Warriors-Nuggets: What to watch for


Warriors-Nuggets: What to watch for

Programming note: Warriors-Nuggets coverage begins tonight at 5:30 p.m with Warriors Pregame Live followed by tip off from Denver at 6 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

The Warriors and Nuggets conclude their home-and-home series on Monday night in Denver. The two teams played at Oracle Arena on Saturday which wound up being a 112-97 Golden State win.The Warriors have lost most of their games since trading Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee in mid-March. Including the win over the Kings in Sacramento on the night the deal was made but before it was officially announced the Warriors are 5-12.But theyve hung in a bunch of those games and most recently have won two of their past three games. As of today, the Warriors currently have the ninth-worst record in the NBA. If the Warriors wind up with the No. 1 through No. 7 pick, theyll keep it. If they end up with the No. 8 pick or worse, the pick will be conveyed to Utah.RELATED: NBA Conference standings
Here are some things to watch for when the Warriors play the Nuggets in Denver on Monday:Afflalo-Thompson: Denver shooting guard Arron Afflalo knocked down five of his first six shots on Saturday and looked to be on track for a big game.But he made just one field goal the in the games last three quarters and finished with a harmless 16 points in 39 minutes. Meanwhile, Warriors rookie Klay Thompson crammed 15 points into 22 minutes and made shots in the second half that allowed Golden State to stay comfortably ahead.Thompson has been a nice surprise since the Ellis trade, but hes still looking for consistency.Will bench travel?: The bench has been one of the best parts of the Warriors this season. Among Brandon Rush, Dominic McGuire, Thompson (before the Ellis trade), Charles Jenkins and Nate Robinson, Warriors coach Mark Jackson has usually found more than one player to rely on.That was the case on Saturday, when the Warriors substitutes combined to score 57 points against Denver, establishing a season-high for bench points.Tylers improvement: Rookie Jeremy Tyler has given the Warriors some productive minutes over the past three games. Can he continue to give the Warriors production as the season winds down?That may go a long way toward determining whether or not Tyler is a viable candidate to be the first big man off the bench next season behind Andrew Bogut and David Lee.Tyler had 10 points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes against Denver on Saturday, and 14 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes the game before that against Utah.

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.

The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.

The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.

“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”

Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.

“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.

“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”

Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.

The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.

Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.

That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.

“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.