Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in tough 122-112 loss to Blazers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in tough 122-112 loss to Blazers

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PORTLAND -- The battered Warriors did what they've been accustomed to for much of the season: Playing just well enough to lose. 

In the latest example -- a 122-112 loss to the Trail Blazers (12-16) on Wednesday night -- the Warriors (5-24) cut Portland's lead to four in the final four minutes. However, the Blazers' backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 61 points as the Warriors were outrebounded 57-50, giving up 23 boards to Hassan Whiteside.

The Warriors were aided by the 3-ball, making a season-high 16 3-pointers, keeping them in the game for much of the night. But it wasn't enough to prevent them from suffering their fifth consecutive loss. 

Here are the takeaways from Moda Center:

D'Angelo Russell shines in the first, fades in the second

With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of the lineup, Russell has been expected to carry most of the offensive responsibility for Golden State. After a brief glimpse of his ability, he faded by the end of the night. 

Through the first 24 minutes, Russell was spectacular, scoring 18 points and making 6 of his 12 shot attempts, helping the Warriors cut the Blazers' lead to one by halftime. Along the way, Russell showed his diverse skillset, from his floater to a transition 3-pointer. 

By the end of the night, his jumper failed him, as he made just two of his last six shots, even as the Warriors stayed in the game.

There's no doubt that Russell is a big-time scorer, as evidenced by his 52-point outburst last month. But with much of their offensive firepower out of the lineup because of injury, the Warriors need his scoring to be consistent. 

Quality minutes from the bigs

The Warriors' frontcourt has been rightfully maligned for much of the season. However, Wednesday's performance gave some hope for the unit. Willie Cauley-Stein finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. Additionally, Marquese Chriss scored 10 points and added 10 rebounds.

The two players have been battling for the starting center role in recent weeks. A solid showing from Chriss in Utah was followed by a decent showing from Cauley-Stein two nights later against Sacramento.

Both players have much to prove as they continue their careers in Golden State. A healthy competition only will help with that evolution. 

GR3 shines again

Glenn Robinson III continued his career-revitalizing season, finishing with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. He got going early, making three 3-pointers in the first quarter, to help the Warriors to one of their best offensive first halves of the season. 

Robinson III continues to be a gem for the Warriors, providing 3-point shooting along with quality defense while starting every game this season. He has a player option for the 2020-21 season and will force Golden State to make a financial decision this summer.

Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr among sports figures outraged by Floyd case

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USATSI

Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr among sports figures outraged by Floyd case

Face pressed to the street and eyes wide with panic, George Floyd was in handcuffs and begging for mercy. He feared he might die. His only hope was appealing to the humanity of the man threatening his life.

Humanity was denied by Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer whose left knee was resting on Floyd’s neck.

Even with cell phones recording video, Chauvin didn’t flinch. He didn’t back off until Floyd’s pleas went silent and he was unconscious. Moments later, he was dead.

Floyd had been subdued. Was not a threat. Yet he was subjected to further violence. So brazenly egregious was the brutality that visibly shaken Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey needed only a few hours to oversee the dismissal of Chauvin and three complicit officers.

The video is a graphic illustration of police terror in plain sight. It’s an example of the behavior that inspired former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel in peaceful protest. If the reaction of high-profile sports figures is any indication at all, Floyd’s death could prompt high-profile dissent to become louder and more visible.

Consider this Instagram post from Warriors superstar Stephen Curry:

“If this image doesn’t disturb you and piss you off, then (I don’t know). I’ve seen a lot of people speak up and try to articulate how fed up and angry they are. All good and well, but it’s the same same same reality we live in. George Floyd. George Floyd. George has a family. George didn’t deserve to die. George pleaded for help and was just straight up ignored, which speaks loud and clear that his black life didn’t matter. George was murdered. George wasn’t human to that cop that slowly and purposefully took his life away. #georgefloyd

Curry’s former Warriors teammate, Matt Barnes, replied on IG, saying, “Haven’t seen it said any better than my lil bro put it!!”

The Floyd tragedy, coming three weeks after release of incriminating video of the vigilante shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, is but the latest reminder of America’s inability to forcefully and effectively address systemic racism.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, upon seeing the video, offered a response with broad implications. “This is murder. Disgusting. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with US????”

Us. As in those of us who condone such conduct. As in those of us in positions of authority, such as President Donald Trump. There is zero chance of reducing state-sanctioned murder without cooperation from those of us within in a power structure dominated by white men.

“This goes to something very deep in our nation’s soul,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday. “There’s definitely a responsibility of white people to stand up and say, ‘This is wrong.’ But we also have a responsibility in this country to reconcile our sins. That needs to happen.

“Sometimes I hear people say, ‘What are you complaining about? Slavery was abolished 150 years ago.’ They’re missing the point. We haven’t come to grips with it. If we had, we wouldn’t still see Confederate flags flying around, whether it’s at courthouses or at Trump rallies. I know some of those have been taken down over the past few years, but I feel there’s never truly been reconciliation with the sins of our past.”

Any decent history book reveals the United States was built on violence and suppression. Native Americans were massacred, their land seized. Slaves, most brought over from Africa, were treated as property to be punished or killed without a blink.

More than 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, blatant racial discrimination, most often symbolized by Jim Crow laws, still was the norm in the United States. Now, 56 years after the Civil Rights Act, racism continues. In three-plus years under Trump, there has been a resurgence in demonstrations of outright bigotry.

“I wish we had more outrage from the top,” Kerr said. “But it seems like it’s just the citizens who are expressing the most frustration.”

The highest offices in the land have exhibited no sustained, committed desire to take healing action. But some of the citizens, black and white, have a voice that carries further than others. And they are expressing outrage at the consistency of such incidents.

Curry and Kerr are repulsed that such a small privilege as life, much less liberty, still can be revoked based on skin color. So are Stephen Jackson and Kyle Korver. So are LeBron James and retired NFL star Chris Long and former WNBA star Lisa Leslie. They all see what Kaepernick saw.

In the end, Americans of every stripe must have to ask themselves a simple question: How much more barbarism are we willing to tolerate? 

Kendrick Perkins claims he doesn't hate Steph Curry despite recent takes

Kendrick Perkins claims he doesn't hate Steph Curry despite recent takes

Kendrick Perkins just wants to set the record straight as it pertains to Steph Curry.

Sure the former NBA big man has said James Harden is a better player than Curry, left the Warriors off his best teams of all-time list and got into an NBA Finals beef with the Warriors star during the 2018 NBA Finals. But Perkins wants everyone to know that he doesn't hate the two-time MVP as many assume.

"Let me explain it to the light-skinned brothers over there, the Splash Brothers," Perkins said Wednesday on Hoop Streams. "People think that I hate Steph and I don't. Like I really don't hate Steph. I admire him. Listen, Steph Curry is one of one, he's a generational talent. He changed the game. Like I said, he brought the waterworks. He brought Sea World to the game. I am giving Steph Curry his flowers."

It seems Perkins figured out you can only trash one of the all-time greats so much before people start lighting your Twitter mentions on fire and calling you out for being a hot take artist.

This isn't enough to make anyone believe Perkins doesn't have some animosity toward Curry, but at least he's willing to recognize the Warriors star's obvious greatness.

[RELATED: What Steph must do to finish career as top-10 all-time player]

However, this isn't the first time Perkins has given Curry credit. He gushed about his performance in the 2015 NBA Finals and has him ranked as his top "hybrid" of all-time over Harden (go figure).

It seems Perkins just can't decide which side of the fence to stand on when it comes to Curry even though the correct side couldn't be more obvious.

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