Warriors

Warriors turn to family in hopes of solving Stephen Curry's foul trouble

Warriors turn to family in hopes of solving Stephen Curry's foul trouble

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry has spent most of this postseason walking a fine line between being available and effective, or fouling out of a game.

Which means the Warriors have had more nervous moments than they want.

Seven games into the second season, Curry has yet to foul out. Whistled for four fouls three times and five fouls once in the six-game first-round series against the Clippers, he got into trouble again Sunday in Game 1 of the second-round series against the Rockets.

Curry picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and was benched until the start of the fourth. Less than four minutes into the final quarter, he picked up his fifth. He sat for 87 seconds before returning and remaining in the game.

He was there when he had to be, splashing a 3-pointer with 24.4 seconds remaining, giving the Warriors a five-point lead that was crucial to their 104-100 win at Oracle Arena.

This is a dangerous game, though, and it’s one Warriors coach Steve Kerr hoped he remedied in Game 4 against the Clippers. Curry, after all, committed only two fouls in Game 5 and the same in Game 6.

“When we were in LA and he picked up his fourth foul,” Kerr said, “I asked him, I said, ‘Steph, where is your mom?’ He pointed up 10 rows behind the bench. I looked up and made contact and looked at Sonya and I said, ‘Tell him not to foul anymore.’

“If his mom can't get through to him, I'm definitely not going to get through to him. Maybe I'll try (Curry’s father) Dell this time.”

Though Kerr made light of it, there is legitimate reason for concern. Curry spent the last 6:34 on Sunday playing with five fouls. Being one foul away from disqualification is risky, particularly in a close game that could even stretch into overtime.

Moreover, foul trouble for a starter disrupts Kerr’s playing rotation. It generally compromises team and individual defense. And Curry foul trouble always compromises the Warriors' offense.

[RELATED: Warriors defended Harden with different tactics in Game 1]

“I was mindful of it,” Curry said of his fourth-quarter approach. “I think I got in one situation where the ball was right in front of me and impulse takes over.

“For the most part, I can’t be passive. But I can be smart. And I’ve talked about it a lot since, what, Game 2 of the Clippers series. I’m going to figure it out eventually.”

Insofar as the Rockets are superior to the Clippers, the Warriors would prefer “eventually” to become “soon,” as in before Game 2 on Tuesday at Oracle -- and certainly before the series shifts to Houston next weekend.

Other than committing a team-high 26 fouls this postseason, Curry is playing satisfactorily on offense, averaging 23.7 points per game on 49-percent shooting, including 46.6 percent from deep.

Most of his foul problems have been on defense. He even wrote “No” on one shoe and “Reach” on the other before Game 4 against the Clippers to remind himself not to commit touch fouls.

“Honestly, there's no reason I should be in that position after how many questions I've been asked about it and how disappointing it is when I mess up the rotation with fouls,” Curry said. “So, we won the game tonight. I got away with it. I’ve got to be better.”

This is the kind of luck Curry need not press and the Warriors don’t care to push.

The kind of luck that, at this pace, is bound to run out, tilting the court toward the Rockets.

Warriors vs. Lakers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Lakers watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

LOS ANGELES -- When they take the court Wednesday night to face the Lakers, the Warriors will be starting at the possibility of an unwanted first under coach Steve Kerr.

They’ve had losing streaks of two, three and four games -- but never of five.

That’s what they’ll own if they can’t find a way to upset the Lakers. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff from Staples Center scheduled for 7:10.

While the Warriors (2-9) have lost their last four games by an average of 10.8 points, though two of them were close, Los Angeles (8-2) has lost only once since opening night.

If there is anything at all for the Warriors to exploit, it’s the absence of Anthony Davis, who reportedly will sit due to a variety of minor ailments.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F  Glenn Robinson III
F  Draymond Green
C  Willie Cauley-Stein
G  Jordan Poole
G  D’Angelo Russell

Lakers

F  LeBron James
F  Kyle Kuzma
C  JaVale McGee
G  Danny Green
G  Avery Bradley

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), G Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain), G Damion Lee (right hand non-displaced fracture), F Kevon Looney (neuropathy), F Alen Smailagic and G Klay Thompson (right ACL rehab) are listed as out.

Lakers: F Anthony Davis (right shoulder, rib soreness) is listed as doubtful but expected to sit out. C DeMarcus Cousins (right knee rehab) and G Rajon Rondo (right calf strain) are listed as out.

