NBA Gameday: Warm up the scoreboard for Warriors-Raptors

NBA Gameday: Warm up the scoreboard for Warriors-Raptors

OAKLAND – Eager to shed the bitter memories of a Christmas Day loss in Cleveland, the Warriors return to the court to confront the team many consider the biggest Eastern Conference threat to the Cavaliers.

The Toronto Raptors, who have won 14 of their last 16 games, including the last four in a row, invade Oracle Arena on Wednesday night.

The Warriors (27-5), who play nine of their next 10 games at home, will try to extend to 119 their ongoing NBA record of consecutive regular-season games without back-to-back losses.

Toronto (22-8) is as tough an opponent as the Warriors have faced under these circumstances. Led by guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors own the NBA’s third-best road record (11-3) and have won seven in a row outside Toronto.


Warriors by 9.5


Stephen Curry vs. Lowry -- It’s two premier point guards getting after each other. Curry has been playing below his standard of late, shooting 39.7 percent over his last four games. He tends to recover in spectacular fashion. Lowry is on a roll, scoring 86 points on 62.0-percent shooting over the last three games. If Curry can win this battle, it gives the Warriors a decided edge.


Warriors: No injuries listed.

Raptors: F Jared Sullinger (L foot surgery) and G Delon Wright (R shoulder surgery) are listed as out.


Warriors: 8-2. Raptors: 8-2.


The Warriors won the first meeting this season (127-121 on Nov. 16 in Toronto) and have won five in a row, nine of 11 and 17 of the last 21. The Warriors have won 11 straight in Oakland.


1) Klay Thompson vs. DeMar DeRozan -- Just as Curry-Lowry features All-Star point guards, so does Thompson-DeRozan. DeRozan is the higher-scoring half of the NBA’s most offensively potent backcourt. Adding spice to the matchup is that the two are quite familiar with each other from their high school days in Southern California.

2) Warm up the scoreboard -- One of the few teams able match the Warriors’ offense, the Raptors have failed to reach 100 points only twice this season. The Warriors lead the league in field-goal percentage, and Toronto is second. The Raptors are tops in offensive rating, the Warriors are second.

3) Watch the charity -- The Raptors attack the rim, which is why they’re tied for fourth in free-throw attempts at 25.7 per game. More important, they are No. 1 in made free throws per game, at 20.7. Can the Warriors defend these slashers without fouling?

Curry's injury all but assures Cook's spot on playoff roster

Curry's injury all but assures Cook's spot on playoff roster

OAKLAND -- Welcome to the NBA playoffs, Quinn Cook.

Any question about whether the Warriors would add Cook to their postseason roster was clarified Saturday when an MRI test on Stephen Curry’s left knee revealed a Grade 2 MCL sprain.

Curry will be reevaluated in three weeks, which coincides with the beginning of the playoffs. It’s conceivable he will be out six weeks, in which case he would miss the entire first round and, should the Warriors advance, part of the second round.

The Warriors wouldn’t dare go into the playoffs with Shaun Livingston, the primary backup to Curry for four seasons, as the only designated point guard on the roster.

So the defending champs will turn to Cook, who was waived by lowly Atlanta last Oct. 13, four days later signed a two-way contract with the Warriors, and spent most of the past five months toiling away with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Cook’s value has been rising in recent weeks, though, as he has proved capable of producing at the NBA level. He’s the only member of the Warriors to score in double figures in each of the last five games, averaging 19.8 points, on 55.7-percent shooting, including 50 percent from deep, during that stretch.

He’s not Curry -- nobody is -- but Cook has been a terrific fill-in.

“We all love him,” Kerr said. “He’s a wonderful teammate. He’s not only a hell of a player, but the gets it. He’s a worker. He brings this great life and intelligence to the group, so he’s a big part of what we’re doing.”

Neither Kerr nor general manager Bob Myers has given any indication if they plan to add Cook to the roster. For Cook to be eligible for the postseason, the Warriors must pull him off his two-way deal and sign him to a standard NBA contract by April 11. The playoff roster must be submitted to the league by noon on April 13.

Under no circumstances can Cook be added without one of the 15 players currently under an NBA contact being released.

Meanwhile, Kerr and Myers have given every indication that they love, love, love the way Cook has responded to a need in the absence of Curry.

“He’s been great,” Myers told 95.7 FM The Game this week. “He’s been great all year, with the G-League as well. We actually targeted him as our two-way guys.”

Myers added another line that is significant: “It’s hard to find fault with Quinn as a human being.”

That testimony to Cook’s character matters because the Warriors are big on having players that fit into their culture. Cook, who turned 25 on Friday, has been a seamless fit.

Cook, for his part, credits at least a part of his success to the tutelage of Curry. The two became acquainted back in 2011, when Cook was a freshman at Duke and Seth Curry was a junior. Due to the lockout, the NBA season didn’t start until December, allowing Stephen Curry some time to hang around the college.

“It’s not like you’re always seeking him,” Cook said. “He seeks you. He knows that we all want to learn. He knows that he is where we want to get to, individually.

“When I got here, he took me under his wing. We developed a great relationship before, but now it’s even greater.”

Curry spends time going over game plans with Cook. They talk strategy. It’s an example of Curry’s leadership that he donates himself to a player who was signed mostly to play in the G-League and be available, if needed, for NBA games.

It’s too much to ask Cook to mimic Curry. It’s not too much to believe Cook can help the Warriors in the postseason, even if Curry is healthy.

With Curry out, and Livingston always on a minutes restriction -- any more than the mid-20s is a danger zone -- Cook is essential.

Curry out at least three weeks with Grade 2 MCL sprain

Curry out at least three weeks with Grade 2 MCL sprain

Stephen Curry will be reevaluated in three weeks after an MRI on Saturday revealed that the Warriors point guard suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his left MCL, the Warriors announced on Saturday. 

Curry sprained his left MCL with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter of Friday night's win over the Atlanta Hawks. Teammate JaVale McGee landed awkwardly on the two-time MVP's left leg, and Curry limped to the bench. He then headed to the locker room where he received further treatment, and did not return. 

Curry has missed 21 of the team’s 71 games this season. Before Friday, he missed the previous six games after spraining his right ankle against the San Antonio Spurs on March 2. 

Back-to-back ankle and knee injuries previously dogged Curry in the 2016 postseason. In his first game back from a right ankle sprain in the first round against the Houston Rockets, Curry suffered a Grade 1 right MCL sprain, and missed the next four games.