Warriors prepare for increased scrutiny; Durant curt and brief

Warriors prepare for increased scrutiny; Durant curt and brief

SAN DIEGO – At every stop on the road and occasionally when they’re at home in Oakland, the Warriors will confront not only the opponent but also at least two other potentially disruptive forces.

There will be venom from fans and maybe a few players who have targeted the Warriors, after adding Kevin Durant to a team with four All-Stars, as the NBA’s version of the Evil Empire.

Being tossed into such a role might even motivate the Warriors.

And then there is the intense, unrelenting spotlight that comes with being the league’s “it” team. Every move will be monitored, every word dissected in search of a sound bite, and every sign of body language will be analyzed in search of meaning.

Being thrust into such a position could very easily become annoying and, ultimately, a much more corrosive element for a team with such accomplished players.

The regular season is eight days away, and already forward Draymond Green has addressed his tumultuous first seven months of the year, guard Klay Thompson has clarified comments construed as selfish and Durant has endured scrutiny in search of reasons he departed Oklahoma City to join the Warriors.

It’s not going to stop, particularly regarding Durant.

“Yeah, we’ve talked about it,” point guard Stephen Curry said Monday, after practice at UC-San Diego. “We’ve talked about it, because of the questions that are asked of him and the response he gets in arenas, we all will be a part of it.

“He could (not) care less, and we could (not) care less, about whether he gets booed, cheered or whatnot,” he added. “We’re here to play basketball. He’s here to have fun. We’re here to win games. That’s what we’re going to focus on.”

Focusing is going to be the challenge. With double the attention as defending champs last season, the Warriors won their first 24 games. With the spotlight brightening, they finished 73-9, the best record in NBA history.

But Durant’s arrival has boosted the buzz to an even higher level. Opponents are chiming in with their opinions about what he should have done. Durant’s comments are being examined for slights directed at his former employer or former teammates.

Green last week took the unusual step of stridently defending Durant from those players who have been critical of his decision to join the Warriors.

“That’s what teammates do,” Durant said. “You have each other’s back, no matter what the situation is. And we’ll talk about the rest indoors.”

Asked on Monday about his decision to join the Warriors and the likelihood of ensuring criticism, Durant’s answers where curt and limited.

“I just did what I wanted to do,” he said. “It’s really that simple. No bells and whistles. No show. I did what I wanted to do.

“I just wanted to play here. No more than that.”

That’s it. Nothing more, and that was the end of the Durant’s media availability.

Durant clearly is tiring of the subject of Kevin Durant and the whys and wherefores of his decision. The Warriors, players and coaches, are eager to move on.

“We’ve kind of seen it all, done it all, good and bad,” Curry said. “Now it’s just about being ourselves, no matter what might come at us. We don’t know what this year is going to be. There’s going to be ups and downs. That’s guaranteed. We don’t know exactly what we’ll have to deal with.”

The chatter is going to linger into November and December and beyond, perhaps reaching a fever pitch when the Warriors go to OKC in February.

And it’ll become even broader and more relentless if the Warriors don’t own the league from opening night.

“As soon as we lose a game,” coach Steve Kerr said, “it’s going to be, ‘What’s wrong with the Warriors?’

“We’ll address that when we get to it. But going through last year, winning 73, setting a record, losing in The Finals, we pretty much saw everything. So we know.

We understand we’re going to get criticized, we’re going to get celebrated – and everything in between.”

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

UPDATE (2:40pm PT on Tuessday): Steph Curry has been cleared for full team practices with the goal of playing this week, the Warriors announced.


The Warriors’ usual late-spring sprint toward the postseason, already slowed to a limp, deteriorated into a forlorn crawl Monday night in San Antonio as they were losing for the fourth time in six games.

Draymond Green, the only “healthy” member of the team’s All-Star quartet, left the game in the second quarter with a pelvic contusion and did not return.

Though Green said after this 89-75 loss to the Spurs that he doesn’t consider this a serious injury, it’s abundantly clear reinforcements can’t arrive soon enough.

