Warriors

Shaun Livingston symbolizes how Warriors hope to make grind feel fresh

livingstonusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Shaun Livingston symbolizes how Warriors hope to make grind feel fresh

OAKLAND -- Shaun Livingston is a healthy reflection of the Warriors’ new approach to an old problem -- how to keep the grind from becoming the grind, how to put the kick back in kicking tail, and how to make tomorrow more bearable today.
 
Or, to quote Stephen Curry, how to make the last year in the old digs “a dope story right here in Oakland.” 
 
“I think for all of us, the trick is in staying in the moment,” Livingston said Monday at Warriors Media Day. “Anything can happen, and we want to enjoy this window were in. We all have personal journeys we’re in. But how many teams go to the [NBA] Finals four straight years? It. Doesn’t. Happen. It’s important that people who are able to can get that message across.”
 
The sanctioned message a year ago from Warriors coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers was that the hill only gets steeper, and it did. The Warriors still won their NBA championship, but it was less joyful on a daily basis, less consistently fun.
 
So, this year the theme has shifted from how hard this is supposed to be to how much fun it’s supposed to be.
 
“Last year, we talked about how hard repeating was,” Myers said. “We’re going to try and move off that narrative this time. We’re going to try and enjoy it, all of it. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens.”
 
Added Kerr: “There's no formula for this stuff. You just try to feel it as a coach. I'm usually pretty frank with you guys, with the players. So I didn't want to come in last year and sugarcoat it and say this is all going to be real easy. I knew exactly what they were facing, having gone through a similar experience as a player.

“I thought last year we made it through. It was a grind, and we won. And I think we should look at that as its own experience and this year as a brand new one. And there's no doubt if we can get back to the Finals and it's another nine-month haul, we're going to have some bumps in the road, and it's not going to be easy. But I do think there should be a slightly different theme this year.”
 
Good call, that.
 
“It was the toughest thing I've ever been through in my life,” Draymond Green said about the quest for the third ring. “Just last season, like I said the Houston series was so tough and even the Finals, everybody like you want it easy because you swept. That wasn't easy. It's like it's not easy to sweep with a team that makes it to the NBA Finals -- by far one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life is winning that championship last year, and afterwards, I didn't want nothing to do with it. I didn't want to think about the basketball, didn't want to think about the run, none of that. Didn't want to see the trophy. We get the opportunity to take the trophy back home or wherever you want to go. I wanted no parts of it.

"It was so tough that I really needed to decompress from that and just get away from it for a while. It wasn't something that I really wanted to think about.”
 
But having the third championship in the rearview mirrow, the Warriors want the fourth not to be such an all-flaming chore.
 
“We are playing with some house money,” Kerr said. “We won three of the last four championships. Our place in the history of the league is pretty secure.”
 
All that is true, but there also is the spectre of this part of the show possibly ending.
 
“I don't think our guys should feel a ton of pressure,” Kerr said. “I think they should feel the importance of trying to do it again, because this may be the last time we have this current iteration of the Warriors, just given all the free agents and the money crunch and everything else. So we don't know what's going to happen. So why not just go all out and enjoy every step of the way?”
 
Livingston might be one of those changes, as his current contract expires this June and there migjht not be another, or the one that does materialize might be with another team. And he is not alone, as the contracts for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant loom like Thanos on the horizon.
 
“We all have personal journeys that we've been through that are different than other guys,” he said, “but being in this moment, how many teams go to the Finals four straight times in a row? It just doesn't happen, you know? And so with the savvy group of guys, Steve, Bob, guys that are able to get that message across to us, you know, and also the fact that we're going to have a better preseason schedule this year I think is going to help us. It felt [last year] like we came back from China, and it was like, game 30. That was rough.”
 
There is no China this time. There is only the season at hand. With that as the guide, Kerr and the players have met and decided to focus less on lifting the piano up the stairs, and more on the view when the piano is in the front room. It is the latest way of redefining a season for players and coaches who are not merely linear thinkers.
 
It is the challenge of making the challenge seem less challenging and more dope.

Sources: Warriors' Steph Curry has surgery to remove pins from hand

Sources: Warriors' Steph Curry has surgery to remove pins from hand

The second surgery Steph Curry knew he needed on his broken left hand has happened.

Curry had surgery Friday to remove the pins that had been inserted in his hand, NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock confirmed through league sources.

The Athletic's Shams Charania was first to report news of Curry's surgery.

This procedure doesn't come as a surprise. Curry told the media on Nov. 11 that he would need a second surgery at some point in December, and last Friday, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that the surgery would happen within a week or two.

Curry is still on track to be re-evaluated Feb. 1.

The two-time MVP suffered the injury against the Suns on Oct. 30. In 19 games without Curry, the Warriors are 3-16.

[RELATED: Steph knows Warriors' pain can be worse]

Missing at least four months has been tough on Curry, as he told Poole last Friday.

“It’s just hardest on your competitive spirit,” Curry said. “When you get around basketball and get around the locker room with the guys, that’s the part I miss the most. And I love to play.

“Three months is -- and I’d only played three-and-a-half games -- just weird. It’s unfamiliar territory. I’m enjoying the downtime, because it was unheard of, in my experience, in the middle of a season. It’s just weird.”

Warriors vs. Bulls watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

warriorswatchguideusa.jpg
USATSI

Warriors vs. Bulls watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

Wins have been hard to come by for the transitional Warriors this season. But a stop in Chicago to close out the road trip could change their fortunes. 

The matchup comes at a particularly perilous time for the Warriors, who have lost the last four games by an average of just over 15 points. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports begins at 4:00 p.m. PT, with tipoff scheduled for 5:00 p.m. from the United Center.

[RELATED: Watch Warriors-Bulls right here]

While losses have come at a high rate for the Warriors recently, they beat the Bulls handily last month with Stephen Curry and D'Angelo Russell out of the lineup. With Russell back from a hand injury, a season sweep of Chicago remains in play. 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors
F Eric Paschall
F Draymond Green
C Willie Cauley-Stein
G Glenn Robinson III
G D'Angelo Russell

Bulls
C Wendell Carter Jr.
F Lauri Markkanen
F Kris Dunn
G Zach LaVine
G Tomas Satoransky

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: Stephen Curry (Left-hand fracture), Jacob Evans (Left adductor strain), Damion Lee (Fractured right hand), Alen Smailagic (G-League Assignment), Klay Thompson (Left knee rehabilitation) are out. D'Angelo Russell (Left finger sprain) is probable. 

Bulls: Cristiano Felicio (Right wrist fracture), Chandler Hutchison (Right shoulder sprain), Adam Mokoka (G-League two-way), Otto Porter, Jr. (Left foot, bone bruise), Max Strus (G-League two-way), Thaddeus Young (personal reason) is out.  

ROTATION

Warriors: Russell returned to the lineup Wednesday, scoring a team-high 18 points, two rebounds and two assists in a loss to Charlotte ... The Warriors have used 12 different starting lineups through 23 games, and have lost their last four games by a combined 61 points ... Golden State enters Friday's matchup with the league's worst defense, giving up more than 114.7 points per game ... However, rookie forward Eric Paschall continues to shine, averaging 18.7 points per game over his last 12 outings.

Bulls: Despite controversy between its head coach and players, Chicago has won two straight games ... Guard Zach Lavine has been fantastic, averaging 22.5 points, four rebounds, and 3.9 assists, including a game-winning shot against Charlotte last month ... The Bulls defense leads the NBA in forcing 18.3 turnovers per game. 

Officials: Eric Lewis (Crew Chief), Gediminas Petraitis, Lauren Holtkamp