Does Warriors opener forecast doom?

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Does Warriors opener forecast doom?

Give the Warriors this much they waste no time in making folks wonder how much doom is in the room.

Maintaining their long-held core belief that the teams motto should be, Its One Damned Thing Or Another, the Warriors displayed their limitations and frustrations in a 104-94 loss to Memphis.

And no, before you start sniveling about "negative" this and "dont give them a chance" that, were not talking about long-term anything. Were talking about the home opener, and how quickly the vibe turned gray.
STEINMETZ: Warriors defeated by Grizzlies in home opener, 104-94

There was, most significantly, Brandon Rushs first quarter knee injury eight minutes into the game, after an inadvertent shove by Memphis Zach Randolph. There has been speculation from the orthopedic wing of Twitter about a dislocated left kneecap, and while none of that is confirmed, the faces on his teammates and employers suggested strongly that it will be a long time before he is seen in work clothes again.

But there was, of course, more. Andrew Bogut confessing that he is already frustrated, though acquiescent, at the 20-minute limit being put on him by the coaching and training staff. This isnt likely to become a thing, but unhappy is unhappy, and as Bogut said after the game, When youre playing, and youre not 100 percent, nobody cares.

And then there was what looks like an exciting subplot when Carl Landry starts to get end-of-game minutes based on the benefits he provides, and from whom those minutes will be taken.

Landry played 23 minutes, scored 20 points and rebounded six, went to the line 12 times and was the only plus player the Warriors had. And while plus-minus is a stat that brings with it enraged dismissals, it has its uses, one of which will be to provide mathematical cover for what ones eyes already see that Landry is a closer.

But for whom, inquisitive buttinskys want to know. For Bogut, who played the final eight minutes in a game that largely annoyed him for all the things he is not yet physically ready to do on 1.75 legs? Or for David Lee, whose box score lines often seem like empty calories?

Right now, head coach Mark Jackson isnt saying, though the way he initially answered the question of Landrys finishing games seemed to suggest that Bogut would be the one to cede those minutes. Yet when asked if he could foresee situations where Landry might replace Lee, Jackson scrambled to offer scenarios where Landry was so good and Lee so not quite, that such a possibility existed.

The problem, you see, is that the Warriors have their best bench in years, and the clamor to play them in starters situations will only grow as people see the full wingspan and plumage of players like Landry and Jarrett Jack. Rush would have been the third of those, but his accordioned knee seems to have removed him from consideration.

And though small sample size is the handy caveat here, Landry gives every indication of being the one best positioned to close. This is a gift the Warriors havent possessed for two decades, give or take a few minutes with Baron Davis back in the oughts.

In sum, the Warriors spent their home opener showing the fans the following items:

1. That Bogut has some rows left to hoe before hes fully ready to go.

2. That Landry is going to create arguments among the population, with Jackson as the focal point.

3. That Lee still frustrates as much as he invigorates.

4. That they still can get someone hurt at the drop of a shoe.

5. That they are in the very early stages of a transition from bad team to not-so-bad, to so-so, to pretty-decent, to hey-now. And that transition is going to be as long and and agonizing as all of the other transitions they have begun over the years.

But if this helps, they still shoot T-shirts into the stands and perform the new international crime Gangnam Style. So theres that.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Over next few days, Steve Kerr's doctors have one goal to achieve

Over next few days, Steve Kerr's doctors have one goal to achieve

PORTLAND -- After a full week of sheer agony, Steve Kerr walked out of Moda Center late Monday night with hardly a bounce in his step but at least a modicum of hope in his heart.

That’s the power of the Warriors coach feeling optimistic about his future health if not his present condition.

The Warriors had swept the Trail Blazers out of the postseason, yes, but Kerr’s immediate concerns are more about life than basketball. This is a man on a desperate mission to end his chronic misery.

In the 19 months since undergoing two back surgeries in the summer of 2015, Kerr has wondered if relief ever would come. It has not. And now, suddenly, he feels it might. Maybe.

Since Kerr announced his decision Sunday to step away from basketball to focus on his health, the calls and e-mails have come flooding in. People want to help. Some have remedies. Some speak of herbs that might alleviate some of his suffering.