Stephen Curry, a profoundly superior reinforcement, may return as soon as Friday.

Curry’s tender right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which the Warriors will establish a timeline for his return. He could, according to team and league sources, be back in the lineup Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena.

That would provide a massive injection of talent for the Warriors, who lost of three games during a four-day stretch in which they were forced to rely heavily on reserves and role players.

“We’re already shorthanded and then we lose another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Quinn Cook, who in scoring 73 points over the past three games did an admirable job of trying of producing Curry-like numbers.

As good as Cook was on Monday, scoring 20 points, it’s a bit much to ask Cook to lead the Warriors past a San Antonio team fighting to extend its 20-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The Warriors are built around their four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Curry and Green. They usually can withstand the loss of one, and they can often are OK missing two. But when it’s three, and possibly four, the defending champs are a home without a foundation.

As the Warriors were losing four of six games, and two of the last three, we have learned four things:

1) Cook is an NBA keeper.

The point guard from Duke, who turns 25 on Friday, has proved not only that he belongs in the league but also that he can survive in the rotation of a championship contender. He’s considerably more effective than Pat McCaw. Even if everybody were healthy, it would be hard, maybe foolish, to deny Cook minutes.

2) Kevon Looney continues to smooth the rough edges of his game.

The Warriors opened the season uncertain what they could expect from a forward that has undergone surgery on both hips. Month after month, though, he has done most everything they could have asked. He operates well in their switching defense, is effective in traffic and now he’s blocking shots and raining jumpers. At this rate, the Warriors would be delighted to have him back next season.

3) David West and Jordan Bell are in search of rhythm.

West was reliably excellent, at both ends, prior to missing five games with a cyst on his right arm. Since returning last Friday, there have been visible signs of rust. He’ll be OK in time, but at 37 likely needs another game or two to rediscover his touch.

Bell missed 14 games with a left ankle sprain, returned briefly, sustained a sprain of his right ankle and missed three more games. In the three games since his return, he has yet to look comfortable. It’s not just rust; it’s also the team around him. He’s at his best when supporting the stars. It may take him a while before he shines again.

4) Postseason minutes may be scarce for Nick Young

The Warriors hired Young to score while not embarrassing himself on defense and he has had good moments on both ends. But his inconsistency -- partly attributed to unspectacular conditioning -- grates on coaches and sometimes teammates. As much as he wants to enjoy the postseason, he’s playing his way toward an insignificant role unless injuries dictate otherwise.

Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return


Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return

UPDATE (2:25pm PT on Tuesday): The Warriors announced that following an examination by the team's medical staff, Steph Curry has been cleared to participate in full team practices beginning on Wednesday. The goal is for Curry to "play later this week."

The Warriors return to action Friday when they host the Hawks. They face the Jazz on Sunday in Oakland.


The Warriors have been without Stephen Curry for six full games and all but the first two minutes of a seventh. The last three were less out of medical necessity than an abundance of caution.

Curry could, however, return as soon as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena, multiple sources disclosed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday night. ESPN, citing league sources, was first to report the team’s plan.

The two-time MVP’s right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which time a firm return date is expected.

Curry was physically able to play -- and actually pushed to return -- last weekend, according to league sources. But the Warriors, looking ahead to the playoffs and seeing diminished value in the remaining regular-season games, opted to continue rehabilitation in hopes of maximizing support for the area around his ankle.

The Warriors have described Curry’s injury not as a sprain but a “tweak,” implying less severity.

Though the Warriors won the game in which Curry was hurt, 110-107 over the Spurs on March 8, they have since lost four of six, including 89-75 on Monday in San Antonio.

The Warriors arrived early Tuesday morning and won’t practice Tuesday afternoon and are contemplating skipping an official practice on Wednesday.

The Warriors, averaging a league-leading 115.5 points per game this season, saw that figure drop to 103.3 during Curry’s six-game absence.