Warriors

Eric Paschall, Chase Center vibe positives in crazy Warriors season

Eric Paschall, Chase Center vibe positives in crazy Warriors season

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith

Tip-Off

This season feels like a boat being tossed on high waves. I’m naming this boat "Sports Fandom," and it’s going on an 82-game journey. After one game, the boat rocks in the direction of amazing! Fun group! What a story! The next game yanks the boat back to accusations of tanking. Who are these guys?! 

I think I’ve seen every tank GIF on Twitter because fans send them to me. Thanks ... you can stop. And I’ve seen the positive reactionary tweets with M-V-Paschall and Rookie of the Year chatter.  

I’d rather traffic in the positive. An opportunity to learn is always beneficial. This little boat is going to ride through some storms, but the journey is what matters. 

There’s a second boat named "Stop Writing In Cliches," with a loud horn signaling me to get on with the mailbag.

Game On!

@kelcatinc This will be your first year reporting on the dubs that they may possibly miss the playoffs...how you holding up?

@HV1443 Does this make your job easier or harder?

I’m holding up fine! I have the same duties every game, win or lose. My job is to tell the stories of the players on the team, and relay observations during the game to the viewers. 

My broadcasting team has the right philosophy, lead by our producer Phil. He’s been on the Warriors beat for about a dozen years, and he wants to make sure there’s no difference in the quality of our broadcast whether we’re covering a 20-win team or a 60-win team. 

Bob Fitzgerald, Jim Barnett, and Tim Roye have been on the job decades. Kelenna Azubuike keeps an even keel from his playing days. Plus, he’s just a chill dude. They all bring the same perspective: Call a compelling game no matter the circumstances.

It’s great being surrounded by professionals who have seen it all. 

The group of reporters who cover the team daily noticed the national media coverage has fallen off. That means the players are not spread thin with interview demands, and we have better chances to get one-on-one time with them for deeper conversations. That’s going to lead to some great stories. I’m certain Warriors fans will enjoy the coverage this season on TV and online.

Via instagram, @goldenstatewarriorsreign: With Eric Paschall’s success, do you think his role will be magnified even further? I see him as a nightly 20 minutes off the bench guy. 

This question came the morning before Paschall erupted for 34 points and 13 rebounds on his 23rd birthday. Paschall has been the Warriors’ best new player to start the season, and if these performances continue, he’ll be one of the best new players in the league, period. 

Paschall’s maturity and years in a strong Villanova program are flowing into extended playing time for the Dubs. He’s learning quickly. He admitted he did not think he would have to do so much, so soon, but that’s the situation and he’s not backing down. 

Right now he’s in a starting role, and that should be the case for a while, even when Draymond Green and Kevon Looney come back. What’s next for Paschall is working his way around double-teams now that defenses know they have to key-in on him to limit his explosive performances. 

@GJohnde What are your thoughts on Willie? #askKerith

Willie is coming along. It’s difficult to have a training camp injury while joining a new team. While other players got their conditioning up and began their understanding of the schemes, he had to sit and watch. 

He has had flashes of exciting play, with some lobs and dunks. The Warriors always demand a strong defensive presence, so more rim protection and rebounding would be helpful.

Willie seems to have the right attitude and I think he’ll find his way to solid nights of contribution. 

@rory_h_r What's the atmosphere in the new stadium? How are fans feeling?

Via instagram, @sasutherland1: What is the vibe of the new stadium and how does it compare to Oracle?

The Blazers’ sideline reporter is a friend of mine and it felt special to hear her call Chase Center “beautiful.” The look of this place could really make it a basketball mecca in the West, especially when the product on the court is championship level. They’ll get there. 

The atmosphere so far is loud and engaged. The home fans most recently saw the games against the Hornets (tight game until some last-minute mistakes) and Blazers (big win over one of the best backcourts in the NBA) and they came through with high energy. It’s loud at Chase Center when the fans are in a frenzy. 

Warriors Insider Monte Poole and I were talking about how fans understand this year will be different, and they’re behind their team with encouragement. It reminds him of the old, less-prosperous seasons at Oracle where fans appreciate the game and want to build up the guys with love. 

@Dugstreet Where is your favorite place to eat at Chase Center so far? I haven’t been there yet, but would like to know the yummiest food? Thank you Kerith.

I like the chicken sandwiches at Bakesale Betty, and Tacolicious is a favorite of mine, at Chase or around town. I mostly eat in the media room where I can grab a salad. There’s also a frozen yogurt machine and I’m starting a pre-game routine where I eat a small bowl of froyo with oreo topping.   

Click right here for a list of the Chase Center food options. Lots of yummy choices!

Via instagram, @mass.of.one: Are the Warriors the first team to pass out T-shirts to the crowd for playoff games? I don’t remember any teams that did that before the We Believe playoffs. 

I needed Warriors' PR man Ray Ridder’s help to answer this question and he believes the "We Believe" playoffs were the first time a team created T-shirts for the crowd. He’s not 100% certain, but he’s pretty sure, and if you know Ray’s ability to recall things, he’s usually right. 

Via instagram, @spindrome: Where are you going for your next big vacay? 

