Gameday: Can sluggish Warriors conquer 'scheduled loss' game?


Gameday: Can sluggish Warriors conquer 'scheduled loss' game?

When the Warriors slog into Pepsi Center on Saturday to face Denver, trying to conquer what NBA insiders refer to as a “scheduled loss,” they’ll have reinforcements that were not available 24 hours earlier.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 6:05.

The Warriors (41-11), who arrived at their Denver hotel around 4 a.m., will have the services of veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, both of whom missed the game Friday night in Sacramento. The Warriors also missed them, as they had to overcome 25 turnovers to gain the win.

The Nuggets (27-25) are coming off one of their most impressive games of the season, a 127-124 victory over Oklahoma City on Thursday night. Denver has been inconsistent, as indicated in the fact that it has yet to win or lose more than three games in a row all season.

Warriors by 5

Zaza Pachulia & Co. vs. Nikola Jokic: The Nuggets are one of several teams that play through their big, and it’s because Jokic is the best passer on the team. The Warriors will attempt to bother him with the occasional double-team as well as playing the passing lanes. He’s coming off a triple-double (29 points, 13 rebounds, 14 assists) in the win over OKC. Pachulia will have plenty of help, and he’ll need all of it.

Warriors: G Pat McCaw (bruised toe) was listed as questionable, but is available to play. F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) and F/C David West (personal reasons) are listed as out.

Nuggets: G Gary Harris (L ankle soreness) is listed as probable. F Tyler Lydon (L knee surgery), F Paul Millsap (L wrist surgery) and C Mason Plumlee (R calf strain) are listed as out.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 8-2. Nuggets: 5-5.

Ed Malloy (crew chief), Ray Acosta, Ben Taylor

This is the fourth meeting this season, with the Warriors winning two of the first three. The Warriors won two of three meetings last season and have won nine of 13 in the Steve Kerr era. The Warriors are 5-5 in their last 10 games in Denver.

THE BACKCOURTS: There is plenty of talent on both sides. Denver has perhaps the best under-25 starting backcourt in the NBA, as Gary Harris (23 years old) and Jamal Murray (20) are potential All-Stars. They’re skilled and fearless. The Warriors, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, have two perennial All-Stars. This is likely where the game will be decided.

THE BENCHES: With the Warriors forced to play their starters fairly heavy minutes to secure the win Friday night, the bench will come into play, particularly on defense. Denver’s second unit is 27th in true-shooting percentage, 26th in defensive rating and also prone to turnovers. This is a battle the Warriors can win, and they’ll probably need to.

THE GLASS: The Nuggets play with energy; are No. 2 in rebounding differential (plus-4.0), No. 2 in offensive rebounding and No. 4 in second-chance points. In three games this season, Denver has outscored the Warriors 50-30 in second-chance points. Considering the altitude and their travel schedule, this could be a problem for the Warriors.

Bob Myers provides update on where things stand between Warriors, Pat McCaw


Bob Myers provides update on where things stand between Warriors, Pat McCaw

In late June, the Warriors extended Pat McCaw a qualifying offer (worth $1,744,951) to make him a restricted free agent.

He is yet to sign an offer sheet with another team.

If he does, the Warriors will have the ability to match.

So where do things stand between McCaw and Golden State?

Warriors GM Bob Myers provided an update when talking to Tim Kawakami on the TK Show podcast:

"We had some good talks in Las Vegas. We want Patrick back, but we understand that it's a process, just like they do. We hope it ends with him coming back as a Warrior.

"That's our focus, that's our goal. Can't say right now what will happen, but that's our hope."

After a promising rookie season, McCaw -- the 38th pick in the 2016 draft -- took a step back last year.

He averaged 4.0 points, 1.4 assists and 0.8 steals over 16.9 minutes per game last season.

The 22-year old shot below 41 percent from the field and below 24 percent from deep.

He missed 13 games in the middle of the season after suffering a wrist injury, and then had the scary fall in Sacramento on March 31.

