Blazers-Warriors: What to watch for

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Blazers-Warriors: What to watch for

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Warriors Pregame Live starts tonight at 7:00, followed by the Warriors-Blazers at 7:30, and Warriors Postgame Live at 10:00 -- all on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

The Warriors are coming off two difficult home losses toIndiana and Memphis and should be hungry for a win. The Blazers are playingtheir third game in three nights, a good, old-fashionedback-to-back-to-back.While the season is only a quarter old, it feels as if theWarriors are at a little bit of a crossroads. Theyre in Game 3 of a six-gamehomestand and need to get moving if their goal is to have a successfulseason.Here are some things to watch for:Sense of desperation: After what has happened in the pasttwo games, look for the Warriors to come out and try to be the aggressors fromthe get-go. Warriors coach Mark Jackson seemed as upset with his teams effortlevel as he did with their failure to execute late in the Memphis game.With the Warriors at 5-11 and things seemingly spiralingdownhill some, the team needs a win, plain and simple. If Golden State isntnoticeably playing very hard, then something is wrong.Making progress or not: Its no secretthe Warriors have failed consistently in late-game situations this season. Theball has been in Monta Ellis hands for most of the times the Warriors havebeen in that situation, but Jackson said recently hes not married to thatnotion.Whatever Jackson decides to do during important possessions,its time for the Warriors to show improvement when it comes to closing outgames. If the game against Portland is close down the stretch, its time tolook for a different result out of the Warriors.Defending Aldridge: LaMarcus Aldridge hasturned into one of the best power forwards in the NBA. He can post up smallerdefenders and he can consistently knock down perimeter jumpers when guarded bybigger men.Issue is that Portand is sound enough around Aldridge thatyou cant consistently devote two defenders to him or hell make you pay. Allin all, Aldridge is a tough matchup for Golden State.Take care of the ball: The one area wherethe Warriors could show improvement immediately is to take care of the ballbetter. They committed a season-high 24 turnovers against Memphis, includingnine in the fourth quarter.Its not too soon to clean that up and there has never beena better time for Ellis, Stephen Curry and the rest of the team to show that theyrealize valuing the ball is important.

Source: Warriors contact Turner Sports about Shaq's abuse of McGee

Source: Warriors contact Turner Sports about Shaq's abuse of McGee

OAKLAND -- Mess with one Warrior, you mess with the entire organization.

That’s the message the Warriors sent out Friday in the wake of a Twitter beef between center JaVale McGee and TNT analyst Shaquille ONeal that began late Thursday night and carried into the wee hours Friday morning.

Coach Steve Kerr fired back at O’Neal, as did Warriors forward Kevin Durant. The Warriors, as a franchise, contacted O’Neal’s bosses.

Kerr spent a portion of his post-practice news conference Friday afternoon defending McGee from O’Neal’s relentless ridicule on the video segment “Shaqtin’ A Fool.” Durant said O’Neal’s ongoing critiques are “childish,” adding that O’Neal was a great player with his own imperfections.

Prior to the comments by Durant and Kerr, though, it was confirmed by CSNBayArea.com that the Warriors contacted Turner Sports in hopes of getting TNT’s parent company to persuade O’Neal to curb the constant derision directed toward McGee because of its impact on his image and reputation.

The outreach was a direct response to a roughly two-minute segment Thursday night that was strictly limited to castigating McGee.

Upon getting wind of Durant’s comments, O’Neal turned to Twitter to tell Durant that McGee is a “bum” and to “mind yo business.”

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

OAKLAND -- The long-simmering acrimony between retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and Warriors center JaVale McGee reached epic proportions late Thursday night and early Friday morning when the two engaged in a Twitter beef.

By Friday afternoon, Kevin Durant was stepping into the fray. He didn’t bother with Twitter, instead speaking his mind and firing verbal grenades at Shaq.

“JaVale works extremely hard,” Durant said after practice. “He has come in here and done so much for us as a player. He only wants to be respected, just like anybody else. And I understand that Shaq works for a company that wants him to do that type of stuff, and make fun of players. It’s cool and funny.

“But when you just keep doing it time and time and time again, for no reason, and then a guy actually disagrees with you? And you threaten him? I didn’t know cops could threaten civilians like that.”

O’Neal currently is a reserve police officer in Doral, Fla. He also has served in that capacity in several other cities.

The latest O’Neal-McGee spat began when O’Neal, now an analyst at TNT who frequently targets McGee for ridicule, presented a video Thursday night that mocked McGee. It was very personal.

McGee took offense and responded on Twitter, which led to the two men exchanging insults, with McGee accusing O’Neal of “cooning,” and O’Neal calling McGee “dumb” and threatening to “smack the s--t out” of McGee.

Though McGee was not available Friday, he was sharply defended by Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Durant.

“It’s definitely childish,” Durant said. “But that’s what they want from these stars and these retired players, is to feud with the guys that are playing now and make arguments and disagreements. If I was JaVale, I’d feel the same way. It’s childish.

“Shaq wants to make a joke about it, but if it was him in that position, he would feel the same way.

“Everybody can’t be Shaq. He’s trying to make his money and enjoy the game of basketball, and his perception of him is that he’s a ‘dumb’ player because he makes mistakes on the court. Shaq was a sh---y free-throw shooter. He missed dunks. He air-balled free throws. He couldn’t shoot outside the paint. He was bigger than everybody. He didn’t have any skill. But he was bigger and stronger than everybody.”

Durant then turned his head and seemed to speak directly to O’Neal.

“He was still a great player, but you had your flaws too as a player,” he said. “And you played on five of six teams, too. So it’s not like you’re this perfect center. You had your flaws too. Like I said, I didn’t know cops could go on Twitter and threaten civilians like that. I’m glad JaVale challenged him.”

Kerr, who has known O’Neal for more than 20 years, also came to McGee’s defense.

“I don’t blame him for being frustrated,” he said Kerr. “Shaq’s been picking on him for years and years and years. And JaVale, rightfully so, probably gets frustrated. It never ends. And it’s one thing to just have a little fun, but you can go a little bit over the top.

“It’s one of those things. If you think about JaVale’s career, when you’re in this position where someone is on national TV making fun of you night after night, it’s not the greatest thing for your reputation.

“I can tell you, I had a preconceived notion of JaVale before he got here that turned out to be totally false. And a lot of that was because of what goes on with Shaq’s ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool’ thing.”

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Shaq responded to Durant Friday on Twitter, writing "@KDTrey5 mind yo business this ain't for you," and "@KDTrey5 I understand u sticking up for your teammate that's cool but your boy @JaValeMcGee34 is still a bum, he started it I'm a finish it."