OAKLAND The Warriors held their annual open practice and scrimmageon Saturday at Oracle Arena, and it was mostly fun and games. Coach Mark Jackson,micd up for approximately 5,000 to hear, played the animated role of master ofceremonies, there was plenty of crowd participation, and the rookies all had tosing and dance like in years past.But there was the more serious business of the scrimmage andit was during that time that two players showed a little something: BrandonRush and Jeremy Tyler.Rush, who was mostly a spot-up shooter a year ago, hit acouple of jumpers off the dribble and also found a way to knock down a shot ortwo on his own, when he elevated over Klay Thompson.That wasnt Rushs game last season, but Jackson said fanswill see more of that this year.He came with the reputation of not being able to put it onthe floor and make plays, Jackson said. And we knew right away that wasntthe case. Actually, last year we put him in position. There were times when wewere a cold-shooting team from the perimeter and wed say Somebodys got toput the ball on the floor and make a play.He was the one guy who did it and did it well. So theresno surprise with him doing that. One thing I challenged him with in theoffseason was being able to put the ball on the floor better and being able toplay in pick-and-roll situations. Hes very good at it and hes going to haveplenty of opportunity to do that quite a bit this year.Tyler has kind of been the forgotten man on the Warriors. Hedidnt play much as a rookie in 2011-12, and this season seems to be behindDavid Lee, Carl Landry, Andrew Bogut (when he gets healthy) and Festus Ezeli.But Tyler played well at times during the Blue-Whitescrimmage. He was on the White team, which was made up what appeared to be thesubstitutes.Tyler had effective stretches on the interior against a teammade up of mostly first-team players.He is developing, Jackson said of Tyler, in his secondseason. Hes a much better basketball player now than when we first got him. Ithink this summer has been big for him as far as working with our young guys,being in the summer league. Battling against Festus Ezeli every day. It makesyou better. Hes got a more professional attitude and hes improving. Hesstronger and he has a better understanding of the game.The scrimmage: The Blue team was leadingthe White after three quarters, when Jackson called off the fourth quarter.Jackson said he didnt want to overwork his players and felt like theyd had agood enough workout. The Blue team was up by approximately six points.The Blue team consisted of: Harrison Barnes, Kent Bazemore,Andrew Bogut, Carlon Brown, Stephen Curry, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green,Charles Jenkins, David Lee and Klay Thompson.The White team consisted of: Andris Biedrins, LanceGoulbourne, Stefhon Hannah, Jarrett Jack, Rick Jackson, Richard Jefferson,Tarence Kinsey, Carl Landry, Brandon Rush and Jeremy Tyler.
Months after the Cavs overcame a 3-1 series deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to stun the 73-win Warriors, images surfaced from a Halloween party hosted by LeBron James.
In the images, cookies in the shape of tombstones with the names of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson could be seen on a plate. The date "2015-16" was written on the cookies, apparently signifying the year the Warriors stars "died."
It was the height of the bitterness between the two teams that have met in three straight NBA Finals. The Cavs didn't care much for the Warriors.
But now, more than a year later, one of the players that was at the party to trying to take the blame off LeBron.
"I was at the Halloween party. Usually, [LeBron's] trolls are funny, but that was not from him, that was from the catering company. That’s why he doesn’t speak of it because the catering company put that together. If you think that LeBron James throws a party and does everything from the cookies to the decorations, then you’re kind of insane, that he has a season to prepare for and he’s party planning as well," former Cavs forward Dahntay Jones said Friday on The Russillo Show on ESPN. "But that was the company that they hired. It just happened to be funny at that point in time."
Jones, who is currently unsigned, has played one game for the Cavs each of the last two regular seasons. He did play in the first six games of the 2015-16 NBA Finals and averaged 1.3 points per game.
Captured as we are in the amber jar of Small Sample Size Theatre, there is something about the Warriors worth chewing on as they head for Philadelphia and a date with the precocious Philadelphia 76ers Saturday evening.
They now seem to disregard large leads as beneath them.
I’m not prepared to say what this means, but three of their losses this year (out of four, of course) have featured them hurling up a double-digit lead – 17 in the second quarter and 16 in the third quarter against Houston,
13 against Detroit and 17 in the second and third quarters against Boston Thursday night.
This is more games in which they have done so than all of last season, in which they blew a 14-point lead Christmas Day in Cleveland and a 17-point lead at home to Memphis 13 days later.
In other words, this could just be a phase they are going through as the team that knows it can produce at will and believes the other teams will cower in fear at the mere sight of their power and fold like 200-thread towels.
But three times in four weeks would be enough for head coach Steve Kerr to find a new way to put foot to hinder at future practices. It suggests that the Warriors, having outgrown their early weariness from a fun-filled summer (hey, they went to China and didn’t get busted for anything, so there’s that), maybe take themselves a bit for granted, and Kerr and team lecturers Draymond Green, David West and Andre Iguodala will now have something to help them all correct in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Oklahoma City and then home again.
I mean, what’s the point of having a big lead if you can’t enjoy it by making it bigger and bigger? What’s the value of leading by 17 and calling it a night when you can lead by 29 and THEN put your feet up? I mean, Houston did it last night and took the whole second half off.
Anyway, that’s today’s Warriors Gristle – what to do when you think you’ve won enough hands and find out you haven’t. Tomorrow, we’ll touch on what they need to do about keeping those old Kevin-Durant-back-in-OKC story lines tired and repetitive.