Omari Spellman criticizes Warriors' effort after eighth straight loss

Omari Spellman criticizes Warriors' effort after eighth straight loss

If something is on Omari Spellman's mind, it typically will come out of his mouth.

Such was the case after the Warriors' 122-102 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

The Warriors were outrebounded, outhustled and thoroughly outplayed in Memphis, leading to the big man's latest rant.

"No intensity, no nothing. We're just out there running," Spellman told reporters at FedEx Forum. "That's it. And them being NBA basketball players, they hit us over the head. That's all I have."

Spellman's words have merit. In 48 minutes, the Warriors were outrebounded 60-47, including a 18-12 disadvantage on the offensive glass. Worse, despite making 50 percent of their 3-pointers, the Warriors committed 22 turnovers, as Memphis outscored Golden State's bench 47-32.

The Warriors' woes culminated in a miserable third quarter, when the Grizzlies increased their one-point halftime lead to a 95-76 advantage heading into the fourth.

Coinciding with the Warriors' troubles was the performance of Grizzlies big man Jonas Valanciunas, who finished with 31 points and 19 rebounds, bullying Golden State's frontcourt along the way. Nearly three minutes into the second quarter, he secured a rebound over Warriors rookie Alen Smailagic, took a dribble, then drove his shoulder into the 19-year-old, before making a layup as the Golden State big man fell back toward Memphis' bench.

Thirty seconds later, Valanciunas got the ball on the post against the Serbian, took another jab step and made a jump shot. By the end of the night, the Grizzlies center made 13 of his 17 attempts, asserting his dominance along the way.

"He seemed to be dominating no matter who is out there," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "He's a big, strong guy, he's an old-school center. He can also step out and make a three."

Spellman had a more direct reason for Golden State's frontcourt demise.

"We didn't play hard," he said. "So yeah, he's just taller than us. When you're not playing hard and just standing there, that happens."

The Warriors' latest performance coincides with Spellman's abrupt descent. Two days after making his first start of the season, he shot just 3 of 7 from the field and grabbed just four rebounds, much to the forward's chagrin.

"I had two fouls. I turned the ball over," Spellman said. "I don't think I capitalized on the opportunity at all tonight."

Sunday's loss was just the latest Warriors collapse. After leading the Clippers by 10 points Friday, LA outscored Golden State 36-17 over the final 12 minutes. Now, after his team's eighth consecutive loss, Spellman said the Warriors' difficulties extend to more than just on-court play.

"The aura in that locker room right now wasn't the greatest," Spellman said. "We got to find a way to get that back. Once we do, I think we'll be fine."

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Spellman's words come at a particular time of peril for the Warriors. Without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the lineup, the team has descended to the bottom of the Western Conference, on track to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2012, putting this iteration of the Warriors in a new territory.

"It's been a tough first half of the season," Kerr said. "But there's a lot to play for. We're playing for our future. Individually and collectively, so guys understand that, and we've got to try and find some footing here as we enter the second half of the season and try to get some momentum."

NBA rumors: Ex-Warrior Quinn Cook changing number to honor Kobe Bryant

NBA rumors: Ex-Warrior Quinn Cook changing number to honor Kobe Bryant

Quinn Cook grew up in the Washington D.C. area worshipping the Los Angeles Lakers.

He loved Kobe Bryant.

So it's not a surprise that the former Warriors guard -- who signed a two-year contract with the Lakers last summer -- is honoring the NBA legend:

Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were two of nine people who tragically died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash.

[RELATED: Why Kobe's death made Perkins want to end beef with Durant]

Cook and the rest of the basketball world will help ensure that their legacies live on forever.

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How Kobe Bryant's sudden death is first of its kind in wireless world

How Kobe Bryant's sudden death is first of its kind in wireless world

Most of us with an early love of sport were drawn to a particular athlete who touched us and became our first favorite. For me, that was Roberto Clemente.

Baseball was my first sports passion, inherited from my mother, who told stories of her youth in Louisiana, where several relatives were good enough to play in the Negro Leagues -- the only one available to them -- and make a buck while entertaining locals.

Growing up in Oakland, baseball meant choosing between the Giants and the A’s. I liked both, really, with a slight edge to the A’s. No one on either team captured my attention as Clemente did, even though he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2,500 miles away.

