Warriors

Steinmetz: Smart's strong words for Warriors' Curry

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Steinmetz: Smart's strong words for Warriors' Curry

Jan. 26, 2011STEINMETZ ARCHIVEWARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEOMatt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com

OAKLAND -- For seemingly the umpteenth time this season, Warriors coach Keith Smart was asked Wednesday after shootaround about the Stephen Curry-Monta Ellis backcourt.

Thats been a hot topic lately, mostly spurred by owner Joe Lacob, who said recently that nobody on the Warriors is untouchable.

RELATED: Q&A with Warriors owner Joe Lacob

Smart is always diplomatic when talking about Curry and Ellis, making sure to talk of the positives and negatives of both players.

But on Wednesday, Smart seemed to make it clear that he hasnt been crazy with the Currys first half of the season -- and that he hasnt stepped up in Year 2.

Steph I dont know what it is, Smart said, when asked about how the backcourt is evolving. Maybe hes just a late starter. Maybe he just takes 40 games off and then decides to turn it on. We saw this a little bit last year with him.

NEWS: Curry OK to face New Orleans

Smart was referring to Currys slow start at the beginning of last season, his first in the NBA. Smart acknowledged Curry is playing better of late and that some of this seasons struggles likely have been because hes still figuring out all the nuances of becoming a point guard.

I think trying to run the team and doing the things we wanted him to, getting everybody involved, not really looking for his shot -- now I think hes being a bit more aggressive, Smart said. And I think the team wants him to do that and he needs to do that for us.

I think thats happening. Hes still playing even if you look at the numbers from last year, and I just think hes really tried to focus on being that point guard, and running the team and getting guys the ball.

Even the turnovers he was having it was based on trying to make a play for a teammate. Now hes being more aggressive for himself and that will open up things for him, open up lanes for him.

But he and Monta Monta, of course, has been playing at his normal pace and Steph is now moving up. Steph and David are now playing very well. So, thats three guys who are playing well. Weve got to get a couple more guys playing at a high level like those guys."

What's your take? Email Matt and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Report: KD wants to own an NBA team

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Report: KD wants to own an NBA team

Kevin Durant figures to have a good chunk of his career ahead of him, but he's already thinking of his next move.

Durant is only 29-years-old, but is already in the midst of his 11th NBA season. For his post-basketball life, the reigning Finals MVP has his sights set on NBA ownership.

Over his last 18 months as a member of the Golden State Warriors, Durant's increasingly yearned to own an NBA team, according to a report from ESPN's Chris Haynes. 

"[This] is a genuine goal of his after he retires, to add another African-American in the position of majority ownership," a league source told Haynes under the condition of anonymity. 

Currently, Michael Jordan is the only African-American majority owner in the league. Durant said he would also like to see more African-Americans in front office roles. 

"[Jordan] was the first big Nike athlete, the biggest star of his time, but if you don't have the trajectory, that path, that journey, it's going to be hard to do what he did," Durant told ESPN. "But you can still affect the NBA and the game of basketball in a different way. You don't have to be an owner.

"I think it should be more guys in the positions of power like general managers and scouts and coaches. Anything that involves the day-to-day operations of these franchises. I think more players and more experienced players should be in those positions."

Durant and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, have met with multiple tech executives and team owners in order to "learn the lay of the land," Haynes wrote. 

He's not the only former MVP on the Warriors with ownership aspirations, either. Stephen Curry tweeted last month he wanted in on Sean "Diddy" Combs' prospective bid for the Carolina Panthers, and Curry told ESPN last month he's "really serious" about the opportunity. 

Gameday: Intensity, fury rages as Warriors visit Cavaliers in rivalry's next chapter

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Gameday: Intensity, fury rages as Warriors visit Cavaliers in rivalry's next chapter

The Warriors will have their full squad available Monday when they wrap up their season series with the longtime rival Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

The teams have met in the last three NBA Finals, with the Warriors winning twice.

The Warriors (35-9) are coming off an impressive back-to-back road sweep, winning at Milwaukee on Friday and at Toronto on Saturday. Their regular starting lineup -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia and Draymond Green -- will be together for only the fourth time in the last six weeks.

The Cavaliers (26-16) have stumbled lately, losing seven of their last nine. Isaiah Thomas, acquired in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston in August, made his debut on Jan. 3 and will be playing his fourth game as a member of the Cavaliers.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 5.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: The top two forwards, and conceivably the two best players, in the game today. The Warriors are 5-2 against Cleveland since Durant was acquired to offset James. James is No. 3 in scoring (27.1 per game), Durant No. 5 (26.3). Both are efficient scoring machines. James is rebounding better (8.0-7.0), Durant blocking more shots (2.14-1.07). When these two clash, it’s hard to take your eyes off them. Durant asks to defend James and won the battle when the teams met on Christmas Day in Oakland.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Omri Casspi (low back soreness), F Andre Iguodala (hip flexor strain) and G Shaun Livingston (L shin contusion) have been upgraded to available.

Cavaliers: G Derrick Rose (L ankle sprain) and G Iman Shumpert (L knee surgery rehab) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Cavaliers: 3-7.

GAME OFFICIALS

Scott Foster (crew chief), Marat Kogut, Eric Lewis

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 99-92, on Christmas Day in Oakland. The teams split two meetings last season. The Warriors have won five of the last seven regular-season meetings and 11 of the last 14. They have won 11 of 18 NBA Finals games played in the last three years.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE POINT MEN: Neither Curry nor Thomas played on Christmas Day, so it’ll be intriguing to see them renew a battle that dates back to Thomas’ days in Sacramento. Curry generated dominated the matchup, though Thomas has since made the leap from good to great offensive player. One thing remains, though: Thomas remains among the league’s worst defenders.

INTENSITY LEVELS: Because of the history, the air crackles with fury when these teams meet. That won’t change anytime soon. But the Cavaliers, having beaten the Warriors only once in the last seven meetings, should be particularly fierce. This game means more to Cleveland than it does to the Warriors. Will the Warriors be able to match the intensity they’ll face inside the Q?

THE ARC: The 3-ball almost certainly will be crucial in this game. The Cavs are third in 3-pointers made (513), while the Warriors are fifth at 505. But the Warriors are more accurate, shooting at 38.9 percent to Cleveland’s 37.2. The Warriors are slightly better at defending the arc and, on the other end, can use ball movement to stress the Cavs’ relatively slow defenders.