OAKLAND Looks like Warriors coach Mark Jackson and pointguard Stephen Curry have some things to work out when it comes to Currysplaying time in the preseason.Jackson said after Saturdays practice that Curry wouldlikely sit out either Sundays preseason opener against the Lakers in Fresno orMondays game against the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena.But Curry later expressed to reporters that hed like toplay in both games. What Jackson and Curry do agree on is they will be talkingabout it and figuring it out.Im going to think about it, talk to Steph about it,Jackson said. Im going to think about it and make the right decision as faras thats concerned. I really dont want to work him back-to-back nights. Illmake a decision as to whether he plays tomorrow or Monday.Curry, who missed most of last season with ankle issues, wasmedically cleared for all basketball-related activities three weeks ago. Sincetraining camp started on Tuesday, Curry has been participating in most of theteams drills and scrimmaging.I would like to play a little bit in each game, kind ofbuild up my endurance and work through some soreness -- if I have any soreness,Curry said. But that will be something well talk about.Curry hasnt played since March 11, and admitted to beingexcited for his first game competition in months. After Saturdays practice,Curry said he felt like a rookie because hes antsy to get some game actionagainst the Lakers.But well see if that happens. Jackson indicated he wasntlikely to play Curry both nights.I would lean toward one of them being off, Jackson said.Being that we had a day off Friday, and we got after it pretty good today. So,rather than making it three days in a row of getting after it, cooler headswill prevail.As for who will start at small forward and center againstthe Lakers, Jacksons wasnt saying. Hell be choosing among rookie HarrisonBarnes, Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson at the small forward spot.And with Andrew Bogut still not ready, it will come down torookie Festus Ezeli or Andris Biedrins at center.Its really no big deal who starts tomorrow, Jackson said.
LOS ANGELES – On the scale of NBA regular-season epic, Warriors-Clippers on Wednesday night rates a solid 8 for the Warriors. It’s circled on the desk calendars in pencil, a game they want for development and vanity.
For the Clippers, though, it’s a 9.5. Might be a 10. It’s stamped on the calendars embedded in their minds.
They need this game, psychologically, to prove they can stand up to the team that has spent the past two seasons winning a championship and setting a record for regular-season wins, simultaneously suppressing the notion of the Clippers being legitimately elite.
Los Angeles also needs to win the clash at Staples Center if these Western Conference titans are to reignite what once was the hottest rivalry in the NBA.
“We get to see what they do; they get to see what we do,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr says.
“It’s a new four-game journey against this team,” guard Stephen Curry says. “We have history that, when you play in the division, year after year, we’re fighting for the same goal of not only winning the division but playoff seeding and coming out of the west. It’s been a nice little back and forth.”
It has been mostly forward for the Warriors, generally backward for the Clippers.
A rivalry is defined somewhat by geography but mostly by hostilities over both the regular season and the postseason. In the very best rivalries, the teams are hunting the same bounty and end up exchanging feelings of ecstasy and heartbreak.
That has been missing the past two seasons, with the Warriors winning seven of the eight games and the last six in a row. It has been Curry over Chris Paul, Draymond Green over Blake Griffin, Klay Thompson over J.J. Redick and Kerr over Clippers coach Doc Rivers.
The contempt that began percolating back in 2012, reaching its apex in 2014 during a spellbinding seven-game playoff series won by LA, has been submerged by this wave of Warriors success.
The “rivalry” has declined considerably, leaving nothing but memories of the days when the teams were striving to reach the same level.
“We were a team trying to break through and make the playoffs,” Klay Thompson says. “They were trying to do the same thing, as far as trying to make noise in the playoffs. We both had an edge to ourselves and we haven’t lost it. They’re still hungry to get to that championship level. You can see that. And so are we.”
Curry traces the origin of the rivalry to Paul’s arrival in December 2011. The decorated point guard brought instant credibility to a franchise that had been every bit as much of a laughingstock as had the Warriors.
“When CP got there and the organization took a different turn, for the better obviously,” Curry recalls. “It was probably that first year we both made the playoffs (2012-13) because the records were a lot better than they usually were and there was a little more excitement around the new and up-and-coming teams.”
Games have featured ejections, multiple technical fouls – once in a preseason game – with an overdose of grabbing and posturing. One beef went postgame, nearly becoming physical in a hallway near the locker rooms.
There has been verbal warfare, sarcasm and slights and insults, though most of it lately has come from LA.
With the Warriors at 18-3 and the Clippers at 16-6, this may be the last season to reignite the conflict, and the first of four meetings will provide a sense of placement. The Warriors are 18-3, having won 14 of their last 15. The Clippers are 16-6, having lost four of their last six.
“It’ll be fun to see how it plays out,” Kerr says.
The Clippers, however, showed up for this season with a sense of urgency. Paul and Griffin both have opt-out clauses and will be free agents in July. The perennial All-Stars have been teammates for five-plus seasons, but this may be the last.
“Their continuity is really key; it’s one of the things that has helped us the last couple years,” Kerr says. “When you have basically the same team for a while, and you’re already a good team, you tend to get better. You tend to grow more and more comfortable with what you’re already doing and then, maybe even have the ability to add on some things.”
So maybe it’ll be different this season. Maybe we’ll have actual back-and-forth.
“They could be a team down the road that we need to get through to get where we want to go, and they probably see us the same way,” Curry says.
Oh, there is no doubt about that, certainly not among the Clippers.
On Monday night, Klay Thompson joined Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain and Joe Fulks as the only players in Warriors history to score 60+ points in a game.
A day later, Barry offered his thoughts on Thompson's 29-minute performance in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio:
"That's pretty amazing. He's one of the most explosive players in the game. Obviously a 37-point quarter, that he had, is phenominal. This is another amazing performance on his part. But he's capable of doing that.
And it just shows you what kind of team the Warriors are. Somebody's going good, they're going to get the basketball. Steph doesn't take that many shots, Klay is going good, so you milk him. Just an amazing performance on his part and the Warriors with all the assists they had, that's the way you play the game of basketball, that's what makes it fun for everybody and it's the old adage: you get a guy going good, you milk him and the Warriors do that. Not every team does that. You watch college basketball, a guy is going hot, doing well and the next thing you know, he's on the bench and the guys aren't going to him and it makes no sense whatsoever. That's why I love watching the Warriors."
Barry compared Thompson's shooting touch to that of Steph Curry.
"Klay is just an amazing player. People talk about the quickness of Steph shooting the basketball. I tell them 'Look, I think Klay may even be the quicker shooter than Steph Curry.' And when he's going, and he's got the size going for him which is even better than what Steph has, he's virtually unstoppable. And the only way to stop him, like the opposing coach said, you got to try to keep the ball out of his hands."
Barry eclipsed 60 points on March 26, 1974 when he scored 64 points against Portland. But the NBA Hall of Famer did it before the addition of the 3-point line. He made 30 field goals and four free throws.