Warriors

Warriors Under Review: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant too much for Clippers

Warriors Under Review: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant too much for Clippers

OAKLAND – Considering both teams were on the second night of a back-to-back set, the Warriors and Clippers put on quite the show Sunday night at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors prevailed, 129-127, in a game that literally was a half-second away from going into overtime.

We take a closer look at the Warriors positives and negatives culled from a game that had most everything a fan could ask for:

POSITIVE

Curry, Stephen

No doubt Stephen Curry knew what was coming. He studies the scouting reports, sees the video and, moreover, knows the history of premier defenders Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley, both of whom fancy themselves as Steph Stoppers.

Any such thought is history, too, as Curry went for 42 points on 12-of-22 shooting, including 6-of-15 from deep. He saw a threat, and he beat it down.

It’s always risky to doubt Curry, never more than when he out to make a point.

POSITIVE

Durant, Kevin

Kevin Durant is such a consistent scorer that his other production can get lost. Oh, he scored 35, 14 of which came in a pivotal third quarter. He drained big triples, grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and had five assists. But his rim protection was downright energizing.

His big block on Montrezl Harrell late in the third ignited a fast break that sent the Warriors into the fourth quarter with palpable momentum.

Durant played 38 minutes and was a team-best plus-13. When he’s making plays at both ends, there may not be a better player in the league.

NEGATIVE

Couldn’t stop the rain

The Clippers missed their first 3-point shot and then made their next six. That’s about how it went all night, as they rained triples down upon the Warriors. LA was 18-of-23 from beyond the arc, setting an NBA record for best percentage (78.3) for a team making at least 15 or taking at least 20. T

hey made open 3s, contested 3s and stubborn 3s that told the Warriors they were not going away.

There is plenty of video ammo for the coaching staff to evaluate, and nobody will be happy about the frequency of lazy closeouts or miscommunications.

POSITIVE

It’s called respecting the ball

Even with the fantastic performances of Curry and Durant, it’s likely nothing made the coaching staff happier than the Warriors committing seven turnovers, tying a season-low. No player had more than two (Draymond Green, Jonas Jerebko) and Clippers scored only 7 points off Warriors giveaways.

Curry, who averages 3.1 turnovers per game, committed exactly zero.

Yeah, this is one category Steve Kerr and his assistants wish they could bottle and re-open every game.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr 'hopeful' Draymond Green will play vs. Jazz

Warriors coach Steve Kerr 'hopeful' Draymond Green will play vs. Jazz

Draymond Green's presence likely wouldn't have made a difference in the ultimate outcome of the Warriors' loss to the Mavericks on Wednesday, but it's hard to imagine them losing by 48 if he had played.

Now, as Golden State heads to Utah for the final game of its road trip, the Dubs have their fingers crossed that Green will be able to play against the Jazz on Friday.

"Hopefully we get Draymond back," coach Steve Kerr said on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" show Thursday evening. "We'll see. I talked to him today and he was feeling better, so I'm hopeful that he can play tomorrow."

Green sat out the loss to Dallas with right heel soreness. Whether or not he is able to face the Jazz, Kerr is of the belief that the Warriors will be far more competitive than they were the last time out.

"But I think the day off today will help, I think the embarrassment of last night will help, and we'll have a shootaround tomorrow and I think we'll be ready to play," he continued. "I know our guys were embarrassed last night. It was the first time all season where I really felt like we sort of lost our spirit and our energy, so I know we'll have that back tomorrow and I'm looking forward to playing."

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Utah (9-5) currently is tied for fifth in the Western Conference and boasts the league's best scoring defense. Against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Co., the Warriors can use all the help they can get, but at least if Green plays, the won't have to worry about the spirit and energy part.

Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett describes racism Bill Russell faced

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AP

Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett describes racism Bill Russell faced

Warriors color commentator Jim Barnett has seen a lot during his time following the NBA, but perhaps what sticks out most were his experiences with Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell and the racism the Hall of Famer had to endure. 

During an appearance on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast, Barnett -- who was drafted and played one season in Boston -- shared a story about the time Russell was given a key to the city just before a game the Celtics played in a Southern state.

Following the game, the black players on the team were denied entry into a hotel because of the color of their skin. In response, Russell returned the key to the town's mayor. 

The scenario was just one of many for the prominently black Celtics of the 1960s, according to Barnett. 

"They didn't sell out in the Boston Garden," Barnett said on the first episode of "Runnin' Plays". "They sold out in the Boston Garden for the hockey team - the Boston Bruins - every game was sold out. But not the Boston Celtics. It was a racist town."  

The face of the team was Russell, who became a civil rights leader in his own right. In 1961, he staged a boycott of a game in Lexington, Ky. after a city restaurant wouldn't serve his black teammates. In 1966, he became the first black coach in the history of professional sports.

By 1967, he -- along with basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown -- led a summit to support boxer Muhammad Ali after he refused to fight in the Vietnam War.  

However, the climate of the time affected how Russell interacted with fans. 

"I remember one time, this businessman asked for an autograph," Barnett said. "He said, 'if I weren't Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, I'd be just another N-word to him.' 

Barnett added that the NBA capped how many non-whites could be on an active roster. 

"There was a quota," Barnett said. "You couldn't have more than two or three blacks. I know that for a fact." 

[RELATED: Bowman has been Warriors' bright spot, looks like a keeper]

As for his interactions with Russell and his black teammates, Barnett -- a white man -- said he didn't have any quandaries working alongside his teammates. 

"We didn't have any problems," the guys I played with and against, they were there to make a living in the NBA just like I was and we were all the same."