Warriors

Stephen Curry, elite defender?

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Stephen Curry, elite defender?

Stephen Curry, an elite defender?

Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson didn’t back away from his statement about his young guard.

“I said it before and people thought I was crazy, he’s an elite defender,” Jackson said in his pregame news conference before Tuesday night’s win against New Orleans.

Jackson has plenty of insight on what makes Curry an “elite” defender, at least in his opinion. It’s not the fourth-year guard’s on-ball defense that Jackson is praising, but rather his ability to be part of the coach’s team defense.

The coach rattled off a number of reasons: ball pressure, getting screened but working back into the picture, not quitting on plays, being in the right place in help rotation, and being part of the fray in securing rebounds.

Curry, not ready to call himself a lockdown defender, did say he is committed to containing the ball from a help-side standpoint and he buys into the goals of team defense.

“I wouldn’t call myself a lockdown defender by any stretch of the imagination,” Curry said. “But being able to be in the right positions and stay aggressive, and stick to our game plan, that’s my responsibility as part of that five-man defense.”

Jackson said the best defenders pay attention to the game plan and strategy of the coaching staff and that’s what Curry does so well. The coach also credits Curry’s defensive abilities to healthy ankles.

“All of those things are what you need to set the tone for your team defensively,” Jackson said. “When I talk about him getting healthy and playing at an elite level, it’s not just on the offensive end. He’s setting the tone for us defensively.”

It's easier to quantify how Curry’s physical ability to plant and cut helps him offensively; his numbers -- 19.4 points and 6.4 assists per game -- serve as tangible proof.

But defensive effort is not a measurable figure, so the words and opinion of Jackson offer necessary proof.

 

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

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USATSI

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James has joined the NBA's 30,000-point club.

James became the seventh player with 30,000 career points when he hit a jumper with one second left in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.

James was recognized by the arena before the second quarter and got a standing ovation from Spurs fans. James patted his heard and said "thank you so much."

James needed seven points Tuesday to get there. He missed his first two midrange jumpers before making two driving layups and a 20-footer. He hit the milestone jumper over Danny Green from 19 feet out.

The 33-year-old James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list.

At 33 years and 24 days, James is the youngest to reach the mark. Bryant was 34 years and 104 days when he got there.

The 14-time All-Star has averaged 27.1 points since breaking into the league as an 18-year-old in 2003.

Gameday: Warriors will face shorthanded Knicks

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AP

Gameday: Warriors will face shorthanded Knicks

Striving for consistency in their performances at Oracle Arena, the Warriors open a three-game homestand Tuesday as heavy favorites to beat the New York Knicks.

After three seasons of utter dominance at home -- including a record 54 consecutive wins -- the Warriors (37-10) have more losses at Oracle (six) than elsewhere (four). A variety of factors, with ennui and a lack of urgency at the top, have conspired to make them merely good at home.

The Knicks (21-26, 6-17 on the road), particularly with star forward Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup, are the kind of relatively toothless squad capable of testing the resolve of the Warriors. The Warriors last home game was a 125-106 loss to a Clippers team without Blake Griffin and three other regular starters.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 16.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kevin Durant vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.: With Porzingis out, the scoring burden falls to the son of former Warriors great Tim Hardaway. Junior, who was born in Alameda, is New York’s No. 2 scorer (18.4 points per game) and is capable of big nights; he hung 38 points on the Raptors earlier this season. Even if Hardaway has a big night, it’s not likely to offset Durant, who is playing fine defense and may be the most complete scorer in the league.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Jordan Bell (L ankle sprain) is listed as out.

Knicks: F Kyle O’Quinn (L calf contusion) and F Kristaps Porzingis (L knee irritation) are listed as out.

LAST 10

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

GAME OFFICIALS

James Williams (crew chief), Brent Barnaky, Brett Nansel

SERIES HISTORY

This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Warriors swept the two-game series last season, have won eight of the last nine and 23 of the last 29.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE INTENSITY LEVEL: The Warriors often start sluggishly at home and sometimes find themselves in a hold. Though they usually dig out, it’s a habit they are trying to break. It starts with defense. If they come out locker room like a pack of wolves, they are able to run the Porzingis-less Knicks off the floor. If not, they are capable of keeping the Knicks in the game.

THE TURNOVER GAME: The Warriors are prone to commit a lot of turnovers; only the Lakers and 76ers commit more. But the Knicks, who play at a slower pace, actually commit a higher percentage of turnovers and rank 26th in that category. The number of points off turnovers could be high, and might be significant enough to affect the outcome.

THE BENCHES: The Warriors haven’t had a plethora of 3-point shooting off the bench but they do have a bench that uses solid defense and offensive spurts to extend leads. The Knicks, however, have a special scorer in Michael Beasley. If he gets hot, as Lou Williams did two weeks ago, Beasley can carry a subpar roster.