Ahead of facing Warriors, Pelicans' Davis drops 50 in loss to Nuggets

Ahead of facing Warriors, Pelicans' Davis drops 50 in loss to Nuggets


NEW ORLEANS -- Jusuf Nurkic scored 23 points, Will Barton added 22, and the Denver Nuggets survived a dominant performance by Anthony Davis to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102 in both teams' regular season opener Wednesday night.

Davis had 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks. His production helped New Orleans trim a deficit as large as 14 late in the second quarter down to two points in the waning minutes. He simply didn't have enough help.

The rest of the Pelicans combined to shoot 21 of 58. Tim Frazier scored 15 for the Pelicans. E'Twaun Moore added 10 points, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with 24 seconds left.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for Denver and Wilson Chandler added 12 points.

Denver built its largest lead when Barton hit a 3 and a layup to spark a 9-2 run that made 60-46 in the final minute of the second quarter.

The Nuggets still led by 10, at 87-77, when Kenneth Faried's hook shot from 5 feet opened scoring in the fourth quarter, but New Orleans managed to keep its deficit within single digits for most of the final period, pulling as close as 98-84 on Frazier's driving layup. A few possessions later, Davis cut into the lane for a layup that pulled the Pelicans to 100-98 with 2:32 to go and brought the crowd to its feet.

Denver, which had shot 46.9 percent (30 of 64) through three quarters, made just seven of 19 field goals in the fourth quarter as New Orleans turned up its defensive intensity. But the Nuggets played solid defense of their own, forcing a pair of missed shots and a Davis turnover in the final half-minute.

Denver also made seven of eight free throws in the final 1:39.

Nuggets: Rookie guard Jamal Murray, who was taken seventh overall in last summer's draft - one spot behind Hield - played 13 minutes and was 0 of 2 shooting, finishing with a point on a free throw. "For me, tonight's focus isn't Jamal Murray's debut. That's the least of my worries," Denver coach Mike Malone said. "My worry is trying to get a damn win." ... Between Gallinari, Nikola Jokic and the 7-foot- Nurkic, Denver opened the game with three players 6-10 or taller on the floor at a time when a number of teams are favoring smaller lineups to in order to feature the quicker, more versatile players on their rosters. "Obviously the trend is going away from what we do, but we're not worried about what the trends are," Malone said. "We're going to do what we think is best for us, but within our game you'll see a lot of different lineups. ... We feel like we have guys like Kenneth FariedWilson Chandler off the bench who can play meaningful minutes as well if we decide to go small."

Pelicans: Before the game, the Pelicans wore black T-shirts during warm-ups honoring Bryce Dejean-Jones, who was fatally shot last May when he forced his way into an apartment that he had mistaken for that of his girlfriend. The shirts had the letters "BDJ" on the chest with Dejean-Jones' No. 31 underneath. "It's unfortunate what happened the fact that he's not with us any longer, but he was part of our family and we just wanted to do something to pay tribute to him," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. The team also held a moment of silence in Dejean-Jones' memory before tip-off. ... Davis had 28 of his points on 11 of 22 shooting in the first half, when the rest of the Pelicans were 9 of 31 collectively (29 percent). ... Hield missed the first three shots of his NBA career before scoring his first points on a driving layup. He finished with four points on 2 of 8 shooting.

Nuggets: Host Portland on Saturday night.

Pelicans: Host Golden State on Friday night.

Seven wings the Warriors could target with arrival of NBA trade season


Seven wings the Warriors could target with arrival of NBA trade season

Though coach Steve Kerr has said the Warriors are not likely to make a trade, general manager Bob Myers has shown more flexibility on the idea. That’s Myers’ MO. Like most personnel executives, he must be prepared to pivot at a moment’s notice.

The possibilities expanded Saturday, when the NBA trade window opened wide enough to include most players signed over the summer. All indications are the Warriors will observe rather than shop because they have a “trade” in the works.

They’ll be deeper and more formidable after DeMarcus Cousins is cleared for game activity. He is their in-season addition. Though the Warriors have been discreet about revealing a timeline, all hints imply it’s a matter of weeks, not months.

Kerr is not eager to make a move until Cousins has been evaluated. What can the team expect? How smooth is the transition? Why add a big man now if Cousins can play 20 minutes by the end of the month and 25 -- or more -- at some point in January?

So if the Warriors were to make a deal, it likely would involve a wing. They realize a tweak here or there might help. The fragile health of veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, both currently out, has the front office on alert. If either is out for an extended period, the Warriors have work to do.

Here are, alphabetically, seven wings/forwards on the market, with comment:

Carmelo Anthony (F)

Pros: A very available future Hall of Famer.
Cons: Shooting touch has abandoned him, and he can’t defend a barstool.
Verdict: He’s done.

