Jackson begins bid for Warriors' All-Stars


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?

Rewind: Steph Curry finds offensive rhythm, drops 32 on Lakers

Rewind: Steph Curry finds offensive rhythm, drops 32 on Lakers

SAN DIEGO – Warriors coach Steve Kerr was talking last week about how Stephen Curry usually needs just a few preseason games to find his offensive rhythm.

Consider it found.

Curry’s shooting stroke fired up fans at Valley View Casino Arena and lit up the Lakers as well Wednesday night in a 123-112 win over the Lakers.

“He found it,” Kerr said. “And he needed a few minutes, too.”

Maybe the minutes were the key factor. Through the first five preseason games, Kerr was careful distributing minutes to Curry and the rest of the starters, with the idea being that they ease into game shape while the coaching staff studies the reserves.

[POOLE: 'Evolving' Klay Thompson unveils new wrinkle vs Lakers]

The minutes bumped up on Wednesday, and Curry exploited the opportunity, scoring 32 points in 31 minutes – including 22 points in 15 second-half minutes. He fired in six 3-pointers.

“Steph needed to play,” Kerr said. “He needed to get up and down. He got going there in the second half.”

Curry's second-half flurry was vintage. He made 8-of-10 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. It was the first time this preseason that he looked like the guy who five months ago won his second consecutive MVP award.

“We came in expecting to play closer to regular-season minutes, and we started to pick up a rhythm for sure and just be a little more aggressive,” Curry said. “We were locked in as a team on the defensive end, which gave us a lot of energy. We started off the game well and kept it going.”

Curry had plenty of help from his two primary sidekicks, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Durant finished with 27 points, and Thompson tossed in 19. The trio’s combined 78 points are in the range of what the team believes they can average in the regular season.

[RELATED: Durant continues to impress in another Warriors tune-up victory]

“It’s amazing to watch,” Kevon Looney said. “We all feel like fans when they go through their thing and are playing well. It makes it easy for everybody else on the team, so it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

With Curry, Durant and Thompson leading the way, Warriors starters outscored the Lakers’ first five 92-62. Such ownership of a struggling young team, as the Lakers are, may be relatively inconsequential. But is also is what’s expected under the circumstances.

It wasn’t just the shooting that boosted the Warriors starters. The defense was solid and the ball movement on offense was fabulous. Each starter had at least four assists, with Thompson the surprise leader with eight.

It helps when your passing options include teammates like Curry and Durant, who may enter friendly competition. It makes sense. Curry is the reigning scoring champion, and Durant is a four-time scoring champ.

“I hit a jump shot,” Durant said, “and (Curry) told me, ‘I could be a fan of yours.’ And when he got it going, you see everybody trying to get him the ball.

“It was pretty to watch, and I’m looking forward to a lot of that this season.”

'Evolving' Klay Thompson unveils new wrinkle vs Lakers

'Evolving' Klay Thompson unveils new wrinkle vs Lakers

SAN DIEGO – With family and friends from Orange County cheering from the stands, Warriors guard Klay Thompson put on a highly unusual show for Klay Thompson.

The man with the itchy trigger finger, who lives for the long-range bucket, unveiled his inner point guard, ringing up eight assists in 32 minutes Wednesday night in a 123-112 preseason win over the Lakers before 13,669 at Valley View Casino Center.

“It’s awesome,” coach Steve Kerr said, grinning.

“You could tell,” forward Kevin Durant said of Thompson, “that he was feeling himself on the playmaking.”

After not having a single assist in the first three games, Thompson was credited with six over the next two. Eight, which led the Warriors, is an outburst.

[POOLE: Durant continues to impress in another Warriors tune-up victory]

“He’s evolving in understanding how teams are guarding him,” Stephen Curry said. “When he catches the ball, he obviously demands a lot of attention. And he’s been really patient reading the situation. He made some amazing passes. He had a lot of court vision, just making the simple play.”

Eight assists ties Thompson’s career-high in games that actually count. And Thompson still found time for 19 points, three rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.

“He was fantastic,” Kerr said. “The drive-and-kick stuff. And he made the simple play. He wasn’t trying too hard to do anything, just putting it on the floor and finding guys – and knocking down shots when he was open. It was a great night.”

Not that Thompson, a generally laconic sort, was too impressed with his work.

“I just made the simple play,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s just a simple bounce pass or a kick out. It’s nothing new.”

Well, actually it is. Warriors players and coaches have been known to ride Thompson on his zero-assist nights. This was quite the opposite.

“He was great tonight,” Durant said. “That’s one thing that he’ll showcase this season. A lot of guys will be running at him. He’s going to have a lot of space, a lot of wide-open shots. He did a good job of driving to the paint and kicking out, because everybody is going to converge on him. He’s Klay Thompson.”