Warriors

Presented By montepoole
Warriors

LOS ANGELES – When the NBA posted its schedule last summer, the Warriors immediately noticed they would be in Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Jan. 18, followed by a battle with the Lakers on Jan. 21.

The first game was on a Friday, the second on a Monday.

Which meant these wealthy, well-conditioned young men – some of whom own homes in greater LA – would have plenty of time to explore the joys and temptations of Hollywood.

By the time they arrived for shootaround Monday morning, the Warriors had accomplished at least one goal. No player, coach or staffer was the subject of one of those embarrassing TMZ headline, such as that above the mug shot of former Raiders running back Darren McFadden: "ARRESTED FOR DRUNK DRIVING.”

That doesn’t mean the Warriors didn’t enjoy this business/pleasure trip.

“Ahh man, especially with the weather being what it is, it’s been phenomenal,” is the way Klay Thompson, speaking after shootaround, described his weekend.

The Warriors spanked the Clippers on Friday, 112-94, and left Staples Center in great spirits, perhaps no one more than DeMarcus Cousins, who was happy to be back on the court and productive once he got there.

Cousins’ debut as a Warrior may have obliterated any chance of monotony for the team. The defending champs seem more buttoned down than turned up.

Which is not to suggest they didn’t enjoy back-to-back free evenings.

 

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“The time has been great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a nice change of pace during the middle of the season, especially in mid-January. It’s beautiful weather here. A lot of guys have brought family members, Draymond (Green) got engaged and a lot of great stuff.

“But I’m just hoping they all drank a lot of water yesterday.”

The Warriors, after all, have been LA’d – a condition brought on by late-night revelry – in the past. They had a similar trip in 2014, facing the Lakers on Dec. 23 and then the Clippers on Christmas Day. The Warriors lost both games by double digits.

To illustrate the disparity in talent, that Lakers team, by the way, finished 21-61, while the Warriors finished 67-15 on the way to the NBA title.

The following season, the 73-9 Warriors lost by 17 to the Lakers in LA. After adding Kevin Durant in 2016, the Warriors rolled into LA in November and lost to the Lakers by 20. Indeed, last season was the first under Kerr than the Warriors swept both LA teams on the road.

That won’t happen this season; they lost to the Clippers in overtime on Nov. 12.

The Warriors avenged that loss on Friday and now they’d like to even things with the Lakers, who routed them 127-101 on Christmas Day in Oakland.

Kerr blamed that loss mostly on the team’s soft defense, which believes will be better Monday night.

“I want to come out and play better defensively,” Kerr said. “Christmas Day, our defense was really poor, not very aggressive. It felt like we were on our heels the whole game. I’d like our guys to be the aggressor. We are in a much better place now, having won seven in a row.

“On the other hand, we’ve been in LA for four days. We’ll see which team shows up.”