Warriors

Instant Replay: Curry, KD go off, Warriors soar past Lakers

Instant Replay: Curry, KD go off, Warriors soar past Lakers

BOX SCORE

SAN DIEGO – The Warriors started their penultimate preseason game well enough, raining buckets down upon the Lakers and needing less than four minutes to build a 17-4 lead.

Neither Warriors coach Steve Kerr nor the players can be content with the events of the final 44 minutes despite walking away with 123-112 win before a bipartisan sellout crowd Wednesday night at Valley View Casino Center.

The victory was the fifth in a row for the Warriors, with their only loss coming in the preseason opener back on Oct. 1.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry, who poured in a preseason-high 32 points. Kevin Durant put in 27 points and Klay Thompson tossed in 19. Draymond Green added 10 and Kevon Looney totaled 10 off the bench.

The Warriors starters outscored those of the Lakers 92-59, but LA fought back by wining the battle of the benches, outscoring the Warriors 53-31.

STANDOUT PERFORMERS

Curry and Thompson, as a tandem, submitted their best work of the preseason.

Curry’s line: 32 points (11-of-19 shooting from the field, including 6-of-12 beyond the arc), five assists, five rebounds and three steals. He played 31 minutes and finished plus-16 for the game.

Thompson’s line: 19 points (6-of-11, 3-of-6), eight assists, two rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. He played 32 minutes and finished plus-19.

Eight assists, for the record, are more than Thompson had in five previous preseason games (six).

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

The bench: Coach Steve Kerr opened the second quarter with a second-unit lineup featuring Andre Iguodala, David West, Kevon Looney, Shaun Livingston and Ian Clark. It did not go as well as the coach had hoped. The quintet went nearly three minutes without a field goal before Kerr replaced Looney with Durant.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Anderson Varejao (R shoulder contusion) was listed as questionable and did not play. C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery) and G Elliot Williams (R knee surgery) were listed as out.

Lakers: F Luol Deng (rest) did not play. G Jose Calderon (L calf strain) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

After an off day Thursday, the Warriors return to work Friday morning for a shootaround prior to facing the Portland Trail Blazers that night at Oracle Arena.

DeMarcus Cousins to practice with Santa Cruz Warriors starting Monday

cousinsdemarcusdurantkevinsmile.jpg
USATSI

DeMarcus Cousins to practice with Santa Cruz Warriors starting Monday

OAKLAND — The rehabilitation of DeMarcus Cousins enters its final phase this week, probably as soon as Monday.

He’s going to Santa Cruz to get in a few intensified practices with the G League Warriors, who aren’t scheduled to play a game until Friday.

Cousins has spent the past 10 months recovering and rehabbing after having surgery in January to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon. He has spent the past several weeks participating in practices and scrimmages with the NBA Warriors.

The decision to send Cousins to the G League is based mostly on conditioning. He’ll endure more challenging in-season work in Santa Cruz than he would in the NBA.

His biggest adjustment, according to teammate Draymond Green, will be maintaining the pace at which the NBA Warriors like to play.

“Two things: It is a completely different pace than he’s ever played since he’s been in the NBA, and he’s coming off an Achilles injury doing it,” Green said Sunday. “That’s tough.

“Nonetheless, DeMarcus is one of greatest talents in this league. So we’re not going to play at some pace that he can’t play at and make him irrelevant to our offense. We’re going to make it work.”

[RELATED: Why Draymond is the unique fizz that makes the Warriors sparkle]

Though Cousins can anticipate shuttling between Santa Cruz and Oakland this week, it’s expected that he will be with the NBA team this weekend. The Warriors will face his former team, the Kings, on Friday night in Sacramento.

The possibility of Cousins actually playing in a G League game is unlikely, according to one source, while another says it has not been completely ruled out.

NBA rumors: Warriors nemesis Trevor Ariza at center of Lakers-Suns trade talks

arizaap.jpg
AP

NBA rumors: Warriors nemesis Trevor Ariza at center of Lakers-Suns trade talks

The Warriors essentially have played a third of their regular-season schedule -- 27 of 82 games -- and currently sit atop the Western Conference standings with an 18-9 record. Stephen Curry recently returned from injury, Draymond Green will return Monday against the Timberwolves, and DeMarcus Cousins will add to the embarrassment of superstar riches on the active roster before long.

Suffice to say, Golden State remains a heavy favorite to reach a fifth consecutive NBA Finals.

In each of the last four instances, LeBron James awaited the Warriors on the other side. If they're to meet the King in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, it wont be with the league's ultimate prize on the line.

James, of course, took his talents to Los Angeles in the offseason, and thus far he has provided the kind of lift to the Lakers' franchise that most expected. The Lakers sit 16-10 on the season (fifth in the West), winners of five of their last six games. And, according to reports, they could be further emboldening their roster soon.

The Lakers and the Suns recently have been engaged in trade discussions surrounding Phoenix forward Trevor Ariza, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday, citing league sources.

Per the report, if the Suns are to part with Ariza, they desire a draft asset and a playmaking guard to pair alongside sharpshooter Devin Booker in exchange. The Lakers reportedly have reached out to other teams to help faciliate a potential three-team trade, with Los Angeles guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rumored to be a centerpiece.

The timing of the report is not a coincidence, as players who signed in summer free agency -- such as Ariza -- are not eligible to be traded until this coming Saturday.

The Warriors, of course, are extremely familiar with Ariza. He was a part of the Rockets team that pushed Golden State to the brink of elimination in the 2017 Western Conference finals. There was his run-in with Curry in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, in which he enraged the Warriors guard to a point we've rarely seen. Oh, and it was Ariza's knee that collided with Klay Thompson's head and concussed the Splash Brother in Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference finals.

Ariza, who signed a one-year, $15 million contract with Phoenix this past summer, is averaging 9.7 points per game on 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 34.8 percent from 3-point range for the last-place Suns (4-22) so far this season. Those are modest numbers for the 15-year veteran, but based on the record of his previous team -- Houston is 11-14, second-worst in the West -- it's clear his presence has been missed. 

[RELATED: Why Draymond Green is the unique fizz that makes the Warriors sparkle]

Ariza's track record over 102 career postseason games would be attractive to any team with its eyes set on contending, and the Lakers certainly qualify -- particularly so if they are successful in their pursuit of Ariza.

It hardly would be the first time a LeBron-led team added a quality veteran in the lead-up to a potential postseason matchup with the Warriors. The Cavaliers made a habit of adding veterans made available by buyout ahead of their four Finals meetings with Golden State, such as Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut. The Lakers already signed center Tyson Chandler after he was bought out by the Suns earlier in the season, and he's made an immediate impact in the middle.

As long as the Warriors have a chance to win the title ever year, they'll have plenty of veterans interested in joining them for the ride. But as long as James is at the top of his game, so will whichever team he's on.