Warriors

Warriors' comments about Salt Lake City pretty much true ... who cares?

Warriors' comments about Salt Lake City pretty much true ... who cares?

Well, our worry about no compelling narrative for Warriors-Jazz has been solved. Apparently the Warriors have decided Salt Lake City isn’t fully to their liking.
 
Great. A talking point to take us through the weekend, because we all wanted to avoid the basketball at all costs.
 
A number of Warriors spoke frankly about the lack of swell distractions in the home of the Utah Jazz, which of course will play poorly in Salt Lake. This of course has nothing to do with the basketball games that begin Tuesday in Oakland and then re-begin Saturday in the Beehive State, but a tale must be told, and by damn it shall be Utah’s cultural shortcomings.
 
Now it's well known that nothing brings out the venom in a citizenry quite like visitors slagging the old home. In other words, Vivint Smart Home Arena will be, well, noticeable for its Warrior antipathy. There will be much booing and shouted invective, and not all of it culturally polite.
 
Will it change the basketball in any material way? Almost certainly not. Fans have been led to believe over the decades that they have an influence on the events they pay to see, and that is at best a tertiary effect (after talent and fortune). In other words, the Warriors are not considering that the Utah crowd will create enough difficulties to affect what most people believe should be a pretty boilerplate result.

[RATTO: Jazz will make series with Warriors harder than it looks]
 
But it will not prevent us from talking about it, as though Salt Lake City’s reputation as the best city in the NBA when it comes to staying in your room will drive public interest.
 
In fairness, the Warriors (most notably Matt Barnes and Andre Iguodala) did not make Salt Lake City an issue, but they did answer questions framed that way. Indeed, Draymond Green said his only concession to Utah was that he would eat more red meat this week to increase his red blood cell count for the road games. And no, he wasn’t complaining that Salt Lake City should be moved to a lower altitude; he was merely pointing out what he intended to do about playing there, which is a far cry from decrying the lack of night life.
 
And let’s be clear here – what they say about Salt Lake City is pretty much true. It is a pretty buttoned-down town for the modern-day athlete. Most of the people who live there like it that way, and frankly, what else could you ask for from a city than to serve the needs of desires of its citizens? The fact that it isn’t Los Angeles so works for them, so who can argue with that?
 
It will, however, be turned into a pejorative by the people of Salt Lake City to stoke whatever internal fire they have about their beloveds playing an overwhelming favorite (hint: Game 1 of this series has the Warriors as a 13-point favorite, which is pretty well absurd except for the fact that that’s probably how the money would have moved anyway). They can manufacture the old, “The Warriors think we’re dull and boring, so let’s show them” battle cry, and it may make one of the six officials (or nine, if the series goes six games) a little squirrelly, but that’s about the outer limit of their influence.
 
Not because Jazz fans aren’t loud enough or passionate enough, but because that’s pretty much how the fan thing works everywhere. They start out loud, then let events tell them how to use their voices afterward, rather than the other way around.
 
So sure, Salt Lake City’s needle hovers between “boring” and “point me to the airport” for the average NBA player. This is neither new, nor news. But it will amuse some folks for five more days, and in the absence of a better story line, I guess that’s what we’re stuck with for the moment.
 
That is, unless you’re one of those tedious old fuds who watch basketball for the basketball. Which ought to be more interesting than people who worry about a town’s reputation might think.

Steve Kerr 'playing with house money' in World Series bet with Steph Curry

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AP

Steve Kerr 'playing with house money' in World Series bet with Steph Curry

Steve Kerr is a big Dodgers fan.

Steph Curry is a big Red Sox fan.

The Red Sox will host the Dodgers on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series, and Warriors coach and star player do have a bet on the outcome, as The Athletic's Anthony Slater chronicled:

Work logistics won’t allow them to attend in person. But both will be locked in from afar, already trading some trash talk, agreeing on a wager — “Can’t reveal the stakes,” Kerr said

Kerr spoke with Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday and once again declined to share specifics of the agreement between he and Curry.

