Warriors pumping the brakes on perfection talk: 'We want 15-0'

Warriors pumping the brakes on perfection talk: 'We want 15-0'

CLEVELAND -- It’s out there, big and bold, shining like a beacon in the distance. Postseason perfection. Winning every game of every series. Going where no team has gone before.


The Warriors are on the precipice. Already the first team in NBA history to open a postseason with 14 consecutive victories, they need two consecutive NBA Finals victories over the Cavaliers to become the first to achieve a flawless postseason.

As much as the Warriors would love to put this on their lifetime achievement resume, they won’t allow themselves to go public.

Not after their experience in Game 3 of the 2016 Finals.

“We want 15-0,” coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday, on the eve of Game 3, 2017 version, at Quicken Loans Arena.

“We talked about it before: 16-0 doesn't matter in any stretch of the imagination unless that's a closeout game,” Stephen Curry emphasized.

Which is, of course, another way of saying getting to 15 wins is the priority because without 15 in a row there is no chance for 16 in a row.

“And that's the opportunity in front of us,” Curry continued. “Because all it is, is just winning a championship and doing what you need to do to get that done. So (Game 3) is another step in that direction that we need to be ready for.”

Having arrived in Cleveland last June with a 2-0 lead in The Finals and losing four of the next five games -- including Game 3 -- provides the only cautionary tale the Warriors need.

“It was the nature with which they won that game, the force that they brought,” Kerr said. “They blew us out. I don't remember what the final score was, but it wasn't close. And I thought that gave them confidence, gave their crowd confidence.”

The score was 120-90. The Cavs never trailed, taking leads of 17-4 and 27-10 in the first quarter. Kerr pulled his starters midway through the fourth quarter, with the Warriors trailing by 24.

It’s the kind of beating that doesn’t fade.

And it’s why the Warriors, coaches and players, realize it would be risky, foolish even, to allow themselves the luxury of fixating on that 16-0 target.

“We can learn that how thin the line is from success and failure, especially playing on the road,” Curry said. “Usually home teams have a different spark about them and they might make a few more shots, those momentum swings, six-point, eight-point runs that you can go on can be a lot harder to deal with, with 19,000 people going crazy. So you got to just understand what's at stake every possession from the jump.”

The Warriors anticipate a tidal wave of energy from the Cavs and their fans but believe they’ll be ready this time.

“But we’ve got to just be able to take that first initial punch,” Andre Iguodala said. “Anything they throw in the game, be ready to adjust to it. The longer it takes, the more confidence they get. We just have to be mentally prepared to withstand the runs that they make at us, or the small adjustments they make, and be able to counter it.”

It’s a lot to consider. So much that, for now, for these Warriors, 16-0, remains more fantasy than reality.

That surely will change, though, should they prevail in Game 3 Wednesday night.

It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him


It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him

OAKLAND -- At a time when the Warriors could use a boost, they’ll get Friday night when Stephen Curry rejoins the lineup as they face the Atlanta Hawks.

The Warriors (53-18) have been shorthanded for two weeks, and still they’ll be without three of their four All-Stars. Curry’s return after a six-game absence, however, will send a jolt of energy through the team and the crowd at Oracle Arena.

The Hawks (21-51), in full rebuild mode, have lost 10 of 13 since the All-Star break, including a 105-90 loss to the Kings on Thursday night in Sacramento before the lightest NBA crowd of the season due to protests in the wake of a police shooting.


Warriors by 9


Stephen Curry vs. Dennis Schroder: Under normal circumstances, this is worthy of attention, but it’s particularly intriguing with Curry making his return. Schroder, who rested Thursday night, is a defensive pest, the type of player whose presence lights a fire under opponents. Not that Curry needs it. He’s downright anxious to get back on the court.


Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as questionable. F Kevin Durant (R rib cartilage injury), F Draymond Green (pelvic contusion) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Hawks: G Kent Bazemore (R knee bone bruise), F De’Andre Bembry (abdominal strain), G Antonious Cleveland (L ankle surgery rehab), F/C John Collins (L ankle sprain), G Malcolm Delaney (L ankle sprain) and G Jaylen Morris (L ankle sprain) are listed as out.


Warriors: 6-4. Hawks: 2-8.


Sean Wright (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott


The Warriors prevailed in the first of two meetings this season, 114-109 on March 2 in Atlanta. They swept the two-game series last season and are 6-1 against the Hawks in the Steve Kerr era.


DEFENSIVE INTENSITY: Green’s absence robs the Warriors of their best defender and emotional leader. How do they compensate? That’s going to be tough. Expect Jordan Bell (who will start) and Kevon Looney to handle most of the minutes at PF. They’re capable and willing defenders, but neither has Green’s savvy.

THE GIFTS: Though the Warriors, even without a full roster, are much the better team, those circumstances have guaranteed nothing this season. They have a tendency to keep games close by committing costly turnovers. The Hawks are second in forcing turnovers (15.5 per game) and third in points off turnovers (18.2).

THE GUARDS: Curry’s return gives the Warriors a fourth guard, with three PGs (Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Curry) and SG Nick Young. Because Curry and Quinn Cook are capable of playing off the ball, there will be several variations. Any two can be paired as a duo. The coaching staff gets to satisfy its desire to experiment.

Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'


Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'

So here's a story for you:

At 9:25pm on April 16, 2017, The Vertical's Shams Charania sent out the following tweet:

This angered Jordan Bell, who soon thereafter tweeted twice:

So what actually went down? It turns out that former agent Christian Dawkins -- who is a key figure in the FBI's investigation into corruption in college basketball -- may have been responsible.

Bell explained everything to Logan Murdock on the Planet Dubs Podcast.

"I was mad ... I know exactly what happened. One of the agents I met with -- the one who got in trouble. What's his name? Dawkins or whatever. Something like that. When I met with him, he was throwing me shade -- he acted like he didn't know who I was. 

"We had dinner and he's on his phone like not really paying me attention. I'm like, 'Why am I meeting with you?  You're wasting my time.' ... I kid you not, he didn't read over his (research). It had all of the top power forwards, big guys in the draft. And he was like, 'Let's just look at this.'

"And he's looking at it, and he was like, 'Oh! You're Top 3 in everything!' And he started getting excited and I was like, 'I'm cool. I'm done with this meeting.'"

Bell then explained how one of his coaches at Oregon tried to teach Bell a lesson.

The coach wanted Bell to "be a man" and contact all of the agents that he was for sure not going to sign with to let them know.

Bell didn't want to do that because he wanted to announce he was declaring for the draft on his own terms, without any information potentially leaking to the media.

But the Warriors rookie took the coach's advice and texted Dawkins to say he was going in a different direction.

"And I kid you not, like an hour later, I get an (alert) -- I'm upstairs at my coach's house -- 'I hear Jordan Bell declares for (the draft)' and I just started screaming...

"... I feel like I have to go (to the NBA) now ... when that happened, I was like, 'I really want to go back now just to prove him wrong, just to make him lose all credibility."

Bell quickly came to his senses, and at 10am on April 18, 2017, he retweeted the following message:

Interestingly -- the last line of The Vertical's story that broke the news regarding Bell reads:

Bell is projected to be the No. 38 overall pick in The Vertical’s latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

The Warriors paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to Bell at... No. 38 overall.

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