Steinmetz's Instant Replay: Warriors 106, Nuggets 105

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Steinmetz's Instant Replay: Warriors 106, Nuggets 105

BOX SCORE

Player of the game: David Lee had 31 points and nine rebounds to lead the Warriors to a nail-biter of a win. Lee went 13-for-15 from the field and also had six assists.

Key stretch: Jarrett Jack converted a tough drive with 1:15 remaining to give the Warriors a 106-103 lead and control of the game in the final minute.Not that bringing it home was easy for the Warriors (9-6).Andre Iguodala, who was fouled with 3.4 seconds remaining on a 3-point attempt, made two of those free throws to pull Denver within one. The Warriors failed to secure the rebound, giving the Nuggets one final chance to win it with 2.1 seconds left. After an errant pass went off Golden State, Denver had five-tenths of a second remaining to once again try to win it.Iguodala proceeded to bury a deep jumper at the buzzer, which the officials ruled as a good basket on the floor. But after going to replay, the basket was ruled to have come after the buzzer, giving the Warriors their fourth win in five games.Golden State battled back from a 16-point deficit, eventually drawing even midway through the fourth quarter.
Clamping down: The Warriors forced the Nuggets into a 1-for-8 start from the field in the fourth quarter, and that was enough time and enough defense to allow them to reclaim the lead midway through the period.That set up a back-and-forth final six minutes that had the crowd on its feet for a good portion of it.Third-quarter blues: In the Warriors 102-91 loss to the Nuggets on Nov. 23, the game turned in the third quarter. Denver opened the period on a 15-0 run to take control of that game and something similar happened on Thursday.The Nuggets, who were already up nine at half, began the third quarter by scoring 13 of the first 19 points, and lo and behold, they were up on the Warriors 73-57 with eight-plus minutes left.Good start spoiled: Less than five minutes into the game, the Warriors had themselves a 17-5 lead, and things appeared hunky-dory.But by the end of the first period, Denver had pulled within five points, and then came the second quarter and it was all Nuggets.Denver outscored the Warriors 35-21 in the second period, shooting 65 percent (15-for-23) percent in the process, and went into the locker room with a 60-51 lead. The cold, hard numbers for the Warriors were that they were outscored 26-8 to finish the second quarter.Lee was putting in work in the first half, and it was a good thing for Golden State or it would have been down more. Lee buried 8-of-9 from the field on his way to a 19-point, five-rebound half.The 19 points were the most by a Warrior in a half this season.Getting defensive: Through 15 games this season, the Warriors dont look very much like they have in previous years. The high-scoring Warriors arent scoring as much these days, averaging only 98 points per game, ranking them 15th in the league.Also strange to see is the Warriors among the league leaders in some defensive categories. Coming into Thursdays game against the Nuggets, the Warriors were holding their opposition to 43.1 percent shooting from the field, fourth-best in the NBA.Said Jackson: We are going to build this team towards our dream which is chasing down and ultimately hanging a banner up. The way you do that is holding each other accountable on the defensive end. There are people that are concerned about us scoring the basketball were going to score the basketball. Our defense has been exceptional and has allowed us to be in the seat we are in right now and we will continue that.

Suns' Watson counters Kerr, preaches caution with marijuana rhetoric

Suns' Watson counters Kerr, preaches caution with marijuana rhetoric

While players like Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut offered support for Steve Kerr on Saturday, one NBA coach wants to pump the breaks on the conversation surrounding marijuana use.

Suns coach Earl Watson preached caution during an interview with ESPN after the Warriors beat Phoenix 138-109 on Saturday night.

"I think our rhetoric on it has to be very careful because you have a lot of kids where I'm from that's reading this, and they think [marijuana use is] cool. It's not cool. Where I'm from, you don't get six fouls to foul out. You get three strikes. One strike leads to another. I'm just being honest with you, so you have to be very careful with your rhetoric," Watson told Chris Haynes.

Watson doesn't appear to be a fan of Kerr advocating for the use of marijuana.

