Warriors

Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins have some fun back-and-forth passing

Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins have some fun back-and-forth passing

You take it!

No, YOU take it!

That was me pretending I've played professional basketball in a scenario where my teammate trusted me to take the shot. That's not reality.

What was reality Friday during the Warriors' 122-105 win over the Nuggets was DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant being unable to decide who had a more open shot.

At first, Boogie passed it to KD -- who then passed it back to Boogie -- who then again passed it to KD. Then he took the shot.

Yeah, it's a lot to take in, but there is not one but two ways to watch it in this post.

You're welcome. 

Blazers reportedly add Carmelo Anthony after Warriors, Kings losses

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USATSI

Blazers reportedly add Carmelo Anthony after Warriors, Kings losses

The confetti rained down as the crowd roared.

Over the past five years, such jubilant celebration for the Warriors was often reserved for playoff series victories and NBA championships.

On this night back in early November, however, Golden State showered its customers with party streamers to celebrate the team’s first regular-season win at Chase Center.

The Warriors soundly defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 127-118, featuring a lineup devoid of stars D’Angelo Russell, Draymond Green, and Steph Curry, all of whom were sidelined with injuries.

Portland, at full-strength going into the game, became the laughingstock of NBA Twitter for the next 48 hours.

It hasn’t gotten better for Portland since, as the Blazers have lost four of their last five games, including another head-scratching loss to the Kings on Tuesday.

Abraham Lincoln once said “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

For Portland’s general manager Neil Olshey, that knot reportedly comes in the form of 10-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony hasn’t played in an NBA game since November of 2018, back when he had a 10-game run with the Houston Rockets to begin last season before the team parted ways with Melo on Nov. 15.

The Trail Blazers are in desperation mode, standing 4-8 in an unquestionably loaded Western Conference and now are dealing with the loss of up-and-coming power forward Zach Collins for multiple months with a shoulder injury.

All those empty gym Instagram workouts seem to have finally paid off for Anthony, whose role and impact remains to be seen with a team that was just four wins away from the NBA Finals in 2018.

While his scoring acumen is unquestioned, his defensive ability -- especially after a full year away from the NBA -- might hurt a team already featuring several liabilities on that end of the court more than it helps.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: How die-hard Warriors fans can stay optimistic]

However, this likely will be a short-term experiment if Melo doesn’t make a discernible impact immediately. Dec. 15 marks the first day teams can trade players signed during the summer free agency period, so Portland can pursue help on the wing through that avenue if Anthony, whose contract is non-guaranteed, doesn’t produce as advertised.

How die-hard Warriors fans can stay optimistic during trying season

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NBC Sports Bay Area

How die-hard Warriors fans can stay optimistic during trying 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

The Celtics are in town, bringing an NBA-best 9-1 record to Chase Center. Three players will be out with broken hands: Steph Curry, Damion Lee, and Boston forward Gordon Hayward, who is expected to be out for six weeks out after undergoing surgery. 

Every team deals with injuries over the course of a season. Some teams get bit, others get shark-attacked. It feels like Jaws chomped off half the Dubs roster. Only four Warriors have been healthy for every game this season: Glenn Robinson III, Marquese Chriss, Jordan Poole, and Ky Bowman. 

The season marches on. There is no pity from competitors. When no one cares about your hardship, you can only turn inward for strength. The Warriors must play with purpose.

Game on!

@Nas_Isms #askKerith besides the awful start to the season and Steph injury, what questions should we be asking and why should die hard fans remain optimistic? Asking for a friend ....

Young players are getting big minutes. That’s important to their development. I was thinking about Jordan Bell when I saw him in Minnesota. If he were on this team, this season, I wonder what his growth would have been like. 

The Warriors are 2-10. The expectations are different this season, which means they can play and make mistakes and watch film and repeat. They always are building chemistry. And when the wins aren’t coming, players learn the tough lesson that outside voices can be mean. They learn to tune out the voices that don’t matter and rely on each other. Those bonds will pay off.

I truly believe the losses this season will add up to a mentally stronger, been-through-the-fire confidence, coupled with invaluable experience on the floor. The best learning comes from doing.

This organization also is a sound place to play. I don’t know that the attitudes would be as positive if the structure in place to weather a down year wasn’t solid. Top to bottom, the Warriors have good leaders and a long-term vision. I hope die-hard fans are seeing the big picture too. 

