Warriors

What in the world happened to Kentucky?

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What in the world happened to Kentucky?

From Comcast SportsNetIndiana, Duke and Michigan remained the top three teams in The Associated Press' college basketball poll. Look all the way to the bottom and you won't see Kentucky's name for the first time since John Calipari became coach of the Wildcats.Indiana, which has been No. 1 since the preseason poll, saw its lead over Duke shrink a little bit. The Hoosiers (8-0) received 45 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel, two fewer than last week.Duke (8-0) for the second straight week had the other first-place votes. The Blue Devils beat Ohio State last week giving them wins over teams ranked second, third and fourth in a span of 15 days. The other such run was Arizona beating teams ranked first, fourth and fifth from the regional semifinals to the NCAA championship game in 1997, a span of 11 days.Kentucky (4-3) lost to Notre Dame and Baylor last week, the latter a loss that snapped the Wildcats' 55-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation. Kentucky had been ranked in the last 61 polls, 11 of those weeks at No. 1. The run started with the preseason poll of 2009-10, the start of the Calipari Era when the Wildcats started young lineups which were usually gutted the next season by the NBA draft. The Wildcats won Kentucky's eighth national championship in April then had six players taken in the draft including Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the first two picks.Duke has the longest current run in the poll -- 101 weeks which started with the preseason poll of 2007-08. Kansas has the second-longest run at 69 weeks.Syracuse was fourth followed by Louisville, Florida, Ohio State, Arizona, Kansas and Gonzaga.Colorado (6-1) was the other team to drop out of the rankings, falling from 19th after losing to Wyoming.Notre Dame (7-1) moved back in to the poll at No. 22 after a two-week absence. Wichita State (8-0), which beat Tulsa and Air Force last week, moved in at No. 24. The Shockers were ranked for the last five weeks of last season.Cincinnati was ranked 11th followed by Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Georgetown, Creighton, San Diego State, New Mexico, Michigan State and North Carolina.The last five teams were UNLV, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Wichita State and North Carolina State.

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

Without Green, Iguodala, fourth quarter turns into disaster for Warriors vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- The defending champion Warriors started cracking in the hours before tipoff Tuesday night and broke apart when they usually come together.

The fourth quarter was a disaster area and it cost the Warriors, as the Houston Rockets wiped out a 13-point deficit and tagged them with a 122-121 loss before a stunned sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

So ends, as it should, the spurious notion of a rubber-stamp championship for the Warriors. A strain here and a tweak there and they found themselves on the painful end of the score.

The Warriors learned prior to the game that forward Andre Iguodala, their valuable Sixth Man, would be out nursing a strained back. They were hit with another injury, this one to Draymond Green, who was highly effective, late in the third quarter.

“He was our best player tonight,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was the guy who was bringing the energy and the life.”

Green’s numbers -- 9 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists -- barely hint at his value in this game. Green and Iguodala are the primary defensive communicators, and Green held it down fairly well -- until he, too, was gone.

“Our communication wasn’t very good and we didn’t stick to the game plan; we gave them too many wide-open threes,” said Klay Thompson, who scored 11 first-quarter points but only 5 over the final three.

“We did a good job in the half-court of keeping them in front,” said Kevin Durant, who also scolded himself for committing eight turnovers. “But in transition we got cross-matched so many times and we just didn’t communicate well enough.”

Games aren’t always lost in the fourth, despite the frequent narrative, but this one most assuredly was. With Green in the locker room accompanied by ice, the Warriors were outscored 34-20 in the fourth quarter.

After shooting 45.8 percent through three quarters, the Rockets took it to 56 percent in the fourth, closing the game on a 13-5 run over the final 4:01.

The Warriors don’t yet know when Green and Iguodala will return, whether it’s as soon as Friday at New Orleans or a matter of weeks. Until they do, Kerr will have to resort to patching things together.

Problem is, aside from the scoring of Nick Young (23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 6-of-7 from deep) and Jordan Bell (8 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes), the bench did not distinguish itself.

That was particularly true on defense, which happen to be where Iguodala and Green make their greatest impact. The reserves accounted for 13 of the 25 fouls called on the Warriors.

“We’ve got to be better,” Durant said. “We’ve got to be better, and we’re looking forward to practice Wednesday.”

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

D'Antoni claps back at Draymond, Warriors after Rockets' 122-121 win

Draymond Green usually gets the last word.

Not this time.

"Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously they don't take it seriously either," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said after the Rockets knocked off the Warriors 122-121 on Tuesday night., according to Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Phil Barber.

The jab stems from Green's comments after practice on Monday.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf. Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense. We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense.

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players," Green told reporters Monday.

Green won't get his next shot at D'Antoni and the Rockets until January 4 in Houston.