Warriors

Blazers big man Nurkic listed as questionable before Game 1 vs Warriors

Blazers big man Nurkic listed as questionable before Game 1 vs Warriors

OAKLAND -- As the hours tick down to Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against Portland, the Warriors still don’t know if Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic will take the court Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.

Though Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said Nurkic did not actively participate in practice, the team officially lists the 7-footer as questionable.

Even if the Blazers have a plan for Nurkic, they aren’t saying.

“I would do the same thing, by the way,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after practice Saturday.

Nurkic’s status is significant because the Blazers are a much different team with him on the court. He’s their only legitimate low-post threat, as well as an imposing presence on the defensive end.

Portland’s expressions or uncertainty means additional prep work for the Warriors.

“We prepare for both (scenarios),” Kerr said. “We go through a lot of their actions and personnel tapes and tendencies. So we’re preparing for all the stuff we know their going to run, that we’ve faced for the last couple years.

“And then we look at tape of Nurkic as well and see the difference between how they play when he’s out there.”

As for the Warriors, forwards Matt Barnes (foot/ankle sprain) and Kevon Looney (hip strain) are listed as out. Barnes, Kerr indicated, could be ready for Game 2 on Wednesday.

Austin Rivers explains how Steph Curry, Warriors transformed NBA offenses

Austin Rivers explains how Steph Curry, Warriors transformed NBA offenses

Austin Rivers knows a thing or two about defending Steph Curry.

The Houston Rockets guard isn't shy about his confidence when guarding the Warriors star, but that doesn't mean Rivers is unaware of Curry's impact on the NBA. To hear him tell it, Curry's transformed basketball as much as anyone in recent memory.

"Comparing him to other players, he's not the most athletic guy on the floor nine out of 10 times," Rivers told Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Burke and guard Quinn Cook on The Uninterrupted Road Trippin' podcast. "But nine out of 10 times, he's usually the best player on the floor, and that's changed the game. Kids used to want to dunk, and now they want to shoot 3s.

"He's changed the way basketball is played. It's a [3-point shooter's] league now."

Rivers said that impact is clearest on his own team. Under Mike D'Antoni, the Rockets lead the NBA in 3-point attempts per game (44.8) and 3-point makes (15.7). 

He thinks you can draw a straight line between D'Antoni's strategy and what Curry and the Warriors have done over the last five years. 

"The effect that Steph has singlehandedly had on the NBA has been huge -- and Golden State, period," Rivers continued. "They've set this trend where now we follow. We shoot 40-to-50 threes a game because we're trying to emulate what works, and what they've had." 

[RELATED: Quinn Cook reveals how Coach K uses Beyonce to motivate Duke players]

They've also had a trickle-down effect, according to Rivers. When he's working basketball camps, he said kids want to emulate one of two players' specific skills: Curry's, or Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving's ball-handling. 

When 6-foot-3 Curry nails a half-court shot, or 6-foot-3 Irving crosses over a helpless defender, Rivers thinks a young player would see either as more attainable than what, say, 6-foot-8, 240-pound LeBron James can on a nightly basis.

"They're not going to be doing the stuff he does, so what's realistic for a person," Rivers asked, rhetorically. " ... They're not freak athletes. They don't dunk on people. They're just skilled. So, that's every kid's dream." 

Something tells us Rivers won't be dreaming of facing either Curry or Irving in the postseason. 

You can hear the rest of Rivers, Cook and Burke's conversation on Road Trippin' in the player below, and subscribe here.

NBA Power Rankings 2019: Warriors back on top, Kings keep sliding

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NBA Power Rankings 2019: Warriors back on top, Kings keep sliding

Three weeks, people. That’s all that remains of this regular season. The real battles in the Western Conference are for seeding, while in the Eastern Conference, several rats are pushing and shoving for the right to be devoured in the first round.

And way down below are dozens of players planning vacations and nine or 10 franchises tryin’ for Zion in the May 14 draft lottery.

Here are the Power Rankings through games of March 21:

VIEW NBA POWER RANKINGS HERE