"I think it would have to come from a physician -- not a coach. And for me, I've lived in that other life [of crime and drugs]. I'm from that area, so I've seen a lot of guys go through that experience of using it and doing other things with that were both illegal. And a lot of those times, those guys never make it to the NBA, they never make it to college, and somehow it leads to something else, and they never make it past 18," Watson told Haynes.

Watson highlighted a potential problem of leagues legalizing the use of marijuana.

"So when we really talk about it and we open up that, I call it that slippery slope. We have to be very careful on the rhetoric and how we speak on it and how we express it and explain it to the youth," Watson said.

Watson finished the interview with a message for the kids who might have been emboldened by Kerr's comments.

"I've never been a fan of the use, but I'm also not a medical doctor. So for the kids who are reading this and they might take the headlines and run with it, don't run anywhere with it. Understand that if you're from an environment or social area where a lot of luck and a lot of blessings is your only way out, you cannot risk that opportunity ever. Ever. It's just the way it is. It's not the same everywhere. I don't know as far as the pain [and how marijuana could help], but I think we have to be careful how we present that to the public," Watson said.

Rewind: Warriors continue to show why they are masters of self-correction

Rewind: Warriors continue to show why they are masters of self-correction

OAKLAND – Stephen Curry paused, scanning his memory, and came up empty.

Draymond Green sank into deep thought, taking even more time before conceding he was “stumped.”

Neither could remember the last time the Warriors lost consecutive regular-season games, perhaps because it was 19 months ago.

The Warriors are specialists at self-correction, and that was the case again Saturday night when, following a tough loss two nights earlier, they stepped onto the floor at Oracle Arena and played one of their more effective games this season.

Their 138-109 smacking of the Phoenix Suns was a rather comprehensive effort, with some players performing superbly and others merely well. The scoring load was shared among Curry (31 points), Klay Thompson (26) and Kevin Durant (20), while everyone brought something useful to the proceedings.

“It didn’t turn out to be a great night on the stat sheet,” coach Steve Kerr said, noting the Warriors committed 17 turnovers, off which the Suns scored 25 points. “But maybe around the nine-minute mark in the first quarter until about two minutes of the second quarter, we were fantastic.”

The Warriors (17-3) trailed by as much as six in the first before going on a 25-4 run, taking an 18-point lead, and taking command early in the second quarter. Though they stumbled enough for Phoenix to get as close as eight in the second half, there never was a sense the Warriors were facing real trouble.

With Curry and Thompson leading the scoring charge, forwards Draymond Green and Durant excelled in playmaking roles, combining for 21 assists, the most in a game by two Warriors starting forwards since 1970, when Elias Sports Bureau began tracking starters.

“It’s a little unorthodox, but our guards are great shooters, so playing them off the ball and getting the ball to KD and Draymond seems to work well,” Kerr said. “And those guys seem to enjoy playing that way.”

The victory extended to 106 their NBA-record number of regular-season games without consecutive losses. The Warriors last lost back-to-back regular-season games in April 2015, dropping games at San Antonio and then New Orleans.

So long ago that neither Curry nor Green could remember.

“Um . . . let’s see . . . I think it was my second year in the league,” Green finally guessed, wrongly.

It was his third season, and the first under Kerr.

“There’s a resiliency to our team that, obviously in this league, anything can happen,” Curry said. “So for us to be able to correct mistakes and find ways to bounce back quickly and not have multiple games in a row where we don’t show up to play says a lot about the character we have on this team.”

Though Green cited the team’s heightened focus after a loss, there is one thread that runs through Curry and Thompson and Green. All three have been dismissed at some point and, therefore, carry a burning desire to validate their status.

Perhaps no one on the team carries that edge more than Curry.

“I’d be interested the see the numbers of Steph, after we lost,” Green said. “He has incredible games after we lost. It’s just a focus level, guys really lock in and come out and do what it takes to win the next game.

“I think guys do get a little pissed off as well, which definitely helps. That is probably the biggest thing. Guys get mad about it, and it carries over.”

Perhaps feeling Phoenix was poised for a run in the third quarter, Curry rang up 20 points in that 12-minute stretch, hiking the lead beyond the reach of the Suns. It was the 16th time he has scored at least 20 points in a quarter.

There would be no ending of this underappreciated streak. Not on this night, and not with Curry and his friends on watch.