[RELATEDSteph Curry breaks his own NBA 3-point shooting record vs. Suns]

Golden State's head coach did, however, reveal that he is "playing with some house money" because he won a bet with Kevon Looney based on the result of the NLCS.

Looney grew up in Milwaukee, and the Dodgers beat the Brewers in seven games to advance to the Fall Classic.

Note to all San Francisco Giants fans out there -- don't be mad at Kerr for his allegiance to the Dodgers. The guy grew up in Southern California and loves baseball. End of story.

Besides, as he told Bruce -- the Warriors have won three NBA championships over the last four years, so he's doing something right ...

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

Two positives, two negatives from Warriors' 123-103 thrashing of Suns

Two positives, two negatives from Warriors' 123-103 thrashing of Suns

OAKLAND -- The Warriors looked like the champions they are in a 20-point thrashing of the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Nothing is better for a team’s peace of mind than a blowout at home.

Here are two positives and two negatives culled from the easiest win of this season:

POSITIVES

Jones passes another test

The biggest question entering the season for the Warriors was related to Damian Jones. Is a 23-year-old center that had never started an NBA game ready for a full-time role with the league’s elite team?

Four games in, and against impressive competition, Jones generally has been good. Not exceptional, but nothing less than satisfactory.

The 7-footer finished with 13 points (5-of-5 from the field, 3-of-5 from the line), four rebounds and one block.

Going against Suns big man Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Jones made an early statement with 9 points (4-of-4 from the field), four rebounds and a block in the first six minutes.

“This is why we have to have Damian,” coach Steve Kerr said. “If you think of the past week: Steven Adams, (Rudy) Gobert, (Nikola) Jokic and now Ayton. You have to have that kind of size to deal with the position.

“Now there will be smaller matchups as well. But he passed this week’s tests with flying colors.”

Second-quarter brilliance

The Warriors took control early, going up nine (32-23) after one quarter. It was in the second quarter, though, that they really took off.

Klay Thompson scored 11 points and Stephen Curry 10 as the Warriors demolished any and all semblance of Suns defense, shooting 73.7 percent and going 4-of-5 on shots beyond the arc.

What was the key? The Warriors defended well enough to disrupt Phoenix’s offense, getting three steals and blocking a pair of shots to help post a 9-0 advantage in fast-break points for the quarter.

The Warriors won the quarter, 38-24. Moreover, they posted their only double-digit advantage in 16 quarters this season. Not bad for a team on the second night of a back-to-back set.

NEGATIVES

Thompson’s search continues

Klay Thompson is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history, coming off a season in which he posted career-high accuracy. He’s one of three players to have made more than 250 triples in multiple seasons.

He made one Monday night. He missed five.

In four games this season, Thompson is 3-of-22 beyond the arc.

Most of his misses have been short. Some have been rushed. But an inordinate amount of his shots from deep have been on relatively clean looks.

Thompson is the only person not named Stephen Curry to make at least 200 3-pointers in six consecutive seasons. He’s a certified specialist. He’s going to keep shooting them, as he should, because they’re going to start dropping. Probably soon.

Backing away from the glass

Rebounding has not been a source of strength in recent seasons, but the Warriors through the first three games did a decent job. They opened the game as if they were determined to make a point on the glass.

They did. Outrebounding the Suns 17-6 in the first quarter, the Warriors piled up 15 fast-break points in the first 12 minutes.

And then, they simply started backing away. The Warriors were outrebounded 8-6 in the second quarter, 14-5 in the third and 17-12 in the fourth. They went from plus-11 in the first quarter to minus-5 for the game.

The most aggressive rebounder was Alfonzo McKinnie, who attacks everything visible to the naked eye. He grabbed a team-high seven in 18 minutes.

No one else had more than five. Part of the reason for the diminishing hunger is, of course, that the Warriors never seemed to be threatened. Cruising is not, however, a habit they want to develop.

How did they get away with it? By forcing 21 Phoenix turnovers (off which they scored 29 points), outshooting the Suns 51.1 percent to 45.3 percent and outscoring them 42-27 from beyond the arc.