Barnes, Ezeli will play, but will they win?

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Barnes, Ezeli will play, but will they win?

OAKLAND If the Warriors are to have a successful season and its up to you to decide whether that means the playoffs or not theyregoing to need some things to go right for them.Obviously, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry are going to needto be healthy for most, if not virtually all of the season. Theyll also needto defend better, be more efficient late in games and develop solidchemistry.Theyre also going to need a pair of rookies to contribute,and by contribute we dont just mean play. We mean contribute to winning.In other words, the pressure is on Harrison Barnes andFestus Ezeli to produce.Through two preseason games, they have. Warriors coach MarkJackson expects it to continue.I dont think they have to be better than I think theyare, Jackson said. They have to be who they are. Asking Festus to do whathe did (vs. Utah) is right up his alley. And Harrison being a starter or a guyoff the bench playing quality minutes. But at the same time, thats why you sayWell, you can be real good. Well, we can be. But understand this is a leaguewhere experience of winning and knowing how to win is a big deal. And thatswhen well take the next step.In other words, theres a difference between playing in theNBA and winning in the NBA.Nevertheless, the very early returns on Barnes and Ezeli areencouraging. Barnes may end up being the teams starting small forward. If not,hell likely back up Brandon Rush. Either way, you have to believe hes goingto be getting 20 minutes a night give or take a few.So hes going to have to be a quick learner. And Barnesacknowledges the lessons are pretty tough.Its been a whirlwind, Barnes said of training camp andhis first two preseason games. Obviously, playing the Lakers is different thanthe Jazz because that (the Lakers game) was the first time out there. A lot ofjitters. Stuff like that. But its exciting. These games have just been so muchdifferent from any type of game Ive ever played. Kind of living out thedream.REWIND: Good signs for Warriors in first preseason game
Ezeli is another one a first-year player who is going toget minutes. Heck, Warriors fans dont want to hear this, but its possibleEzeli could be the teams starting center on opening night.That would likely happen should Andrew Bogut, coming offleft ankle surgery, not be ready by Oct. 31, when the Warriors play the Suns inPhoenix.But even if Bogut is back by then, his minutes are probablygoing to be limited, opening the door for plenty of Ezeli. After two exhibitiongames, it seems apparent Ezeli is ahead of Andris Biedrins, who missedTuesdays practice with right groin tightness, on the depth chart.Ezeli said hes been planning for all of this.I expected it, Ezeli said. Because, no matter where Iwent I felt like stuff I bring to whatever team, I felt like I had something tobring to the team. I bring physicality and defense, all that stuff. I just comeout there and play for the team. I just want to win. So I felt like I couldhave been able to contribute to any team. And I work hard. I want to play. Iwould have worked hard so I could play whatever team I went to.

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."