Under Review: Warriors fatten themselves up with wins over Hawks, Cavs

Under Review: Warriors fatten themselves up with wins over Hawks, Cavs

After rampaging through the south, putting boots to backsides in Atlanta, the Warriors headed north, to Cleveland, a place of fond memories, where they laid to rest the dismembered Cavaliers.

Are the Warriors back to being the team that wrecked the NBA? No. Not with Draymond Green sitting on the bench in designer outfits.

The defending champs are, however, fattening up for what’s to come. The games will get tougher, beginning Friday in Milwaukee, and so will they once they become whole after reconciling with Green and adding DeMarcus Cousins.

So what do we make of the first two games this week? We put them Under Review:


Stephen Curry’s 63 minutes of near flawless brilliance

He scored 72 points, shooting 56.8 percent from the field, including 62.5 percent from beyond the arc. He was 15-of-16 from the line. He had 12 rebounds and nine assists. Curry is back, every bit as lethal as he was before sustaining that annoying groin injury that cost him 11 games.

When Curry is this locked in, rivals worthy and wretched tend to fall under his spell.


Kevin Durant painting his numbers all over the stat sheet

Sometime during the absences of Curry and Green, Durant granted himself license to fill some of the dual void. He stayed on that path. In addition to doing as he typically does – scoring 53 points on 65.5-percent shooting, including 50 percent from deep – he recorded 17 assists (team-highs in both games), 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

As Durant forces a few passes each game, with some becoming turnovers, it’s clear he’s trying to keep teammates engaged, which is crucial when shorthanded.

[RELATED: Full circle for Durant in PNW?]


The blizzard in the second half in Atlanta

After committing four turnovers in the first half, the Warriors came back with 16 – not a misprint – after halftime. Durant had four. Andre Iguodala and Jonas Jerebko were the only players not to commit at least one. The Hawks scored 27 points off those turnovers, which surely provided comic relief in video review.

They got away with so much bad basketball because the Hawks are the Hawks.


Kevon Looney proves he can handle an heavier load

The loss of Damian Jones last Saturday reduced the team’s center rotation from three to two. A new starter was needed, and Looney was the choice. He responded with 22 points (11-of-14 shooting), 10 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals in 54 minutes – the highest two-game minutes total of his career.

Looney’s career has gone from a foggy NBA future to a key role on a championship squad. The Warriors keep throwing more at him, and he keeps catching it all.

[RELATED: Looney to have high school jersey retire]


Jerebko’s perfection

In the nine before the Warriors arrived in Georgia, Jonas Jerebko shot 6-of-25 from beyond the arc. He made every shot in took in Atlanta and did it again in Cleveland. He was 8-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-3 from deep. He was 4-of-4 from the line.

Jerebko was hired to stretch the floor, which means making shots from deep. He can’t do it any better than he did in these games. -30-

DeMarcus Cousins rips NCAA after Zion Williamson injury: 'It's bulls**t'


DeMarcus Cousins rips NCAA after Zion Williamson injury: 'It's bulls**t'

OAKLAND – At the mere mention of the scary, shoe-splitting spill Wednesday by prize NBA prospect Zion Williamson, Warriors star DeMarcus Cousins came out swinging.

“Knowing what I know now, college (basketball) is bulls**t,” he said Thursday. “College basketball and the NCAA is bulls**t.”

Projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson is four months away from life-changing wealth. When the Duke star sustained a sprained knee in a game against North Carolina, jeopardizing his value, NBA players lit up the Internet with their feelings about a multibillion-dollar business that offers zero monetary benefit to players.

“My advice to him is do what’s best for you and your family,” Cousins said. “Obviously, college isn’t. It does nothing for you at this point. You’ve proven you’re the No. 1 pick coming out, you’ve proven your talent. Get ready for the next level because it’s happening.

“That’s my opinion, knowing what I know now.”

Cousins spent one season at Kentucky before being selected fifth overall by Sacramento in the 2010 draft. He said he “enjoyed” his time in college but acknowledges the risks involved along the path to the NBA,

“I loved my experience in college. That was some of the best years of my life, playing basketball,” Cousins said. “But with that being said, just how crooked the whole NCAA business is . . . 

“I actually saw a post the other day that said the (lowest ticket) for that UNC-Duke came was $2500, $3500. How much does Zion Williamson see? That’s who (fans) are coming to see. So much of that is he getting? Actually, who does it go to? How does it benefit any player on that team?

“But if they were to get $20 and a free meal, they’re this bad kid. They get a bad rep, ‘uncoachable or ‘thugs,’ whatever the case may be. It’s bulls**t. It’s been bulls**t.”

[RELATED: Steve Kerr explains how DeMarcus Cousins was 'pain in the a**' to Warriors]

Cousins is also among the vast majority of NBA players that don’t understand the point of the “one-and-done" rule designed to force preps to attend college for at least one year before entering the draft.

“What’s the difference between 18 (years old) and 19? Between 17 and 18? You’re an amateur. You’re young. You’re ignorant to life in general. So what’s really the difference? You’ve still got a lot of growing to do.”

Ex-Warriors coach Don Nelson cites moment he fell in love with Steph Curry

Ex-Warriors coach Don Nelson cites moment he fell in love with Steph Curry

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders tonight at 6 p.m. PT, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

March 23, 2009 is a date that Warriors fans should never forget.


Because that night, Don Nelson went to see Steph Curry in person when Davidson traveled to the Bay Area for an NIT matchup.

"He played against Saint Mary’s, and I went to the game. I fell in love with the kid," the former Warriors head coach told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group.

Curry racked up 26 points (11-for-27 FG), nine rebounds and five assists (plus six turnovers) in an 80-68 loss to the Gaels. It was the final game of his illustrious college career.

Three months later, the Warriors selected Curry with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

"I was able to draft Steph and he’s been as good or better than anybody believed he would be," Nelson added. "We all thought he was going to be terrific. But wow. He is one of the best to ever to it.”

While Nelson didn't think Curry would turn into a two-time MVP, "I thought he would be a perennial All-Star and one of the top point guards in the league," he said.

Nelson also wasn't sure if Curry would even be available when Golden State was on the clock. Fortunately for the Warriors, Minnesota took Ricky Rubio at No. 5 and Jonny Flynn at No. 6.

[REWINDSteph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him]

As they say, the rest is history.

"I would have taken him No. 2 that year," Nelson said back in October. "I would have taken (Blake) Griffin first and then I would have taken him above everybody in the draft."

Hey, that Don Nelson guy is pretty smart.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller