Warriors

Warriors might have to be defensive team

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Warriors might have to be defensive team

Nice win for the Warriors 92-78 over the Knicks at Oracle.Makes the Warriors 2-1, with a home game against Philly on Saturday. Then theygo out on road for first time this season with games at Phoenix, San Antonioand the L.A. Lakers.Lets talk a little about the game If you dont think the Warriors are really a defensive team,take a look at their roster. Youcould make the case they have more defensive players than offensive players.Or, put another way, more players capable of being better defenders thanoffensive players.In fact, the only players on the Warriors who could reallybe considered offensive players are their three core players and first-rounddraft pick: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, David Lee and Klay Thompson.All the other significant contributors on the roster havemore of a defensive bent: Dorell Wright, Andris Biedrins, Kwame Brown, EkpeUdoh, Brandon Rush, Dominic McGuire and Ish Smith.Bottom line might be that this team couldnt beoffensive-minded anymore even if it wanted to...If this is the way its going to be, and Warriors coach MarkJackson is going to go with guys who are willing to play hard-nosed defense,then that doesnt bode well for rookie Thompson.Look, Thompson may very well be a nice player down the road,but right now hes not nearly at the defensive level of players such as Rush,Wright and McGuire.Thompson played seven-and-a-half minutes against the Knicks,and I wouldnt be surprised if Jackson makes sure to go to Thompson at leastonce a game but doesnt tolerate more than a mistake or two before he goes toone of the three guys mentioned above.And really, thats the way it should be.Ish Smith gave the Warriors better minutes at point guardagainst NY than any of the teams backup point guards gave them last year.Smith is not perfect, and thats why hes not a starter. But, still, theres alot to like. He can make some plays and you better account for his quickness ifyoure on the other team.Honestly, I didnt think Wright was the kind of player whocould help you if he had just eight points on 3-for-9 shooting in 42 minutes. Figuredhed need to be knocking down about six or seven 3s to be playing that manyminutes.But thats what he did against the Knicks, chipping in alongwith others to hold down Carmelo Anthony, getting eight rebounds and notturning the ball over.A few days ago, I thought Wright seemed a little lost. Hehadnt really had an impact in any of the four previous games (including twopreseason) and you could see down the road his minutes getting eaten at. Butagain, as long as Jackson is demanding defense and Wright is willing to playit Wright is going to get minutes.

Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'

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Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'

Last season, David Lee appeared in 79 games (10 starts) for the Spurs, averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds over 18.7 minutes a night.

He doesn't turn 35 years old until April 29.

But over the weekend, he officially announced his retirement from the NBA.

On Tuesday, the two-time All-Star explained his decision during an interview with Greg Papa and Bonta Hill on 95.7 The Game.

"I kind of had a little bit more of a strict criteria coming into this offseason. At the most I wanted to play another two years, and as you know -- I had another injury last season, so a lot of the summer was spent rehabbing.

"And with the NBA changing right now, the Warriors have caused a lot of teams in the league to say either we're gonna try to put as many guys on one team as possible to try to compete with the Warriors, or we're gonna go super young. So it did limit my options."

[POOLE: In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors]

You know the story: When Steve Kerr arrived in Golden State, Lee was slated to be the team's starting power forward. But after he injured his hamstring during the preseason, Draymond Green became the starter and Lee never got his starting role back.

In July 2015, Golden State traded him to Boston. Lee was waived in February 2016 and finished the season in Dallas.

So what is Lee going to do next?

"I either wanted to be in a situation where I was on a team that could be a contender -- which once again as you know limits it to maybe six teams if we're being generous -- or a team where I could play significant enough minutes to really be worth coming back and to feel like I was doing something meaningful.

"And while I had a couple opportunities, that criteria wasn't really filled. And at the same time, I actually got a call from a couple of my very good friends that I met while I was a Golden State Warrior -- that run an unbelievable venture capital firm and are doing incredible things in the Bay -- and offered to have me come work for them and have some very exciting things that could happen in the future.

"When the offers didn't come in the way that I wanted them to -- although I could go be someone's fourth big man on a team that's gonna win 30 games -- I decided to roll the dice and to try something new and I'm really excited about my decision."

Lee's new venture will have him flying back and forth between New York and the Bay Area.

So it's quite possible that Warriors fans will bump into Lee at some point soon...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Gameday: Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City return Part 2

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Gameday: Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City return Part 2

Programming note: Warriors-Thunder coverage begins on NBC Sports Bay Area at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live and is streaming live right here.

The Warriors will have Kevin Durant back Wednesday when they conclude a four-game road trip with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

The Warriors (13-4) recovered from a loss at Boston last Thursday to sweep a back-to-back set at Philadelphia and Brooklyn over the weekend. Durant missed the game against the Nets but returned to practice Tuesday in New York and was upgraded to probable Wednesday morning in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder (7-9) underwent a drastic makeover last summer, adding perennial All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, and are having a tough time adjusting to the reshaped roster.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 5.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry vs. Russell Westbrook. Even with the new acquisitions in OKC, Westbrook remains the engine behind this team. He still takes the most shots (despite a 39.4 FG percentage) and he leads in rebounds and assists. The key to beating the OKC last season was keeping him in check. The same applies so far this season. Expect Curry and Thompson to be tag-team partners on defense.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) is listed as probable. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Thunder: No injuries listed.

LAST 10

Warriors 9-1, Thunder 4-6.

GAME OFFICIALS

Monty McCutchen, Karl Lane and Kevin Scott.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors swept all four games last season and have won the last seven regular-season meetings. They have won the last three in Oklahoma City. The teams met in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, with the Warriors prevailing in seven games.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

WATCH THE GIVEAWAYS: The Warriors commit an average of 16.8 turnovers per game, worse than all but two teams. That is an area the Thunder are capable of exploiting. OKC is third in defensive rating and, moreover, leads the NBA in steals and deflections while being tied for the lead in loose balls recovered. Above all, the Thunder are tops in the league in forcing turnovers (17.6 per game) and creating points off them at 20.9 per game.

KD vs. PG: For a number of seasons, George in Indiana was to the Eastern Conference what Durant was to the West in OKC. Each can play either forward position, each handles the ball well, each plays both ends and each was his team’s biggest star. They’re in different places now, but the pride levels won’t change. Each will want to reign over the other. This matchup will be fun to watch.

BURYING THE HABIT: The Warriors have continued their dangerous tendency to either fall behind and be forced to generate a comeback or build a lead only to give most of it, if not all of it, back their opponent. Will OKC and its high-profile roster, as well as Durant’s longtime connection to the franchise, be enough for the Warriors to remain focused for the duration? In their favor: the Thunder are 0-8 in games decided by eight or fewer points.