Mark Jackson still has no doubt about Warriors

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Mark Jackson still has no doubt about Warriors

The Warriors are 5-10, but make no mistake: Coach MarkJackson continues to believe. While many fans are saying this season is nodifferent than many of the past seasons, Jackson says youre wrong.Jackson predicted the playoffs, and he still thinks theWarriors will get there. No ifs, ands or buts. You dont believe me? Heres atranscript of some of Jacksons post-practice interview on Saturday:Question: Are you still as optimisticabout this team now as you were a month ago or when you took the job?Jackson: Havent changed.Question: Would that ever change, even ifthe season continues to go like its going?
Jackson: Were going to continue tobattle, grind and get better every single day. Our thought process has notchanged and were excited about the rest of the way. Weve lost 10 games and Iwould say two teams beat us: the Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Bobcats.Every other game we were in control with a real opportunity of closing the doorand we did not. So that is extremely encouraging.Question: If you guys are going to haveto have a successful season the kind of season youve talked about -- thenyou guys are going to have to start winning games and that has to starthappening soon. So, you still believe thats going to happen?Jackson: I would have to believe thatswhats going to happen if my answer to you is nothing has changed(laughter).Question: Is there a point when it couldchange or you dont allow yourself to think that way?Jackson: I dont think that way. Ibelieve in our system, I believe in our guys. Were going to turn it around.Question: Could there be a point when youstart thinking about that (protected) draft pick and that might play into theseason?Jackson: I dont think that way. Thatsnot my thought process at all. When we play the way were capable of playing,execute the game plan and take care of the basketball and defend, were a verygood basketball team. And until I see otherwise, Im going to continue tobelieve it.Question: But cant every team say that,that when they do that theyre a good team?Jackson: No. No. No. Some teams donthave principles like we have, some teams dont buy in and some teams are goingthrough the motions. Some teams make excuses. Everything I see if we do what were supposed to dowere going to be just fine.Question: Somebody asked me the other dayabout you and I said that reality might be setting in with this team, that youmight be realizing this team isnt as good as you thought. Would that beincorrect?Jackson: I guess you lied to them. Whatis reality?Question: That this team isnt as good asyou thought That this team cant be as good as you thought.Jackson: No, thats not true. In myopinion we have the best backcourt in the business, we have an all-star caliberpower forward, we have solid role players, and we are a defensive-mindedbasketball team. We are grinding and weve been in position to win in eight ofour 10 losses and weve beaten some of the best in the land. The reality isthat were very close to being who I am convinced we are. Tell your friend Isaid hi. You are trying today.Question: Not at all, lets cut to the chase.Youve been optimistic about this team but youre 5-10. This is a region thathas seen it and heard it all before and you talking like this is like a salmonswimming upstream. Youre fighting conventional wisdom. Some fans are sayingthis is no different than before. Jackson: I havent heard a fan say itsno different. Clearly, its different. Clearly its different. Question: Why do you say that? Its notapparent. Jackson: Were getting after it. Werebattling, were a defensive-minded basketball team. Were a professionalbasketball team and we have no quit. Were a no-excuses team even when excuseshave been there for the taking. It is a different basketball team, no questionabout it. Very easily we could make excuses. Even that salmon swimming upstreamwould tell you that its different. Question: There are probably a lot ofpeople out there, seeing the way the season is going, and at some point theysay you will have to acknowledge you were wrong about this team. But obviously,you dont even think about that at all, right?Jackson: No. Now, would you like anotherattempt at it? I think youre asking the same question six different ways untilyou get whats not coming. Were excited about watching film. Were excitedabout the direction were headed. There is evidence that we are very, veryclose to being that team I envisioned. Question: I think you believe that, butwhat Im saying is there is a segment of people out there saying weve heardall this before.Jackson: The reality is Ive got a bunchof guys that have never won that are playing winning basketball that havechanged their ways from an offensive juggernaut to defensive principles wherewe battle, compete and give ourselves a chance. Winning in this league is aprocess and in that process youve got to be extremely patient to see the otherside. It gets tough being that salmon swimming upstream. But as long as yourpersistent and dont quit, you will get to the other side.

