Warriors

NBA Gameday: On road, Warriors must bottle up Kings' Cousins

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NBA Gameday: On road, Warriors must bottle up Kings' Cousins

SACRAMENTO -- After seeing their home win streak snapped at nine games, the Warriors on Sunday travel 90 miles northeast to face the Sacramento Kings.

This will be the first appearance for the Warriors at Golden 1 Center, which opened three months ago in downtown Sacramento.

The Warriors (31-6) are trying to recover from their second late-game meltdown in 12 days, blowing a 24-point lead Friday night before losing to Memphis in overtime. They haven’t lost in Sacramento since Dec. 19, 2012.

Since sliding into the No. 8 playoff seed with a four-game win streak in late-December, the Kings (15-21) have lost four of five games, including their last three at home.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 11.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Zaza Pachulia and Co. vs. DeMarcus Cousins. By far the best player on his team and among the best centers in the NBA, Cousins generally sets the tone for how the Kings play. If he’s good, they have chance. If he’s great, they have a very good chance. If he’s off, they’re toast. Pachulia is just the kind of physical center who can get into Cousins’ head. Zaza will need help, and he’ll get it from his tag-team partners on the Warriors bench. The Warriors also won’t hesitate to double-team Cousins at times.

INJURY LIST

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the Development League.

Kings: F Rudy Gay (R hip flexor strain) is listed as probable.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Kings: 5-5.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have won the last 12 meetings, dating back to March 2013. This is the first meeting this season.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Site adjustment: Despite making their debut in an arena they’ve never seen, much less practiced in, the Warriors did not have a morning shootaround at Golden 1. New buildings sometimes require a period of adaptation for depth perception and more. Will the Warriors need a quarter or so before settling in on offense?

Own the glass: Though the Warriors don’t command the offensive glass, they are a good rebounding team, ranking seventh overall. The Kings, by contrast, are 29th in rebounding. This is an area in which the Warriors should dominate. To not do so could crack open the door for Sacramento.

D ripe for ripping: The Warriors over the past week have seen two bottom-five defensive teams (Denver, Portland) and averaged 126 points in those games. The Kings are sixth from the bottom, so the Warriors will have chances to make it rain.

Swaggy 3s: Warriors send 'shoot it, shoot it, shoot it' message to Nick Young

Swaggy 3s: Warriors send 'shoot it, shoot it, shoot it' message to Nick Young

OAKLAND -- Meanwhile, the Warriors are preparing to defend their NBA championship.

With most inquiries and discussion over the past three days related to the growing conflict between President Donald Trump and professional athletes, with the Warriors being central to the topic, their first preseason game looms on Saturday.

If one thing rang clear after practice Sunday, it’s that coaches and players want Nick Young to be the shooter they wanted when they signed him in July.

Through the first two practices, Young has been such a reluctant shooter that Andre Iguodala and some of the incumbent Warriors have been urging him to shoot.

“I’ve been saying the same thing to Nick -- shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,” coach Steve Kerr said Sunday after practice. “The whole thing for any of our new guys to understand is we want the first good shot we can find. If we don’t have a good shot, try to get a great shot.

“Let’s keep the ball moving, but be aggressive and find that balance. I don’t want Nick out there thinking. He’s one of the best shooters in the league and he should let it fly every time he’s open.”

Through the first two practices, it seems Young is more concerned with adapting to a new culture.

“I found myself passing a little bit more than normal today,” he said, chuckling. “It felt good, as long as I was getting some assists.”

That’s not why the Warriors hired the reserve guard after four seasons with the Lakers. Bench scoring was a visible weakness last season, and Young has averaged double figures in scoring in six of the last seven seasons.

He is particularly fond of the 3-point shot, having taken more triples than 2-point shots in each of the past two seasons. Young shot 40.4 percent from deep last season in Los Angeles.

Given the talent around Young now, and the fact that the 10-year veteran will be facing fellow reserves, he can expect to have even greater scoring opportunities.

“I’ve been getting a lot of open 3s,” Young said. “I’ve got to get used to not having somebody guarding me that much, get used to being in that corner for a while.”

In all likelihood, the Warriors won’t have to cajole Young much longer. He has developed during his 10-year career a reputation for chucking ‘em up. So, in all likelihood, the Warriors won’t have to do much more cajoling.

“Everybody’s going full speed,” Young said. “The more I get used to the plays, the more the shots will be open. I’m just in everybody’s way right now.”

Crucial to the cause, Warriors have a week to decide on anthem protest

Crucial to the cause, Warriors have a week to decide on anthem protest

OAKLAND -- The Warriors took note of the protests sweeping through the NFL on Sunday. They saw players dropping to their knees and raising fists during the national anthem as a way to spotlight the fight for equality.

“The NFL players are doing a great job of sending a great message,” forward Kevin Durant said Sunday after practice. “We stand behind them as athletes and we support them as well.”

As of Sunday afternoon, though, no decision had been made regarding any action they might take when the anthem is played before their preseason opener next Saturday at Oracle Arena.

“It’s not something we’re talking about right now,” coach Steve Kerr said.

“I don’t think we have to have stance on the anthem,” forward Andre Iguodala said.

Kerr, Durant and Iguodala are well aware that the Warriors were crucial to the cause that gained momentum this weekend. After President Donald Trump crudely urged NFL owners to fire any players that demonstrated during the anthem on Friday, he followed up on Saturday by scolding Warriors superstar Stephen Curry and announcing that the NBA champions would not be invited to the White House for the traditional celebration with the president.

Those two actions by Trump spurred players from the NFL and NBA, as well as owners and commissioners from both leagues, to respond to the president for his divisive rhetoric.

“I just don’t agree with our president that’s in office right now,” Durant said. “I don’t believe in what he believes in, and I’m all about equality. I’m not a real big politics guy, but I know right from wrong and I feel like I know how people are supposed to be treated. We don’t agree on those things.”

Though the demonstrations would like to send a message to Trump, they are more specifically directed toward two issues to which he has aligned: racism and police brutality. Those are the original causes for which former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee before every national anthem last season.

The Warriors have a week to decide what, if anything, they do the next time they take the court for the anthem.

“I don’t know . . . we know what’s going on, but we definitely want to stay locked in on our work,” Durant said. “But, also, we want to talk these things out. Our coaching staff and our organization (do) a great job of making sure we come together and (collaborate) on these topics and talk about these topics as a group.”