Rewind: Win aside, Warriors still laboring through changes

Rewind: Win aside, Warriors still laboring through changes

NEW ORLEANS – Asked what nits he would pick after a 122-114 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry met the question head-on.

“My list is long,” he said in the visitor’s locker room at Smoothie King Center. “Y’all don’t have enough time for that.”

That’s Curry, realizing he’s still searching for his “zone” while the team is seeking its bearings and knowing things will take off when he does.

For now, the Warriors are laboring through the changes and transformations required of a superbly talented team trying to coordinate and harmonize all its components. They are not yet as good as the sum of their parts.

[POOLE: Durant joins two NBA legends, puts stamp on Warriors win]

There will be nights when what they have while still developing will be good enough, and this was one of them.

The Warriors rode Kevin Durant (30 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals), Klay Thompson (28 points) and Curry (23 points and seven assists) until they had created enough separation to overcome the relentless Anthony Davis, who came at the Warriors for 45 points and 17 rebounds.

“There was a lot of good stuff tonight, some bad stuff,” coach Steve Kerr said. “But the effort and the intensity were there. We did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball, which if we can win the possession battle we should generally be in good shape.

“But some lapses defensively, some head-scratching decision-making at times, we’ve got some things to work on. But at least we’re on the board. We got a win.”

That’s where the bar is set – for now. It will rise as the season progresses, but after two games it’s simply about no finding ways to win, even if beating an utterly defective Pelicans team was harder than it should have been.

The Warriors (1-1) were even in rebounds (49-49), but won the game mostly, as Kerr indicated, by being better with the ball than the Pelicans. While the Warriors scored 18 points of 15 New Orleans turnovers, the Pelicans managed on 9 off 14 Warriors giveaways.

“I liked some of it. I thought our offense was clicking for a while and we were moving the ball,” Thompson said. “But, still, too many lapses on defense. We realize it’s not going to be perfect right now, but we’ll get there. (We’ve got) a long way to go. But I’m just happy we got the win, honestly.”

It was those defensive lapses that allowed New Orleans to stay within striking distance, even if they never had only one brief second-half lead (74-73, 4:36 left in the third quarter) and trailed by as much as 16.

Behind point guard Tim Frazier (21 points, 10 assists) and Davis, the Pelicans never caved in. Held to 38.8 percent in the first half, they shot 54.9 percent in the second.

“For the most part, we played hard,” Kerr said. “But we had some breakdowns where everybody just stopped and looked at each other, so it looked like they weren’t trying. It was more a lack of communication, which led to a couple defensive breakdowns.”

The Warriors had to keep right themselves, and did so just enough times to prevail.

Not until Durant blocked a Davis shot with 41.6 seconds left, and converted a breakaway layup on the other end to put the Warriors up by 8 was this one secure.

“We’re going to have to get so much better,” Kerr said. “We can see how much work we have ahead. We’ve got plenty of talent, but talent is not going to be enough. We’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to be tough. We’ve got to just grow as a team. Fortunately, we’ve got a long time to do that.”

The Warriors are built for greatness, but it’s becoming more and more apparent the path to get there will have plenty of peaks and valleys. Those will be unavoidable, even if sheer talent suggests nothing can stop them except themselves.

Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns


Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

The Warriors have lost three of their last four games, their roster is in shambles and, still, they look like pure gold in contrast to the Suns team they’re facing Saturday night in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05.

Reeling from the absences of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors (52-17) showed plenty of the scrap in losing to the Kings on Friday in Oakland but couldn’t get much offense from their veterans.

The Suns (19-51) are having the worst season since 1968-69, their inaugural season. They’ve lost seven in a row, 16 of their last 17 and 21 of their last 23.


Warriors by 3


Quinn Cook vs. Elfrid Payton: Payton bolted to a 16-point first quarter and scored 29 the last time he faced the Warriors. Quinn is coming off a career-high 25-point game. With teams relying on diminished rosters, whichever of the two young PGs can set a tone gives his team an advantage.


Warriors: G Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib soreness), G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus tear) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3.

Suns: 1-9.


Tony Brothers (crew chief), Jacyn Goble, James Williams


The Warriors won the first of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 at Oracle Arena. They swept all four games last season and are 12-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.


MOTIVATED VETS: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young, expected to generate offense, combined to shoot 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) in a five-point loss Friday. They must be better; they can’t be much worse. Phoenix leads the NBA in points allowed.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee started nine straight games at center, but Pachulia started the last two. The Suns are long up front, so McGee could be in line for a start or more minutes. In addition, Damian Jones, the team’s other 7-footer, also could get playing time.

STREAKING WITH THREES: The Suns own the longest active streak of games with at least one 3-point make (1,128). The Warriors are No. 2 (1,121). Both streaks are endangered. Curry, Thompson and Durant are out for the Warriors. Booker will either sit out or play with a splint on his shooting hand.

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.