Warriors guard Livingston begins turnaround after shooting dry spell

Warriors guard Livingston begins turnaround after shooting dry spell

OAKLAND -- Amid the recovery mission that followed the absence of Kevin Durant, as every Warrior eventually pitched in, Shaun Livingston stood virtually alone as someone who wasn’t doing his part.

The Warriors, and Livingston, would like to believe that is about to change.

When Livingston made 3-of-4 shots in a 112-87 rout of the Mavericks on Tuesday night, it was the first time he shot higher than 50 percent on multiple shots since Feb. 28, the day Durant went down with a knee injury.

“You go through slumps,” Livingston said after practice Thursday. “Fortunately for me, I’ve played long enough to know. You keep shooting. Keep pushing forward, good things will happen.”

As the Warriors lost that game at Washington, and four of the next six, Livingston’s usually reliable midrange game disappeared. In the first 10 full games since Durant was sidelined, Livingston shot 18.8 percent (6-of-32).

So his teammates did the heavy lifting. Andre Iguodala excelled as the steady vet. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green dipped and then came hard. Stephen Curry climbed out of his rut and started dancing again. The big men -- Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and David West -- were titanic. Pat McCaw, Ian Clark, Matt Barnes and James Michael McAdoo filled in the gaps.

They had to, because Livingston the most reliable shooter on the team was nowhere to be found.

“We all want to play the best that we can,” Livingston said. “But the reality is it doesn’t work that way all the time.”

On Tuesday, for the first time this month, Livingston looked like himself. He was the guy who shot 55.6 percent in October, 54.4 percent in November, 57.6 percent in December, 58.9 percent in January and 54.1 percent in February.

“It was good for Shaun to see the ball go in the rim,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s had such a great year shooting the ball, and then the last couple weeks he hit a dry spell. Which is going to happen to everybody.”

The “dry spell” was shocking, because it was Livingston. He’s in the final weeks of his third season with the Warriors, and throughout that time there was only one month in which he shot less that 49 percent (47.5 in March 2015). Signed in July 2014 to be the team’s No. 3 guard and primary backup to Curry, Livingston is shooting 51.9 percent in his Warriors career.

The Warriors would like to think he’s ready, once again, to do his part.

“Last game was good for him, just to make a few and see the ball go in,” Kerr said. “I’m confident he’ll get it going.”

Warriors forward Matt Barnes 'trying to kill' the Kings

Warriors forward Matt Barnes 'trying to kill' the Kings

The Kings waived Matt Barnes during the All-Star break.

Less than two weeks later, he signed with the Warriors.

On Friday, Barnes will square off against Sacramento at Oracle Arena.

"I'm trying to kill 'em," he told the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau on Thursday. "Simple."

In 54 games (13 starts) with the Kings this season, Barnes averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting just under 33 percent from deep.

His final game in a Sacramento uniform came against the Warriors on Feb. 15. He registered 15 points and 14 rebounds.

"Things didn't go well there," Barnes added. "They're the enemy now."

Kevin Durant makes strides at Warriors practice: 'It's a good sign'

Kevin Durant makes strides at Warriors practice: 'It's a good sign'

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant wants to get back on the court. He wants to join the party.

That much was evident Thursday afternoon. Wearing a brace that extended from his upper left calf to his just above his quadriceps, Durant was floating up easy jump shots and even going airborne for a post-practice dunk.

Yet the 6-foot-9 forward remains at least a week away from receiving medical clearance, according to the Warriors.

“(He) did a little bit more today, went through some 5-on-0 stuff, some lateral movement,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Seems like he makes a new stride each day. It’s a good sign.”

Durant is continuing to rehabilitate in the wake of sustaining a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tibial bone bruise on Feb. 28 at Washington. The Warriors originally placed a four-week timetable for reevaluation, and team doctors are scheduled to perform that on March 30.

Durant will be around the team for games Friday (against the Kings) and Sunday (against the Grizzlies) and is expected to travel on the road trip that begins Monday with a flight to Houston. They play the Rockets next Tuesday and the Spurs on Wednesday before returning to the Bay Area.

“That’s really when we’ll have our first real update,” Kerr said.

Durant played one minute in the Feb. 28 loss to the Wizards. The Warriors have since gone 7-4, including winning the last five in a row, in their quest to earn the No. 1 overall seed for the postseason.