Warriors have people taking notice with fast start


Warriors have people taking notice with fast start

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) When the Golden State Warriors began madly celebrating a stunning, last-second win against defending NBA champion Miami on the Heat's home court this week, Jarrett Jack quickly offered a message to his teammates.

Time to move on. Next game. Act like you've done this before.

Thanks to Jack, that catchy ``We Believe'' mantra that gained mass popularity during the team's unlikely run to the second round of the 2007 playoffs has suddenly turned into ``We Belong.''

``He was telling guys that because we were jumping around like we won a championship,'' said rookie Draymond Green, who had the winning layin with less than a second remaining in Wednesday night's 97-95 victory against LeBron James and Co.

Nobody will argue the Warriors belong, at least for the moment.

Golden State got off to its best start since 1991-92 and the team sits in second place in the Pacific Division behind the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors (15-8) lost 99-85 at Orlando on Friday night.

Everyone involved guards against getting too excited at this early stage.

``I'm trying to convey the fact we're only a quarter of the way into the season,'' general manager Bob Myers said. ``Games are played over 48 minutes. It's good to get off to a good start, but it can all go away.''

The Warriors won the first five games of their season-long road trip before Friday's loss and still have a stop Saturday at Atlanta before returning home. Golden State has won eight of its last 10, and had victories in 15 of its first 22 games to start the season for just the second time in 45 years.

Green returned to the locker room Wednesday night to find 83 congratulatory text messages waiting for him on his phone, a number that grew to about 130 well wishes in all.

``I know it's a great road trip for the entire organization,'' Green said by phone from Florida. ``One thing when we went to Miami, we expected to get a win. We weren't hoping to get a win. We're going in there expecting to get a win.''

Even Myers said there was ``no way'' he would have guessed the Warriors would begin the road trip 5-0.

In the sports-heavy Bay Area, the Warriors' remarkable start has many taking notice. Years of futility have long put them low on the totem pole behind the World Series-winning San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco 49ers or even the neighboring Oakland Raiders.

But that is changing with owner Joe Lacob in charge. Lacob preached patience as he made sweeping changes after taking over the once-proud franchise two years ago.

``So much fun, finally, to be winning!'' Lacob wrote in an email.

And the Warriors are hopeful of landing their first All-Star since Latrell Sprewell in 1997 - if they can keep this good thing going.

When Myers walked into the gym Tuesday in Miami and saw nearly everyone on the floor for an optional practice, he knew things were beginning to click for this team. It looked like a full turnout, even though a couple of players were receiving treatment.

Myers approached second-year coach Mark Jackson practically in disbelief.

``It says a lot when you have every guy show up on an off day and get his shots up,'' Green said.

When Myers met up with Heat President Pat Riley before Wednesday's game, Riley had only encouraging words about the state of the Warriors.

``He's a mentor, a guy that I think is at the highest level of what I do,'' Myers said. ``All he's accomplished as a player, coach, executive, I asked him if we could talk. Usually you do try to talk to the opposing general manager on the other side. His comments were that he believes our organization is changing in the right ways and developing a different identity - and he said this before the game. It was very complimentary. We'd love to get to where they are.''

After the monumental victory in Miami, Lacob and Myers flew all night back to the Bay Area, where Lacob had a board meeting first thing Thursday morning and Myers needed to return home to help his wife with their two young daughters. They landed at 2 a.m., Lacob slept from 3:30-6:30 a.m. then headed to his 8 a.m. meeting.

Going on just three hours' sleep hardly fazed Lacob, who only wished the schedule would have allowed him to stay with the team for the final two games of the trip.

``Honestly, worth every minute of lost sleep,'' he said.

Especially with his team accomplishing things it hasn't done in decades. Golden State won the initial five games of a road trip for the first time since sweeping a five-gamer in 1978.

Jack, Green and others are complementing Stephen Curry and David Lee.

``We're definitely establishing more momentum, but we want to keep it going,'' Green said. ``We've been on a pretty good roll the last 15 games. We know it's a long season and it can quickly change. We're just dedicated to getting better.''

Through Wednesday's win, Lee had posted a career-best five straight games with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

And the Warriors realize how much better they will be once center Andrew Bogut gets back on the court. Myers still believes it will be this season, though the team is no longer guessing exactly when considering Bogut underwent microfracture surgery in April.

The 7-foot Bogut, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005 out of Utah, was acquired in a trade from Milwaukee on March 13 that sent high-flying guard and fan favorite Monta Ellis to the Bucks. Bogut broke his ankle last Jan. 25 when he landed awkwardly against Houston, then missed the rest of the season.

With Bogut back in the lineup, everyone figures the Warriors will have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs, for real this time - something Jackson promised a year ago as a rookie NBA coach but didn't fulfill in a 23-43 finish in the lockout-shortened season.

They're doing just fine without Bogut so far.

``We are now relevant,'' Lacob said. ``We belong? Perhaps, but that will be determined later in the year. For now, I am sure this group of players, who we love, will keep their heads down and focused on our collective goal of winning by continuing to grind out every single possession.''

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No-hitter hurled in Beltway battle of Nationals-Orioles Double-A affiliates

No-hitter hurled in Beltway battle of Nationals-Orioles Double-A affiliates

In what *has* to be the most important game of the night between the Orioles and Nationals organizations, Bowie Baysox pitcher Michael Baumann threw a no-hitter against the visiting Harrisburg Senators.

The Double-A starting pitcher was absolutely filthy on the mound all night long, dominating the Senators lineup. Baumann needed just 94 pitches to mow down 29 batters, throwing 63 strikes while walking just two batters. He also struck out 10 as he thoroughly shutdown Harrisburg.

Baumann, who is rated the 24th-best prospect in the Orioles farm system according to MLB Pipeline, has had a dynamic start to his Double-A career. The 23-year old has a ridiculous 0.33 ERA through five games (three starts) in Bowie, spanning 27 innings.

This was, of course, his most impressive performance yet.

As for the Baysox offense, every player in the lineup recorded at least one hit. That's irony at its best.

At the time Baumann completed his gem, his organization’s Major League team wasn’t doing so well. The Orioles trailed the Nationals 5-1 in the seventh inning when it was announced on the big screen that Baumann had made history.

During a series in which the Orioles will be hard-pressed to beat their visitors from Washington, it’s nice to have something fun to point to from the minors.

Congratulations to Baumann. If he tosses a few more no-hitters, he’ll certainly find himself rocketing up prospect rankings list in a hurry.


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Managers in Nationals-Orioles series embrace shared history as they face off for the first time

Managers in Nationals-Orioles series embrace shared history as they face off for the first time

Brandon Hyde and Davey Martinez have spent countless days on the same fields, but Tuesday night was the first time they found themselves managing against one another.

Before heading to the nation’s capital to manage the Washington Nationals, Martinez coached under Joe Maddon with the Chicago Cubs from 2015-17. Brandon Hyde was also in Chicago during those years, coaching first base and then succeeding Martinez as Maddon’s bench coach prior to his hire in Baltimore last offseason.

While both figures are competitive enough to not need any added motivation against the opposing team, it’s still a fun moment for the two longtime friends to appreciate.

“Oh, he’s awesome,” Martinez told reporters in the visitor’s dugout before Tuesday’s game when asked about his relationship with Hyde. “I know him and his family very well, almost like family of mine. When we got in town we had dinner together, so it was kind of fun.”

Martinez went on to emphasize he knows Hyde will be playing to win, too.

“Obviously we both know he’s very competitive,” Martinez continued. “He knows that we want to win and he wants to win, so put everything aside. We’re going to compete.”

Despite the difference in records and team expectations in 2019, Hyde was pretty clear about his desire to take down his former colleague.

“Obviously me and Dave are very close friends and I wish him all the success in the world,” Hyde echoed during his own pregame availability. “But obviously I hope we beat them these next couple games.”

Martinez is not the only National to have a relationship with Hyde.

“Davey’s over there, Henry Blanco’s very close friend of mine, Joe Dillon the hitting coach I played with in high school, so I have some close relationships on that staff,” Hyde said.

Martinez knows the Nats can’t let their guard down against weaker opponents, Orioles included. As he put it, the Nationals “gotta come out and play baseball like we always do.”

And yet, even though each manager is putting his best foot forward to try to win the game, same as every other night of the season, it’s hard to ignore the unique relationship between the two.

For most, it’s just another night of baseball. But as Brandon Hyde put it most simply, “this will be a little bit different managing against Davey on the other side.”

Orioles-Nationals has yet to fully develop into a true rivalry, but perhaps a few more games that feel just “a little bit different” will help one blossom going forward.