Warriors

Plenty at stake for some Warriors in Las Vegas

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Plenty at stake for some Warriors in Las Vegas

The Warriors summer league team has begun practicing in LasVegas in preparation for their first game on Friday night. Three Warriorsrookies Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green will make theirpro debuts for the Warriors, but theyre not the only ones with something atstake.

RECAP: Warriors' roster, schedule set for 2012 Summer League
The Warriorswill also have three second-yearplayers on their roster: Charles Jenkins, Jeremy Tyler and ChrisWright.Heres a run-down of each player, and what to look for oncethe games begin:Harrison Barnes: The strength of Barnesgame is at the offensive end. He is a smooth jump shooter with a solidmid-range game and a 3-point shot that is improving.What the Warriors would like to see most, however, fromBarnes this summer is an ability to defend. Warriors owner Joe Lacob andgeneral manager Bob Myers have said they believe Barnes is a much betterathlete than given credit for.If thats the case, theres no reason Barnes, who is6-foot-8, cant excel at that end of the floor. Well get a first taste ofwhether he can this week.Well also get a read on whether its realistic to pencil inBarnes as the starter at small forward or whether that may have towait.Festus Ezeli: The Warriors are high onEzeli, and why shouldnt they be? After Andrew Bogut and David Lee, theWarriors front line is very thin, and so theres an opportunity for Ezeli toget minutes.For Ezeli, his job description should be relatively simple:Rebound, defend and take fouls at the rim. If he can show in Vegas hes capableof doing those things, it will bode very well for him heading into trainingcamp in the fall.Draymond Green: He had a tremendouscollege career at Michigan State, but there are concerns about him being atweener. The fear is that hes not big enough to be a power forward and notquick enough to play small forward.But theres another scenario, and its this: What if Greenis too quick for power forwards to defend and too strong and skilled on the boxfor small forwards to cover? We could get the first glimpse of that inVegas.If thats the case, Green could be a significant contributordown the road.Charles Jenkins: Until further notice or until the Warriors sign a free-agent point guard Jenkins is the de factobackup to Stephen Curry. Jenkins had a nice rookie season, taking advantage ofinjuries to players ahead of him, but it remains to be seen whether he canhandle a full-time backup role for 82 games.That vision should become clearer this week. Theres noreason Jenkins, with an NBA season under his belt, shouldnt be one of theWarriors best players in summer league. Heck, Jenkins should be one of thebest players in the entire league.And there will be no better time than in the next week or soto start determining whether Jenkins could possibly handle the full-time backuprole at point. Because at this point, thats what he is: Stephen Currysbackup.Jeremy Tyler: It would not be anunderstatement to say that this is a big summer league for Tyler. Its not thatTyler had a disappointing rookie season, its just that he didnt necessarilyprove to anyone that he can be a positive factor on an NBA team.One of the knocks on Tyler is that he lacks intensity. Thatis one area where Ezeli is said to excel. If theres a matchup or competitionto watch in Vegas, it would be the one between Tyler and Ezeli.Chris Wright: He doesnt have aguaranteed contract for 2012-13, so Wright must prove himself. One thing Wrighthas going for him is his athleticism, which is off the charts.Thats important because the Warriors are a team lacking inthat department. But Wright must also show hes made progress on his perimetergame, most notably becoming a better 18- to 20-foot shooter.Wright played power forward at Dayton, but hes trying tobecome a small forward at the NBA level.

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely

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AP

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely

NEW YORK — The San Antonio Spurs say Kawhi Leonard will be out indefinitely as he continues his recovery from a leg injury.

Leonard has played in just nine games after missing the beginning of the season because of right quadriceps tendinopathy. He also was sidelined briefly because of a shoulder injury.

Spurs general manager RC Buford said Wednesday that Leonard has made significant progress in his recovery but "this is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play."

The All-Star forward is averaging 16.2 points this season for the Spurs, who play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

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USATSI

Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

The Warriors will be without Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, when they aim to tie a franchise record for consecutive road wins Wednesday as they face the improving Chicago Bulls at United Center.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

In seeking their 14th straight road win, the Warriors (36-9) will be confronting quite a different herd of Bulls than the team they crushed 143-94 two months ago in Oakland. Neither Kevin Durant nor Green was available in that rout, which that was the highest point total allowed by the Bulls since November 1990.

After a 3-20 start, the Bulls (17-27) righted themselves with a seven-game win streak in December and have won 14 of their last 21. The offense has steadily improved, averaging 94.5 points in October/November to 112.0 in January.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Kris Dunn: Several factors are responsible for the rise of the Bulls, but none may be more important than the play of Dunn, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft. Acquired in the June 2017 trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Dunn is the engine of a Chicago offense that since Dec. 6 has operated at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA. He averaged 12.0 points and 8.4 assists over the last five games. Curry missed most of December but has been playing well since returning. He loves the challenge of a rising point guard. He’ll be out to make a statement.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Draymond Green (R shoulder soreness) and F Andre Iguodala (L calf contusion) are listed as out.

Bulls: G Cameron Payne (R foot surgery) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2.

Bulls: 5-5.

GAME OFFICIALS

Ron Garretson (crew chief), Mark Ayotte, Scott Twardoski

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 143-94, on Nov. 24 in Oakland. The teams split the series last season, each winning on its own floor. The Warriors have won six of the last nine meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

KD UNLEASHED: Since returning Jan. 10, after a three-game absence, Durant has been on a tear, averaging 30.8 points on 62.5-percent shooting, including 60 percent from beyond the arc. Most teams don’t have anyone that matches up with him, and the Bulls certainly don’t. The closest is Lauri Markkanen, and though he has the length (7 feet), he has no chance of slowing Durant. All indications point to another big night.

THE BOMBERS: Chicago has made at least 10 3-pointers in each of its last nine home games, the longest such streak in franchise history. They’ve made at least 15 treys in each of the last three games. Rookie forward Markkanen drilled his 100th career triple in his 41st game, the fastest rate in league history. He averaged 23.0 points over his last three games, making 15 3-pointers in the process. With Green out, the Warriors will give him a variety of looks, with one of them being Durant.

WARRIORS DEPTH: The absence of Green and Iguodala will hurt the Warriors, who are playing their fourth game in six nights. Jordan Bell will start for Green, but the Warriors will have to alter their offense -- Green leads team in assists -- while patching together a defense that will be without two players that make an impact on that end. Omri Casspi, Kevon Looney and Pat McCaw will have opportunities.