 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: The biggest challenge they face is containing LeBron. Expect no fewer than four different players (Eric Paschall, Alec Burks, Green and Robinson) coming at James, who is doing a fine job directing the LA offense . . . Russell has been fabulous on offense, averaging 38.3 ppg since returning from a three-game stay on the injury list. He might be particularly motivated against the team that drafted him . . . The Warriors are becoming accustomed to playing with a small roster, but the return of C Omari Spellman after a one-game absence gives them three big men, with Marquese Chriss and Cauley-Stein. All three will be needed against the length of McGee and backup Dwight Howard.

Lakers: After missing the first four games with an injury, Kuzma has played in the last six games, coming off the bench averaging 12.3 ppg. If Davis sits, as expected, he likely will get the start ... Though still listed at SF, James is excelling at PG. Always a terrific passer, he is leading the NBA in assists (11.0). His averaging 12.0 apg and 2.8 turnovers over the last six games ... With LeBron leading the way, the Lakers recorded 39 assists, their highest total since April 2009, in a win at Phoenix on Tuesday ... Ex-Warriors G Quinn Cook has played in all 10 games, averaging 15.5 minutes and 5.6 ppg off the bench ... The Lakers are 5-19 against the Warriors over the past six seasons. In the six seasons before that, they were 20-4. The tide may be turning.

Officials: Ed Malloy (crew chief), Karl Lane and Matt Boland. 

Steve Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't really exist

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USATSI

Steve Kerr explains why Warriors-Lakers rivalry doesn't really exist

LOS ANGELES -- Standing in the lobby of UCLA's Mo Ostin Center, Warriors coach Steve Kerr found himself in a unique scenario in his latest trip to Southern California. 

During his coaching tenure, he's won 80 percent of his games against the team he grew up rooting for, including 10 of the last 12 matchups. Now, in a trend Kerr knows all too well, his team seems to be declining as the Lakers are ascending, prompting a familiar question from the coach Wednesday afternoon.

"Have the Warriors and Lakers ever been up at the same time in the history of our league?"

The current iteration of each team's roster indicates the answer is a resounding "no." Four months ago, Los Angeles acquired all-star big man Anthony Davis, pairing him with LeBron James to form one of the league's best duos. Additionally, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka surrounded the core with two-way veterans like Avery Bradley and Danny Green. 

Meanwhile, Golden State's season remains in peril. No longer the prohibitive favorites to win the title, the Warriors have fallen from contention altogether. In five months, they have lost vital pieces, including Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and superstar guard Steph Curry to injury. By Wednesday evening, Golden State could conceivably suit up just nine players at Staples Center. 

The current circumstances mirror the history between both teams. In four postseason matchups, the Lakers have never lost. When the Warriors won their first title on the West Coast in 1975, the Lakers failed to make the postseason. Twelve years later, when the teams played in the first round of the 1987 postseason, the top-seeded Lakers took care of the fifth-ranked Warriors in five games. Four years later, the eighth-seeded Warriors lost again in the first round in four games. 

Fast forward to 2015-2019, where the Warriors won three titles in five years while the Lakers were rebuilding, failing to reach the playoffs over that stretch. The course seemed to change 16 months ago, when superstar forward LeBron James signed with the team in free agency. Los Angeles responded by a 20-14 start, including a 127-101 Christmas Day drubbing of the Warriors at Oracle Arena. 

Then a groin injury -- suffered in the matchup against the Warriors -- sidelined James for much of the season. Adding to the peril, front office turmoil led to the resignation of Vice President Magic Johnson before the season finale and the eventual ousting of coach Luke Walton. 
 
"It looked to me like they were going to be pretty good," Kerr said. "And then they had their own challenges with injuries and other stuff."

Now, Lakers are on top. Following a victory Tuesday night in Phoenix, they're at the top of the Western Conference. Davis -- who isn't expected to play Wednesday night against Golden State -- is averaging 26.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, while James continues to be one of the league's best players, solidifying one of the best cores in the league. 

"It's not surprising," Kerr admitted. "LeBron is one of the best passers in the history of the game. He's got Anthony to work with as a pick-and-pop guy, as a lob threat. You talk about two of the most talented players in the game and they both have great feels so it's not at all surprising."

[RELATED: Warriors must fix ugly defense to avoid hitting rock bottom]

Hope may be on the way for Golden State to balance the matchup going forward. Curry, Green and Thompson are all expected to be healthy by the start of next season, bringing back the core formidable enough to go against Los Angeles. 

"They've been good for a long time," Kerr said. "And they're good again and we're trying to get there."