Lakers come to town, Warriors look to exact revenge

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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.

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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

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

OAKLAND -- Considering their status as reigning champs without a pick, members of the Warriors personnel department could have turned out the lights and left team headquarters to watch the NBA Draft from a nearby tavern.

They instead stayed in business mode Thursday night, observing the draft-night chaos up close, waiting for the right moment and the right player.

And for the second consecutive year, the Warriors paid a team for its 38th overall draft pick, sending a reported $3.5 million to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Oregon big man Jordan Bell, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

“Everybody we talked to had a lot of good things to say about him,” president/general manager Bob Myers said. “He’s one of the few guys we looked at and really wanted to see if we could get. I actually was not optimistic we would be able to get him. But somehow it came to fruition.”

Myers added that the Warriors, along with many mock drafts, projected Bell as a first-round pick.

Bell led the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (63.6) while shooting almost exclusively in the paint. The 6-foot-9 center/forward was sixth among Pac-12 rebounders at 8.8 per game and 13th in steals at 1.3 per game.

The Long Beach Poly High product possesses a wingspan a fraction shy of 7-feet and bears, by some accounts, a resemblance to Draymond Green inasmuch as he is a defense-first player with a deep reservoir of energy.

It’s a comparison that Bell, asked about it, embraces.

“Draymond, because people always say I’m undersized,” Bell told Basketball Insiders last month. “He’s one of those players you can’t really say what position he is, but he’s a force on defense.”

Moreover, Myers cited Green as one of the players best suited to mentor Bell.

“Draymond is a good one,” the GM said. “He’s not afraid to tell players what he thinks. He’s going to be a good teacher.”

Bell in three seasons became the Ducks’ all-time leader in blocks. He blocked eight shots in a Midwest Regional win over Kansas that sent Oregon to the Final Four. He became during the NCAA Tournament the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon (in 1985) to snag at least 12 rebounds in five consecutive tournament games.

“Defending is one of my best attributes,” Bell told Basketball Insiders. “Being able to switch 1-through-5. Play small ball. Blocking shots. Timing. Decision-making on offense.”

These are the characteristics that prompted the Warriors to put a red-letter “B” next to Bell’s name on their draft board -- even though his offensive skills are unrefined.

“We love his ability to defend,” Myers said. “He could probably defend most positions, and in the NBA that’s huge. To be able to switch pick-and-rolls, rebound, block shots, finish, there are a lot of boxes he checks.

“ . . . We just like the way he plays basketball. We’ll find a place for him.”

The Warriors also are closing in on a deal for one of Bell’s Oregon teammates. Forward Chris Boucher is expected to sign a two-way contract with the team.

“That’s something we’re trying to move toward,” Myers said of Boucher, who is rehabilitating an ACL surgery.

“But we like players that win. We like players that can play. I don’t care what school they are or what their background is, or what position. Winners. That’s what we’re trying to do, is win. If we end up getting that done, that’s another player that was on a very good team.”

Report: Warriors agree to two-way NBA contract with Oregon F Boucher

Report: Warriors agree to two-way NBA contract with Oregon F Boucher

The Warriors bought Oregon's Jordan Bell in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft. And, they reportedly agreed with another Duck.

Golden State is signing Oregon forward Chris Boucher to a two-way NBA contract after the senior went undrafted, according to Shams Charina of The Vertical.

Boucher, at 6-foot-10 and 200 pounds, averaged 11.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in 31 games for Oregon this past season. He also averaged 2.5 blocks per game and shot 35 percent from beyond the arc. 

Boucher suffered a torn ACL in the Pac-12 semifinals against Cal. 

NBA rosters will grow to 17 players with two-way contracts between the G-League and players will make a guarantee of at least $75,000. Players who sign two-ways contracts can make up to $275,000 depending on how long they are on an NBA roster.