@em_nera What is the atmosphere around the locker room ? We had some "encouraging" losses so hopefully the guys are holding their heads up.

Film study helps. When a player sees examples of a good sequence, or a good move they’ve been working on, it clicks. Measuring progress is important.

Film study also illuminates weak spots. This is going to be a year of study. The guys understand that. 

Steve Kerr has been talking about the realities of the season AND the need to play their best every night to close out some of these games. Yes, the Warriors are frequently outmanned and outmatched, but how much will they allow that to be a crutch? Protect the ball, rebound, take smart shots. These are all things they can control no matter who is on the floor. 

From what I see, the players still have their heads up. No one likes to lose. They have fight. You’re right that there have been enough encouraging moments to keep the right attitude and press on. 

@ClarissaSchreed #askKerith If the Warriors are unfortunate enough to lose more players to injury, do at some point they have to forfeit games?

I heard Bob Fitzgerald mention this on the broadcast: Teams need 8 active players to begin a game, and they must finish the game with at least 5 players. 

@Jwonder64 I would like to know why they got rid of Alfonso McKinney and Quinn Cook
@JoannaB27032700 Me too 

The Warriors didn’t get rid of anyone like these guys were trash to the curb. Alfonzo’s story was unfortunate circumstance, and Quinn Cook was a free agent. 

Alfonzo went into this season believing he could be a starter since Klay Thompson was injured. Then, during the course of the preseason, injuries to Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein put the Warriors in a tough spot where they needed size. They waived Alfonzo, who had a non-guaranteed contract, to sign Marquese Chriss. There are more details here. Alfonzo landed with the Cavaliers.

Quinn had an offer from the Warriors, but they rescinded that offer for financial reasons when the D’Angelo-for-KD deal went down. Now Quinn plays for the Lakers, his favorite team as a child

@Jon_in_SoCal Draymond is such a smart player. Is there a chance he would go back to Michigan State and coach?

Draymond has the aptitude to do whatever he wants in basketball, and Draymond The Coach is a cool idea. He’s already a coach on the floor. I also think the degree of teaching he’s doing this season and the patience it requires would be something he could draw upon in the future. This is all very hypothetical right now, but if an alumnus with Draymond’s pedigree were interested in the job, I bet MSU would hire him immediately. 

I’ll keep this question in mind when Draymond goes to MSU for his jersey retirement ceremony in January. When he’s back with his Spartan family, I bet he’ll have a soft spot for wandering down this avenue in his mind. 

Draymond is so successful, any avenue could be his: Coach, front office, broadcaster, businessman. He’s earned whatever he wants next. 

@3athalete Curious in your take on last season vs this season with travel, fans, media frenzy or lack thereof.

Steph’s warm-up routine used to be must-see-TV. It’s not a stretch to say thousands of fans got to games early for a glimpse of the show. This season there is a noticeable difference. Where is everyone?

Warriors fans are still showing up, but it’s a smaller crowd. That’s expected when Steph’s not traveling. When kids wait in the lobby at the team hotel, it’s sad to see their faces when it dawns on them Steph, Klay and others are not there. 

On the flip side, the fans who come to warm-ups or hang out for autographs know everyone by name. There’s less of a frenzy but the ones who remain are true. 

As I mentioned in the last mailbag, the dip in national media covering the Warriors means the regular beat folks can get more one-on-one time with the players. Expect some great stories this season. 

@slowdowwn Hey @KerithBurke what is that block that some of the players put on their chair when they are on the bench? And what is it for? Are there health benefits to it? #AskKerith

The block is a thick foam cushion to make sitting more comfortable. The seats on the bench are folding chairs with a little padding, but when have folding chairs been nice to sit on for an extended period of time? Never!

The blocks help the players sit in a more natural position. I remember when Kevin Durant would sit without a block, his knees would be up to his elbows. There are some therapeutic benefits to sitting higher. 

High Five

Thanks to Eric Paschall for coming on our Warriors Insider podcast, which you can find here or the usual places, like Apple and Spotify. It was a long talk, and I feel thankful we got to know him better. He’s a confident person. 

The first podcast episodes Logan Murdock and I did with Kelenna Azubuike and Paschall were under the Warriors Insider banner, but we have a new name coming out and our own direction to go. Stay tuned!

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