Mailbag: On Jackson going to bat for Lee's 'D'

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Mailbag: On Jackson going to bat for Lee's 'D'

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Mailtime Do you buy that bit on Lee from coach Mark Jackson that hes not hurting the team defensively? I was there Saturday, and he wasnot good. David, San Francisco: Steinmetz: I actually do buy it. Now, Im notsaying that I buy that David Lee isnt hurting the team on defense. Im sayingI buy the fact that Mark Jackson believes Lee isnt hurting the team ondefense.If theres one thing I think Ive figured out with MarkJackson over the last year-plus, its that he does believe the things he saysat the time whether its that the Warriors would make the playoffs or thatStephen Curry is an elite defender or that Lee doesnt hurt the teamdefensively.REWIND: Jackson defends playing small, Lee's defense
I have no doubt that Jackson doesnt really look at Leesdefense or anyones, for that matter in a vacuum. I think first andforemost its about the team.And what Jackson sees is that his team is holding opponentsto .417 shooting from the field. Right now, thats good enough for fifth-bestin the NBA. When was the last time the Warriors were doing something likethat?The way Jackson figures it and its certainly one way todo so is this: How bad can Lees defense be if were holding teams to thatlow of a shooting percentage?For me, the question isnt so much whether Jackson believeswhat he said about Lee; he does. The question is whether or not what he says iscredible to his team and to a lesser extent, the fans and media.Has anyone seen Charles Jenkins lately? For somereason hes become the forgotten man on this team. He was one of the few brightspots on the team last year. Whats going on? Steve, Albany, Calif.Steinmetz: I had a feeling this might happencoming into the season, and it was tough to see a way around it. Curry is theteams starting point guard and Jarrett Jack is his backup. Both of thoseplayers are entrenched in the rotation and its just not going to leave manyminutes for Jenkins.Jack is going to be Jacksons first choice when he wants tosubstitute for Curry and Jack is going to be Jacksons first choice when itcomes to subbing for Klay Thompson.Jenkins might be able to see some time when Jackson goes toa small backcourt, perhaps in a lineup like: Jenkins, Curry and Thompson orJenkins Jack and Thompson.But the reality is that Jackson feels his best small lineupin the backcourt is Jack, Curry and Thompson.So, that leaves Jenkins fishing for minutes.What exactly is the Warriors offensive style? Aspresently constituted, the Warriors dont strike me as a very athletic team. Isthat a winning formula in todays NBA? Mark, Capitola, Calif.Steinmetz: Good question. Not really sure. When Iasked that question to general manager Bob Myers and Jackson before the season,both indicated that they thought this was a versatile team, with the abilityto play more than one style.The thinking was that certain lineups would be more suitedto run and other lineups would be more suited to play in the halfcourt. Onelineup may be a good offensive one and another may be a good defensiveone.That sounds good, but its tough to pull off. If thats thecase, it would seem to mean that the Warriors might not really have any setrotations this year that each game will be a different one from the previousgame depending on the opponent.Im not really sure what the style of this team is. I dothink theyre better defensively. But I dont buy and I havent bought foryears that the Warriors are fine at the offensive end or that scoring isntan issue for the Warriors.Its one thing to score through three quarters; its anotherto be able to score in the fourth quarter of a game. The Warriors certainlyhavent shown this year they can score late in games.The reality is that theyre a jump-shooting team and theylack players who can create for teammates.I do think its difficult to create an identity withoutAndrew Bogut in the lineup consistently. But I also dont think one will bemagically created just because he comes back.Would Warriors ownership consider signing aveteran shooting guardsmall forward to replace Brandon Rush? Maybe a guy likeMickael Pietrus? It addresses our need for a perimeter defender and spot-up3-points shooter. Or is having Kent Bazemore good enough (salary-wise)? Andrew, San Francisco.Steinmetz: I dont think thats in the cards rightnow and Im not sure it needs to be. First of all, the Warriors have 15 playerson their roster, and 14 of those contracts are guaranteed. Kent Bazemore, No. 15,is on a partial guarantee.So, the first thing the Warriors would have to do sincetheir roster is at the maximum is waive a player. Not sure they want to dothat.Secondly, if the Warriors sign a free agent that money wouldbe tacked onto their payroll. Right now the Warriors are in the luxury taxarea, which means they would go further into it. Conventional wisdom is thatthe Warriors will get back under the tax when it really matters at the end ofthe season so going further above doesnt make sense.Lastly, as for Pietrus, lets just put it this way: I dontreally see him making the Warriors any better.

