Warriors

Thunder-Warriors: What to watch for

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Thunder-Warriors: What to watch for

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Warriors Pregame Live starts tonight at 7, followed by Warriors-Thunder at 7:30, and Warriors Postgame Live at 10 -- all on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

The Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday,allowing them to put a couple ugly losses to Indiana and Memphis behindthem. Now, though, if theyre serious about making a move, is the time tobuild.Only issue is that here come the Oklahoma City Thunder,owners of the NBAs best record at 15-3.Here are some things to watch for when the Warriors play theThunder Friday night at Oracle:

Curry-Westbrook matchup: RussellWestbrook is considered one of the best point guards in basketball, but StephenCurry has done just fine against him during their short careers. For whateverreason, Westbrook usually struggles against Golden State. Last year he shot31.1 percent (14-for-45) in threegames against the Warriors. Whatever Curry is doing against Westbrook, heshould keep it up.Durant factor: Kevin Durant is the earlyMVP favorite and he needs to be accounted for on the floor. Over the years, theWarriors have tried many defenders on Durant including Monta Ellis.The key isnt to shut down Durant. The key is to turn himinto a volume shooter.Size matters: The Thunder start a big,physical frontline in Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. If the Warriors dontaccount for them on the glass, theres a good chance this will be a one-sidedgame tonight.Warriors coach Mark Jackson has preferred to go small infourth quarters, using David Lee at the center position. If Jackson does thattonight, hell need to monitor the interior play and make sure things dont getout of hand.Bench play: The Warriors continue to getsolid play from their bench, particularly Brandon Rush. The Thunder, though,have a sixth-man of the year candidate in James Harden, a player who wouldstart on most teams. Harden is another player who must be accounted forwhenever he is in the game.Sefalosha factor: Portlands long twoguard Nicolas Batum did a verynice job against Monta Ellis on Thursday, holding Ellis to 2-for-9 shooting. Onthe other hand, Ellis didnt force the issue and wound up handing out 12assists.Thabo Sefolosha is the same kind of defender long and lanky as Batum. It will be interesting to see how Ellis handles Fridays challenge.

Gameday: Warriors limited Embiid, Simmons once; Can they do it again?

Gameday: Warriors limited Embiid, Simmons once; Can they do it again?

After losing the biggest test of the season thus far, the Warriors will try to get back to winning Saturday, when they face the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 3:30, with tipoff scheduled for 4:35.

The Warriors (11-4), who are coming off their first loss in eight games, a 92-88 defeat at Boston on Thursday, laid a 135-114 beating on the 76ers one week ago in Oakland. They shot a season-high 58.5 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent beyond the arc.

The Sixers (8-6) started the season by losing four of their first five games but have recovered nicely, winning seven of their last nine. They rebounded from the loss to the Warriors by sweeping the Clippers and Lakers in Los Angeles earlier this week.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Draymond Green and Co. vs. Joel Embiid: The Warriors used a tag-team effort to lock down the Philadelphia big man last week, holding Embiid to 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds while forcing seven turnovers. It was a lesson in team defense, and they’ll try to repeat that performance. No fewer than five Warriors -- Zaza Pachulia, Kevin Durant, JaVale McGee, David West and Green -- will get chances to defend Embiid, who responded to a poor game in Oakland by combining for 87 points and 31 rebounds in torching the Clippers and the Lakers in LA.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: No injuries listed. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

76ers: G Jerryd Bayless (L wrist bruise) is listed as questionable. G/F Justin Anderson (L shin splints), G Markelle Fultz (right shoulder scapular muscle imbalance) and G Nik Stauskas (R ankle sprain) are listed as out.

GAME OFFICIALS:
Tony Brothers (crew chief), Bennie Adams and Lauren Holtkamp.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won the last nine meetings overall, the last four in Philadelphia. Their last loss in Philadelphia was on March 2, 2013.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
WHAT ABOUT STEPH? Stephen Curry has fallen into a bit of a shooting rut, and it’s not necessarily related to the thigh bruise sustained last Saturday against 76ers. He is 20-of-61 (32.8 percent) from the field, including 9-of-33 (27.3) from deep, over his last four games; he was 34-of-58 (58.6) and 18-of-32 (56.3) in the four games before that. He’ll get opportunities against the Philly defense. Can he snap out of it?

I-N-T-E-N-S-I-T-Y SPELLS INTENSITY: The Warriors are have a tough time shaking the habit of strolling through too many parts of games. After a first half in which they committed 13 turnovers and allowed Philly to shoot 52 percent, the Warriors last week used a third-quarter barrage to put the game away. After being freshly burned in Boston, expect them to bring some early fire, trying to bury the Sixers early and totally.

BEN SIMMONS PT. II: In sending a variety of defenders at the 6-foot-10 point guard, the Warriors kept Simmons off balance and turned him into a volume shooter. He took 17 shots, his second-highest total of the season, and made six. There is no reason to expect a substantial change, and this time the Warriors will add Andre Iguodala into the defensive mix.

Ex-Cavs player claims LeBron wasn't responsible for Warriors tombstone cookies

Ex-Cavs player claims LeBron wasn't responsible for Warriors tombstone cookies

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.