"We love Pat and we really hope he's back," assistant GM Kirk Lacob said weeks ago. "We'll see how this process plays out."

Stay tuned...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

DeMarcus Cousins-Warriors union should work for 5.3 million reasons

DeMarcus Cousins-Warriors union should work for 5.3 million reasons

OAKLAND -- Relax, Warriors fans, DeMarcus Cousins is not coming to the Bay Area to trash the good vibes around your favorite NBA team. There are more than five million reasons he wants you to believe that.

When Cousins reached out to Warriors architect Bob Myers 17 days ago to see if the defending champions would be interested in his services, Myers paused. Not to examine his own thoughts but to consult with the All-Stars that would be sharing the locker room with a man perceived as a gifted keg of dynamite.

The answers, resoundingly and across the board, were yes. Team leader Stephen Curry signed off. Draymond Green was easy; he’s always stalking new talent. Klay Thompson is easier because he’s naturally no-maintenance.

As for Kevin Durant, he also paused. He had a question: He’s coming for $5 million?

When Myers responded that Cousins was indeed willing to accept the team’s $5.3 million taxpayer’s midlevel exception, Durant was sold. He said that was all he needed to know. 

Cousins, 27, has earned about $80 million during his eight-year career. His salary last season in New Orleans was a little more than $18 million. Once on the free-agent market in July, he had to know, even coming off surgery to his Achilles’ tendon, teams would be willing to offer at least half that much to a proven star. Yes, even with his “baggage.”

Yet there he was, barely into Day 2 of free agency, shopping himself to the Warriors at a deeply discounted price.

“When he made the gesture that he wanted to come to our team, that’s not words. That’s an action,” Myers said Thursday, after Cousins was introduced as a Warrior. “That’s saying ‘I want to win, and the money is not the most important thing.’

“You don’t come to our team if you’re looking to be the highest scorer or you’re looking to get statistics. We’re not the place to come for that. We’re the place to come if you want to win.”

The Warriors have reached the NBA Finals four consecutive seasons, winning three championships. They went through Cousins’ former team, New Orleans, in the playoffs en route to the title last month.

Cousins couldn’t play, due to his injury, but he was able to experience the postseason, however vicariously, for the first time.

“This is just a chance to play for a winning culture,” Cousins said. “I also have a chance to play with some of the most talented players of this era. Those two things alone, that pretty much sums it up.”

Cousins’ reputation is that of someone who plays with a chip on his shoulder that sometimes can be detrimental. He has twice been suspended for going beyond the league’s technical foul threshold. He has sparred with coaches, jabbed with media.

Nearly all of those moments were in Sacramento, with the hapless Kings, whose last winning season was in 2006, when Cousins was 15 years old.

Cousins generally behaved last season, and being on a winning team likely was a factor.

“In a winning culture and a winning environment, I think we all behave a little bit better,” Myers said. “Sometimes when it doesn’t go that way, it’s tougher. He has seen a side of the NBA that a lot of our players have never seen. There’s growth that comes with that. There’s growth with being someone who leaves (college) after his freshman year and comes to the NBA as a high pick and is expected to lead a team as a (19- or 20-year-old). That’s an adjustment for anybody. We all would go through that differently.

“He’s now at the point in his life and his career where he’s seen the difficult side of playing basketball professionally. Although in some ways he’s made a lot of money and done a lot of things, he wants to win.”

That Cousins is a productive player that thrives amid success seems to be the popular opinion. His former general with the Pelicans, Dell Demps, implied as much on The Warriors Insider Podcast this week. Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton, who spent considerable time with Cousins during the Olympics, agrees.

So, naturally, does Cousins, who has been in contract with many of his new teammates in hopes of establishing a greater rapport.

“It’s a great group of guys, easygoing people, maybe outside of Draymond,” he said to laughter. “But it’s a great group. I think we’ll mesh well.”

They’ll have to, as it’s the only way Cousins gets a payoff from his $5.3 million gamble.