Jazz-Warriors: What to watch for


Jazz-Warriors: What to watch for

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Warriors Pregame Live starts tonight at 7, followed by Warriors-Utah at 7:30, and Warriors Postgame Live at 10 -- all on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

The Warriors finish up a six-game homestand on Thursdaynight against the Utah Jazz. Regardless of what happens, it will end up as adisappointing stretch.If the Warriors beat the Jazz, theyll end up 3-3, whichsimply isnt good enough to make any headway in the rugged Western Conference.Still they will have ended things with consecutive wins and a little bit ofmomentum.But a loss would give the Warriors a losing homestand and a7-13 record overall. And with 10 of their next 15 games on the road, thingsdont get any easier.Here are some things to watch for:Backcourt advantage: When the Jazz beatthe Warriors 88-87 on Jan. 7 at Oracle Arena, Golden State was missing pointguard Stephen Curry, out with an ankle injury.It will be Utah that is short-handed on Thursday. Backuppoint guard Earl Watson is doubtful for the game after spraining his ankle onWednesday. And Raja Bell, who did a nice job on Monta Ellis in the first game,has missed the past two games with a strained abductor and is listed asquestionable.Even starting point guard Devin Harris isnt 100 percent,dealing with a sore hamstring.On the interior: Much of the Warriorsfortunes are tied into whether they can get anything positive out of centerAndris Biedrins and power forward Ekpe Udoh.Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been trying to coax someproductiveness out of each player, and it appears as if slowly but surely itmight be working. The bottom line is that the Warriors are at a disadvantagewhen Jackson elects to play David Lee at the center position. Against a team such as Utah, with AlJefferson and Paul Millsap, that would seem to be a recipe for disaster.Depth advantage: The Warriors bench hasbeen the best part of the team this season. In a win against the Kings onTuesday, Jackson played his subs for almost the entire fourth period, and theyrewarded him with a victory.With the Jazz having played Wednesday night in Utah, theWarriors bench should have another opportunity to make an impact. Brandon Rush,who had 15 of his season-high 20 points in the fourth quarter against theKings, is leading the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage at .593.Limit turnovers: Bottom line is that whenthe Warriors treat the ball badly, they usually lose. When they take care ofit, theyve got a chance. Take this homestand for example The Warriors had 18 turnovers against Indiana and lost; theyhad 24 turnovers against Memphis and lost; they had 11 turnovers againstPortland and won; they had 20 turnovers against Oklahoma City and lost; theyhad eight turnovers against Sacramento and won.

Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that the limited minutes allotted to former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the All-Star Game Sunday was unrelated to a pending trade.

Cousins played only two minutes -- the shortest stint by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971 -- because that was the big man’s wish.

“I asked every guy before the game started how much they wanted to play,” said Kerr, who coached the Western Conference All-Stars for the second time in three seasons. “He told me he wanted to play two minutes. He was serious. He said he was banged up. It had nothing to do with (a trade).”

After six-plus seasons in Sacramento, Cousins was traded to New Orleans shortly after the All-Star Game, with the official announcement coming Monday.

Kerr initially thought Cousins was requesting to be limited to two minutes per half. When Kerr and assistant coach Mike Brown conveyed that plan, Cousins was quick to clarify.

“He said, ‘No, no: two minutes total,’” Kerr recalled.

When Kerr pointed out that Cousins actually played two minutes, 24 seconds, the newest Pelican flashed a sense of humor.

“I went over? By 24 seconds?” Cousins said. “That should be a fine for you, coach.”

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

OAKLAND -- The Warriors reconvened Wednesday and received good news, going through a light scrimmage that for the first time in weeks included centers Zaza Pachulia and David West.

The better news for the Warriors is that both were upgraded to questionable and could return as soon as Thursday night, when they face the Clippers at Oracle Arena.

“I would say there’s a good chance both of them would play tomorrow,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ll see.”

Pachulia has missed the last eight games after straining his right rotator cuff on Jan. 29 at Portland.

“The pain is gone,” Pachulia told CSNBayArea.com. “I can’t say I’ll be cleared, but there is no more pain.”

Pachulia is expected to reclaim his starting role despite Kerr’s acknowledging that JaVale McGee has been “fantastic” while starting the last eight games.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Kerr said. “I’ve got to make that decision. I want to make sure first that (Pachulia) is healthy. And it depends, too, on what happens with David. Is David healthy? Are they both playing? There’s kind of a domino effect on all of this stuff.

“I would anticipate that, ultimately, Zaza will be back starting. I liked that whole rotation. JaVale has helped us dramatically, and he’ll be playing a role. It’s a center-by-committee situation. But right away, we’ll see how we play it.”

West has missed the last 14 games with a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb, sustained Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City.

West was to undergo an X-ray late Wednesday, after which it was anticipated he would receive a clean slate.

The only players that did not scrimmage are All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. All four were given an extra day off in the wake of their participation in All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

“Just being in New Orleans for those four days, there’s no rest whatsoever,” Kerr said. “Those are the guys who played the most minutes. The All-Star break is such a great time to recharge.”