Warriors

NBA rumors: Some Warriors question extent of James Harden's eye injury

NBA rumors: Some Warriors question extent of James Harden's eye injury

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

James Harden was poked in the eye by Draymond Green midway through the first quarter of Game 2 in the Warriors-Rockets NBA playoff second-round series.

The Rockets star went to the locker room Tuesday night and checked back in with a little over seven minutes remaining in the second quarter. His eyes were extremely red, and he looked quite uncomfortable at times.

Is the pain still present?

"It's still there. It's still tough, especially with the bright lights," Harden told reporters after practice Thursday. "But I can see out of it a little bit better, so that's all that matters."

Is he good to go for Saturday's Game 3 in Houston?

"If I played barely seeing last game, what makes you think I'm gonna sit out?" the 2018 NBA MVP answered. "When you got blurry vision and you can't see, it's really difficult.

"But, there's still no excuses."

Hmmmmmm. No excuses, huh?

Before exiting the game, Harden didn't score and was 0-of-3 shooting from the field. After returning, he scored 29 points and shot 9 of 16 overall.

"There are a few players in the [Warriors] locker room that aren't buying the whole James Harden's eye being extremely hurt," Yahoo's Chris Haynes recently said. "They were talking about some of the shots he was shooting during the game and then he gets to the free throw line and is squinting like he can't see."

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As if this rivalry needed any more fuel. With the Rockets down 2-0 in the series, Houston needs a monster Game 3 from Harden. 

Saturday night should be a lot of fun!

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Steve Kerr's patience thinning, but Warriors see no real alternatives

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Steve Kerr's patience thinning, but Warriors see no real alternatives

LOS ANGELES – Steve Kerr spent a few minutes before tipoff Wednesday night musing about his predicament, which has transformed him into a coach Jordan Bell and Damian Jones, to name two former Warriors, would not recognize.

A coach with no choice but to tolerate the messes made by a roster heavy on youth and thinned by a slew of injuries.

“We’ve had anywhere from eight to 10 guys available each night,” Kerr said before a 120-94 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “There are nights where I would love to take someone out based on a mistake they made. But I can’t take them out.

“We don’t have that hammer, as a coaching staff, to be able to reward guys with playing time or penalize them by taking playing time away.”

So, the mistakes keep coming, with no real consequences for those who make them.

“We’ve already improved some,” Draymond Green said after the game. “But we’ve got a long way to go. A long way to go.”

The Warriors conducted defensive drills during their morning shootaround – something they haven’t done since 2014-15 – because the coaching staff feels a need to emphasize and reemphasize points that might keep them from remaining the worst defensive team in the NBA.

“It’s crazy,” Green said of the morning session. “It’s interesting. It’s different. But you’ve got to teach. The thing about the NBA is you don’t have a ton of practices. So, you have to kind of teach on the fly. I get it.”

Being spanked by a potent Lakers team won’t help their horrid numbers and will only provide more video to study in hopes of learning. LA shot 53.9 percent from the field, including 45 percent from beyond the arc. In the first half, when the game was being decided, those numbers were 63 percent and 50 percent.

“Defensively, we never really had any traction,” Kerr said afterward. “We had some spells where we made some good things happen offensively, maybe got a stop or two. But every time it felt like we were right there, we just couldn’t get a stop.

“It’s almost impossible to win in this league when you can’t count on getting three stops in a row at some point.”

These standards, set by the great Warriors teams of recent seasons, are new and daunting for rookies Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall, who previously would have been in sit-and-learn mode this season. In addition, the veterans new to the Warriors – Alec Burks, Willie Cauley-Stein, Glenn Robinson III and D’Angelo Russell – are having their own difficulties.

There is no choice but to live with the turnovers (Russell had five), the late defensive rotations and offensive sequences destined for segments on Shaqtin’ A Fool.

The Warriors are, in short, "Mistakes R Us."

Green and the veteran coaches who over the last five seasons prodded and pushed in pursuit of perfection can only watch and sigh. And contain the frustrations while waiting for lessons to be absorbed.

Bell and Jones are gone largely because they came into circumstances wherein there was very low tolerance for errors, particularly mental errors. They were kids among champions, new to a franchise chasing history, and simply were unable to approach the ultra-high standards set by such players as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – as well as regal veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

So, when a youngster made a mistake in a game, Kerr was quick to summon a vet. He was coaching for wins, not growth. That was for practice.

Now, the focus is on growth with the faint hope it might lead to some victories. The Warriors are 2-10, with one proven scorer, Russell, and little reason to believe they can produce a startling turnaround.

“It’s understandable that we’re taking some licks, given the state of our team right now,” Kerr said. “But we have to learn from our mistakes. We’ve got to get better from game to game, especially defensively. It has to come.

“Not seeing it right now.”

[RELATED: What we learned as Warriors losing streak hits five games]

It’s not visible. It’s not there. It should get better, simply because the labor is not being questioned.

Until then, there is nothing that can be done by Kerr or Green or any of the coaches, all accustomed to repairing strategic issues in a matter of minutes, and penalizing those who couldn’t keep up.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 120-94 blowout loss vs. Lakers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- The Warriors' descent to the bottom of the league standings has been a sight to see through the first month of the season. 

On Wednesday, they added to the futility, losing to the Lakers 120-94, dropping their fifth straight contest. 

The loss marked Golden State's first five-game losing streak under coach Steve Kerr and snapped a three-game regular-season winning streak over Los Angeles. 

LeBron James made easy work of the Dubs' putrid defense, scoring a game-high 23 points to go with 12 assists, while former Warrior JaVale McGee finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. 

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Defensive doldrums

Warriors Insider Monte Poole did the honors of providing Golden State's woeful defensive stats, so I'll spare you the trouble. Nonetheless, the Warriors continued their season-long defensive struggle, allowing the Lakers to use this game as a cardio exercise. 

Playing against a battered squad, the Lakers pounced early, shooting 69 percent in the first quarter, including five 3-pointers. LeBron James scored 19 first-half points, adding six rebounds as the Lakers scored 64 points in the paint. 

Kerr has lamented his team's defense for most of the season, but Wednesday's performance tapped into what frustrates him the most: a total lack of effort. Under the current circumstances, the Warriors' lack of depth will assure that they'll lose most nights, but that doesn't mean they have to go down without a fight.  

Rebounds anyone?

Coinciding with Golden State's defensive woes was its inability to attack the glass, getting outrebounded 51-33 on the night. By the end of the evening, no player even cracked double digits in the category. 

Entering Wednesday, the Warriors were near the bottom of the league in rebounding, averaging just over 40 boards per game. With a frontline depth chart that included JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, Los Angeles had the size to overwhelm Golden State's small frontline. 

But rebounding is about desire and as the Warriors showed Wednesday, they had very little of it. 

[RELATED: Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't exist]

D'Angelo Russell shines 

In what has become a trend in recent weeks, D'Angelo Russell had a solid offensive night Wednesday, scoring 21 points to go with eight assists. 

Entering Wednesday, he was averaging 26.3 points and 6.5 assists per game, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. Offense has never been an issue for Russell, and with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry out, he'll have full rein of the offense and should flourish. 

Moving forward, he'll need to put the same amount of effort on the defensive end for the Warriors to have a slight chance most nights.