Warriors

Steve Kerr shares Warriors' plan for rookie Alen Smailagic this season

Steve Kerr shares Warriors' plan for rookie Alen Smailagic this season

Warriors rookie Alen Smailagic had big nights offensively in his last two games in the G League for the Santa Cruz Warriors:

-Sunday at the Northern Arizona Suns: 25 points (9-for-16 FG, 5-for-7 3s)
-Tuesday at the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario: Career-high 29 points (12-for-18 FG, 5-for-9 3s)

After shootaround Wednesday morning in Portland, Warriors coach Steve Kerr talked about the 19-year-old's development.

"Smiley is getting in better shape, better condition," Kerr told reporters. "You can see it. He's moving better, he's knocking down the 3-point shot, gaining confidence. It's good to see him finding his groove."

So, when can Warriors fans expect to see the No. 39 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft suit up for Golden State?

"It's too hard to say," Kerr said. "We want him to play as much as possible in Santa Cruz. This year really is about continuing his development. He's 19. If you look at our roster here, we're overloaded at center. So it's not like if we brought him up, he would play a ton.

"We'll bring him up at some point for sure, and get him out on the floor. But the bulk of the season will be about him playing big minutes in Santa Cruz. That's the best way for him to develop."

When Kerr says "out on the floor," does he mean during practices or games?

[RELATED: Why LeBron went to see Steph play in 2008 NCAA Tournament]

"He will 100 percent find his way onto the floor in a game, or multiple games," Kerr clarified. "We just don't know when that's going to be. But watching him last night, it looks to me like he's broken through conditioning wise after missing all of training camp."

The Serbian big man sprained his ankle on Oct. 2, and didn't make his debut with the Sea Dubs until Nov. 29.

Smailagic next will be in action Friday at 12:00 p.m. in Las Vegas when Santa Cruz faces Raptors 905.

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Watch Steph Curry FaceTime brave coronavirus nurse wearing his jersey

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USATSI

Watch Steph Curry FaceTime brave coronavirus nurse wearing his jersey

An Oakland nurse turns to her beloved Steph Curry jersey for strength and inspiration while caring for patients affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Curry himself gave her some more personally over FaceTime on Tuesday.

The Warriors star called Shelby Delaney, an ICU nurse at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, and thanked her and her colleagues for their tireless work ahead of their Tuesday night shift.

“I love it,” Curry said in a video posted on Delaney’s Facebook page (via Bay Area News Group). “I can’t thank God enough for what you’re doing and just the sacrifice, the selflessness and the way everybody’s coming together. Thank you so much for what you do, your heart and the inspiration you provide for everybody.”

Coronavirus patients began being admitted to Alta Bates last month, and Bay Area News Group’s Julia Prodis Sulek reported Wednesday that Delaney was one of the first nurses to volunteer to care for them. Loved ones can’t visit affected patients in order to limit the virus’ spread, but Delaney stands by her their side and offers reassurance.

Delaney revealed last week in a Facebook post that she wore her Curry jersey under her scrubs on a day she “felt powerless and defeated … [needing] to summon her inner Warrior.” She instructed how people could help nurses like her in the fight against the coronavirus, employing the Warriors’ “Strength in Numbers” mantra.

Her post prompted Bay Area News Group to reach out to the Warriors, and Prodis Sulek wrote that Curry wanted to personally reach out to Delaney and her colleagues.

“I wanted to thank you for how much you inspired me,” she said (via Bay Area News Group), “especially when I first started my job here, it’s a really steep learning curve, you have two people that you’re trying to make sure they don’t die on shift, and a lot of tough stuff going on with family.

“There were times I wanted to quit, give up. … That’s when I started wearing the jersey. That was like, just my way of kind of gathering my strength, reminding myself I’ve got this.”

[RELATED: Dubs' Myers uses sports analogy for coronavirus optimism]

Curry has long been Delaney’s favorite player, and Prodis Sulek reported Delaney owns 10 Curry jerseys. Delaney’s first date with her husband was at a Warriors game at Oracle Arena, and the two had a Warriors-themed wedding last summer.

