Warriors

Tough stretch for Warriors starts with Jazz

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Tough stretch for Warriors starts with Jazz

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If there’s one guy who embodies the persona of this Golden State Warriors team, it’s Jarrett Jack.

The veteran backup guard is as persevering as he is gritty, and his tell-it-how-it-is attitude is honored in the Warriors locker room.

The 29-year-old, in his eighth season and playing for his fifth team, was counseling rookie Festus Ezeli after Saturday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“He wasn’t happy with a couple of plays for himself individually down the stretch, I just shared with him a moment I had my rookie year worse than that,” said Jack, who is averaging 15.5 points and six assists off the bench in December.

The tough overtime loss to the Lakers might be tough to swallow for some of the team’s young players, but Jack’s voice in the locker room was that of moving on and not dwelling.

Soon after, he was chatting with Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes about the loss but more so about the big picture of the team’s direction from there.

Jack made it clear that the Warriors aren’t interested in moral victories, and he feels the team can win every game.

“The NBA has a bunch of ups and downs,” Jack said. “You have to stay on the straight and narrow, and put the last game behind and move forward.”

It was the team’s final game before a mini-break for Christmas that ends tonight for a road game against the Utah Jazz.

Harder from here

The real test begins now.

As the Warriors head into 2013, the schedule makes a dramatic shift to playing more difficult teams. If they were playing junior varsity, they’re now stepping up to varsity.

Eight of the last 12 Warriors’ opponents have held records below the .500 mark at the time the teams met.

The Warriors went 8-4 during that 12-game stretch, including wins at the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, but losses to the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and two to the Orlando Magic.

But if the NBA’s regular season is a challenge of various tests, this midterm exam might be one of the more difficult.

With the season just passing its one-third mark, the Warriors begin a stretch of 10 games that include eight teams above .500. Included in that stretch are road games at the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and home games versus the Boston Celtics, Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Heat.

Starting in Utah

Tonight’s road contest against the Jazz offers a new set of challenges for the Warriors.

Golden State’s frontcourt will be tested by the size and depth of the Jazz. Utah features the tandem of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap that combines for 30 points and 18.3 rebounds per game.

But the depth doesn't end there, as young power forwards Marvin Williams and Derrick Favors, and center Enes Kanter, provide further rebounding and scoring.

Golden State is ranked No. 4 in the league in rebounding and Utah enters tonight ranked No. 8. The Warriors are 17-2 this season when they outrebound their opponent.

David Lee leads Golden State's rebounding efforts at 11.3 per game. The star forward is also averaging 20 points per game and leads the league in 20-point, 10-rebound games.

Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for more Warriors news and analysis. Follow along with #warriorstalk during tonight’s game at Utah.

Steve Kerr updates Jordan Bell's status

Steve Kerr updates Jordan Bell's status

Jordan Bell likely envisioned a longer debut at the United Center. 

The Chicago Bulls traded the pick used to select Bell to the Golden State Warriors for cash considerations, and Bell's taken plenty of chances to remind the Bulls to remind them of that fact. 

Instead of getting another chance to rub it in, Bell injured his left ankle 24 seconds in to Golden State's 119-112 win over Chicago on Wednesday. On Thursday, Bell and the Warriors learned the results of his MRI, and it's not as bad as the team first feared, according to head coach Steve Kerr.

"Well, it seemed a lot worse at the time when it happened. Everyone kind of thought he had a broken a bone just based on his reaction [and] what he was telling us," Steve Kerr told Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game.  "But the MRI was pretty good this morning. Nothing glaring. 

"The X-ray was fine yesterday. So it doesn't appear to be more than a bone bruise but bone bruises can be tricky to heal, so we'll see what happens. But so far, the news has all been good."

Bell has emerged as a bench contributor in his first NBA season. In 38 games, he's averaging 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 14.4 minutes.

Two Warriors named All-Star Game starters

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USATSI

Two Warriors named All-Star Game starters

After sending four players to the NBA All-Star Game last season in New Orleans, the Warriors are halfway to repeating the feat this season.

Point guard Stephen Curry and small forward Kevin Durant were voted in as Western Conference starters for the game scheduled for Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the NBA announced on Thursday.

Though Curry has missed 15 games -- nearly one-third of the season -- it has not hurt his popularity; His No. 30 is the NBA’s best-selling jersey for the third straight season. He is averaging team-leading 27.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and 1.65 steals per game.

Curry is the first member of the Warriors to be named a starter for five consecutive All-Star games. As the player with the most fan votes, Curry becomes a captain and is in position to select the members of his team.

Durant, who has missed eight games this season, was named as a starter for the sixth time, the first four coming when he was a member of the Thunder.

Durant is averaging 26.2 points (fifth in the league) 6.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.05 blocks (fourth in the league) per game.