Jackson begins bid for Warriors' All-Stars

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Jackson begins bid for Warriors' All-Stars

Warriors head coach Mark Jackson did not avoid the topic Friday night. He has two All-Stars that belong in Houston Feb. 17.

"I've got two guys that should be in the All-Star Game," Jackson said after Friday's 115-100 win over the Bobcats, beginning the pitch to get a Golden State player in the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.

David Lee and Stephen Curry have led the Warriors to their best start since the 1991-92 season, when Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin led the Warriors to a 21-8 record. This year, Lee, Curry and the Warriors are out to a 18-9 record, boasting a far more competitive brand of basketball than in previous seasons.

So why is the notion of an All-Star Warrior met with skepticism?

The Warriors have not had a player participate in an NBA All-Star Game since 1997 when Latrell Sprewell averaged 24.2 points, 6.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. It is the longest active drought by an NBA team.

This season, the Warriors have their best shot at landing someone on the Western Conference All-Star team since Monta Ellis made several All-Star pushes from 2009-2011.

Lee is averaging 20 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, good for fifth in the NBA in rebounds and tenth in the league in scoring. His early-season success culminated in a triple-double Friday against the Bobcats. It was also Lee's 11th straight game with more than 20 points, and his 11th game of the season in which he has recorded at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. No player has done that more this season than Lee.

Curry, coming off his share of past ankle injuries, is fully healthy and averaging 20.2 points, 6.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. Through 27 games, Curry is ninth in the league in scoring.

Curry and Lee would be locks for the All-Star Game if they played in the Eastern Conference, where they would be fourth and fifth in scoring, respectively.

Lee and Curry are undoubtedly putting up All-Star-worthy numbers for a team that currently occupies the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff picture, but All-Star voting can be fickle by nature.

The case for the Warriors' All-Star hopefuls is augmented by the team's winning ways, something Golden State's All-Star candidates since Sprewell have not had in their favor in past campaigns.

What do you think? Should David Lee and Stephen Curry be All-Stars this year?

NBA Gameday: Revenge on Warriors' mind against Grizzlies

NBA Gameday: Revenge on Warriors' mind against Grizzlies

OAKLAND -- Forgive the Warriors if they have a measure of vengeance on their minds when the step on the floor Sunday afternoon.

They’ll be staring at the Memphis Grizzlies, who came into Oracle Arena on Jan. 6 and handed the Warriors perhaps their most galling regular-season loss in three years, wiping out a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a 128-119 victory in overtime. It was the first time in 55 years a team had staged a comeback of that magnitude against the team with the best record in the league.

The Warriors (58-14), who have been the NBA’s best home team since 2014, will be seeking to even the season series as well as win their seventh consecutive game.

One of the surprise teams of the NBA in the first half of the season, the Grizzlies (40-32) have come back to reality, going 6-8 since the All-Star break. They’ve lost their last two, at New Orleans and at San Antonio.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: It has become cliché to say Conley is underrated, so we’ll just say he’s the NBA’s finest unsung point guard. Curry and his teammates know this. Conley this season is averaging career-highs in scoring (20.0 points per game), field -goal percentage (44.9) and 3-point field-goal percentage (39.7). Curry, of course, is the back-to-back MVP and the man most likely to feel salty about that Jan. 6 loss. He also has been playing well of late. These two will generally dictate the fortunes of their respective teams.

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

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) is listed as questionable. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) is listed as out. G Wade Baldwin, C Deyonta Davis and Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 7-3. Grizzlies: 4-6.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have lost two of three meetings earlier this season but have won nine of the last 12 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE PACE GAME: The Grizzlies are deliberate and ultra-physical. They prefer to play at a crawl; they rank 28th in pace. Their philosophy is to stay close through three quarters and find a way to win in the fourth. The Warriors want to play at jackrabbit speed; they’re third in pace. The team that can impose its style gains a massive advantage.

OPENING/CLOSING STATEMENTS: The Warriors will seek to build an early lead in hopes of enlarging their margin for error. They may need any cushion they can create, as they well know the Grizzlies thrive in the clutch. Memphis is 15-6 in “super-clutch games (within 3 points in the final minute or regulation or OT).

KLAY AND THE GRINDFATHER: Memphis guard Tony Allen takes particular pride in his ability to defend, and he goes after Klay Thompson like a lion chasing a gazelle. Each has had his individual triumphs over the other, and their battle occasionally influences the outcome. Thompson won the last, torching the Grizzlies for 36 points last month in Memphis. Allen surely remembers that.

 

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

OAKLAND -- Though Kevin Durant is eager to get back to the court, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants are in preliminary stages of planning his return.

One thing is certain: There will be restriction on the number of minutes Durant is plays in the first few games after he receives medical clearance.

“It’s something we’ll consult the training staff on,” Kerr said Saturday after practice. “I imagine we’ll ease him back by playing him shorter minutes to start, so he can build up his rhythm and his conditioning.”

Durant has been out since Feb. 28, when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bone bruise to his left knee. After several days of strict immobilization, he has over the past week progressed to the point where he is engaging in vigorous workouts and shooting sessions.

Yet Durant will not be re-evaluated until next Thursday, which means he likely will not be cleared before the week of April 3. Not until then will the coaching staff devise a plan to reintegrate Durant.

“That obviously has a domino effect on the entire rotation,” Kerr said. “When we get to that point, we’ll figure that out. But it’s not something I’m giving a lot of thought to right now because he’s still at least a couple weeks away.”

The Warriors lost five of seven in the immediate aftermath of Durant’s injury but have recovered to win the last six in a row.