Warriors

Warriors summoning their ruthless defense at precisely the right time

Warriors summoning their ruthless defense at precisely the right time

OAKLAND – Not for a minute were the Warriors truly worried. Perplexed, maybe, but never concerned about finding the best of themselves. Even as they were stacking up shoddy defensive performances, inviting layups and open 3-pointers, they always knew.

Always knew that when the bright lights began twinkling in the distance, they’d muscle up.

So now, with the postseason three weeks away, they’re energizing their defense and getting serious about suffocating opponents.

The latest example came Thursday night, when the Warriors harassed the Pacers back to Indiana with raw backsides and a 112-89 loss for their time in Oakland. Indiana shot 24 percent in the first quarter, 32.7 percent in the first half and 38.9 percent in the third quarter, by which time the crowd at Oracle Arena was dancing and sipping and celebrating a 28-point lead.

For a team playing its third game in four nights, across two zones, this was profoundly impressive.

“Our energy was great; everybody was engaged,” assistant coach and defensive coordinator Ron Adams said. “And our spirit was the best I’ve seen in a long time.”

Adams acknowledged the efforts and Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins but was particularly pleased with the defensive intensity displayed by Kevin Durant and Steph Curry. Durant set a tone with three first-quarter blocks and Curry limited Indiana point guard Cory Joseph to 1-of-7 shooting.

Indiana shot 50 percent shooting in a garbage-time fourth quarter to lift its field-goal percentage to 38.5 for the game.

“They forced us to take some tough (shots), especially when they did some late-clock switching,” Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said. “We were forced to take some contested shots, and they didn’t go in and then that’s what they thrive off of. When you take a bad shot, they either get a leak out or they’ll push the break in transition and get 3s.”

A pattern is developing.

The Warriors have spent the past five games harassing offenses to the brink of despair. Nine days ago in Houston, they limited the Rockets to 26.8 percent shooting from deep, which is their core offense. Last Saturday in Oklahoma City, the Thunder shot 32.3 overall. The Spurs shot 46.6 percent Monday in San Antonio and the Timberwolves shot 40.4 percent Tuesday in Minneapolis.

The Warriors prior to the last five games were 15th in the NBA in defensive rating (109.2), causing worry lines to form within the fan base. Over the past five games, they are third (100.6) – and No. 1 in the Western Conference.

No worries.

“It’s really been fun to see,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re more engaged and active.”

The Warriors started dismantling the Pacers by outscoring them 18-10 over the final 5:03 of the first half and took them completely apart by opening the second half with a 17-3 run to build a 70-48 lead with 5:58 left in the third quarter.

“You have to give their defense a lot of credit,” said Indiana assistant coach Dan Burke, who took over for Nate McMillan, who is temporarily away for family reasons. “They have so much flexibility and versatility, and that switching is like a stoplight for us.

“We can’t allow that to happen. We have to move the ball. We are not an iso team. We played like there were a lot of mismatches there. I didn’t see very many mismatches.”

Andrew Bogut, who received a standing ovation upon his return to Oracle after nearly three years, offered a succinct and accurate analysis: “We made them take bad shots in the half court, late in the shot clock and turned them over.”

[RELATED: What we learned from Warriors' blowout win vs. Pacers]

Indy’s starters shot 28.6 percent (14-of-49) from the field. The Warriors forced 16 turnovers, off which they scored 21 points.

With 11 games remaining, the defending champs are turning ruthless. They’re finding their edge, the one they’ll need beginning the second weekend in April.

The team Warriors fans have been waiting for is materializing before us.

Klay Thompson rips Trump administration for treatment of Bahamians

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USATSI

Klay Thompson rips Trump administration for treatment of Bahamians

For Klay Thompson, the destruction to The Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian hits close to home.

Thompson's father, Mychal, was born on the island, and the Warriors star returns every year to visit family.

The Thompson family also has a charity foundation that helps the youth in the US and the Bahamas.

So it must have been heartbreaking for Thompson to see so many Bahamians lose everything.

