Warriors

Thunder GM takes high road in response to Durant's Twitter gaffe, harsh words

Thunder GM takes high road in response to Durant's Twitter gaffe, harsh words

Kevin Durant didn't mean to lampoon the Thunder, later deleting the tweets, but he said what he said

Asked about Durant on Friday and Thunder GM Sam Prestie took the high road. 

"I think the only thing I can say to that is just to be consistent with everything that I have said and everyone else from the organization," Presti said. "I, and no one from the Thunder, really has anything negative to say about Kevin Durant, and I think we've been hopefully very open about the fact that we have tremendous appreciation and respect for what he and his teammates and coaches and everybody over his tenure here accomplished, and I really don't think there's anything more to say than that."

Durant took full responsibility and called the actions "childish" and "idiotic," adding that his actions have impacted his sleep cycles and eating habits.

The Warriors first face the Thunder on Wednesday, Nov. 22 in Oklahoma City.

 

Coming Soon: The Steph Curry Effect

Coming Soon: The Steph Curry Effect

OAKLAND -- Postseason basketball is about to get considerably easier for Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant and, well, the rest of the Warriors.

Stephen Curry, sidelined for the past five weeks with a knee injury, could rejoin the Warriors as soon as Saturday for Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinal series against the New Orleans Pelicans.

After going through his first controlled scrimmage since mid-March on Thursday, Curry was upgraded to questionable.

“He did everything and looked good,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Curry’s return is significant largely for his impact on offense, as his mere presence puts immeasurable pressure on opposing defenses. Nobody spreads the floor quite like he does.

Though he wasn’t needed to put away the Spurs in the first round, Curry might be essential against a white-hot New Orleans team that rolled up points (114.5 per game, 114.7 offensive rating) while containing guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in their first-round sweep of the Trail Blazers.

As good as Lillard and McCollum are, Curry and Thompson would pose an altogether deeper set of problems. Thompson’s length (he’s 6-foot-7) and strength will be tough to the Pelicans to handle. With Curry, the challenge is defending his ability to shoot from deep as well as he penetrates.

The Warriors posted an astonishing 120.4 offensive rating in the 51 games that Curry played in the regular season. Without him, they dropped to just above 106. Those statistics illustrate the Curry Effect.

As Durant has said on multiple occasions: “Steph is the system” with the Warriors. On a team for which any one of three players can ring up 30 or more points in a game, Curry is the centerpiece.

With him, they can take the floor knowing they can outscore just about any team. Without him, they know they that would be an exceedingly tall task.

“We were excited,” Thompson said of seeing Curry on the practice court. “I know he is very eager to play. He’s a competitor, so I know that sitting down kills him. We can‘t wait for him to get back, whenever that is.”

It may be Saturday.

“What we have to do is see how his body responds the rest of the day and put him through another practice (Friday),” Kerr said. “He needs to string together a few good days, but it was very positive today.”

Curry is ready. He closed his practice session, supervised by assistant coach Bruce “Q” Fraser, by shouting, “We back, Q! We back.” The two then leapt into the air, bumping chests and giggling.

Statistical comparison between the Warriors and Pelicans since Cousins' injury

csousinsdemarcushurt.jpg
AP

Statistical comparison between the Warriors and Pelicans since Cousins' injury

On Jan. 26, the Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending injury.

Without Cousins, they went 21-13 down the stretch and finished with the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.

Over that same time period, the Warriors won 19 of their final 33 games (including only seven of their last 17) as they dealt with an onslaught of injuries to their stars as well as their bench.

These stats below (from Jan. 27 through the end of the regular season) paint a picture of how Golden State and New Orleans differed, leading up to their second round matchup starting Saturday night:

OFFENSE:

Assists per game:

Pelicans T-3rd: 27.1 assists
Warriors 5th: 27.1 assists

Rebounds per game:

Pelicans 5th: 46.1 rebounds
Warriors 24th: 42.5 rebounds

Field goal percentage:

Warriors 1st: 49.1%
Pelicans 8th: 48%

3-point percentage:

Warriors 5th: 38.2%
Pelicans 20th: 35.3%

Points per game:

Pelicans 3rd: 112.6 ppg
Warriors 12th: 109.5 ppg

Turnovers per game:

Pelicans 16th: 13.8
Warriors 25th: 15.1

DEFENSE:

Opponent field goal percentage:

Pelicans 5th: 44.6%
Warriors 11th: 45.8%

Opponent 3-point percentage:

Pelicans 5th: 34.5%
Warriors 11th: 35.5%

Defensive Rating:

Pelicans 5th: 103.7
Warriors 12th: 105.6

Blocks per game:

Pelicans 1st: 7.0 blocks
Warriors 2nd: 6.8 blocks