Oklahoma City appears to be getting their act together. The Spurs, while still formidable, are starting to look like a team in decline.

They’re also the two teams most likely to get the full attention of the Warriors, who began the week by sitting through video of their last three games, during which they committed numerous hideous errors.

The message: Their unforced mistakes are the surest route to defeat.

“There are key points of the year where we have to hit the reset button in terms of our priorities,” Kerr said. “Right now is one of those times. This is an important week for us. We need to take care of the ball. We need to be smart and make good decisions. If we do that, we’re really, really hard to beat.”

Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC

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USATSI

Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC

When it rains, it pours for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After starting the season 24-9, they have cratered. Including two losses to the Warriors and one to the Kings, the Cavs are 3-8 over their last 11 games.

During the stretch, they suffered through a four-game losing streak and nearly blew a 23-point lead against the Magic on Thursday.

But nothing was worse than what happened in front of a national TV audience on Saturday. The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder strolled into Quicken Loans Arena and hung 148 points on the defending Eastern Conference champs and won by 24 points.

Saturday's performance was so bad, former Cavs head coach David Blatt took a shot at them before coaching the Team Europe in the Turkish Basketball Super League All-Star Game in Instabul.

Asked by a sideline reporter for his thoughts on the game he was about to coach, Blatt offered this:

"Well, I don't think we're going to have any problem scoring. I'm just wondering if we're going to defend anybody. That's what I'm worried about," Blatt said.

The reporter followed up by asking for his expectation of the final score. That's when Blatt threw a haymaker at the team that fired him during the 2015-16 season despite a 30-11 record.

"Well, I hope we don't give up as many points as the Cavaliers did last night," Blatt said.

Ouch.

Unfortunately for Blatt, Team Europe lost 151-142 to Team Asia.