Curry's 32 helps W's back on track, past Blazers


Curry's 32 helps W's back on track, past Blazers

OAKLAND Stephen Curry had 32 points, Monta Ellis had 12 assists and David Lee had 26 points as the Warriors held off the Portland Trail Blazers and got their first win on a six-game road trip after starting with consecutive losses.Warriors 101, Blazers 93Star of the game: Stephen Curry scored a season-high 32 points, including 6-for-8 from 3-point range, to help the Warriors snap a three-game losing streak.He took what the defense gave him, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. He picked them apart in pick-and-roll situations. When they didnt play him he came off as a scorer, when they doubled him he put David in position to make shots and trust that David would make the right decisions so others would get involved.
Unsung star: Ekpe Udoh finished with four points, seven rebounds and two blocks, but it was his defense on Portlands LaMarcus Aldridge down the stretch that proved big.Aldridge, one of the games premier power forwards, had just two points in the fourth quarter and it was largely because of Udoh.During a big stretch late, with the game still in the balance, Udoh forced Aldridge into a miss and turnover on consecutive possessions, which allowed Golden State some breathing room.When Ekpe Udoh plays like that he leaves me no choice but to leave him in the game and trust hes going to get the job done, Jackson said. Outstanding defense against one of the best if not the best power forward in the game. Not that he wont score, but he made (Aldridge) work for everything.Aldridge finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.Key stretch: With the Warriors clinging to a three-point lead with just under five minutes remaining, they got four consecutive stops and a couple buckets of their own to take a 95-88 lead with 2:55 remaining. From that point, the Warriors brought it home.Currys big third quarter: The Warriors turned a 53-48 halftime deficit into a 79-73 lead after three quarters, and it was largely because of Stephen Curry.Curry had 16 points in the period, which included four 3-pointers. Through three quarters, Curry had 28 points on 11-for-17 shooting, including 6-for-8 from beyond the arc.For the game, the Warriors went 11-for-20 from 3-point range.I cant (explain it), Portland coach Nate McMillan said. We know what Curry is capable of doing. I know that they came out red hot. We lost (Brandon) Rush a couple of times in the first half and carrying it into the second half. These guys can shoot the 3-ball.Ellis the non-scorer: Ellis had an uncharacteristically low field goal attempt total on Wednesday, taking just nine shots and making two. Ellis didn't attempt a field goal in the third quarter and certainly wasn't his aggressive self -- at least as far as aggressive taking shots.He finished with a season-high 12 assists and three steals."You could tell s of late that teams are keyingin on him especially when he has the ball, waiting for the pick and roll," Curry said. "They were loading the defense to his side. He still did a great job of attacking and making plays on the weak side where we had shooters spacing. That's what leaders do."Going small: For the final four minutes of the second quarter, Jackson went small very small. He had Nate Robinson, Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis all playing together.No doubt four minutes was a small sample size for that threesome but the game was tied 42-42 when Jackson went in that direction. At halftime, Portland led 53-48.Tyler sighting: Rookie Jeremy Tyler got some playing time in the first half a rarity. In fact, Tyler logged seven minutes in the first and second quarters, and he had logged just eight minutes the entire season up to that point. Tyler didnt do badly while he was in there, and neither did the Warriors. When Tyler entered the game with 22 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Warriors were down 26-24.When Tyler checked out midway through the second period, the Warriors were hanging in there, tied with Portland 38-38.Tyler was spoon-fed a dunk and a layup and wound up with five points and a rebound during that stint.Thompson making strides: Its no secret that one of the best things about the Warriors this early season has been their bench. And rookie Klay Thompson has certainly gotten better since the beginning of the season.After starting slowly and tentatively, Thompson has become more aggressive and is looking for his shot more. The upshot is Thompson is now shooting 44.7 percent from 3-point range.Hes much more confident, for whatever reason, Jackson said before the game. I thought early on in the season he turned down shots. Who knows what the explanation was. After talking with him, I forgot which game it was, at halftime I told him Reggie Miller would never shake his head after missing a shot.Hes a shooter and I did not want him turning down shots. I promised him I would never take him out of the game for missing a shot, and thats a fact. Hes been everything we thought he would be when we drafted him and hes only going to get better.

NBA poised for season unlike it's ever seen

NBA poised for season unlike it's ever seen

The story lines are as long as a Stephen Curry 3-pointer.

With a superteam in the West, a megastar in the Midwest, superstars all around the league, its global popularity at an all-time high, more revenue than ever and labor peace looming, this season has the potential to be like no other the league has ever had. Yes, rivaling the Celtics' run in the 1960s, possibly topping Magic-Bird rivalry of the '80s and Michael Jordan's run of the '90s.

LeBron James is holding the title in Cleveland and Kevin Durant has settled in Golden State, so the NBA Finals could be headed for the same destination again next June.

But what a journey it should be getting there.

"I think there is a somewhat an inevitability of this Cleveland-Warriors meeting in the finals again, which can sometimes make you overlook how enjoyable the regular season can be if you love basketball," ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy said. "So I think they'll meet in the finals again, but that doesn't make the regular season uninteresting to me."

A summer spending spree created new contenders and enticing questions for a global audience that will begin being answered Tuesday when the new season opens in the places the last one ended.