My next holiday will be All-Star Break. My husband and I like to get away to a beach when we have time together. We’re thinking Hawaii. 

High Five

This week’s high five goes to Sister Regena @sistahbabygirl for some perspective. 

Her Twitter bio says she’s a Dominican Sister of Mission San Jose and Andre Iguodala’s number one fan. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing her and she’s a real one.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.

NBA rumors: Warriors' Steph Curry targeting March 1 return to lineup

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USATSI

NBA rumors: Warriors' Steph Curry targeting March 1 return to lineup

Steph Curry reportedly is targeting a March 1 return. 

The two-time MVP has not played since breaking his left hand on Oct. 30, and The Athletic's Marcus Thompson has "been told" that Curry hopes to play on March 1 at Chase Center against the Washington Wizards, though the date is not "set in stone."

Curry told Warriors broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike during Golden State's win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday that he has had "no setbacks" rehabbing his broken hand. 

"Rehab is going great, every day is tough,” Curry said Saturday. “When you're hurt, and we've all been there in some way shape or form, its a grind, everyday kind of being monotonous with the little strength workouts you have to do, and you understanding that it takes time and patience to get back to 100 percent.”

[RELATED: Poole shows even more progress in Dubs' win over Magic]

Curry is traveling to road games with the Warriors, and the 30-year-old has impressed his teammates and coaches during individual shooting drills.  Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the "Posted Up" podcast earlier this month that there was an "excellent chance" Curry would return in March. He'll be re-evaluated Feb. 1, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke wrote last week that a minutes restriction is possible as Curry "gets his wind back."

Before Curry is re-evaluated, though, he reportedly already has a timeline in mind. 

Warriors' Jordan Poole showing more progress after bad start to season

Warriors' Jordan Poole showing more progress after bad start to season

SAN FRANCISCO -- With four seconds left in the third quarter of the Warriors' 190-95 win over Magic on Saturday, Jordan Poole ran full speed to the right-wing with a bucket on his mind. 

Sprinting alongside teammate Omari Spellman, Poole received a pass from the big man, pump faked, took a dribble and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer, pushing the Warriors lead to 11. 

Walking to the bench, Poole had both arms in the air, and was yelling "Yeahhhh" towards the crowd. Similar plays have been the norm for Poole over the last week as he gradually digs himself out a bad start to his rookie season. 

"He's starting to figure out where his spots are," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Where his spots are and his comfort zone and how to impact a game." 

Remnants of Poole's improvement were on display early Saturday night. After Golden State went down 13-0 four and a half minutes into the contest, Poole scored 11 first-quarter points, helping Golden State take a 28-25 lead by the end of the period. Poole totaled 21 points for the game, including four 3-pointers, providing another example of his evolution. In his past three outings, Poole is averaging 16 points on 45 percent from the field. 

Such stretches are uncommon considering the start of Poole's career. During his first 29 games -- with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of the lineup -- he shot just 25 percent, prompting a demotion to the G League. While his shot was ineffective, it was his propensity to not give all-out effort that drew ire of the coaching staff. On his way down to Santa Cruz, Kerr gave him a player that he'd like Poole to use a blueprint for success: Pelicans guard JJ Redick. More specifically, the shooter's habit of constant movement on the defensive end, complimented by his shooting ability. 

Poole followed suit during his G League stint, averaging 26 points, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals in three games. The performance has carried over back to the NBA, as he's making 42 percent of his 3-pointers over his last three games. But he showed his  growth six minutes into the third quarter Saturday, when he fought through two screens, moved his feet on Magic guard Evan Fournier before stripping the guard, causing a fast break on the other end, prompting praise from his coach and teammates along the way.  

"He's doing better on defense, handling the ball and making plays," Kerr said. "The game is so fast at this level. Everything happens much faster, so whether you are defending somebody or having to get over a screen or leave a rotation or if you have the ball and you are trying to make a pass, everything just happens quicker than you are used to. I think the time in Santa Cruz helped him gain more confidence and maybe the game has slowed down a bit ... He just looks more confident and comfortable."

"I think his approach has been better," teammate D'Angelo Russell added. "I think that's what's contributed to him successfully on the court. Not just worrying about his shots but his demeanor, his approach is business-like."

Poole's progression comes as the Warriors are in transition. As he works towards a long-term role, organizational cornerstones Curry and Thompson are working their way back from injuries, while Russell -- an All-Star guard -- is giving 20-year old daily lessons on how to be a pro.

[RELATED: Paschall regains form after tough stretch]

"I'm like a kid in the candy store, especially being able to have Steph, Klay and [Russell]," Poole said on Warriors Postgame Live. "I'm in awe every day. You wouldn't want to be in any other situation." 

As Poole celebrated his buzzer-beater, Curry sat on a makeshift stage, soaking in the rookie's latest step as a pro, leaving compliments along the way. 

"The way that he's fought through his early-season struggles and gone down to Santa Cruz, really able to work on his game, see the floor, get his rhythm and shoot the ball the way he's been doing the last few games," Curry said during NBC Sports Bay Area's broadcast. "That's what an NBA player is made of. It's not going to be pretty but you got to keep coming back to try and make it work."