Warriors

Steve Kerr, Team USA 'crushed' by DeMarcus Cousins' torn left ACL

Steve Kerr, Team USA 'crushed' by DeMarcus Cousins' torn left ACL

EL SEGUNDO -- The NBA is a small world and it felt a little smaller Thursday with the news of another catastrophic injury for Los Angeles Lakers big man DeMarcus Cousins.

Slowed by injuries over the last two seasons, reports of an ACL tear for Cousins hit Team USA before the players and coaches took the floor for training at the Lakers practice facility.

“I’m devastated for DeMarcus, I read it on the way to practice,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said following practice. “It’s been a couple of years of hell for DeMarcus with the injuries.”

The former Sacramento Kings draft pick and New Orleans Pelican star spent last season in Golden State and was part of the squad that made it all the way to the NBA Finals before injuries piled up.

He played just 30 games in his lone season with the Warriors after tearing his Achilles the year before. He returned in time to get back into game shape heading into the playoffs, but he tore his left quad during Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Clippers.

Cousins battled back from injury again during the post season and was cleared to play in the Finals. He made an impact in the Warriors’ two wins, but in the four losses, the 29-year-old struggled to find a rhythm.

With the summer to heal up and prepare for the upcoming season, Cousins joined LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers on a one-year contract in July. With his latest setback, there is a strong chance he will miss the 2019-20 season in its entirety.

“I was really hoping that would be a year for him upcoming with the Lakers where he could get healthy, get his rhythm, get his conditioning and really start his comeback,” Kerr said. “We’re all crushed for him - everybody in this gym, all of these coaches and players. This is a small community.”

Kerr said he had reached out to Cousins, although he did not mention whether he spoke to the All-Star center.

It's another tough blow for a player that was once considered one of the best centers in the league.

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“Injuries are part of the game, but when you’re talking about a player that has now dealt with the two most feared injuries for NBA players, the Achilles and the ACL, each basically knocking you out for an entire season, to deal with that over a two and a half, three year span, that’s unheard of,” Kerr added. “I don’t know. What a blow for him, for the Lakers. He’s going to have to process it all and start all over again.”

There is no word on when Cousins will undergo surgery on his left left knee, and the recovery time is usually a minimum of nine months, which rules him out for most if not all of the upcoming season.

NBA rumors: Warriors' Steph Curry targeting March 1 return to lineup

NBA rumors: Warriors' Steph Curry targeting March 1 return to lineup

Steph Curry reportedly is targeting a March 1 return. 

The two-time MVP has not played since breaking his left hand on Oct. 30, and The Athletic's Marcus Thompson has "been told" that Curry hopes to play on March 1 at Chase Center against the Washington Wizards, though the date is not "set in stone."

Curry told Warriors broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike during Golden State's win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday that he has had "no setbacks" rehabbing his broken hand. 

"Rehab is going great, every day is tough,” Curry said Saturday. “When you're hurt, and we've all been there in some way shape or form, its a grind, every day kind of being monotonous with the little strength workouts you have to do, and you understanding that it takes time and patience to get back to 100 percent.”

[RELATED: Poole shows even more progress in Dubs' win over Magic]

Curry is traveling to road games with the Warriors, and the 30-year-old has impressed his teammates and coaches during individual shooting drills. Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the "Posted Up" podcast earlier this month that there was an "excellent chance" Curry would return in March. He'll be re-evaluated Feb. 1, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke wrote last week that a minutes restriction is possible as Curry "gets his wind back."

Before Curry is re-evaluated, though, he reportedly already has a timeline in mind. 

Warriors' Jordan Poole showing more progress after bad start to season

Warriors' Jordan Poole showing more progress after bad start to season

SAN FRANCISCO -- With four seconds left in the third quarter of the Warriors' 190-95 win over Magic on Saturday, Jordan Poole ran full speed to the right-wing with a bucket on his mind. 

Sprinting alongside teammate Omari Spellman, Poole received a pass from the big man, pump faked, took a dribble and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer, pushing the Warriors lead to 11. 

Walking to the bench, Poole had both arms in the air, and was yelling "Yeahhhh" towards the crowd. Similar plays have been the norm for Poole over the last week as he gradually digs himself out a bad start to his rookie season. 

"He's starting to figure out where his spots are," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Where his spots are and his comfort zone and how to impact a game." 

Remnants of Poole's improvement were on display early Saturday night. After Golden State went down 13-0 four and a half minutes into the contest, Poole scored 11 first-quarter points, helping Golden State take a 28-25 lead by the end of the period. Poole totaled 21 points for the game, including four 3-pointers, providing another example of his evolution. In his past three outings, Poole is averaging 16 points on 45 percent from the field. 

Such stretches are uncommon considering the start of Poole's career. During his first 29 games -- with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of the lineup -- he shot just 25 percent, prompting a demotion to the G League. While his shot was ineffective, it was his propensity to not give all-out effort that drew ire of the coaching staff. On his way down to Santa Cruz, Kerr gave him a player that he'd like Poole to use a blueprint for success: Pelicans guard JJ Redick. More specifically, the shooter's habit of constant movement on the defensive end, complimented by his shooting ability. 

Poole followed suit during his G League stint, averaging 26 points, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals in three games. The performance has carried over back to the NBA, as he's making 42 percent of his 3-pointers over his last three games. But he showed his  growth six minutes into the third quarter Saturday, when he fought through two screens, moved his feet on Magic guard Evan Fournier before stripping the guard, causing a fast break on the other end, prompting praise from his coach and teammates along the way.  

"He's doing better on defense, handling the ball and making plays," Kerr said. "The game is so fast at this level. Everything happens much faster, so whether you are defending somebody or having to get over a screen or leave a rotation or if you have the ball and you are trying to make a pass, everything just happens quicker than you are used to. I think the time in Santa Cruz helped him gain more confidence and maybe the game has slowed down a bit ... He just looks more confident and comfortable."

"I think his approach has been better," teammate D'Angelo Russell added. "I think that's what's contributed to him successfully on the court. Not just worrying about his shots but his demeanor, his approach is business-like."

Poole's progression comes as the Warriors are in transition. As he works towards a long-term role, organizational cornerstones Curry and Thompson are working their way back from injuries, while Russell -- an All-Star guard -- is giving 20-year old daily lessons on how to be a pro.

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"I'm like a kid in the candy store, especially being able to have Steph, Klay and [Russell]," Poole said on Warriors Postgame Live. "I'm in awe every day. You wouldn't want to be in any other situation." 

As Poole celebrated his buzzer-beater, Curry sat on a makeshift stage, soaking in the rookie's latest step as a pro, leaving compliments along the way. 

"The way that he's fought through his early-season struggles and gone down to Santa Cruz, really able to work on his game, see the floor, get his rhythm and shoot the ball the way he's been doing the last few games," Curry said during NBC Sports Bay Area's broadcast. "That's what an NBA player is made of. It's not going to be pretty but you got to keep coming back to try and make it work."