Warriors vs. Wizards: What to watch for


Warriors vs. Wizards: What to watch for

Programming note: Warriors-Wizards coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Stick around after the final whistle for Warriors Postgame Live!

The Warriors are coming off an impressive win over the Nets in Brooklyn on Friday, and now a potential toe-stubber shows up in the form of the Washington Wizards.

Golden State (12-7), which has started its seven-game road trip with consecutive wins, faces the worst team in the league – record-wise, certainly – on Saturday at the Verizon Center, in D.C.

The Wizards (2-14) began the year with 12 straight losses, but have won two of their past four games – including a win last Tuesday against the defending-champion Miami Heat.

John Wall has been out all season for the Wizards with a strained left knee, and Trevor Ariza missed Friday’s game against the Hawks with a strained left calf.

Here are some things to watch for when the Warriors play the Wizards on Saturday night:

No letdown: No doubt, the Warriors are coming off a satisfying win against the Nets. Can they back it up? Quite frankly, there’s no reason to think they can’t.

The Warriors are 6-4 on the road this season, with wins over the L.A. Clippers, Mavericks and now Brooklyn.

Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Carl Landry all had minutes on the low-side against the Nets, so they should be able to play plenty of minutes, if need be, against Washington.

Pace of the game: It’s not a stretch to suggest that the Warriors have more scorers on their roster than the Wizards. And so one thing Golden State would like to do is quicken the game in order to create more possessions.

The more uptempo the game, the more it favors the Warriors. In that respect, it’s not dissimilar to Friday night’s game against the Nets.

By getting into the hundreds against the Nets – a 109-102 victory – it sure seemed to give the Warriors a better shot at winning the game.

More Curry and Lee: There have been numerous contributors this season for the Warriors, but in recent games Stephen Curry and David Lee have been particularly good.

Curry had 28 points and five assists against Brooklyn, and had had four consecutive 20-point, 10-assist games before that. Lee is coming off a 30-point, 15-rebound game against the Nets and he’d been very good before that.

If Curry and Lee continue to play well, the Warriors have a chance to have a very good road trip.

Draymond: Hate 'comes with the territory'

Draymond: Hate 'comes with the territory'

OAKLAND – As the hours and minutes toward opening night tick down for the Warriors, forward Draymond Green has an idea of what’s coming this season.

Constant surveillance, plenty of opinions and a lot of debate are in store.

And in the wake of signing megastar free agent Kevin Durant, Green and the Warriors can expect plenty of resentment.

“Usually, when you’re doing something the right way, people hate,” Green said after practice Sunday. “And, usually, when you’re doing something someone wants to do, they hate. Usually when there is success, with success comes hate. So that kind of just comes with the territory. It really doesn’t matter.

“KD being here definitely adds to that. But with the success we’ve had, people are going to hate us anyway. That comes with the territory.”

Though Durant is certain to be targeted for boos, Green also will hear his share. NBA fans generally cast a few players as villains, and Green moved snugly into that role last season with his kick to the groin of Oklahoma City center Steven Adams, followed by throwing a jab to the groin area of Cleveland star LeBron James.

The mini-skirmish with James, in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, landed Green on the suspended list at a critical time: Game 5.

The incident also affixed Green’s photo to the wall featuring NBA road rascals, right up there with the likes of Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, DeMarcus Cousins, Metta World Peace and, at various times, Kobe Bryant.

Because Green is in that role and Durant, at least for now, is the subject of so much unfavorable scrutiny, there is a sharper edge to the identity of the Warriors.

“Some people say we’re villains,” Green said. “I don’t think we’re really going into this saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. We need to do this.’ ‘Who . . . cares?’ It really doesn’t matter what role people try to make you play. It’s about getting on the court, getting between these lines and performing.

“What everybody else draws up and tries to make you out to be . . . they can make you out to be whatever they want. If you’re winning games, or not winning games, that’s what matters. I don’t think this team is looking and saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. Let’s do it.’ Nobody cares.”

Green was the subject of a much-publicized magazine article that depicted him as a source of unrest among this teammates and coaches. He’s acutely aware of the characterization and realizes he must walk a fine line or risk puncturing team chemistry.

He’ll accept being the villain, and perhaps even embrace the booing. Only Steph Curry among the Warriors shares Green’s profound delight in silencing arenas on the road.

“This is about getting between these lines and performing,” Green said. “Everything else outside of that, it really doesn’t matter. Things are going to be said. Some things are not going to be said. But when it’s all said and done, the only thing people are going to talk about at the end is whether you won or lost.

In 'no-brainer' move, Warriors exercise Looney's option for 2017-18

In 'no-brainer' move, Warriors exercise Looney's option for 2017-18

OAKLAND – Fingers crossed and knocking on wood, the Warriors opened training camp four weeks ago hoping Kevon Looney would survive the preseason.

The 6-foot-9 forward did more than that, easily clearing the ultra-low bar set for someone striving to keep alive his NBA dreams after surgery on both hips.

Looney was rewarded on Sunday, when the Warriors announced they were exercising the third-year option on the UCLA product, extending his contract with the team through the 2017-18 season.

“It was a no-brainer,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice. “He’s the 30th pick (in the 2015 NBA draft). He missed all of last year. We pick up the option and have him locked up for next year after, I think, a really good training camp.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers saw enough to give the team another year to develop Looney and assess his potential. As a rookie last season, Looney appeared in only five games, a total of 21 minutes, between hip surgeries.

He played in six of seven preseason games, making one start and totaling 73 minutes. He shot 50 percent from the field and ranked fifth on the team in rebounding, exceeding his own expectations.

“I was actually real nervous,” he said, “because last time it was a little different. I came back in the middle of the season, so my rehab was different. I didn’t have a chance to really practice with the guys. They were already in the full swing of things.

“So this is really my first time playing with the guys. I was a little nervous. I was nervous about my hips last time, and I went down again. I feel much more confident. I feel ready.”

Looney, still smoothing out his gait, conceded that he’s still seeking rhythm on offense, saying he’s not yet comfortable with his shot but acknowledging that it’s not a major issue on a team with so many talented shooters.

Kerr considers Looney capable of providing help at power forward and center. The coach does not seem worried about Looney’s offense.

“Now he’s healthy, knock on wood,” Kerr said. “So it was an easy decision for Bob. We briefly talked about (picking up the option), but it wasn’t even really a decision. It was just automatic.”