Ezeli already making physical presence felt for Warriors

805220.jpg

Ezeli already making physical presence felt for Warriors

Programming Note: Insider Matt Steinmetz is in Las Vegas following the NBA Summer League. Stay logged on and tune into SportsNet Central as Matt files reports all week long with the latest on the Warriors.

LAS VEGAS About five minutes Thats how long you needed to watch the Warriors summerleague team practice on Wednesday afternoon before you noticed Festus Ezeli.It happened that quickly.What catches your eye first about Ezeli is his sheer size.Hes 6-foot-11, 270 pounds and he looks every bit of it. But if youre aWarriors fan, it gets even better.Of the 20 or so players participating for the Warriors atSierra Vista High School, nobody was more intense, more physical or more activethan Ezeli. He patrolled the lane, he helped beaten teammates with rimprotection, and, with all due respect, he didnt shut up.Lets just say hes going to help, said Warriors assistantcoach Pete Myers. Hes a specimen. He likes playing inside, likes settingscreens and he enjoys being physical. Hes got good lateral quickness for a bigguy.It would seem to make sense that Ezeli would assume the rolethat Kwame Brown had for the Warriors before he got hurt: rebounder, fouler atthe rim, lane-clogger and good, all-around teammate.Brown played only nine games before suffering aseason-ending pectoral injury, but in those games he averaged 6.3 points and6.3 rebounds per game. But if you watched each of those games you know Brownwas more valuable than the numbers.Simply put, Brown brought something the Warriorsdidnt have. Perhaps Ezeli can do the same in 2012-13.Thats why Im here, answered Ezeli, about becoming adefensive anchor. Thats what I am for this team. Thats what theyve asked meto be and thats what Ill be. Its what Ive always known. Vanderbilt was myfirst organized program and they trained me to be a defensive anchor so thatsall I know.Warriors coach Mark Jackson said one difference betweenBrown and Ezeli is that Brown, a veteran, knew all the tricks of the trade.Ezeli will have to figure those out.Myers said Ezelis biggest challenge right now is figuringout the Warriors defensive schemes and terminology. Ezeli agreed, but its notsomething he thinks will be a long-term problem.Its coming along, Ezeli said. Im trying to learn. Thereare a lot of things here that are different. Sometimes I have to fight myinstincts and try to learn how its done here. This is my new family, my newteam. Ive got to learn how to protect my teammates.As for Ezelis offensive game, well have we talked abouthis defense?His offense is still a ways away, Myers said. Hes notafraid, though. You throw it to him in the low post and hes going to look toscore. Hes not one of those guys who will pass it right out and set a screen.Hell try to be physical and get to the rim, which I like.I just think it will take some time to develop somelow-post moves."

NBA Gameday: Barnes, Warriors welcome Kings to Oracle

NBA Gameday: Barnes, Warriors welcome Kings to Oracle

OAKLAND -- Seeking their sixth consecutive win, the Warriors will get their first look at the dramatically revamped Sacramento Kings when the teams meet Friday night at Oracle Arena.

A win by the Warriors, combined with a Cleveland Cavaliers loss, would give the Warriors homecourt advantage in any NBA Finals scenario.

But the Warriors (57-14) may have to squint to recognize these Kings, who last month traded star big man DeMarcus Cousins -- the team’s mainstay for seven years -- to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and other considerations.

The Kings (27-44) have lost 11 of 14 games since the deal and are slowly sinking out of the Western Conference playoff race.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 17.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson vs. Buddy Hield: It’s a battle between the Bahamians, or as Thompson has said of Hield, “My Bahamian brother.” Thompson has been cooking, shooting 53.2 percent (25-of-47) beyond the arc and 55.3 (52-of-94) percent overall over the last five games. Hield, a rookie from Oklahoma, has adapted well to Sacramento, scoring in double digits in 10 of 11 games while shooting 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from deep and 50.0 percent (60-of-120) overall this month.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Kings: F Rudy Gay (L Achilles tear) and G Malachi Richardson (R hamstring partial tear) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 7-3. Kings: 2-8.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have won two of three meetings this season and 15 of the last 17 overall, including the last seven games in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE TRANSITION GAME: Though the Kings are playing faster in the post-Cousins era, they still have little chance of matching the pace at which the Warriors prefer to play. Expect the Warriors to push at every opportunity, even if it means committing a few turnovers, in order to coax Sacramento out of rhythm. The Kings rank 26th in fast-break points and actually had a game in which they scored 0 fast-break points.

BOMBS AWAY: The Warriors rank third in 3-point shooting percentage (38.3), while the Kings rank 26th in 3-point percentage defense (37.2). There will opportunities galore for Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Ian Clark and Thompson -- who two years ago torched the Kings with an NBA-record 37 points in a quarter.

THIS “SKAL” GUY: Rookie forward Skal Labissiere, a 6-foot-11 package of raw talent, has been something of a revelation for the Kings. Emerging from the shadows in the wake of the Cousins deal, he has reminded observers why he was such a heralded prep recruit from the Memphis area. This sounds like a job for Draymond Green.

QUOTABLE

“Try to kill ‘em, plain and simple. Things didn’t go well there. They’re the enemy now. So we’re trying to kill ‘em. Beat ‘em by 50.” -- Warriors forward Matt Barnes on facing the Kings, who released him last month.

Warriors recall Kevon Looney from D-League ahead of Kings game

Warriors recall Kevon Looney from D-League ahead of Kings game

The Golden State Warriors have recalled forward Kevon Looney from the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, the team announced today. Looney will be available for tonight’s Golden State game against the Sacramento Kings, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. (PDT) at Oracle Arena. 

Looney tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and one block in 13 minutes off the bench for Santa Cruz in Thursday's 106-103 road victory against the Austin Spurs. The 6’9”, 220-pound forward has appeared in four games (one start) with Santa Cruz this season, holding averages of 12.8 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 56.1 percent from the field in 19.8 minutes.  

Golden State Warriors media services