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

The Warriors left Utah with a 106-99 victory over the Jazz.

With 9.3 seconds remaining and the Warriors up by eight points, Kevin Durant was hit with a technical foul.

Draymond Green walked over to Durant and started laughing. Why?

"We were laughing at Quinn Snyder who kept calling timeouts," Draymond told reporters after the game. "Like bro, you're down 10 with six seconds left, it's kinda over my man."

[POOLE: Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah]

After Zaza Pachulia missed two free throws with the Warriors ahead by 11 and 1:05 remaining, the Jazz got the rebound and immediately called timeout.

After Draymond made one of two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to make it 104-94, Utah called another timeout.

After Steph Curry made a free throw to give the Warriors an eight-point lead with 9.3 seconds left, Quin Snyder used his final timeout.

Warriors play-by-play broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald said: "Utah is gonna use another time out. Quin Snyder is just practicing game-ending situations."

Analyst Jim Barnett responded with: "Absolutely, that's what he's doing."

"Just let us go to the restaurant and have a good dinner; just chill," Draymond added. "That's what we were laughing at. Nothing about the tech ... that was funny. But that's all it was."
 

Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah

Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah

The Warriors smelled trouble from the moment they left Los Angeles for their overnight flight to Salt Lake City, where on Thursday night, precisely 20 hours after they disposed of the Clippers in LA, they would face the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz announced Wednesday that four players – including three starters – would be out with injuries.

Trap Game, eh? It’s not a clich√©, not in today’s NBA, where the schedule is both unforgiving and remorseless.

And then on Thursday morning the Warriors received information that a fourth Utah starter, leading scorer Gordon Hayward, also would not be available.

With one healthy Jazz starter greeting the hottest team in the league, the Warriors caught a slight whiff of Eau de Upset. Acutely aware they were facing a severely shorthanded squad the Warriors swallowed hard and went immediately for the blowout.

They failed. Though they would win their 16th of 17 games and run their record to 20-3 by silencing the Jazz, 106-99, the Warriors also got a reminder that severely patchwork teams tend to bring the fight.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Stephen Curry told reporters at Vivint Smart Home Arena, “but got a win.”

Oh, it was beautiful early. The Warriors running and gunning and smothering Utah, taking a 29-5 lead barely eight minutes into the game and holding a 65-46 advantage at the half. They were achieving their goal of quickly opening this gift of a game to allow their starters to watch most of the second half.

Rarely is it that easy under these circumstances, and this would not be an exception. When patchwork NBA teams accept that winning is not an option, they set about avoiding embarrassment.

With a 12-0 run in the middle of the third quarter, the Jazz cut the deficit to nine (73-64), and when the Warriors steadied themselves to go up 14 (80-66) with 2:45 left in the third, the Jazz fashioned a 13-4 run to narrow it to 84-79.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr blamed it on a “lack of focus,” which is a symptom of presuming victory.

“Our first quarter was great; we pushed the ball. Our defensive intensity was fantastic and then we let down,” Kerr said. “We started turning it over with some careless, purposeless plays. We didn’t really have an idea of what we were trying to accomplish and then some defensive mistakes like not getting out on their shooters, and they took advantage.”

Outscoring the Warriors 53-41 in the second half, the Jazz – playing without Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and George Hill – made the vastly superior team sweat.

“They obviously played with a lot of energy,” said Curry, who scored a game-high 26 points. “They didn’t fold and we got a little stagnant on offense, it happens, but you just got to be able to finish the game out. The way we started gave us an opportunity to withstand their run and never really have the game out of hand.”

Kevin Durant ensured there would be no upset, performing the closeout with an 11-point fourth quarter. He scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half.

“Just tried to be aggressive,” Durant said. “I didn’t do a good job attacking throughout the game. I thought that was a good opportunity for me to attack. I got to the free throw line and that got me going. I got some dunks, a few cuts and Steph [Curry] helped me out as well.

“It was a weird game. It was a grind out game. We started off so well and then a three-pointer got them back in the game. They played physical later on the game and were able to take us out of our game a little bit, but we kept fighting and we got a good win on a back-to-back.”

In defeating the Jazz, the Warriors also held off two more formidable foes: fatigue and complacency. There are nights, and this was one of them, when the path to victory requires beating all three.