Warriors

Gameday: Warriors big favorites to end slump with Mavs in town

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USATSI

Gameday: Warriors big favorites to end slump with Mavs in town

OAKLAND -- Conditions are favorable for the Warriors to snap out of their slump Thursday night when they face the downtrodden Dallas Mavericks at Oracle Arena.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.

The Warriors (41-13) have fallen short in three of their last four games, with the losses by an average of 19 points. The defense has been indifferent and the offense sloppy, with turnovers coming in bunches.

The Mavericks (17-37) are tied with the Hawks for the worst record in the NBA. They’ve lost six of their last seven, with the lone victory coming last Saturday at woeful Sacramento.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 14

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Dennis Smith Jr.: In the wake of the loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Curry sounded like a man rededicating himself to the mission. A fully focused Curry is difficult to contain. Smith is that rare rookie who is needed only a few months to make a bid to become a team leader. The athletic rookie is the Mavs’ No. 2 scorer (14.6 ppg) and embraces the big moment. Expect him to go at Curry.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Draymond Green (dental work), G Shaun Livingston (L elbow sorenss) and F/C David West (R calf tension) are listed as probable. F/C Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Mavericks: F Johnathan Motley (L ankle sprain) is listed as questionable. F Harrison Barnes (L ankle sprain), G Seth Curry (L tibia stress reaction), C/F Nerlens Noel (L thumb surgery) and G Dorian Finney-Smith (L knee quadriceps tendinitis) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 6-4.

Mavericks: 2-8.

GAME OFFICIALS

Sean Wright (crew chief), Brent Barnaky, Tre Maddox

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three previous meetings this season, by a combined 48 points, and swept three meetings last season. They are 13-1 against the Mavericks since Steve Kerr became coach in 2014-15.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE GIFTS: If there is one area in which the Warriors absolutely must improve to regain their mojo, it’s turnovers. They’ve committed 79 over the past four games, leading to 90 points. They committed 46 in three previous games against Dallas, giving the Mavericks 50 points. They’ve acknowledged and addressed the issue but thus far been unable to improve.

THE FIRST QUARTER: The Warriors have made a habit of starting slowly, taking first-quarters leads only seven times in the last 21 games. The intensity level has more often than not insufficient. When they’re on, they come out aggressive and productive. When they’re not on, it shows. It won’t take long to see had eager the Warriors are to snap out of this trend.

THE D: As wobbly as the offense has been at times, the defense has been appreciably worse. The Warriors held opponent under 100 points 12 times in their first 34 games but only once in the last 20. Players are resorting to uttering such lines as “look ourselves in the mirror” and “hold ourselves accountable.” Will that translate to better defense?

David West now out of the mix? Steve Kerr explains Warriors rotations in Game 3

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AP

David West now out of the mix? Steve Kerr explains Warriors rotations in Game 3

David West was in uniform on Sunday night.

But he did not receive any playing time.

Jordan Bell got the nod over West.

"Honestly, I wasn't exactly sure how I was gonna play the backup-five role," Kerr told reporters after the Warriors' 41-point win. "We went into the game thinking we're gonna see how the game goes and adapt from there.

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast: 'This is my fu**ing house' -- Curry explodes in Game 3]

"When Looney got in foul trouble, I just wanted to stay with our more mobile defenders on the perimeter, and so I went to Jordan instead of David.

"But that doesn't mean David's out of the loop by any means. We're gonna still need him in this series, and if we're fortunate enough to move on, we'll need him in the next one."

In Game 1, West played only four minutes and was a plus-4.

In Game 2, the 37-year old played six minutes and was a minus-6.

With the way the Rockets spread the floor and fire up 3-pointers, it's a tough matchup for West.

“Houston epitomizes the modern NBA -- 3-point shooting all over the floor, pick-and-rolls,” Kerr told reporters on Saturday. “A guy like David, we gotta pick and choose his spots.”

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

Draymond breaks down Curry's performance, 'that's what makes him more than anything'

Draymond breaks down Curry's performance, 'that's what makes him more than anything'

Draymond Green was not too impressed with Steph Curry's Game 3 outburst.

And that's not in reference to his "this is my fu**ing house" declaration in the third quarter.

"I think he had a great quarter, but I don't mean to disappoint -- but I've seen crazier from him (laughing)," Draymond told reporters. "But it was good to see."

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast: 'This is my fu**ing house' -- Curry explodes in Game 3]

In the first half, Curry scored just nine points and went 1-for-7 from deep.

In the second half, the two-time MVP exploded for 26 points and went 4-for-5 from 3-point territory.

Draymond knows why Curry is able to break out like he did in the third quarter.

"Very mentally tough. I think that's what makes him more than anything," the reigning Defensive Player of the Year said. "His physical toughenss is definitely underrated. He's one of the most competitive people I've ever been around. But his mental toughness -- you can't be that great of a scorer or great of a shooter without mental toughness because you're always going to face obstacles when it comes to shooting.

"Next shot mentality and that was big tonight ... that's something that's kind of been the key to his career -- his mental toughness. He didn't come in with everybody saying, 'Steph Curry would be who he is today.'

"Everybody questioned who he'd be, so that's one of his strengths for sure."

[RELATED: Sonya Curry scolds Steph, tells him 'to wash my mouth out' with soap]

Steve Kerr was also asked about Curry's toughness.

"Steph is underrated for the toughness factor," Kerr explained. "You don't become a two-time MVP just by shooting a bunch of 3s. He's got unbelievable stamina and physical toughness. Mental toughness -- you know, for four days everybody's been talking about him. What he did tonight didn't surprise any of us because that's just who he is.

"He's got unbelievable character and great talent and it always rises when it needs to."

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