NBA Gameday: Don't expect Warriors, Spurs to tip their hands

NBA Gameday: Don't expect Warriors, Spurs to tip their hands

After conquering the third-place Rockets in Part I of the toughest two-night stint this season, the Warriors on Wednesday night will take aim on Part II of the challenge.

Which likely will be even more difficult, as the first-place Warriors are going into the historically imposing AT&T Center in San Antonio to face the Spurs, who reside in second place in the Western Conference.

A win by the Warriors (60-14) would reduce to five the magic number for clinching the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs. A victory by the Spurs (57-16) would pull them within 1.5 games of the top-seeded Warriors.

The Warriors, buoyed by the best defense in the NBA this month, have won eight consecutive games. The win streak began immediately after their last trip to San Antonio, on March 11, when coach Steve Kerr rested Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson.

The Spurs have won five in a row and will be trying to complete a three-game season sweep of the Warriors, who have not been swept by any team since Kerr was hired in 2014.

BETTING LINE

Spurs by 4.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson & Co. vs. Kawhi Leonard: Arguably the league’s best two-way player, Leonard has intruded on what was a two-man MVP race. He has emerged as a team leader and the man who must be neutralized to beat Spurs. Thompson will among several Warriors -- Matt Barnes and Green also will get opportunities -- trying to keep Leonard in check.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F/C James Michael McAdoo (L eyebrow laceration) is listed as probable. F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Spurs: G Dejounte Murray (L groin strain) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Spurs: 7-3.

SERIES HISTORY

The Spurs won both games earlier this season, one in Oakland and one in San Antonio. The Warriors won three of four last season but have lost nine of the last 13 meetings overall. They have lost 34 of the last 35 games in San Antonio.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE CHESS GAME: Though neither coach has announced intentions to rest anyone, both realize they could meet again in the postseason. Therefore, neither is likely to tip his full hand in terms of schemes and tactics. Yet it could be said the Warriors, without Durant, have an ace in the hole.

THE FOURS: San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and the Warriors’ Green have been battling for several years. Despite height and physique that pale in comparison to Aldridge, Green’s aggressive nature and knowledge of angles and tendencies have allowed him to contain the bigger man. On the other end, Green hopes his tender ankle won’t prevent him from outrunning the bigger power forward.

THE BENCHES: San Antonio’s bench is deep and frisky; its 10.2 net rating is tops in the NBA. The Warriors, however, have gotten strong play from their reserves and now own the No. 2 net rating (7.4). Both teams have impact players here. Patty Mills is as much of a factor for the Spurs as Iguodala is for the Warriors.

Kevin Durant will be re-evaluated again in 7-10 days

Kevin Durant will be re-evaluated again in 7-10 days

Though Kevin Durant will miss at least five more games, there remains a possibility he could return to the Warriors lineup before the end of the regular season, according to an update provided by the team on Wednesday.

The team’s leading scorer, Durant has missed the last 15 games after sustaining a sprained medial collateral ligament and bone bruise to his left knee on Feb. 28 at Washington. After several days with the knee immobilized, he has spent the past two weeks participating in individual workouts.

“Kevin has made very good progress since suffering the injury four weeks ago in Washington,” began a statement issued by the team. “He has not experienced any setbacks to date and has progressed as well as could be expected. At this point, he is being incorporated into non-contact basketball drills – shooting, running and jumping – and the plan is to intensify his level of movement over the next several days, which will include more explosive cutting and lateral maneuvers.”

Durant has been engaging in shooting and dribbling drills, full-sprint activity and is dunking with ease. The 6-foot-9 forward traveled with the Warriors last week to Oklahoma City and Dallas and is with the team on its current trip to Houston and San Antonio.

“His eventual return to contact drills and practice will be predicated upon his progress to the increased intensity of his workouts, and a return to game action prior to the end of the regular season remains a possibility,” according to the statement. “He will be re-evaluated again in the next 7-10 days.”

The Warriors have eight games remaining on their regular-season schedule, with the last three at home, beginning with the New Orleans Pelicans on April 8.

The playoffs begin on April 15.