Warriors

Kerr's 'great timeout' refocuses Warriors, fuels win over Kings

Kerr's 'great timeout' refocuses Warriors, fuels win over Kings

SACRAMENTO -- Eighteen seconds into the game, before the Warriors had attempted a shot, or even taken possession of the ball, coach Steve Kerr called timeout and immediately summoned his players to the bench.

Kerr wanted to discuss defense and focus, neither of which was present when Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins spun around Zaza Pachulia and pranced toward an unguarded rim for the kind of dunk usually seen in a layup line.

Though the Warriors acknowledged their negligence -- it was mentioned right before tipoff that if Cousins got the ball on the block, there should be help -- but it wasn’t until late in the second quarter that they unleashed a fully focused defense.

And once they did, it took all hope out of the Kings, who were emboldened by building a 16-point lead midway through the second quarter, only to have the Warriors trim it to seven at by halftime and completely take over with a 22-3 run in the third quarter.

“We knew they couldn’t sustain that throughout the game,” Kevin Durant said Sunday night, after scoring 28 points as the Warriors completed a 117-106 win at Golden 1 Center. “You saw the third quarter. Their legs got a little tired, we were more physical and we got out and ran.

“That’s the formula for us.”

When the Warriors (32-6) use stingy defense to trigger transition offense, they’re nearly impossible to beat. They shots come more easily, and they go in more often. They are 19-0 this season when they shoot 50 percent, and chances of doing that rise dramatically when they’re forcing turnovers and getting into the wind.

“I’m not saying we’re invincible at all; we’ve proven that (we’re not),” said Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 30 points, his third consecutive game with at least 30. “But it gives us our best shot to allow our talent on the other end to shine.

“A lot’s been said about our fourth quarter offense and execution and lineups and whatever, but if we can work through that while getting stops on the defensive end and using the length and activity that we usually have on that end, we’ll be alright regardless.”

The Kings (15-22) shot 52.3 percent in the first half, and were close to 60 percent before the Warriors held them to 1-of-6 from the 4:14 mark until halftime.

The Warriors took command after intermission, outscoring the Kings 39-22 in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers (leading to six points) while holding them to 31.3-percent shooting.

The offense simply held up its end of the deal. The Warriors shot 54.3 percent in the second half, with balanced scoring. In addition to Curry and Durant leading the charge, Klay Thompson put in 18 points, Zaza Pachulia tossed in 10 and Draymond Green added 9, while also contributing his usual combo line of statistics, including 10 assists and seven rebounds.

It was enough that the Warriors were able to continue their NBA-record streak of games without back-to-back losses, now at 124.

Yet it goes back to Kerr, calling the quick timeout and demanding the team to do as it had been coached.

“I knew exactly why, when he called it,” Green said. “Zaza did his job and nobody was there to help. It definitely made a statement.”

Said Kerr: “We gave up a back-door lay-up on a play that we had just talked about and there was a scheme that we blew,” he said. “So, we just had to talk about it.”

Asked if he’d ever seen a coach call a time 18 seconds into a game, surely the fastest Kerr ever has, Durant considered his nine-year career before responding.

“No – no, but that was a great timeout,” he said. “We said we were going to double from the baseline on Cousins and we didn’t do it. And it was unacceptable to Steve. Great timeout. Got us going.”

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

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AP

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

There is a single reason teams keep sniffing out the availability of Klay Thompson, and it’s far more easily understood than the myriad reasons the Warriors keep telling them no.

No fewer than four teams have either reached out or considered reaching out, the latest being revealed as the detested Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors, of course, declined them, perhaps after general manager Bob Myers put Cavs GM Koby Altman on speakerphone so everybody at Warriors HQ could double over with team-building laughter.

The Cavs got the same answer as was previously heard by the Pacers and the Timberwolves, and maybe even the Celtics, whose interest was rumored though never actually substantiated.

All four teams, though, along with maybe few others, all reached the same conclusion. They looked at the Warriors, studied their prime core, and concluded that Thompson was the most available member.

Clearly more available than Stephen Curry, who is the face of the franchise.

Likely more available than Draymond Green, whose two-way versatility and temperament are vital to the grand ambitions of the Warriors.

And infinitely more available than Kevin Durant, who arrived two years after Minnesota shot its shot -- by dangling Kevin Love -- and evolved into their most impressive overall player.

So it’s Thompson who gets his tires kicked. He’s 27 years old, has two years remaining on his contract and, most germane, seems to be the least emotionally invested star in the organization. That is may not be true, but it’s an easy conclusion based on appearances and the misguided thought that the Warriors don’t value him as much as they do the others.

Wrong.

“It's really cool,” Thompson said Wednesday, referring to being pursued and prized. “It shows the Warriors believe in me and these other teams want me to be a part of their success. So I appreciate it. I've been in trade rumors forever. Everyone has. Except for maybe LeBron James, Steph — well, even Steph early in his career.”

Any team that asks about Thompson is aware that the Thompson-Love deal gained considerable traction in 2014 before it was vetoed by then-adviser Jerry West and newly hired head coach Steve Kerr.

If the Warriors were thinking about it then, why not later?

They have their reasons, beginning with the fact they’ve experienced more success over the past three seasons than at any time in franchise history, winning two championships in three seasons and becoming a regular in the NBA Finals. Why even consider breaking the squad that so clearly is the cream of the NBA?

Another reason is that the Warriors have come to fully understand Thompson’s role in their competitive prosperity. He’s a gunslinger that manages to be highly productive without spending much time with the ball, and his fabulous defense makes that end of the court so much easier for Curry. The Thompson-Curry backcourt is the best in the league and already in the discussion for the best ever.

There is another component that is rather understated. Thompson is the ultimate zero-maintenance All-Star. In a locker room of varied personalities, some loud, nearly all opinionated, he’s like a breeze that is cool enough be felt yet never so much it feels imposing.

The Warriors have come to appreciate Thompson being the closest thing to a wind-up All-Star in a league where that is exceedingly rare. Give him a jersey, a ball and some shoes and let him go.

So, no, he’s not leaving anytime soon. The only way he goes before he becomes a free agent in 2019 -- at which time he’s likely to take a peep around the NBA -- is if the Warriors somehow take a tumble in the standings or try to low-ball him.

Until then, teams may continue to ask. They have to as a strategy to improve themselves while diminishing the league’s powerhouse. Understanding this, the Warriors will take the calls and appreciate the humor of it all.

Former Warriors forward wins BIG3’s Best Trash Talker

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USATSI

Former Warriors forward wins BIG3’s Best Trash Talker

Stephen Jackson is known as one of the biggest characters in Warriors history. 

The 14-year NBA veteran always let you know what he was thinking. Some things never change. 

Jackson, now playing for the Killer 3s in the BIG3, was awarded the league's Best Trash Talker award on Wednesday. 

Serving as the Killer 3s co-captain with Chauncey Billups, Jackson is currently leading the league in scoring. At 39 years old, Jackson is averaging 21.6 points per game over 31.7 minutes per game. 

In four seasons with the Warriors, Jackson poured in 19.4 points and 5.0 assists per game. Over 14 years in the NBA, he averaged 15.1 points per game. 

Former Warriors big man Al Harrington was voted Too Hard to Guard with his 15.3 points per game.