Warriors' comments about Salt Lake City pretty much true ... who cares?

Warriors' comments about Salt Lake City pretty much true ... who cares?

Well, our worry about no compelling narrative for Warriors-Jazz has been solved. Apparently the Warriors have decided Salt Lake City isn’t fully to their liking.
Great. A talking point to take us through the weekend, because we all wanted to avoid the basketball at all costs.
A number of Warriors spoke frankly about the lack of swell distractions in the home of the Utah Jazz, which of course will play poorly in Salt Lake. This of course has nothing to do with the basketball games that begin Tuesday in Oakland and then re-begin Saturday in the Beehive State, but a tale must be told, and by damn it shall be Utah’s cultural shortcomings.
Now it's well known that nothing brings out the venom in a citizenry quite like visitors slagging the old home. In other words, Vivint Smart Home Arena will be, well, noticeable for its Warrior antipathy. There will be much booing and shouted invective, and not all of it culturally polite.
Will it change the basketball in any material way? Almost certainly not. Fans have been led to believe over the decades that they have an influence on the events they pay to see, and that is at best a tertiary effect (after talent and fortune). In other words, the Warriors are not considering that the Utah crowd will create enough difficulties to affect what most people believe should be a pretty boilerplate result.

[RATTO: Jazz will make series with Warriors harder than it looks]
But it will not prevent us from talking about it, as though Salt Lake City’s reputation as the best city in the NBA when it comes to staying in your room will drive public interest.
In fairness, the Warriors (most notably Matt Barnes and Andre Iguodala) did not make Salt Lake City an issue, but they did answer questions framed that way. Indeed, Draymond Green said his only concession to Utah was that he would eat more red meat this week to increase his red blood cell count for the road games. And no, he wasn’t complaining that Salt Lake City should be moved to a lower altitude; he was merely pointing out what he intended to do about playing there, which is a far cry from decrying the lack of night life.
And let’s be clear here – what they say about Salt Lake City is pretty much true. It is a pretty buttoned-down town for the modern-day athlete. Most of the people who live there like it that way, and frankly, what else could you ask for from a city than to serve the needs of desires of its citizens? The fact that it isn’t Los Angeles so works for them, so who can argue with that?
It will, however, be turned into a pejorative by the people of Salt Lake City to stoke whatever internal fire they have about their beloveds playing an overwhelming favorite (hint: Game 1 of this series has the Warriors as a 13-point favorite, which is pretty well absurd except for the fact that that’s probably how the money would have moved anyway). They can manufacture the old, “The Warriors think we’re dull and boring, so let’s show them” battle cry, and it may make one of the six officials (or nine, if the series goes six games) a little squirrelly, but that’s about the outer limit of their influence.
Not because Jazz fans aren’t loud enough or passionate enough, but because that’s pretty much how the fan thing works everywhere. They start out loud, then let events tell them how to use their voices afterward, rather than the other way around.
So sure, Salt Lake City’s needle hovers between “boring” and “point me to the airport” for the average NBA player. This is neither new, nor news. But it will amuse some folks for five more days, and in the absence of a better story line, I guess that’s what we’re stuck with for the moment.
That is, unless you’re one of those tedious old fuds who watch basketball for the basketball. Which ought to be more interesting than people who worry about a town’s reputation might think.

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.