Kerr is willing to listen. He has long reached the point where he feels he has nothing to lose by listening to anything reasonable and considering anything that might help.

[POOLE: This is cruel: Steve Kerr imprisoned by misery that has engulfed his body]

He revealed to NBCSportsBayArea.com that in recent days he has spoken to several people who have experienced the debilitating effects of a cerebrospinal fluid leak and been able to overcome it. He says that because his symptoms have intensified over the past week, in an odd twist, that may make it easier for specialists to trace the precise source.

“That’s what the next few days are all about,” Kerr said, standing down the hallway from the visitor’s locker room. “They’re trying to find it. If they can find it, they can fix it.”

He’ll begin in the coming days by consulting with specialists at Stanford Medical Center, which has some of the more respected surgeons in the world.

Though Kerr requested that we not reveal certain elements of what’s ahead, he said he felt somewhat better than had a few days ago. Maybe part of that was hearing the comeback stories of others.

Kerr detailed the story of an NFL executive who experienced much the same painful and lingering after-effects as he did following his second surgery. This executive, who shall not be named, dealt with it for five months before the problem was detected and repaired.

“He’s 100 percent,” Kerr said. “So I’m hopeful. And he’s not the only one.”

Kerr reiterated that his lower back is fine. The surgery actually alleviated that pain, only to bring about something even worse. He conceded there have been moments when he felt there was no hope, that there would be no end to the suffering.

Last week was, in fact, such a period. That’s why he felt it necessary to step away from his coaching duties for an indefinite period, handing things over to assistant coach Mike Brown.

“I had no chance,” he said. “I had been trying everything.”

Kerr felt good enough to address the team after their victory. He was proud of everyone, he said, from coaches to players to staff members, any member of the traveling party.

It’s a start. Hearing Kerr talk of the past few days, as well as the many months before, it all makes sense that he chose to take some time for himself. He had reached a point where walking away from his job was necessary to save his sanity, if not his life.

How could he function and meet the demands of an NBA coach if he barely could function as a human being?

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

PORTLAND -- Four games, four quarters to each and the Warriors are on to the next round of the postseason.

Here are four things we learned about these Warriors in the wake of their four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

IT’S A TEAM THING: The Warriors lost All-Star forward Kevin Durant in Game 1, came back and won Game 2. They lost head coach Steve Kerr before Game 3, went out and fashioned one of the biggest comebacks in franchise postseason history. They are constructed in such a way that the collective is strong enough to overcome the loss of one man. They won this series in a walk despite being shorthanded for the last three games and without their head coach for the last two. This team and this staff are bigger than any individual.

JAVALE McGEE MATTERS: By last Sept. 16 the summer was all but gone and every coveted player NBA player had been accounted for. That’s when the Warriors signed McGee with the hope that he could provide some length and athleticism on the block, if only for a few minutes a night -- and, surely, some nights not at all. McGee was the last man to make the team, and here he was dominating a Trail Blazers team that, to be fair, lacked a healthy center. He was special in this series, and what he provides will be needed as the Warriors move forward.

DRAYMOND’S VALUE IS BEYOND MEASURE: There were so many examples during the regular season that illustrated Draymond Green’s significance to the Warriors. He topped them all in this series. He defended, at some point, every member of the Portland team. He rebounded. He made 3-pointers. He blocked 17 shots. The Blazers tried him early but quickly become discouraged at attacking whenever he was on the court. He disrupted their offense in more ways than they could have imagined. As a bonus, he avoided notable run-ins with officials.

SPLASHING NOT NEEDED: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were fabulous in the second half of Game 3 and Curry stood out in Game 4. But by the time the Splash Brothers found their offensive groove, the Warriors were up 2-0 in the series and rallying behind their defense en route to taking Game 3. The battle of the backcourts, logically deemed a critical factor in this series, was a virtual statistical standoff. Curry/Thompson combined for 192 points, while Damian Lillard 111 and CJ McCollum totaled 201. If it’s the numbers are that close, the Warriors will win every series, and probably sweep.