Mavericks-Warriors: What to watch for

599096.jpg

Mavericks-Warriors: What to watch for

Live chat alert: Chat with Warriors Insider Matt Steinmetz during the first quarter in our "Ask the Expert" chat, presented by Jack in the Box!

The Warriors will try to avoid dropping to a season-worst seven games under .500 on Saturday night whenthey play the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks at Oracle Arena.The Warriors are coming off a disappointing 110-92 loss tothe Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. As for the Mavericks, theyre playingtheir third game in three nights and have dropped the first two games toPhoenix and Sacramento.Here are some things to watch for during Saturdaysgame:Currys minutes: The Warriors appear tobe bringing Curry back slowly from a foot injury. He played 24 minutes in theWarriors loss to the Grizzlies and just nine minutes the game before thatagainst Washington.
In each of the past two games, Curry has come off the bench,but if he can play more than 25 minutes it seems likely Curry will be back inthe starting lineup against Dallas.If Curry does return to the starting lineup, expect DominicMcGuire to come off the bench.Wrights play: Dorell Wright is in anawful shooting slump, and hes coming off playing a season-low 10 minutesagainst Memphis. In his past nine games, Wright has made just 17-of-64 3-pointshots (26.5 percent) and Warriors coach Mark Jackson has had him on a shorterleash.Wright is an important player for the Warriors because whenhes hitting his 3-pointers it gives the team another scorer somethingtheyre desperately looking for to go along with David Lee and MontaEllis.Defend Nowitzki: Dirk Nowitzki might notbe having a great year, but hes still the No. 1 threat on Dallas. It seemsapparent Jackson will likely have McGuire on Nowitzki for at least part of thegame.Jackson has been using McGuire a defensive specialist asa starter in recent games despite the fact McGuire is extremely limited at theoffensive end.Effort early: The Warriors got down 21-4right off the bat against Memphis and had to expend too much energy gettingback into the game in the second quarter.The Mavericks, playing their third game in three nights,would seem to be vulnerable if the Warriors can bring consistent energy onSaturday. However, bringing consistent effort has been an issue this year forGolden State.

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

OAKLAND -- Though much has been said about the agonies and challenges facing Steve Kerr, including speculation about when, or if, he’ll return as head coach of the Warriors, little has been put into words that capture the significance of his absence.

This is perhaps because it can be difficult to explain how one man is able to influence a roster of supremely talented athletes, at the wealthiest point of life, with wildly divergent personalities, at different career stages.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, a man who knows perspective as well as anyone in the NBA, took a moment Saturday to cut through the palaver and pity to offer a clear and vivid illustration of Kerr’s value as a man and as a coach.

“It’s just his presence, his personality,” Livingston began. “His character, the way he fits in with us. He’s kind of the battery pack, in the sense that he makes everybody go. He keeps us all (in harmony), everybody from staff, training staff, coaching staff to the players.

“He bridges the gaps, in the sense of communication, and he makes it light.”

In short, Kerr’s value to the franchise is far greater than his duties as a coach. He has an easy, breezy charisma insofar as he’s so comfortable submerging his own ego while being remarkably good at making everyone matter.

Moreover, Kerr is decidedly inclusive, explicitly emphatically open to ideas. He’s an outreach specialist whose sensibilities are contagious.

All of which helps create a sprightly and genial workplace, something the Warriors sought when they hired Kerr to replace the swaggering and dogmatic Mark Jackson in May 2014.

“Every day it’s something new, in a sense, and that’s hard to do,” Livingston said. “We’re here for six to nine months for the past couple years, seeing the same faces. So it is kind of like a job. But (Kerr) makes it more like a game and tries to make sure we’re enjoying ourselves out there.”

Kerr wants to live his life and coach basketball around four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. Maintaining a balance of the four can be difficult, especially when Kerr is dealing with the searing pain that has him on the sideline for an indefinite period.

But Kerr never strays far. His players seem to see and, more important, feel that.

Draymond Green and Kerr, each volatile in his own way, don’t always see eye-to-eye. Yet Green on several occasions has noted that Kerr “always seems to find the right thing to say, at the right time.”

Veteran David West points out that anyone who spends any time around Kerr can sense his basic humanity. Veteran Andre Iguodala, one of the team’s co-captains, speaks of Kerr’s curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons.

Stephen Curry, the other co-captain, kept the ball from the Warriors’ Game 4 win over Portland last Monday night, punctuating a series sweep, and gave it to Kerr, who missed Games 3 and 4 while coping with this prolonged post-surgery pain.

Lead assistant Mike Brown, the acting head coach in Kerr’s absence, concedes he has benefited from being around Kerr and this team.

“The tone he sets is the best I’ve been around,” said Brown, who has been involved in the NBA since 1992. “This is a special, special situation, and he’s big reason why.”

So it’s not just Livingston who throwing rose petals at the boss. He just happened to convey in a few words the effect Kerr has on the team and within the building.

“He’s our leader,” Livingston said. “He’s somebody that we count on.”

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

OAKLAND -- One day after every member of the Warriors participated in a full scrimmage, the official health updates were released.

Veteran forward Matt Barnes, out since April 8, is listed as probable for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals that begin Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out since sustaining a finger/hand injury in Game 1 of the first-round series against Portland on April 16, is listed as questionable -- but with an asterisk.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Tuesday,” Livingston said after a light workout Saturday.

Livingston informed NBCSportsBayArea.com earlier this week that he would have been available, hypothetically, if the Warriors were facing a Game 7.

As for Kevin Durant, who missed five weeks with a knee injury before returning April 8, only to sustain a calf strain in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, he’s fully available.