The record-setting Warriors will be must-see TV again with Durant, the former scoring champ and league MVP, sharing shots with Curry, the current scoring champ and MVP.

James is on a Jordan-like run, looking for a seventh straight trip to the NBA Finals and hoping to build a dynasty where there was once just despair.

There's Dwyane Wade in Chicago and Dwight Howard in Atlanta after both went home.

Derrick Rose left home, traded from the Bulls to the New York Knicks.

Former Commissioner David Stern used to say the NBA was in its golden age.

Under Adam Silver, it may be even shinier.

"There are a lot of charged-up players in this league," Silver said. "There are a lot of teams, young teams in the development cycle, where I think they would even say realistically they're unlikely to win the championship this season, but they're on the road to winning a championship."

He will give James and the Cavaliers their rings before the season opener, and Durant joins Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in the expensive and explosive Warriors lineup later that night against San Antonio.

Their teams are heavily favored to meet in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year, a rivalry that could turn into something like the Celtics-Lakers, or before that of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

But this is no two-team show.

[POOLE: NBA predictions: Cavs don't make Finals; Westbrook MVP]

"It's tough," Green said. "But at the same time I'm almost certain that it's a goal of (Cleveland's) to get back to try to win a championship. With that being said, there's a lot of great teams in this league. And they're not saying we're going to watch the Cavs and the Warriors in June."

Like Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City being defiant, not devastated by Durant's departure the way the Cavs were when James bolted for Miami in 2010.

Or young stars like Karl-Anthony Towns growing up into the spotlight, now that Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, titans for so long, have grown old and retired. And yet another batch of unmatched international talent, led by No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, an Australian whose debut will be delayed as he recovers from a foot injury.

It's what the league sought to create during the 2011 lockout, when more revenues were shifted from players to teams in hopes the clubs would then distribute them better and chip away at the gulf between the big-market haves and the little-market have-nots.

Money really started pouring in with the extension of the league's national TV contracts, which kicked in this season to the tune of about $2.6 billion annually. The TV deal has sent salaries soaring so much that owners and players are poised to agree to a new labor agreement soon without the type of fight that led to the last one.

The wealth of talent, and the wealth to acquire it, has emboldened teams to spend now where they once may have stood pat.

Durant, Al Horford and many more switched teams during the dizzying days of July free agency, with the Spurs putting Pau Gasol alongside Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge into the frontcourt spot that Duncan for so long had anchored.

A third of the league changed coaches, with clubs like Minnesota (Tom Thibodeau) and Houston (Mike D'Antoni) turning to proven winners to steer them through the rough Western Conference waters.

The Spurs or Clippers could emerge as the toughest test out there for the Warriors. Things look easier for James in the East, where he has emerged as the champion for six straight years. But he never thinks about what happened in the past.

"There are going to be so many more challenges, so many different obstacles that we're going to have to face this year as a ballclub," James said. "We have to be mentally focused, mentally prepared for it all. I think we will, be but it will not be easy and it shouldn't be."

Silver, who should definitely like what he sees, summed up the anticipation:

"I'm looking forward to the season."

In contract year, Iguodala hoping for new deal with Warriors

In contract year, Iguodala hoping for new deal with Warriors

OAKLAND – Andre Iguodala’s game defies convenient categorization. The box score generally doesn’t do it justice, yet box-score stats heavily influence value.

Which puts Iguodala, in the final year of his Warriors contract, in a bit of quandary. The 32-year-old small forward is a key member of the team and would like to receive another contract. How does he suppress the thought of a new deal while simultaneously hoping to get one?

“It’s human to have it in the back of your mind,” Iguodala told on Monday. “But I would never let that get in the way of us winning. That’s just the nature of my game anyway.

“Although I do try to sometimes, tell myself to be selfish when I’m out there, once I’m out there I’m always looking to make the right play. I may think, ‘Shoot, I should’ve shot it,’ but I end up passing it anyway because it’s the right play.”

Iguodala is a highly intelligent but largely intangible force who at his best plays lock-down defense, disrupts opposing offensive schemes, sets up teammates to score and occasionally pitches in with points of his own.

Coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers consistently express high regard for what Iguodala brings, but even they will have to decide whether the budget, beginning in 2017-18, will allow another contract for Iguodala.

It’s one thing for the Warriors to place immense value on Iguodala, the NBA Finals MVP during the team’s 2015 title run, but how would the rest of the league value a 33-year-old who spent three seasons as the team’s Sixth Man?

“They understand it here,” Iguodala said. “But the problem is you need another team, because if you don’t have another team, you can’t leverage. And it’s a business. I don’t care what you’ve done in the past.”

It’s conceivable that the Warriors, in drafting Patrick McCaw, believe they now have someone who eventually will give them much of what Iguodala provides. McCaw, 20, delights in guarding multiple positions while also playing a well-rounded offensive game.

Even Iguodala understands the comparison.

“It’s a little different,” Iguodala said. “As far as IQ, I definitely see it. He’s a very smart player. Very defensive-minded. Offensively, he’s underrated. He’s a great passer."

For now, the veteran is secure. He has a featured role on a team that is favored to win a championship. His contribution to the season will state is case to the Warriors.

“For me,” Iguodala said, “it’s just about playing with good intentions and hoping it works out."