Visible infighting leaves Warriors unrecognizable in loss to Kings

Visible infighting leaves Warriors unrecognizable in loss to Kings

SACRAMENTO -- In the sober aftermath of the 109-106 overtime loss to the Kings late Saturday night, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he didn’t recognize his team, not only because an ejection had cost him his customary sideline view.

These Warriors were, for so many reasons, unrecognizable.

Stephen Curry, usually a wizard in the paint, missed an open layup that would have put the Warriors ahead in the final seconds of OT. They were out-assisted and outshot by, of all teams, Sacramento. They were uncharacteristically selfish and disengaged, and it showed at both ends of the court.

But Kerr, who has spent more than 30 years around elite athletes in intense competition, most assuredly sensed there was something deeper going on. There were numerous emotional outbursts, too many of them expressions of irritation.

The Warriors weren’t happy with themselves and, moreover, they on several occasions were visibly dissatisfied with each other.

“Every time we have a poor offensive game, where the ball sticks, it’s inevitable that we’re poor defensively,” Kerr said, attempting to explain a forgettable night. “We give up transition stuff. Bad shots lead to vulnerability with your transition defense.

“And then just the vibe. Who we are . . . we’re a joyful team that moves the ball and plays with a lot of passion and fun. And there wasn’t a whole lot of that tonight.”

Exhibit A: Draymond Green’s frustration bubbled over late in the third quarter when he shouted and gestured toward Kevin Durant, who engaged the squabble. The two botched a possession late in the shot clock.

Exhibit B: Andre Iguodala reacted to a second-half timeout by stalking past his teammates and directly to the last seat on the bench, where he sat alone as the coaches addressed the team. There was a defensive breakdown involving Iguodala and James Michael McAdoo.

Exhibit C: Green and Iguodala had at least one brief quarrel, apparently related to another defensive breakdown.

And it’s fairly presumed that a couple Warriors, based on body language, were annoyed with Klay Thompson launching 25 shots -- 15 more than Durant and five more than Curry, who was having a vastly more proficient game.

These snapshots and moments of exasperation may have zero impact on the team’s delicate chemistry. The Warriors have bickered before and, as usually is the case among mature adults, they get beyond it without lasting animosity.

But such displays are unlike them in that they were too public to escape notice.

The group that actively pursues the joys within the game conveyed no such thing.

“Regardless of how much fun you want to have,” Green said afterward, “it just doesn’t happen that way for 82 nights.”

The Warriors have spent recent years carefully growing a harmonious atmosphere in the locker room that translates to the court. It’s a family-oriented feel that Curry, in particular, devotes tremendous energy toward maintaining.

Which is why it was somewhat surprising that the postgame responses were all over the place, especially to questions about Durant’s oddly passive evening -- 10 shots in 42 minutes.

Green shrugged, saying the Warriors “definitely got to have him taking more shots.”

Kerr suggested Durant, the only Warrior to play every game, “was out of gas.”

Durant said he wasn’t tired and that he would be “more aggressive next time.” He continued picking apart of his game and found a lot to criticize.

Aside from Curry, the Warriors did very little well against a team they usually torch. They shot 41.4 percent, saving the worst for last, as the percentage dropped to 28.6 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Yet it was Curry who couldn’t drop in a clutch layup.

“It’s one game,” he said. “But it’s tough with all the emotions, the back-and-forth and the opportunity to win it down the stretch.

“Tough way to end the game, with a shot at point-blank range (with a chance) to erase all the mishaps earlier.”

The Warriors are good enough, and tight enough, that the scenes of the night may be chalked up to bickering within the brotherhood. They could return to normal very soon, perhaps Wednesday night against Chicago.

“We weren’t ourselves,” Green said. “But if we’re going to have a hiccup like that every 10 or 12 games, I’ll take it.”


Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns


Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

The Warriors have lost three of their last four games, their roster is in shambles and, still, they look like pure gold in contrast to the Suns team they’re facing Saturday night in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05.

Reeling from the absences of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors (52-17) showed plenty of the scrap in losing to the Kings on Friday in Oakland but couldn’t get much offense from their veterans.

The Suns (19-51) are having the worst season since 1968-69, their inaugural season. They’ve lost seven in a row, 16 of their last 17 and 21 of their last 23.


Warriors by 3


Quinn Cook vs. Elfrid Payton: Payton bolted to a 16-point first quarter and scored 29 the last time he faced the Warriors. Quinn is coming off a career-high 25-point game. With teams relying on diminished rosters, whichever of the two young PGs can set a tone gives his team an advantage.


Warriors: G Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib soreness), G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus tear) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3.

Suns: 1-9.


Tony Brothers (crew chief), Jacyn Goble, James Williams


The Warriors won the first of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 at Oracle Arena. They swept all four games last season and are 12-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.


MOTIVATED VETS: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young, expected to generate offense, combined to shoot 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) in a five-point loss Friday. They must be better; they can’t be much worse. Phoenix leads the NBA in points allowed.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee started nine straight games at center, but Pachulia started the last two. The Suns are long up front, so McGee could be in line for a start or more minutes. In addition, Damian Jones, the team’s other 7-footer, also could get playing time.

STREAKING WITH THREES: The Suns own the longest active streak of games with at least one 3-point make (1,128). The Warriors are No. 2 (1,121). Both streaks are endangered. Curry, Thompson and Durant are out for the Warriors. Booker will either sit out or play with a splint on his shooting hand.

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.