Warriors return home with new identity


Warriors return home with new identity

Like a kid back from college for the holidays, the Golden State Warriors return home on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Hornets with added layers of maturity and credibility.

The Warriors (16-8) are back at Oracle after a historic six-win, seven-game road trip that included wins against the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets. The franchise had never before gone 6-1 on a road trip in its history.

But, of course, one of Mark Jackson’s preferred sayings when he’s asked about the past of the Warriors is pretty straightforward: “It’s not our history.”

The Warriors head coach isn’t taking a shot at the franchise; he’s just focused on creating a new identity.

[RELATED: Mark Jackson -- 'We've done absolutely nothing']

And that’s exactly what the Warriors have been doing of late.

Led by the breakout season of Stephen Curry and the comeback play of David Lee, the Warriors currently sit in second place in the Pacific division and fifth place in the Western Conference.

This is little known territory for any Warriors team in recent years. The team is off to its best start since the 1991-92 season, having won 16 of its first 24 games for just the fifth time in 45 years.

Standing up against those old bullies
Like that matured kid coming back to his hometown, the Warriors are now stronger to take down some of those old foes.

Despite the monumental success against the Eastern Conference, the Warriors are still just 6-6 against the West thus far this season. In the you-never-thought-you’d-actually-hear-this category, the Warriors have games they should win coming up within conference play, including, yes, one against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Four of Golden State’s next five games come against fellow West opponents, beginning with tonight against the conference’s worst record, New Orleans. The Hornets (5-18) are struggling and have lost seven consecutive games.

The Warriors then travel to play the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night before returning back to Oakland on Friday to face one of the East's weaker teams, the Charlotte Bobcats.

Then it’s a home matchup with the Lakers on Saturday before flying to face the Utah Jazz a day after Christmas. When all is said and done, we could understand more about the Warriors’ identity.
Speaking of Lee and Curry
Lee took home Western Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday for his play on the road trip.

He averaged 22.8 points on 60.6 percent shooting and 12.5 rebounds per game in his big week. He also has seven consecutive games with 20 or more points or 10 or more rebounds.

Meanwhile, Curry is starting to gain more national recognition as a premier guard. Curry continues to impress, and is averaging 19.7 points and 6.5 assists per game.

Ezeli remains questionable
Festus Ezeli, after banging knees with Orlando’s Moe Harkless on Friday, remains questionable for tonight’s game vs. New Orleans with a right knee contusion.

Ezeli did not return after the knee collision on Friday night and was a late scratch on Saturday night in Atlanta.

It’s a rookie party
New Orleans features first overall pick Anthony Davis and No. 10 pick Austin Rivers.

Davis has only played in 10 games, but he's averaging 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds. Davis missed 11 games due to a stress fracture in his left ankle, and returned on Dec. 12. Austin Rivers is averaging 8.0 points and 2.8 assists.

No. 7 overall pick Harrison Barnes is averaging 9.3 points and 4.4 rebounds.

For Warriors news and analysis, follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter and use the hashtag #WarriorsTalk for all in-game discussion.

Steve Kerr updates Jordan Bell's status

Steve Kerr updates Jordan Bell's status

Jordan Bell likely envisioned a longer debut at the United Center. 

The Chicago Bulls traded the pick used to select Bell to the Golden State Warriors for cash considerations, and Bell's taken plenty of chances to remind the Bulls to remind them of that fact. 

Instead of getting another chance to rub it in, Bell injured his left ankle 24 seconds in to Golden State's 119-112 win over Chicago on Wednesday. On Thursday, Bell and the Warriors learned the results of his MRI, and it's not as bad as the team first feared, according to head coach Steve Kerr.

"Well, it seemed a lot worse at the time when it happened. Everyone kind of thought he had a broken a bone just based on his reaction [and] what he was telling us," Steve Kerr told Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game.  "But the MRI was pretty good this morning. Nothing glaring. 

"The X-ray was fine yesterday. So it doesn't appear to be more than a bone bruise but bone bruises can be tricky to heal, so we'll see what happens. But so far, the news has all been good."

Bell has emerged as a bench contributor in his first NBA season. In 38 games, he's averaging 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 14.4 minutes.

Two Warriors named All-Star Game starters


Two Warriors named All-Star Game starters

After sending four players to the NBA All-Star Game last season in New Orleans, the Warriors are halfway to repeating the feat this season.

Point guard Stephen Curry and small forward Kevin Durant were voted in as Western Conference starters for the game scheduled for Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the NBA announced on Thursday.

Though Curry has missed 15 games -- nearly one-third of the season -- it has not hurt his popularity; His No. 30 is the NBA’s best-selling jersey for the third straight season. He is averaging team-leading 27.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and 1.65 steals per game.

Curry is the first member of the Warriors to be named a starter for five consecutive All-Star games. As the player with the most fan votes, Curry becomes a captain and is in position to select the members of his team.

Durant, who has missed eight games this season, was named as a starter for the sixth time, the first four coming when he was a member of the Thunder.

Durant is averaging 26.2 points (fifth in the league) 6.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.05 blocks (fourth in the league) per game.