He captured my attention with his style and performance, and he maintained it with his intensity, which burned through the TV screen. He was fierce and clutch. Playing the game as if obsessed with getting all he could from it before it was taken away, he left no room to question how much it meant to him.

I pleaded for and received a Clemente bat, with the distinctive thick handle, and tried imitating his violent swing. I wanted a Clemente glove, which I did not get. Through it all, I read every page of every newspaper article or book that I could find. I still remember one sportswriter’s description of Clemente’s skin as “so tight it barely fits.”

So, when the news came on Dec. 31, 1972 that Clemente had been on a plane that dived into the Atlantic Ocean and was lost at sea, my naïve mind somehow imagined he could survive. That he would swim ashore. Not until a few days later, when reality set in, did I weep, along with all of baseball.

I later learned a few things. One, that Puerto Rico, as a nation, went from frantic to distraught. That day after day, for weeks, people would line up along shore to watch scuba divers scour the ocean. That one of Clemente’s teammates, catcher Manny Sanguillen was so hysterical that for three days he insisted on joining recovery efforts that never recovered Clemente’s remains.

I also learned that Clemente had, over a period of years, told numerous people he would die young. He was 38.

There was Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady on Monday, trying and failing to suppress his sobbing, saying Kobe Bryant had talked of dying young. He wanted to be immortalized.

Kobe was 41.

Died in an air disaster.

Was there ever any room to wonder how much competing meant to Kobe?

But 47 years later, the world is much different. Technology has made it a much closer place. Whereas Clemente’s sudden death hit specific areas exceedingly hard, Kobe’s death is the first of a superstar athlete dying, while still vibrant, in our wireless world.

It is that component that makes the sadness so massive. It is Day 4 and we still are reeling. All of us, to varying degrees. Businesses unaffiliated with sports are sending emails to employees notifying them of Kobe Remembrance days.

Have we ever seen so many men, from so many walks of life, shedding tears? Droplets streaming down the face of 7-foot-1, 350-pound Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe’s teammate with the Lakers for eight seasons. Jerry West, a certified legend and the man who ensured Kobe would be a Laker, blubbering “I don’t know if I can get over this.”

Players, coaches and fans wiping tears, a lump in every throat. Every pocket of the planet is shaken, every continent grieving. Never have so many sneakers been scribbled on, so many No. 8s and No. 24s gracing jerseys across so many sports. So many moments of silence in so many gyms. Kobe jerseys are being worn in China, in Europe, in Brazil, in Canada, even in Boston and Sacramento. Probably in Russia and certainly in Italy.

Nike, the largest athletic wear company on earth, has been raided of its Kobe apparel. All out. Orders must wait.

Kobe was known to billions. And the first favorite for millions.

The games go on, as Kobe would have demanded. The Warriors and 76ers played Tuesday night in Philadelphia, a few miles from where he was born.

Joel Embiid, who normally wears No. 21, asked permission to wear No. 24, which is retired as the number worn by Sixers legend Bobby Jones. Jones gave his OK. Embiid, who had not played in three weeks, scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Those numbers. Again.

“That was cool,” Embiid told reporters in Philadelphia. “I didn’t know it was actually 24 points as I shot that fadeaway. That was what he was about. I actually yelled, ‘Kobe!’ A lot of us, since I started playing basketball, that’s how we’ve always done it. You shoot something in the trash and you just go ‘Kobe!’ so that was cool.”

The shock is fading ever so slightly, giving way to heartfelt remembrances and testimonials, a futile effort to breathe life into a perished legend.

“A few days out, we’re able to reflect a little bit and think about Kobe’s career and his life,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

“The reality that Kobe has passed gets a little bit more, for me, real,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “It’s final and the impact that he has had on our game ... really, it’s been interesting for me to see the connection that the basketball fraternity has, in an incredibly sad way, been forced to make. Everybody reaches out and there is a connection that you feel as a basketball world.

"It’s deeper than the NBA.”

[RELATED: Dubs' first game after Kobe's death doesn't ease pain]

Thousands continue to wander, at all hours, the area of downtown Los Angeles near Staples Center. They’re bringing flowers. They’re writing messages. They’re hugging. They’re crying. They’re staring at images of Kobe.

Los Angeles and the world in January 2020 are aching, just as my little corner of Oakland, along with all of Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico, were in January 1973.