Instant Replay: Warriors 115, Bobcats 100

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Instant Replay: Warriors 115, Bobcats 100

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ORACLE ARENA – You don’t sense even the slightest drip of nervous tension as Klay Thompson sits back in his locker room chair an hour before tip-off.

The 22-year-old So-Cal kid looks plenty relaxed, more likely to grab a video game controller than an NBA basketball.

But before going on to score 20 points in the Warriors’ 115-100 win against the visiting Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night, Thompson admitted he still gets that twinge of nerves before game time.

“I’m still a real young player in this league,” Thompson said prior to the victory. “I get nervous before almost every game. It’s like an anxious feeling; I just want to get out there and play.”

It’s a familiar feel for most young players, especially for lottery picks like Thompson who are given prominent roles early on. Thompson, in his second season, is still dipping his toes in what could be a deep NBA career.

“It’s not as bad as it was my rookie year,” Thompson added. “I feel a lot more calm and collected.”

His play in Friday night’s win was another sign of continued maturity from the young shooter.

Headliners Stephen Curry and David Lee are going to take the lion's share of the spotlight. Lee recorded his third career triple-double on Friday with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. Curry had a career-high eight three-pointers to score 27 points, delivering eight assists.

Those two have been the story all year and they’re building an even greater case to be named all-stars.

But it’s Thompson who is consistently rounding out the attack. Thompson entered the night averaging 15.7 points per game for Golden State and connected on 4-for-8 three-pointers against the Bobcats.

“He’s been special, and the scary thing is he is only going to get better,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “These two guys in the backcourt is a thing of beauty. You’re shocked when they miss it.”

His teammates beam like older brothers when talking about the maturation of Thompson.

“He seems to have a lot better feel for the game,” Lee said following the win. “He’s always been one of the best shooters in the league, but he’s also making a lot better passes and he’s taking on a bunch of challenges defensively.”

Veteran Carl Landry added: “If you ask me, he’s an experienced player. He doesn’t play like a second-year player. At times we all make mistakes, it doesn’t matter what year you are, but Klay does a good job of adjusting to mistakes he makes and he’s becoming a better player.”

The balance of this Warriors team comes from the contributions of not just their two stars and Thompson, but also the even younger nucleus of rookies Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli.

Jackson discussed the rebounding and paint protection of Ezeli, the off-the-chart intangibles of Green and the aggressiveness of Barnes.

“I have guys that want to be special, that want to be great, that love the game,” Jackson said.

Green continues to impress, and scored 11 points on the night. The Warriors also continued to get production from the bench tandem of Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack. Landry had 11 points and six rebounds and Jack tallied nine points and six assists.

“We have a great balance of youth and veteran leadership that is going to carry us to a lot of wins this year,” Thompson said postgame.

The Warriors shot 51.8 percent on the night and hit a combined 14-for-27 three-pointers.

Even Andris Biedrins contributed, playing 13 minutes and grabbing seven rebounds.

Thompson noted the balanced effort before the team’s win against Charlotte: “The biggest difference this year is the team atmosphere and team chemistry. No one is out there to get their own and just try to win.”

It was the 14th consecutive loss for the Bobcats (7-19), who were led by 23 points from guard Gerald Henderson and 12 points and 14 rebounds by center Bismack Biyombo.

The Warriors opened to a 21-4 lead and held a 58-49 lead at halftime behind seven-for-12 three-point shooting. Golden State is now a perfect 15-0 when entering the fourth quarter with a lead.

After allowing a season-worst 131 points to Sacramento on Wednesday, the Warriors held the Bobcats to 36.7 percent shooting, the lowest percentage of an opponent all season.

Follow @jimmypspencer for more Warriors news and analysis

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

OAKLAND -- Now that the Warriors have gone through a full-squad scrimmage for the first time in three weeks, there is only one issue to be resolved before they get back to the business of the playoffs.

Whom to play? And when?

As of Friday afternoon, the Warriors had no idea of either.

They will face the winner of the Clippers-Jazz first-round series, in which Utah took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 Friday night in Salt Lake City.

“Why are we talking about Utah like the Clippers are done?” Draymond Green wondered after fielding several Jazz-related questions after scrimmaging.

Well, because the Jazz won Games 4 and 5 and is favored to win Game 6 at home. If they win, they’ll come into Oracle Arena Sunday afternoon to meet the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

If the Clippers win Game 6 to even the series, those teams will meet for Game 7 Sunday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to face the Warriors in Game 1 of the conference semifinals next Tuesday night in Oakland.

In any case, the Warriors appear about as healthy has they have been at any time since February.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out with a finger/hand injury since Game 1 (April 16) of the first-round series against Portland, participated in the scrimmage, as did veteran forward Matt Barnes, who last played on April 8, when he sustained a bone bruise atop his right foot.

“They practiced today and they even went through the scrimmage,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “But we’ll wait for our training staff to clear them, after they see how they feel today and (Saturday).”

In short, if swelling is minimal, both will be available for Game 1, regardless of when.

So, too, will Kevin Durant. After a strained left calf kept him out of Games 2 and 3 against the Trail Blazers, he started and played 20 minutes in decisive Game 4 without any ill effects.

Nothing changed during the scrimmage Friday.

“It felt great out there,” he said. “Nothing bothered me. It was definitely good. I’m just trying to hopefully put that injury stuff behind.”

Durant conceded that he continues to receive treatment and ice, but mostly to minimize potential swelling.

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant wishes more NBA officials had a better grasp of the language of the game.

They don’t seem to understand that “trash talk” almost always is little more than an act in which healthy emotions are released. It’s as much of the game on the court as pointing out a bad haircut or a fashion error in the locker room.

“I was raised that if you weren’t talking on the court, then something (bad) is going on,” Durant said after Warriors practice on Friday.

Durant caught a glimpse of the chatter earlier this week between former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook and Houston guard Patrick Beverley in decisive Game 5 of the Thunder-Rockets series and was disappointed when the officials slapped each with a technical foul.

“I was like, ‘Man, just play on. It’s a part of the game,’” Durant said.

Though Durant himself is not a premier trash-talker, he plays alongside one in fellow forward Draymond Green.

“That’s why we started playing, to talk a little s--- here and there,” said Durant, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area. “Draymond is really good at it. There are a lot of guys in the league that are good. More guys are quiet now than before.

“But s--- talking is a part of the game. I love it. It’s fun when you’re on the same team as a guy that does it. And then, when you’re playing against it, it’s even better because it brings the best out of you.”

For Durant, there always will be a place for trash talk on the court. Not only did he experience it while growing up but he also was indoctrinated in the practice from the moment he arrived in the NBA in 2007.

He recalls, with fondness, being targeted as a rookie by Kevin Garnett and a few other Celtics.

“When I came into the league, that’s when the Celtics had just got together,” Durant said. “Paul Pierce and KG and those guys talked bad to me as a rookie. I was 19. And they talked so bad to me. And I was talking right back. It was just a fun exchange. That’s what basketball is about.”

Now if only he could get officials to realize this.