Curry named Western Conference Player of the Month

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Curry named Western Conference Player of the Month

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been named the Kia NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for games played in February, the league announced today. The reigning MVP led the Warriors to a 9-1 month (7-1 on the road) with averages of 36.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.90 steals while hitting 54.9 percent from the field and 53.6 percent from three-point range, becoming the first player to average at least 36 points in a single month (min. 10 games) since Kobe Bryant in March 2007 (40.3 points) and the first Warrior to do so since Rick Barry in February 1967 (39.7). Curry, who also won the award in October/November, is the first player in franchise history to be named Player of the Month twice in one season, earning his fifth career monthly honor.

Curry’s month was highlighted by a pair of 51-point performances (Feb. 3 at Washington & Feb. 25 at Orlando), making him the first player since LeBron James in February 2009 to tally multiple 50-point games in a single month. The 6’3” guard earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games played from Feb. 22-28, a stretch that saw him tie the single-game NBA record for three-point field goals with 12 on Feb. 27 at Oklahoma City—equaling the record on a 37-foot game-winner with 0.6 seconds remaining in overtime—and break his own single-season three-point record (currently at 288 threes) in addition to setting a new NBA-mark for consecutive regular-season games with a three-pointer, which now stands at 129-straight games. Curry closed the month by becoming the first Warrior since Barry in 1967 to score at least 40 points in three-straight games and led all players with four 40-point performances in February.

The Warriors earned their franchise-record 29th road win on Feb. 27 at Oklahoma City, eclipsing the previous mark of 28 set last season, and have won 43-straight regular-season home games, one shy of the NBA record. Golden State currently owns a 54-5 record, the best mark in NBA history through 59 games, and clinched a playoff berth on Feb. 27, becoming the first team to clinch a spot in the postseason in February since the 1987-88 Lakers.

Curry is on pace to become the first Warrior to lead the league in scoring since Barry in 1966-67, averaging an NBA-best 30.7 points to go with 6.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.11 steals. After averaging 23.8 points ­during his MVP campaign in 2014-15, the seventh-year guard has increased his scoring average by 6.9 points this season, seeing the highest year-over-year scoring average of any reigning MVP in league history. Curry is on pace to hit better than 50 percent from the field (.515), 40 percent from three-point range (.468, third in the NBA) and 90 percent from the free throw line (.908, second).

In addition to Curry, only Chris Mullin (January 1989 & November 1990) and Bernard King (January 1981) have earned Player of the Month honors for the Warriors since the NBA began giving out the award in 1979.

Cleveland’s LeBron James earned the accolade in the Eastern Conference.  

Golden State Warriors media services

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

OAKLAND -- Though much has been said about the agonies and challenges facing Steve Kerr, including speculation about when, or if, he’ll return as head coach of the Warriors, little has been put into words that capture the significance of his absence.

This is perhaps because it can be difficult to explain how one man is able to influence a roster of supremely talented athletes, at the wealthiest point of life, with wildly divergent personalities, at different career stages.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, a man who knows perspective as well as anyone in the NBA, took a moment Saturday to cut through the palaver and pity to offer a clear and vivid illustration of Kerr’s value as a man and as a coach.

“It’s just his presence, his personality,” Livingston began. “His character, the way he fits in with us. He’s kind of the battery pack, in the sense that he makes everybody go. He keeps us all (in harmony), everybody from staff, training staff, coaching staff to the players.

“He bridges the gaps, in the sense of communication, and he makes it light.”

In short, Kerr’s value to the franchise is far greater than his duties as a coach. He has an easy, breezy charisma insofar as he’s so comfortable submerging his own ego while being remarkably good at making everyone matter.

Moreover, Kerr is decidedly inclusive, explicitly emphatically open to ideas. He’s an outreach specialist whose sensibilities are contagious.

All of which helps create a sprightly and genial workplace, something the Warriors sought when they hired Kerr to replace the swaggering and dogmatic Mark Jackson in May 2014.

“Every day it’s something new, in a sense, and that’s hard to do,” Livingston said. “We’re here for six to nine months for the past couple years, seeing the same faces. So it is kind of like a job. But (Kerr) makes it more like a game and tries to make sure we’re enjoying ourselves out there.”

Kerr wants to live his life and coach basketball around four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. Maintaining a balance of the four can be difficult, especially when Kerr is dealing with the searing pain that has him on the sideline for an indefinite period.

But Kerr never strays far. His players seem to see and, more important, feel that.

Draymond Green and Kerr, each volatile in his own way, don’t always see eye-to-eye. Yet Green on several occasions has noted that Kerr “always seems to find the right thing to say, at the right time.”

Veteran David West points out that anyone who spends any time around Kerr can sense his basic humanity. Veteran Andre Iguodala, one of the team’s co-captains, speaks of Kerr’s curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons.

Stephen Curry, the other co-captain, kept the ball from the Warriors’ Game 4 win over Portland last Monday night, punctuating a series sweep, and gave it to Kerr, who missed Games 3 and 4 while coping with this prolonged post-surgery pain.

Lead assistant Mike Brown, the acting head coach in Kerr’s absence, concedes he has benefited from being around Kerr and this team.

“The tone he sets is the best I’ve been around,” said Brown, who has been involved in the NBA since 1992. “This is a special, special situation, and he’s big reason why.”

So it’s not just Livingston who throwing rose petals at the boss. He just happened to convey in a few words the effect Kerr has on the team and within the building.

“He’s our leader,” Livingston said. “He’s somebody that we count on.”

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

OAKLAND -- One day after every member of the Warriors participated in a full scrimmage, the official health updates were released.

Veteran forward Matt Barnes, out since April 8, is listed as probable for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals that begin Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out since sustaining a finger/hand injury in Game 1 of the first-round series against Portland on April 16, is listed as questionable -- but with an asterisk.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Tuesday,” Livingston said after a light workout Saturday.

Livingston informed NBCSportsBayArea.com earlier this week that he would have been available, hypothetically, if the Warriors were facing a Game 7.

As for Kevin Durant, who missed five weeks with a knee injury before returning April 8, only to sustain a calf strain in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, he’s fully available.