Warriors

Kerr abandons Warriors...sort of

Kerr abandons Warriors...sort of

OAKLAND -- Steve Kerr walked out on the Warriors on Monday, taking his assistants with him. Told the players to coach themselves.

They did, and quite well, rolling to a 129-83 rout of the hapless Phoenix Suns.

Kerr could not have done a more effective job had he supervised the morning shootaround, wielded the greaseboard and sweated every play call.

“I thought it was great,” general manager Bob Myers said of Kerr’s one-game experiment. “That’s easy to say now that we won.”

Understand, though, Kerr didn’t physically leave the team. He and his staff were on the bench throughout the evening at Oracle Arena, but they limited their authority to deciding who and when to substitute.

During timeouts, Kerr generally chatted with his assistants away from the bench, leaving the players to themselves, as he had during pregame and at halftime.

“It’s their team,” he said. “That’s one of the first things you have to consider as a coach. It’s not your team. It’s not Bob Myers’ team. It’s not (CEO) Joe Lacob’s team -- although I’m not going to tell Joe that. It’s the players’ team and they have to take ownership of it.

“As coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction, guide them, but we don’t control them. They determine their own fate. And I don’t feel like we’ve focused well at all over the last month, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. And they communicated really well together and they drew up some nice plays.”

Kerr said he has no regrets, despite some blowback on social media and on the NBA TV telecast, mostly by analyst and former coach Sam Mitchell. There were those who thought this violated the unwritten rules of competition.

As in “showing up the opposition.”

Aware of that possibility, Kerr made a point of engaging Suns coach Jay Triano in a brief conversation after the game.

“I have to coach my team,” Kerr said. “I told Jay afterward, I said, ‘People may make a big deal of it but it had nothing to do with being disrespectful. It had to do with me trying to reach my team.’ I have not reached them for the last month.

“They’re tired of my voice; I’m tired of my voice. It’s been a long haul these last few years. I wasn’t reaching them. We just figured it’s probably a good night to pull a trick out of the hat and do something different.”

Despite this novel approach, there was one thing that didn’t change. The Warriors got off to another lackluster start, falling behind early and catching to take a 25-24 lead after one quarter.

Over the final three quarters, the Warriors outscored Phoenix 104-59.

Four veterans -- Andre Iguodala (who supervised the morning shootaround), David West, Stephen Curry and the inactive Draymond Green -- were responsible for most of the coaching duties, literally drawing up plays.

“It was collective effort,” Curry said. “We were just trying to stay locked in and enjoy the process of getting focused and knowing our sets, being thoughtful about what lineups are out there, what we’re trying to accomplish and execute.”

It was Curry who made the most glaring coaching gaffe of the evening, taking too long to draw up a play to open the third quarter, resulting a delay of game warning.

“I was horrible, actually,” he said. “I thought about a play and then forgot the second option and had two guys in the wrong place on the board.”

The one-game deviation, against a heavy underdog, accomplished its goal. The Warriors’ scoring output was their best since Dec. 30. They posted a season-high 16 blocks while holding the Suns to 34.7 percent shooting, the stingiest since restricting the Cavaliers to 31.8 percent in the Christmas Day.

“The players responded really well,” Kerr said. “When we’re focused, we are really tough to beat. And tonight we were focused, just having to count on each other and not hearing my voice.

“I would grade (the players) with an A in terms of their focus,” Kerr said. “And that was the whole point.”

Andre Iguodala's status upgraded prior to Game 4 vs Rockets

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AP

Andre Iguodala's status upgraded prior to Game 4 vs Rockets

OAKLAND -- Already bracing for a difficult test Tuesday night when they meet the Rockets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors may be forced to make yet another lineup change in their effort to take a commanding 3-1 lead.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus begins at 4 p.m. with Warriors Outsiders, with tipoff at Oracle Arena scheduled for 6 p.m. Pacific.

The Warriors have utilized four different starting lineups this postseason, and a fifth might be needed. It’s possible that Andre Iguodala, who has started 12 of 13 games, including the last five in a row, won’t be available.

Iguodala's status has improved, however, to questionable. He was listed as doubtful on Monday.

[RELATED: Warriors brief: Why Jordan Bell is a candidate to start in place of Andre Iguodala]

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. James Harden: They won’t be assigned to each other, but no two players are more likely to dictate the outcome of this game. Each has experienced moments both shining and forgettable. Once the Warriors established a lead in Game 3, Curry got behind the wheel and floored it, resulting in a rout. Houston needs a Harden takeover game. Is he up to it?

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L lateral leg contusion) is listed as questionable. G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries listed.

GAME OFFICIALS

Mike Callahan, Kane Fitzgerald, Derrick Stafford, Sean Wright (alternate)

THE TALLY

Game 1: Warriors 119, Rockets 106 at Houston Game 2: Rockets 127, Warriors 105 at Houston Game 3: Warriors 126, Rockets 85 at Oakland

ROAD TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS

Warriors: Defeated San Antonio in five games in the first round, defeated New Orleans in five games in the conference semifinals.

Rockets: Defeated Minnesota in five games in the first round, defeated Utah in five games in the conference semifinals.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams met three times in the regular season, with Houston posting a 122-121 win on Oct. 17 at Oakland, the Warriors taking a 124-114 victory on Jan. 4 at Houston and the Rockets prevailing, 116-108, on Jan. 20 in Houston. The Warriors have won 12 of the last 15 meetings in the regular season.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE LINEUP: If Iguodala is out, the Warriors have three viable options. Going with Kevon Looney at center seems most likely, but it’s possible Nick Young will make his third start of the postseason. The third option is Jordan Bell, who is inexperienced but the best physical matchup with Rockets big man Clint Capela.

THE START: When the Warriors went ahead late in the first quarter of Game 3, with the crowd roaring at ear-splitting levels, the Rockets cracked a little more each minute. Down nine after one quarter, they never got closer than seven after that. The second half score, 72-42, is indicative of a team that lost its resolve.

WARRIORS D: The Warriors were disciplined in Game 3, during which their defense alternated from sound to terrific. They forced 20 turnovers and limited Houston’s top three scorers to 16-of-45 shooting from the field, including 6-of-22 from beyond the arc. Similar success would practically assure a victory.

Jordan Bell receives votes for All-Rookie team

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AP

Jordan Bell receives votes for All-Rookie team

The All-Rookie teams were announced on Tuesday morning, and Jordan Bell received some love...

... but just a little.

The 38th pick in the 2017 draft got five All-Rookie Second Team votes.

From the beginning of the season though the Warriors' matchup vs the Cavs on MLK Day, Bell appeared in 37 of 45 games and made 10 starts.

[RELATED: Warriors brief: Why Jordan Bell is a candidate to start in place of Andre Iguodala]

He averaged 5.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks and 0.7 steals in 14.8 minutes per contest over that stretch.

Some of his best performances:

-Nov. 24 vs Bulls -- 7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 blocks, 2 steals
-Dec. 1 at Magic -- 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, steal
-Dec. 14 vs Mavs -- 8 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
-Dec. 22 vs Lakers -- 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, block
-Dec. 27 vs Jazz -- 5 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, steal

On Jan. 17 in Chicago, he suffered a bad left ankle sprain and missed the next 14 games.

Bell appeared in 19 of Golden State's final 22 games (2 starters), averaging 3.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.5 steals in 13.8 minutes.

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