Warriors

W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91

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W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND It took the Warriors a little while, but it looks like theyre building something. Golden State beat the Suns on Monday at Oracle, their third consecutive victory and longest of the season.Warriors 102, Suns 96Key bucket: With the Warriors up three and the shot clock winding down, Monta Ellis had the ball stripped from him and it wound up in the hands of Ekpe Udoh.Udoh took the ball strong to the hoop and finished with his left hand over a couple of Suns defenders to give the Warriors a 96-91 lead with 36 seconds left.Im certainly pleased with what hes doing on the floor, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Outstanding defense on the pick and roll, on the block, all over the place, altering shots and then offensively hes becoming more aggressive. The guy is playing great basketball and Im really pleased hes responding.Key stretch: With the score 88-84, and Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat having just re-entered the game, it appeared to be time for the Suns to make a run.But Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson promptly connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, and just like that it was 94-84 with 5:43 remaining with the Warriors in control.The lead got down to three, but not any closer than that.Lees night: He did virtually all of his work in the first three quarters, but David Lee still finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Lee took advantage of plenty of minutes at the five, taking Phoenixs Marcin Gortat to the mid-post area and doing damage from there.He was attacking and being aggressive, Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. We went to him a lot down in the post, even isos iin the wing, where he was getting to the basket and finishing around the basket. He controlled the glass, thats what he does. Hes a double-double machine when hes out there playing the way he is supposed to. It was a huge game from him.Ellis struggles: Ellis got off to a rough start against Phoenix, missing his first nine shots from the field before settling into a 2-for-12 half. Ellis had been shooting the ball well coming into Mondays game, going 37-for-66 (56 percent) from the field in his past three games.Incidentally, Ellis was playing his 400th game as a Warrior.3-pointer AWOL: After using the 3-point shot to their benefit in the past four games, the longball was hard to find in the first half against Phoenix. The Warriors went just 3-for-12 from beyond the arc through two quarters. The Warriors had gone 51-for-99 from 3-point range (52 percent) in the four games prior to Monday.State of the Warriors: Jackson was asked before the game now that hes had a few months to assess the team, what does he think?Weve got some very good pieces and were playing some very good basketball right now, Jackson said. Bottom line is were doing a better job of taking care of the basketball. When we rebound and defend we put ourselves in position to beat whoever comes in here or wherever we go.Very pleased with the direction were heading in. Ive got a great group of guys. Ive been on teams and Ive followed teams where it wasnt fun to be part of -- whether it be in the locker room or in games. Ive got a great group of guys. I dont have a bad guy. Ive got a bunch of guys who are buying into what were trying to do.

A Warriors fantasy 13-man team from the past

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AP

A Warriors fantasy 13-man team from the past

Stephen Curry is a two time MVP. Kevin Durant is a one-time MVP and four-time scoring champ. Draymond Green is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Klay Thompson, owner of the game’s most picturesque jumper, once scored 60 points in 29 minutes.

The Warriors not only have reached the playoffs in five consecutive seasons for the first time since moving to California in 1962 but also own the single-season wins record and have won two championships over the last three seasons.

All of which explains why fans, athletes and coaches following the NBA tend to shower them with praise. They respect the coaching staff, are impressed with the front office and envy the roster.

Longtime fans know this is a completely new feeling. They recall so many past Warriors teams with sardonic fondness because, well, the bad old days in the Bay were a local joke.

As the team’s play-by-play man since 1995, Tim Roye remembers those days, and we discussed them on this week’s Warriors Insider Podcast. Specifically, I asked Roye to name his personal 13-man roster generated from Warriors between his arrival in ’95 and the drafting of Stephen Curry in 2009.

Roye’s draft picks, along with many of his other observations, are available on the podcast. Mine, which were not given on the podcast, are available here.

BACKCOURT/WINGS

In alphabetical order: Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Jason Richardson and Latrell Sprewell.

Arenas, taken in the second round of the 2001 draft, quickly became a local sensation. He was here for only two seasons and, despite the pleas of local fans, left for big money as a free agent. At his best, his scoring skill was unsurpassed.

Davis, stolen in a 2005 trade with Charlotte, gave the Warriors a much-needed shot of credibility the minute he walked through the door. Following a lot of bad Warriors deals, BD was the best player trade acquisition since Bernard King in 1980.

Ellis, selected sfrom a Mississippi high school in the second round of the 2005 draft, came to California as a shy teenager and eventually blossomed into electricity in sneakers. He was a wonderful scorer with crazy quicks and a deadly midrange J.

Hardaway, drafted out of UTEP in the first round, 14th overall in 1989, was the original crossover king, except he referred to it as the UTEP two-step. Difficult to contain and utterly fearless, he is a Hall of Famer in waiting.

Mullin, drafted out of St. John’s in the first round, seventh overall in 1985, Mullin was a fabulous shooter and a deft passer who became a five-time All-Star as a Warrior. His Hall of Fame ticket was punched in 2011.

Richardson, drafted from Michigan State in the first round, fifth overall in 2001, quickly became the team’s most exciting player. That he won the dunk contest as a rookie, and again the next season, provided a rare thrill for local fans.

Sprewell, drafted 24th overall out of Alabama in 1992, was popular until he jumped coach P.J. Carlesimo and was suspended and shipped out of town in 1997. Over a 19-year stretch ending in 2013, he was the team’s only All-Star. He made it three times.

FRONTCOURT

In alphabetical order: Andris Biedrins, Antawn Jamison, Stephen Jackson, Troy Murphy, Joe Smith.

Selected in the first round, 11th overall, in 2004, Biedrins was only 18 when he came to America. He had good hands, rebounded well and was developing into a solid center before he fell victim to confidence issues and the trappings of the good life.

Jamison, selected in a bizarre draft-day deal in 1998, was the best player on some wretched teams. A good rebounder and scorer -- he once had back-to-back 50-point games -- the power forward became an All-Star after he left the Warriors in 2003.

Jackson was picked up in a January 2007 trade with Indiana and it didn’t take long to see his value at both ends. The small forward who could play big makes this team for one primary reason: He stole Dirk Nowitzki’s soul in the 2007 playoffs.

Murphy was the second of two first-round picks in 2001, 14th overall. He wasn’t particularly athletic but he was an effective rebounder and a good shooter. He’d be a stretch-big, somewhere between Ryan Anderson and Mo Speights.

Smith was the team’s most recent No. 1 overall pick, in 1995. A natural power forward, he was named to the All-Rookie first team and was even better the next season. He faded in his third season, was traded and never reached full potential.

SIXTH MAN

Jamal Crawford. Easy call. A Warriors for only 54 games in 2008-09, that was plenty to see the three-time Sixth Man of the Year could deliver instant offense like few others.

Is it a great team? No. But it’s a playoff team. We needed 13 seasons of history, which feels like cheating until you consider the franchise went more than 10 years, from November 1994 to March 2005, without anyone honored so much as Player of the Week.

Klay Thompson randomly interviewed on local NYC news about scaffolding

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AP

Klay Thompson randomly interviewed on local NYC news about scaffolding

With a big break until their next game, the Warriors spent a couple days in New York City.

Klay Thompson spent part of his Monday walking around the city.

And as only Thompson could, he wound up appearing on a local news report. But he wasn't talking about basketball. Not even close.

Courtesy of Twitter user @MP_Trey, Thompson was interviewed on Fox 5 NY to talk about ... scaffolding.

"I usually observe if the piping and stuff is new. Sometimes, you know, something looks like it's been there a while, I try to avoid that," Thompson said in the report.

You can watch the odd video here: