Utah Jazz vs. Golden State Warriors 11/21/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The red-hot Golden State Warriors looked to keep their hot start rolling on Friday night when they took on the Utah Jazz. The Warriors had won three straight and eight of their first 10 but faced an athletic, young Jazz squad, who had won two of their last three. 

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Warriors May Find Key Piece to Title Puzzle, Draymond Green, Comes at High Cost

The challenge for every NBA team that finds a diamond in the rough—also known as a second-round draft pick who can crack their eight-man playing rotationis to make the most of him while he’s making second-round pick, rather than eight-man rotation, money.

Unless, that is, you’re an NBA team in that situation right now. As are the Golden State Warriors with forward Draymond Green.

League sources estimated that Green, a restricted free agent next summer, is in line for a hefty raise from the $915,000 he’s making this season. With eight-figure deals already guaranteed for next season to five playersStephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, David Lee, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompsonthe prudence of putting Green in the same neighborhood would be questionable, if not prohibitive.

Yet a case can be made that he provides an element the Warriors would not otherwise have.

“You could make the argument that his value is somewhat like Taj Gibson’s is to the Bulls right now,” said one NBA talent scout. “He is seen as a part of the Warriors’ main core. His value is very similar to that of Tayshaun Prince on Detroit‘s championship team. He will end up getting approximately $8 million per year in free agency based on similar comparables.”

As of last spring the Warriors faced the prospect of having to move power forward Lee, paying an exorbitant salary-cap tax hit or letting Green go. Prior to his playoff performance against the Clippers, the Warriors might have had to think long and hard if they wanted to pony up a three-year, $25 million deal to keep an undersized (6’7″, 230 pounds) stretch four who shot below 30 percent from beyond the three-point arc over his first two seasons. Anyone familiar with Green’s game knows he brings a ton of intangibles (toughness, defense, IQ) to the floor as well, but those are luxuries for which teams of late haven’t been paying millions in salary and tax. At that time, they faced the prospect of paying multiples of Green’s salary in tax or face losing one of their other key assets.

Thanks to the monstrous new TV deals (nine years, $24 billion in all) the league signed this fall, the Warriors have another option they assuredly will exercise: match whatever Green might be offered and suffer a one-year tax hit. The combination of the cap rising for the 2016-17 season and Lee’s $15.5 million salary coming off the books assures them that will be the extent of the damage.

Well, that and Green’s dedication. There’s always uncertainty about a player’s hunger after he finally lands a big contract, and although Green hasn’t crossed that threshold, all signs point to him being able to handle it. Some players are best served when they stay within the web of team activities – playing on the summer-league team and training at the practice facility during the offseasonbut those commitments actually may have held Green back, based on what he did last summer.

Allowed to arrange his own workouts, he enlisted former Michigan State teammate Travis Walton, now an assistant coach with the NBDL’s Idaho Stampede, to work with him back in East Lansing, Michigan. Walton watched film of every minute Green played last season and then formulated a workout plan to fill in the holes of his game. Honing his three-point shot was on the list, but so was developing a mid-range game, since he found himself often getting the ball inside the three-point arc as teams trapped Steph Curry off pick-and-rolls.

“Before, I’d get in there and I’d be looking to pass because I’d never shot floaters,” Green said. “I shot a lot of floaters this summer, along with mid-post and elbow stuff. It’s been working well for me.”

Has it ever. With Lee sidelined most of the season with a hamstring injury, Green started the first 10 games of the season at power forward and is a strong, early candidate for the league’s most improved player award with his contributions to the Warriors’ 8-2 start. His three-point accuracy through the first 10 games stood at a career-high 41.9 percent and his shooting inside the arc is above 50 percent, both career firsts.

Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson blurted it after the team’s lopsided win over the Lakers: Golden State sees itself as a championship contender. And while Green is not the first name that comes to mind when listing the reasons that ambition is legitimate, the league’s roster-building architects will tell you having a stretch four is considered an essential ingredient for any team with title aspirations. It’s why the Clippers went out and snared Spencer Hawes; it’s also why, despite their torrid starts, some around the league question if the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies have a championship formula since they do not have that bona fide range-stretching power forward.

“Boris Diaw proved the importance of having that kind of player for San Antonio,” said one league executive. “He changed the series against Oklahoma City last year. You need that component. You don’t have to have it to be successful, but the way the game has changed you need it to win a championship. The three-point shot has become too big a part.”

Lee has worked on extending his shooting range in training camp and practice, but he’s a lifetime 1-for-26 on threes over 10 seasons and there’s no indication the work is paying off. Putting him out by the three-point line also increases the chance that he would be the first line of defense for a fast break, and it’s hard to imagine him excelling in that role. It also takes him away from what he does best, and the Warriors, as constituted, need most: his ambidextrous scoring in the post and around the rim.   

Green is aware he’s made himself an important part of the Warriors and he has a windfall coming. “It’d be a lie to say I don’t think about it,” he said. “But I don’t try to do anything different. If I did, everything is going to go wrong because I would be focusing on the wrong thing. I’d be stressed all year. Stress equals bad performances, which then would equal no contract. I really love it here. It’s all I know about this league. As far as the money working out, if they want me to stay here, I know there’s a way to keep me here.”

He’s right and it doesn’t take much thought to understand that. The new TV deal made sure of it. Meaning? The worthiness of the Warriors’ championship hopes shouldn’t rest on finding their Boris. They already have him. His name is Draymond.

 

Ric Bucher covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

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Warriors cruise past Lakers despite Kobe’s 44 points

Golden State won 136-115 as L.A. fell to franchise-worst 1-9 start.

      
 

 

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Warriors beat Lakers 136-115 despite Kobe’s 44 (Yahoo Sports)

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors on November 16, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Golden State Warriors got off to such a fast start, they gave Kobe Bryant no other choice but to keep shooting the ball to keep the Los Angeles Lakers within striking distance.


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Golden State Warriors vs. LA Lakers: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to snap a three-game losing streak when they host the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center Sunday night.

The Lakers will also be seeking vengeance for a 127-104 loss to the Warriors back on Nov. 1. During that contest, Klay Thompson scored a career-high 41 points.

Golden State has cruised to a 7-2 start this season while Los Angeles has limped to 1-8, its worst start since the franchise’s days in Minneapolis.

Kobe Bryant is currently battling the flu, and it showed during a miserable 1-for-14 performance in a 93-80 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Friday night. According to Byron Scott, Bryant will likely play against the Warriors, per Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times.

Catch all of the action at 9:30 p.m. ET on either CSN Bay Area or TWC SportsNet.

Be sure to keep it right here as Bleacher Report provides you with live coverage throughout the game.

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Harrison Barnes Beginning to Thrive Back in Starting Role for Warriors

From the Splash Brothers’ continued brilliance to Draymond Green’s success filling in for the injured David Lee, the Golden State Warriors have had plenty of heroes en route to their impressive 7-2 start under new head coach Steve Kerr.

But after Saturday night’s 112-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets, the time has come to celebrate a less-heralded contributor. 

Harrison Barnes tallied 17 points and four rebounds against the Hornets, marking his fourth consecutive game scoring in double figures. The North Carolina product posted a season-high 22 points against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. The standout performances are becoming something of a trend.

“He’s just a really good layer and very comfortable and confident, and he’s playing well,” Kerr told reporters during CSN Bay Area’s postgame coverage. “What I like about Harrison, and I know that the focus is on our offense, but his defense has been great.

“He’s so strong and quick, and he can guard four positions. That’s, I think, the way the league has trended the last few years…We have a very versatile team and Harrison represents that.”

Kerr wasn’t the only one who took notice on Saturday.

After coming off a season that in some ways represented a step back, the 22-year-old’s flashes of upside couldn’t come at a better time.

He started 81 games and made 43.9 percent of his field-goal attempts as a rookie but only started 24 games during his sophomore campaign after the organization acquired the more veteran Andre Iguodala. In turn, Barnes struggled to find a rhythm, and that promising success rate from the field sank to just 39.9 percent.

Though his 2014-15 sample size remains limited, Barnes has made the most of reclaiming his starting gig under Kerr. Thus far, he’s making an absurd 54.5 percent of his shots.

That number will come down to earth, but it’s still very possible the third-year veteran embarks upon a breakout season. He’s earning his minutes while establishing himself as the kind of complementary player who won’t take too many touches away from premier guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

“We run a few plays for him but not many,” Kerr added after the game. “The whole point of our offensive is we shouldn’t have to call plays for certain people.”

Barnes can make an impact without dominating the basketball. He’s a dangerous finisher in transition, a strong cutter and a steady spot-up shooter. And those are all things he can do while allowing Curry and Thompson to make things happen with the ball in their hands.

While Barnes’ fit with the starting unit has been encouraging, it isn’t the only reason for the new rotation.

The hope is that Iguodala also benefits from the opportunity to run offense as a sixth man.

“I want him to handle the ball quite a bit,” Kerr recently told reporters. “Part of the reason that we’re bringing him off the bench is that he tends to get lost with the starting group, because Steph and Klay have the ball constantly.

“I think Andre is at his best when he has the ball in his hands. I want him initiating the offense, and I think in the preseason, he was in a great groove in that role.”

That groove has subsequently proven elusive, making Barnes’ contributions all the more welcome.

Iguodala has scored in double figures just once this season, and he’s only making 36.5 percent of his field-goal attempts. Though nine games, he’s averaging just 5.3 points, three rebounds and 2.9 assists in 28.5 minutes per contest.

Though Iguodala was able to dominate the ball during preseason stretches, reserve guard Shaun Livington’s return from injury means another ball-handler in the second unit. Iggy may still be attempting to adjust.

He’s still doing some important things, especially on the defensive end. But he certainly isn’t making Kerr think twice about Barnes increased responsibilities.

Nor is Barnes.

He said he’s heeding Kerr’s recommendation that he adopt a more aggressive approach.

That’s something I took to heart,” Barnes told reporters this week. “When you move and you have great shooters out there, you just fall into baskets. Whether it’s Andrew Bogut hitting you on a cut or Steph coming off a pick-and-roll and hitting you for a wide-open three, when we’re moving the ball like that, it’s easy to get great shots.”

Barnes seems to be feeding off that chemistry more than ever.

For the first time in his career, he’s contributing more points per 100 possessions than would an average replacement. According to Basketball-Reference, his offensive box plus/minus currently sits at 0.4—a marked improvement over last season’s -2.2 mark.

Maybe it’s renewed confidence. Maybe it’s the skill development you’d expect from a former No. 7 draft pick coming into his own.

Either way, the status quo appears to be working—at least for Barnes. And while Iguodala’s transition to the second unit hasn’t gone as smoothly just yet, the 30-year-old seems committed to making it work.

“I’ve been in the league for a really long time, and there a lot of stories about anything and little things,” Iguodala told reporters in October. “If my shoes are tied the wrong way, that can become a story. I’m trying not to make [coming off the bench] a story this year, and I’m trying to win a championship.”

And by the looks of things, Harrison Barnes just might help him do it.

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Warriors take down Nets to stop two-game slide

Golden State had lost two in a row after starting the season with five straight wins.

      
 

 

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Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors 11/13/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Golden State Warriors looked to recapture their early-season form on Thursday night when they took on the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors had lost two straight after ripping off five straight wins to open the season, but the Nets posed a stern test, having won two of their last three. 

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3 Players the Golden State Warriors Are Most Likely to Target in a Trade

With the Golden State Warriors in the midst of their own personal renaissance, the completion of their ultimate masterpiece is still a work in progress. While most of the key components have already been put in place, there are still a few more shades to add in the form of trades.

It almost seems silly to tinker with a team that has roared out of the gate at such a breakneck pace, but far too often we’ve seen teams with minor flaws eventually get done in by what was perceived to be merely an inconvenience.

The Warriors front office and new head coach Steve Kerr are too smart to let that happen, and it will be on them to find remedies for the issues that have plagued them to start the season.

Fixing a turnover issue isn’t about adding any one particular player, but rather finding the one player that can change the mindset of the team. A grizzled veteran that has played in numerous playoff wars can do that.

It’s not all about changing the culture, though. Sometimes it’s as simple as merely finding a way to make a good team even better. Adding a reliable post presence is one way of doing it, as would picking up a player that can stretch a defense past their comfort zone.

Fortunately for the Warriors, there are players that will most likely be available at the trade deadline to fill in those needs. Whether they actually go out and get one is a whole other story.

 

David West, Indiana Pacers 

No potential trade target would look better in a Warriors jersey than David West. Whether it be based on production, experience or mindset, his track record speaks for itself.

The gruesome injury to Paul George over the summer all but assured that the Indiana Pacers’ season was over. The way it has played out so far, those assumptions have proved to be correct.

It’s fair to assume that the Pacers have accepted this reality and will look to the future of the team. There is no better way to plan for that then by accumulating developing, young players and assuring themselves a spot in the lottery. Yes, that’s right, Indiana, it’s time to start tanking (if you weren’t already doing it).

West has been a fantastic player over the course of his career and has proved that, even at 34 years old, the type of game he plays is not one that rapidly diminishes—he averaged 14 points and 6.8 rebounds in 2013-14.

West is battle tested, having been a big part of Chris Paul’s New Orleans Hornets teams (now Pelicans) in the daunting Western Conference, as well as reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in back-to-back seasons with the Pacers.

A player with his type of pedigree could absolutely change the laissez-faire attitude of the Warriors, one that has seem them lead the league in turnovers by a disturbingly large margin.

It’s one thing to play a free-flowing brand of basketball that watches the ball move and find its way to open shooters. It’s quite another to simply be prone to sloppiness. Despite the early-season records, this is what ultimately sets the San Antonio Spurs apart from the Warriors, and we saw it in full force Tuesday night. 

West would help to change that and bring a much-needed attitude that we’ve seen in flashes from Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. A frontcourt consisting of those three would be a nightmare for any opposing team.

The Warriors would be able to offer the Pacers a promising young player in Harrison Barnes, salary-cap relief and the opportunity to solidify themselves in the lottery. In a featured role, Barnes could flourish and eventually form a dynamic duo with George next season.

For the Warriors, re-signing Barnes was going to be a long shot. With Klay Thompson receiving a max contract and Green also needing to be paid eventually, seeing him walk for nothing would be fruitless.

A swap of Barnes for West makes sense for both teams. While the trade would be a significant cap hit for the Warriors, you have to spend money to win. With West in the fold, the Warriors can do just that. The revenue generated from an elite team would more than cover the tax.

 

Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons 

The Detroit Pistons have to make a move. While the front line of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond looked good on paper, it hasn’t translated into wins.

While the Pistons would obviously prefer to move Smith over Monroe, the market has just about run dry for the trigger-happy Smith. Smith has received criticism throughout his career, and it was never more poignant than when Denver’s Kenneth Faried said, via Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk, “Josh Smith, we let him keep shooting. And he ended up with 25, but he still kept shooting. He shot them out of the game.”

That’s Smith in a nutshell.

Monroe is the polar opposite, a young player who is still just scratching the surface of his potential. Averaging 17.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game this season, he’s proved himself to be a dynamic weapon.

David Lee has been unable to consistently stay on the court, and although Marreese Speights has played well in spurts, he was never the answer at power forward. Green has played well as a small-ball power forward this season, but there will be times when a conventional lineup makes sense.

Monroe has the skills to work down low either alongside Bogut or in the center spot himself. Still on a favorable contract of just over $5 million a year, there wouldn’t be much of a cap hit.

Just like in the above trade scenario with West, Barnes is the perfect trade bait. Smith would be able to move over to his more natural power forward position and they could watch Barnes develop before his contract expires.

For the Warriors, they would get another big body that they desperately need, one that can provide interior scoring and solid defense. It’s a win-win for both sides.

 

Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks 

This is solely based on Steve Kerr’s desire to have a stretch 4 in his rotation. Ersan Ilyasova needs a change of scenery, and the uptempo offensive system that the Warriors run would be perfect for him.

Ilyasova would have all the three-point opportunities he could handle playing alongside willing passers like Stephen Curry, Bogut and Andre Iguodala. His ability to make shots from outside would also help open up the paint for Curry and Klay Thompson, who has improved tremendously at getting to the basket.

The price for Ilyasova, however, would most likely be David Lee. Watching Lee go after all he’s done over the years would be tough, but the fact is he’s become injury prone over the years and his defense has not improved.

He too could use a change of scenery and the Milwaukee Bucks can provide that.

A strong post presence is something that the Bucks have lacked for years. Larry Sanders is a tremendous defender and rebounder, but he doesn’t bring much to table offensively. The same goes for John Henson. The scoring and passing that Lee would provide would give that offense a much-needed boost.

These trades always sound good on paper. For once, it would probably translate to the court as well.

 

What do you think? Would any of these trades work for the Warriors? Sound off in the comments below!

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San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors: Postgame Grades and Analysis

Klay Thompson scored a game-high 29 points, but the San Antonio Spurs knocked off the Golden State Warriors 113-100 at Oracle Arena Tuesday night.

Despite playing a few ticks over 30 minutes, Tony Parker paced the Spurs with 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, dishing seven assists as well.

Though Steve Kerr’s team shot 54.3 percent from the field, turnovers were a deciding factor. San Antonio ceded possession just eight times compared to Golden State’s 20.

Additionally, the Spurs allowed a single offensive rebound to the Warriors and outscored Steve Kerr’s team in every quarter.

 

San Antonio Spurs Grades

Tony Parker: A
Manu Ginobili: A-
Kawhi Leonard: B+
Tim Duncan: A-
Rest of Team: B

 

Golden State Warriors Grades

Stephen Curry: C-
Klay Thompson: B+
Harrison BarnesA-
Draymond Green: C
Rest of Team: D+

 

San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker: A

Put simply, Parker is so difficult to defend when given space for a 15-foot jumper or drive to the basket. Golden State couldn’t disrupt him quickly enough, and he tied a season high with 28 points.

Popovich experimented with Parker on Curry defensively, which didn’t go terribly. The ability to use that matchup in stints is something San Antonio may consider employing during a potential playoff meeting to provide extra rest for Danny Green.

 

Manu Ginobili: A-

No matter who was matched up with him, Manu Ginobili basically found whatever he wanted. The veteran consistently lost defenders on screens, amassing 17 points, five assists and a team-high plus-12 rating.

His first-quarter buzzer-beater was brilliant. Ignoring a tendency to shoot a last-second fadeaway, he lost Draymond Green and leaned in for an easy two.

 

Kawhi Leonard: B+

After a lackluster first quarter, Kawhi Leonard’s defense was solid as he cycled between Harrison Barnes and Thompson. The Spurs continued running more offensive sets through the small forward, but he forced some head-scratching jumpers. 

However, Leonard buried a pair of three-pointers with less than three minutes remaining to seal the victory. He finished with 19 points and six rebounds.

 

Tim Duncan: A-

Duncan was an absolute monster on the defensive glass, not allowing an offensive rebound to Andrew Bogut, who entered averaging 2.5 per night. The 7-footer recorded his 802nd career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 boards.

 

Rest of Team: B

Danny Green’s road struggles continued, draining just 1-of-7 beyond the arc for a season total of only 2-of-20 three-pointers away from San Antonio. Boris Diaw committed a few turnovers on risky passes, but he was still effective in the high post. Diaw logged eight points, six rebounds and four assists.

Cory Joseph provided a spark off the bench, recording 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, adding four assists and two steals. Matt Bonner chipped in five points and five boards, while Aron Baynes was stout down low.

 

Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry: C-

Tuesday was a forgettable offensive night for Stephen Curry, whose 75-game streak with a made triple ended following an 0-of-7 performance. What’s more, he was constantly screened out of position and failed to recover defensively.

Curry managed 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and one highlight-reel play, but the star guard will be working on forgetting this one.

 

Klay Thompson: B+

He’s still overcoming poor ball-handling habits, but Thompson’s outside shooting is elite—and still improving. The sharpshooter nailed his first three attempts from distance and finished 5-of-6 beyond the arc.

While Thompson is clearly more aggressive in 2014-15, he’s playing under better control, too. He netted 29 points, snared five rebounds and collected five assists.

 

Harrison Barnes: A-

Barnes was guarded by Leonard early yet exploded for an 11-point quarter, capitalizing on switches and unnecessary space provided by the Spurs defense.

Kerr countered the Duncan-Bonner combination by utilizing Barnes at the four, which was a major reason he accumulated a season-high 22 points. Golden State should consider using Barnes off the bench, however, since its reserves are somewhat inept offensively.

 

Draymond Green: C

He can look ridiculously special one night and then revert into an average complement the next. Green recognized open teammates and tallied four assists, but he never settled down as a shooter, misfiring on 5-of-7 attempts.

 

Rest of Team: D+

Andre Iguodala couldn’t contain Ginobili, and the reserve guard committed three turnovers, too. The second unit dearly missed David Lee because the lineup of Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Iguodala, Green and Festus Ezeli was an offensive mess.

Though Marreese Speights carried an utterly disappointing bench, his only minutes came during the fourth quarter where he scored 11 points and canned 5-of-5 from the field. Excluding Speights, the Warriors bench was outscored 40-9.

 

Coming Up Next

San Antonio (4-3) continues its four-game California road trip on Friday, Nov. 13, at 10 p.m. ET, and the conference clash can be seen on ESPN.

Golden State (5-2) will host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 10:30 p.m. ET, which will be broadcast by TNT.

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