Delaney changed into a pair of Under Armour’s Curry 4 sneakers when it was time to hit the dance floor on her wedding night, and she was wearing Curry 6s on Tuesday.

“I appreciate that,” Curry said. “What we do is fun and all that, but more people need to know about what goes on in your world … especially in a pandemic like this, so thank you to you, the whole staff, everybody.

“We are praying for you, thinking about you guys. I wanted to just thank you personally for sharing your story.”

How Warriors' Steph Curry vanquished his 'stopper' in 2015 NBA Finals

How Warriors' Steph Curry vanquished his 'stopper' in 2015 NBA Finals

For a couple days in June 2015, Matthew Dellavedova’s game was a prominent storyline in the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry made sure it didn’t last.

Dellavedova spent most of that season as a Cavaliers reserve. That changed after the Warriors won Game 1 of The Finals. Cleveland coach David Blatt elevated the second-year guard into the starting lineup for Game 2 with a very specific assignment: Contain Curry, by any means necessary.

The former Saint Mary’s College star responded with 42 minutes of wrestling and grabbing and shoving and bumping Curry, who finished with 19 points, on 5-of-23 shooting from the field, including 2-of-15 from deep.

“Steph Stopper.” That was Delly. The Cavaliers won Game 2 in Oakland and took Game 3 in Cleveland, backing the Warriors into a corner and prompting them to make a significant lineup change of their own.

They replaced 7-foot center Andrew Bogut with 6-foot-7 Andre Iguodala, moving 6-foot-7 Draymond Green to center. They were going small. That was the decisive tactical adjustment that tilted the series toward the Warriors.

Curry, though, had his own move to make. After putting in 22 points as the Warriors rolled to a 21-point victory in Game 4, tying the series at 2-2, it was time to come home for Game 5 -- which NBC Sports Bay Area will re-air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. -- and kill a flawed narrative.

Curry, you see, wasn’t satisfied. He was the league MVP. The Warriors were 39-2 at Oracle Arena and not about to lose and go down 3-2. Dellavedova was in trouble.

Curry carried the team with 37 points, including a dazzling 17-point fourth quarter, to lift the Warriors to a 104-91 victory that gave them a 3-2 series lead.

"Not a lot you can do, honestly,” Blatt said in admiration. “He made some terrific shots."

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With Curry burying, once and forever, the spurious notion of Delly being the “Steph Stopper,” the Cavs went back to Cleveland without legitimate answers to the problems posed by the Warriors’ small lineup in general and by Curry in particular.

To understand the impact Curry had in Game 5, the other four Warriors in the starting lineup -- Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Iguodala and Green -- combined for 50 points on 41 shots.

Curry’s 37 points came on 15-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-13 beyond the arc. No matter how scrappy Dellavedova was, Curry consistently found a way to abuse him. Whether it was nasty crossovers, wicked step-backs or coming off screens, the MVP sent a message that the mere idea of a “Steph Stopper” is pure folly.

"Falling, step-backs off the dribble. I'm OK with that. We're OK with that,” LeBron James said. “You tip your hat to the best shooter in the league."

Curry read the situation and knew it was time for a convincing reply to Dellavedova and the Cavaliers. He knew that even the slightest hint of being neutralized would make the Warriors vulnerable. So, he tortured Delly.

“Those are plays I’ve been making all year,” he said. “And moves I’m confident in.”

The Cavs kept the game tight, taking an 80-79 advantage on a James 3-pointer with 7:47 to play. Curry answered with a triple, giving the Warriors a two-point lead they never relinquished -- mostly because he scored 12 points in the final 3:10.

"We didn't turn it over, we were patient," Thompson said. "And two words: Stephen Curry."

[RELATED: GOAT stuff: Steph, Sabrina hoop while social distancing]

It was Curry driving the Game 5 triumph and pushing the Warriors to the brink of their first championship in 40 years.

The “Steph Stopper” subplot was cute but not built to last. Curry wasn’t having it then, won’t have it now. That much rang loud and clear in Game 5.