Lakers come to town, Warriors look to exact revenge


Lakers come to town, Warriors look to exact revenge

UPDATE (Dec. 22, 3:10 p.m.) -- Steve Nash will make his return to the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at Oracle Arena against the Warriors, according to USA Today.


It’s the Lakers -- never mind the record, never mind the drama.

When the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Bay Area, the current shape of the team is irrelevant.

“They’re always a test,” Warriors forward David Lee said. “I don’t care if they’re 0-100, they’ve got the personnel to be very, very tough and we need to come out and give our best effort.”

The Lakers (12-14) enter the contest struggling this season, despite having won three straight, and sit 5.5 games back of the Warriors (18-9).

That doesn’t mean much headed into tonight’s game though, as the Lakers historically have the Warriors’ number and have swept the season series in three of the last four years.

The Warriors mantra -- “that’s not our history” -- doesn’t exactly apply. This season, on Nov. 9, Los Angeles delivered Golden State’s worst loss, 101-77 at the Staples Center.

Still, the way the Warriors have played of late, having won eight of their last 11 at home, tonight’s game should be telling of Golden State’s evolution.

“We expect to go out and win tomorrow night whether we are favored, or whether they have more talent, we just expect to go out there and win,” Lee said after Friday night’s win against the Bobcats. “And it’s not an arrogance, it’s just a confidence within our team because we trust one another.”

An All-Star pitch

The campaigning has begun already.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson is dropping more and more references of support for his two stars, Lee and Stephen Curry, to be included as All-Stars this season.

Jackson made the point in his postgame news conference Friday to say he’s not about chasing individual recognition, but he then went on to say that Curry and Lee deserve to be All-Stars for changing the culture of his basketball team.

“I would be doing them a disservice by not leading the parade acknowledging that they are very deserving of it,” Jackson said. “If it doesn’t happen, we are going to keep it moving and continue to win ball games, but while this mic is in front of me I’m going to let people know how special these guys have been.”

Lee, who recorded his third career triple-double against the Bobcats, is averaging 20 and 11.3 rebounds through 27 games this season.

“The only thing I worry about going into every game is getting rebounds because that’s one of the things that team needs me to do and for us to be successful,” Lee said after the win on Friday night. “I don’t worry one bit about scoring or post touches. They can not throw me the ball for five quarters; it doesn’t matter.

“I try to just go up and get every rebound on both ends of the floor and that gets me into the aggression of the game and the rest just takes care of itself.”

Curry has now hit 15 three-pointers in the team’s past two games -- the first Warriors player to ever hit at least seven in back-to-back games -- and is averaging 20.2 points, 6.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Parents weekend

A night after Curry hit eight three-pointers in front of his pops, Dell Curry, there will be another Warriors dad coming to Oracle. Klay Thompson’s father, Mychal Thompson, a former Laker and current team broadcaster, will be in attendance.

The Warriors second-year shooting guard looks forward to seeing his dad, facing off against the Lakers and the challenge of a matchup with Kobe Bryant.

“It’s fun, it’s real fun for me,” Thompson said about playing against the Lakers. “I look forward to those games because you can measure yourself against the best in the league. Those are the games to look forward to, especially since my Dad is calling it.”

For more Warriors news and analysis, follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter

Draymond: Hate 'comes with the territory'

Draymond: Hate 'comes with the territory'

OAKLAND – As the hours and minutes toward opening night tick down for the Warriors, forward Draymond Green has an idea of what’s coming this season.

Constant surveillance, plenty of opinions and a lot of debate are in store.

And in the wake of signing megastar free agent Kevin Durant, Green and the Warriors can expect plenty of resentment.

“Usually, when you’re doing something the right way, people hate,” Green said after practice Sunday. “And, usually, when you’re doing something someone wants to do, they hate. Usually when there is success, with success comes hate. So that kind of just comes with the territory. It really doesn’t matter.

“KD being here definitely adds to that. But with the success we’ve had, people are going to hate us anyway. That comes with the territory.”

Though Durant is certain to be targeted for boos, Green also will hear his share. NBA fans generally cast a few players as villains, and Green moved snugly into that role last season with his kick to the groin of Oklahoma City center Steven Adams, followed by throwing a jab to the groin area of Cleveland star LeBron James.

The mini-skirmish with James, in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, landed Green on the suspended list at a critical time: Game 5.

The incident also affixed Green’s photo to the wall featuring NBA road rascals, right up there with the likes of Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, DeMarcus Cousins, Metta World Peace and, at various times, Kobe Bryant.

Because Green is in that role and Durant, at least for now, is the subject of so much unfavorable scrutiny, there is a sharper edge to the identity of the Warriors.

“Some people say we’re villains,” Green said. “I don’t think we’re really going into this saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. We need to do this.’ ‘Who . . . cares?’ It really doesn’t matter what role people try to make you play. It’s about getting on the court, getting between these lines and performing.

“What everybody else draws up and tries to make you out to be . . . they can make you out to be whatever they want. If you’re winning games, or not winning games, that’s what matters. I don’t think this team is looking and saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. Let’s do it.’ Nobody cares.”

Green was the subject of a much-publicized magazine article that depicted him as a source of unrest among this teammates and coaches. He’s acutely aware of the characterization and realizes he must walk a fine line or risk puncturing team chemistry.

He’ll accept being the villain, and perhaps even embrace the booing. Only Steph Curry among the Warriors shares Green’s profound delight in silencing arenas on the road.

“This is about getting between these lines and performing,” Green said. “Everything else outside of that, it really doesn’t matter. Things are going to be said. Some things are not going to be said. But when it’s all said and done, the only thing people are going to talk about at the end is whether you won or lost.

In 'no-brainer' move, Warriors exercise Looney's option for 2017-18

In 'no-brainer' move, Warriors exercise Looney's option for 2017-18

OAKLAND – Fingers crossed and knocking on wood, the Warriors opened training camp four weeks ago hoping Kevon Looney would survive the preseason.

The 6-foot-9 forward did more than that, easily clearing the ultra-low bar set for someone striving to keep alive his NBA dreams after surgery on both hips.

Looney was rewarded on Sunday, when the Warriors announced they were exercising the third-year option on the UCLA product, extending his contract with the team through the 2017-18 season.

“It was a no-brainer,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice. “He’s the 30th pick (in the 2015 NBA draft). He missed all of last year. We pick up the option and have him locked up for next year after, I think, a really good training camp.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers saw enough to give the team another year to develop Looney and assess his potential. As a rookie last season, Looney appeared in only five games, a total of 21 minutes, between hip surgeries.

He played in six of seven preseason games, making one start and totaling 73 minutes. He shot 50 percent from the field and ranked fifth on the team in rebounding, exceeding his own expectations.

“I was actually real nervous,” he said, “because last time it was a little different. I came back in the middle of the season, so my rehab was different. I didn’t have a chance to really practice with the guys. They were already in the full swing of things.

“So this is really my first time playing with the guys. I was a little nervous. I was nervous about my hips last time, and I went down again. I feel much more confident. I feel ready.”

Looney, still smoothing out his gait, conceded that he’s still seeking rhythm on offense, saying he’s not yet comfortable with his shot but acknowledging that it’s not a major issue on a team with so many talented shooters.

Kerr considers Looney capable of providing help at power forward and center. The coach does not seem worried about Looney’s offense.

“Now he’s healthy, knock on wood,” Kerr said. “So it was an easy decision for Bob. We briefly talked about (picking up the option), but it wasn’t even really a decision. It was just automatic.”