On Friday night, Thompson wrote a long Instagram post asking for small and large donations to help the citizens affected by Hurricane Dorian.

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These past few weeks have been so unimaginably hard for Bahamians, especially on the islands of Abaco and Freeport. People have lost everything- loved ones, family, possessions, homes. Whatever you cherish it’s gone for these communities. This is far from a quick fix, it will take years and years of rebuilding. The @thompsonfamilyfoundation will do everything in its power to help with relief efforts right now and for many years to come. All contributions no matter how big or small will go long way and are greatly appreciated. Secondly, shame on our current administration for not welcoming our Bahamian neighbors in their greatest time of need. I’ve been so lucky to visit my family in Nassau since childhood, and in those times I’ve seen countless Americans use the Bahamian islands as their playground for letting loose and vacationing. And now we turn our back on the people who welcomed us with open arms, when they’ve lost everything !? There’s no excuse for this... and if you have one your a real piece of 💩 Bahamians will persevere, but help along the way is greatly appreciated. Thank you ❤️ 🇧🇸

A post shared by Klay Thompson (@klaythompson) on

But the Warriors star also had a direct message for President Donald Trump.

"Secondly, shame on our current administration for not welcoming our Bahamian neighbors in their greatest time of need. I’ve been so lucky to visit my family in Nassau since childhood, and in those times I’ve seen countless Americans use the Bahamian islands as their playground for letting loose and vacationing.

"And now we turn our back on the people who welcomed us with open arms, when they’ve lost everything !? There’s no excuse for this... and if you have one your a real piece of 💩"

In the wake of the hurricane, Bahamians were seeking temporary protected status in the US until it was safe to return to the island. But earlier this week, the Trump administration denied the request.

Thompson isn't the first local athlete to ask for donations to help The Bahamas. Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield, who was born in Freeport, donated $100,000 to relief efforts and has started a GoFundMe page to raise money.

[RELATED: Hield, Kings ramp up aid for The Bahamas]

"My heart is broken for my fellow Bahamians, especially on the island I was raised on, Grand Bahama," Hield wrote last week.

Thompson's shot at Trump isn't the first time a Warriors player has gone at Trump, and it certainly won't be the last time.

Four Warriors listed among Sports Illustrated Top 100 NBA players for 2020

Four Warriors listed among Sports Illustrated Top 100 NBA players for 2020

It seems nothing fires sports fans up more on social media than player rankings, especially when it comes to the NBA.

Sports Illustrated recently took a stab at predicting the top 100 players for 2020 with the upcoming NBA season just over a month away.

There are four Warriors among the field, but where they ended up just might surprise you.

Five-time All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson checks in at No. 58, which would be absolutely laughable if not for the ACL tear he suffered in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

With a return at best coming in March, Thompson will not be much of a factor for Golden State in the regular season, so any attempt to rank him is clouded until we see how the recovery process plays out. 

The most curious selection comes next, as D’Angelo Russell sits at No. 44 on the list. 

Now I may not be an expert, but if a player is named to an All-Star team in the NBA, he is likely at least among the top 30 players in the league, as each roster has 13 players selected.

In 81 games with the Brooklyn Nets last season, Russell ranked second in the league as he assisted on 41.3 percent of his team's points while in the game. Now imagine his supporting cast including Steph Curry and Draymond Green instead of Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris.

Russell is also listed behind players like Kevin Love, Steven Adams, and De’Aaron Fox, all of whom weren’t even in the same conversation to be an All-Star in 2018-19. Fox could make a major jump in his third NBA season, but the other two are not exactly in their prime. Russell’s placement here is questionable at best.

[RELATED: Shaun Livingston's perseverance constant throughout Warriors' dynastic run]

The other two Warriors listed are no surprise, as Draymond Green finds himself at No. 17, while Steph Curry is ranked the No. 4 overall player for 2019-20, sandwiched between James Harden and LeBron James.

All the predictions and opinions can finally be pushed to the side when the NBA regular season gets underway on Oct. 22.