Alec Burks (F/G)

Pros: Can play three positions, would love to leave Cleveland and he’s 27.
Cons: He’s making $11.54 million this season.
Verdict: He can help.

Vince Carter (F/G)

Pros: Popular future Hall of Famer is still dunking at age 41 for the Hawks.
Cons: Is it ageism to point out he’ll turn 42 next month?
Verdict: He’s worth a listen.

Mario Hezonja (F)

Pros: He’s 23, has some talent and plays with joy with the Knicks.
Cons: His shooting is spotty, and his immaturity might be permanent.
Verdict: Probably not.

Rodney Hood (F/G)

Pros: Plays both ends, is just 27 and is on a one-year Cavs deal at $3.4 million.
Cons: His composure has been an issue.
Verdict: He can help.

Patrick McCaw (G/F)

Pros: Knows the team because he’s on it.
Cons: No indication he wants to be along for the ride.
Verdict: Sure, if he’s in shape and explains the past five months.

Jabari Parker (F)

Pros: Talented enough to be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Cons: Can’t make the Bulls’ rotation and is making $20 million.
Verdict: Nah, but hope he revives a once-promising career.

So, yes, there are players capable of helping. And the front office isn’t sleeping on them. The Warriors must decide whether they want to pursue them now, or wait until closer to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

Warriors Under Review: Defense leads the way in comeback win vs. Kings

Warriors Under Review: Defense leads the way in comeback win vs. Kings

There was not an empty seat inside Golden 1 Center at tipoff Friday night for a matchup between the Warriors and Kings. In the final minutes, most every seat was vacant.

All but a few among the 17,583 in attendance were off the edge of their seats, standing and cheering and enjoying -- or agonizing.

This carnival ride of a game deserved that acclaim. Over the last 12 minutes, the Warriors had it. The Kings took it back. The Warriors reclaimed it. The Kings snatched it yet again before, finally, the Warriors came back one final time for a 130-125 victory.

It was a win to savor and a loss to remember. We take a deeper look at the positives and negatives in Warriors Under Review:


Defense arrives on demand

With Draymond Green and Klay Thompson on the floor to open the fourth quarter, a six-point lead became a seven-point deficit in about three minutes. With the starters back -- Green left but returned -- for the final 5:11, the Warriors outscored the Kings 17-4 by forcing two turnovers (both Stephen Curry steals) and limiting them to 1-of-8 shooting from the field.

When the Warriors realized victory would require five brilliant minutes of defense, Green led the way as they dug in and found it.

[RELATED: Why Warriors-Kings rivalry seems ready to take off]


They owned the glass

The Warriors outrebounded Sacramento 60-42. All five starters attacked the glass and grabbed at least eight rebounds, topped by Green’s game-high 14. Thompson pulled a season-high nine. Alfonzo McKinnie came off the bench to snag eight, half of them on the offensive end to aid an 18-9 advantage in second-chance points.

On a night when they hurt themselves with damaging turnovers – 18, leading to 25 Sacramento points – the Warriors found the surest path to offset it.


Thompson’s shot selection

This was another of those nights when Thompson -- unquestionably a great shooter -- took too many quick or contested shots. Prior to draining a huge 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead with 39.6 seconds remaining, he was 0-5 in the quarter and 9-of-26 in the game. Finishing with 27 points on 10-of-27 shooting, he missed nearly as many shots as Kevin Durant (33 points on 9-of-20 shooting, 4-of-8 in the fourth) attempted.

With Thompson’s shooting percentages down across the board, in a contract year, he couldn’t pick a worse time to lead the NBA in field goal attempts.


Looney held up well

Given the sprinter’s pace the Kings prefer, there was legitimate concern about Kevon Looney’s ability to log heavy minutes. Speed is not among the undersized center’s assets. But he was effective over 28 minutes, one off his season-high, with 10 points (5-of-5 shooting), eight rebounds and three assists to finish plus-19.

Looney had a couple rough games against the top-tier centers of Toronto and Minnesota. He bounced back nicely.


A night for the bench to forget

With veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston both out, the bench was predictably unsteady and uneven. Quinn Cook, needed as a shooter and playmaker, was bad on offense and worse on defense. Jonas Jerebko, affected by questionable foul calls, was unusually passive and grabbed only one rebound in 24 minutes, his lowest total in a month. McKinnie offered rebounding and not much else. Jordan Bell, whose speed was desirable, played 10 minutes without positive impact.

The reserves will be better, certainly with Iguodala and/or Livingston returning, but this was a game they should throw into the trash bin.