Clippers-Warriors: What to watch for

676772.jpg

Clippers-Warriors: What to watch for

PROGRAMMINGALERT: Tune into Warriors Pregame Live on CSNBay Area at 7:00 p.m. and Warriors Postgame Live immediately after thegame.

OAKLAND The Warriors are reeling some right now, havinglost three straight games, and here come the Los Angeles Clippers, led by ChrisPaul and Blake Griffin.The Clippers are currently the No. 3-seed in the WesternConference, and if you look at their team you could make a case theyre betterthan the Warriors at four out of five positions.If you go position-by-position, the Clippers would seem tohave an advantage at point guard (Paul vs. Stephen Curry), small forward (CaronButler vs. Dorell Wright), power forward (Griffin vs. David Lee) and center(DeAndre Jordan vs. Andris Biedrins).The one place the Warriors would seem to have the advantage at least matchup-wise would be at shooting guard with Randy Foye going upagainst Monta Ellis.What then, will it take for the Warriors to knock off theClippers. Here are some things to watch for on Monday night at Oracle:

Make Griffin work: The Warriors might nothave anyone individually who can match up with Griffin, at least in terms ofathleticism, but that doesnt mean they cant give him differentlooks.On offense, its up to Lee to keep Griffin off-balance andmake sure Griffin has to defend both on the interior and on the perimeter. Onthe offensive end, look for Ekpe Udoh and Andris Biedrins to try to defendGriffin at times.Because Jordan isnt an offensive-minded center, thats aplayer Lee may very well guard allowing Udoh and Biedrins, better defendersthan Lee, their shots at Griffin.Curry vs. Paul: These teams played onopening night and in that game, Paul took over in the fourth quarter. Quitesimply, he did pretty much what he wanted to do at the games most importanttime.Its up to Curry to figure out a way to keep Paul in check,particularly when and if the game is on the line. Its easier said than donebut if the Warriors want to start winning close games, theyre going to have todo a better job against the oppositions star players when thingscount.Its also up to Curry to be aggressive at the offensive end like he was in Memphis when he had 36 points on 13-for-21 shooting in orderto make Paul work at that end of the floor.Be better down the stretch: The Warriorsare a woeful 1-6 in games decided by three points or less this season. Theyveearned that record through a variety of ways: bad shot selection late, badturnovers in the final two minutes and failing to secure rebounds when they doforce a miss.Warriors coach Mark Jackson has said repeatedly that theteam learning how to win is a process. But the fact of the matter is that itdoesnt seem like the Warriors are getting any better when it comes toexecuting at the end of games.

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

David West is coming up big for the Warriors

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.

Warriors set franchise record, match 1985-86 Showtime Lakers

Warriors set franchise record, match 1985-86 Showtime Lakers

BOX SCORE

For the 44th time in the 2016-17 season, the Warriors dished out 30-plus assists in one game. Not only does that set a franchise record, Golden State is also the first to do so since one of the greatest teams in NBA history. 

On a Steph Curry heave down the court that resulted in an Andre Iguodala running reverse dunk with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, the Warriors made history with their 31st assist of the game. The nifty assist made the Warriors the first team since the 1985-86 Showtime Lakers to hand out more than 30 assists 44 times in one season.

Last season, when the Warriors set an NBA record record with 73 wins, the team finished 43 games with the feat.

The '85-86 Lakers were looking to repeat as NBA champions 31 years ago but came up short in five games to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. 

Golden State finsihed Friday night with 37 assists in a 114-100 win over the Kings. Curry led the way with 12 dimes.