Warriors

Warriors-Wizards: What to watch for

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Warriors-Wizards: What to watch for

The Warriors conclude their five-game road trip with a gameagainst the Washington Wizards on Monday.Quite simply, the game will determine whether the Warriors triphas been disastrous or just plain disappointing. The Warriors are 1-3 on thetrip after a scary bad 83-75 loss to the Raptors.The Wizards are the second-worst team in the NBA, and theirwin over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday snapped a six-game losingstreak.Here are some things to watch for during Mondays game:Dont let Wall beat you: John Wall is theleading scorer and best player on the Wizards. He is capable of having biggames and he puts a lot of pressure on the opposing teams transitiondefense.It remains to be seen whether or not Stephen Curry returnsfor Mondays game. If he does, Wall will likely be his responsibility. If Currydoesnt play, expect Monta Ellis to start on Wall, but defensive specialistDominic McGuire could also defend Wall some.Locate the 3-ball: The one thing thisroad trip has proven is that when the Warriors dont have the 3-point shotgoing, theyre not nearly the same team.The Warriors went on the road shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the arc. But theyve been remarkably bad on this trip. Over thepast four games, the Warriors are 13-for-71 from 3-point range (18.3percent).If the Warriors want to give themselves a better chance atbeating the Wizards, making 3s would help.Find Crawford: Second-year guard JordanCrawford has been getting more playing time under Randy Wittman, and hes beentaking advantage of it.Crawford started his only game of the season last Wednesdayagainst Orlando, but has come off the bench other than that. In the past sixgames, Crawford has scored at least 18 points in each and has had two games of31 points or more.Third scorer needed: For the past two games,its pretty much been David Lee, Ellis and thats about all. The Warriorsdesperately need another player to contribute in the scoring department,otherwise these low-scoring games are going to continue.Nate Robinson would seem to be the natural first candidate,but he has not been good as of late. Then again, neither has Dorell Wright,mired in a shooting slump.Over the past five games, Robinson is 13-for-46 from thefield (28 percent) and over the past seven games Wright is 14-for-55 from thefield (25 percent).

Curry claims he didn't throw mouthguard at ref: 'I've got a pretty good aim'

Curry claims he didn't throw mouthguard at ref: 'I've got a pretty good aim'

Just before the Warriors officially lost the game in Memphis on Saturday night, their superstar point guard lost his cool.

After not getting a foul call with 43 seconds left in the game, Steph Curry chucked his mouthguard in the direction of referee Scott Wall in a fit of rage reminiscent of Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Wall immediately ejected Curry, who continued to argue with the officials.

After the game, Curry wanted to make it clear he wasn't trying to his Wall with his mouthguard.

"If I tried to throw it at him and hit him, I've got a pretty good aim," Curry said told reporters after the game. "I've thrown my mouthpiece plenty of times and thrown it on the floor. Probably not the best thing to do, but I've done it. I own up to it.

"If I was trying to throw it at him or hit him, I would have been able to executed that."

Curry explained why he reacted the way he did.

"That last play, I thought I got fouled. My frustration boiled over, did something stupid, deserved to get kicked out and that's what happened. Obviously learn from it and try not to do it again," Curry told reporters.

Now Curry and the Warriors wait to see if the NBA will suspend or fine him. He has an expectation of what the punishment will be.

"Don't think it will be a suspension or anything. My pockets will be a lot lighter," Curry said after the game.

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

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USATSI

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.

Eventually.

They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.