OAKLAND After a season of injury, you cant blame theWarriors for taking it a little easy on Day 1 of training camp. And thats whatthey did as practices got underway on Tuesday for the 2012-13 season.Center Andrew Bogut sat out practice entirely, and StephenCurry, Jarrett Jack and Draymond Green were limited in their activity.Curry, who missed most of last season with right ankleissues, said he participated in about half of the teams morning session beforecoach Mark Jackson said hed seen enough.Im sure he has a plan that hes going to stick to in termsof what I can do and what I cant do, said Curry, who along with David Lee andBogut were named tri-captains. Im trying to keep the mentality of: Im goingto do everything."And eventually Ill get to that point if he lets me. Im notgoing into practice thinking I have a certain endpoint. Its just to train mymind to get back into complete and total situations in practice and game-likescenarios. Thats kind of my approach."Curry said he did one-on-one work, defensive principles workand also what he called breakdown drills. Jackson said hell go by feel interms of how much hell allow Curry to practice early in the season.Its important for us to realize it doesnt matter today,Jackson said. Hes taking care of his body, hes in great shape. Itsimportant to make sure he doesnt do anything today that we have to pay for asa team tomorrow.That being said, when I said: Thats it, he looked at meand said: Thats it? I thought I was back home with my kids. But he listenedand shut it down and went and got some treatment. Hes fine. The great thing isIm not doing it because of anything hes shown me on the court, its justcautionary reasons."Bogut, who played only 12 games last season after fracturinghis left foot, isnt as far along as Curry. Bogut was limited to rehab work andafter the morning session he shot some foul shots and took a few half-hooks.Bogut still hasnt been cleared to play 5-on-5, but heshoping that is around the corner and that he can get a preseason game or two inbefore the regular season starts on Oct. 31.Jack was limited because of left knee inflammation and Greenwas limited because of right knee inflammation. Jackson said both players couldhave practiced but there was no sense in pushing either of them at thispoint.
When it rains, it pours for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After starting the season 24-9, they have cratered. Including two losses to the Warriors and one to the Kings, the Cavs are 3-8 over their last 11 games.
During the stretch, they suffered through a four-game losing streak and nearly blew a 23-point lead against the Magic on Thursday.
But nothing was worse than what happened in front of a national TV audience on Saturday. The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder strolled into Quicken Loans Arena and hung 148 points on the defending Eastern Conference champs and won by 24 points.
Saturday's performance was so bad, former Cavs head coach David Blatt took a shot at them before coaching the Team Europe in the Turkish Basketball Super League All-Star Game in Instabul.
Asked by a sideline reporter for his thoughts on the game he was about to coach, Blatt offered this:
"Well, I don't think we're going to have any problem scoring. I'm just wondering if we're going to defend anybody. That's what I'm worried about," Blatt said.
The reporter followed up by asking for his expectation of the final score. That's when Blatt threw a haymaker at the team that fired him during the 2015-16 season despite a 30-11 record.
"Well, I hope we don't give up as many points as the Cavaliers did last night," Blatt said.
Unfortunately for Blatt, Team Europe lost 151-142 to Team Asia.
The Rockets are riding high after their 116-108 win over the Warriors on Saturday night.
Maybe a little too high.
After the game, starting center Clint Capela had some bold things to say about the rivalry.
"We're confident because we know if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we're going to beat them. We've got to keep playing. We know that they're going to come back if we have the lead, and we've just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we're doing what we're supposed to do on defense -- all the switches, the weak side -- and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them. We are better than them," Capela told ESPN after the game in Houston.
The young big man doubled down.
"We're definitely the best in the league with everybody healthy. We've definitely got a chance to get that 1-seed back. The thing is, of course, we're excited because it's the Warriors, but Monday is an important game, too. If we lose and the [Warriors] win their game, what was the point? The next game, every single time, is going to be the key to go get the No. 1, first seed," Capela told ESPN.
Guard Eric Gordon didn't go as far, but still compared the Rockets favorably to the Warriors.
"Offensively, we're just as good as them, no question. Defensively, they're a championship team. They're consistent, whether they win or lose. Us, we still have peaks and valleys. We just can't have those. That's why we've got to play well the next game, because we just have to sustain the same effort," Gordon said via ESPN.
The Rockets won the season-series with the Warriors by taking two out of the three meetings. They now trail the Warriors by 3.5 games in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference.
But are they really better than the defending NBA champs? Are the Warriors worried at all about the Rockets?
"The season starts over when you're in the playoffs anyway, so it doesn't matter. You're going to have to get through these teams to get to where you want to go. You have to play at home and on the road, so it really doesn't matter. We just want to be playing good basketball when it comes down to that point," Warriors forward Kevin Durant told ESPN after the game.
Draymond Green really didn't want to hear about home-court advantage.
"It's game 40-what? Seven, eight? Who we play on Tuesday? We just got to get ready for [New York]. Home court will take care of itself down the road," told reporters after the game.
With no more meetings during the regular season, the next time the two teams could meet, assuming they finish with the top two seeds, is in the Western Conference Finals. So we'll have to wait until May to see if the Rockets can back up the tough talk.