Nets-Warriors: What to watch for

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Nets-Warriors: What to watch for

Ever since the Warriors traded Monta Ellis, theyve been upand down in their play. Theyve had games where theyve come with energy andeffort and played very well.But there have been other games where those elements havebeen missing, and the results havent been good at all. The Warriors havelooked very bad in recent losses to New Orleans, Houston, Minnesota andMilwaukee.But if theres a pattern thats developed, its that theWarriors have usually followed up a bad performance with a good one.
If thats the case, expect the Warriors to play well onFriday night against the New Jersey Nets at Oracle. After all, some areconsidering the Warriors last game a 97-82 loss at home to the Hornets their worst one of the season.Here are some things to watch for during the Nets-Warriorsgame:Defend Deron: His numbers are a littleoff this season, but nobody doubts point guard Deron Williams still isnt oneof the best in the game. On the shorthanded New Jersey Nets, Williams is beingasked to do too much, and its affected his efficiency and shootingpercentage.Still, Williams is the one player on New Jersey capable oflifting his team by himself, and hes got to be accounted for. Assuming NateRobinson starts, which he did on Wednesday against the Hornets, hed probablyget the first crack at Williams. Its a tough assignment but someone has to doit.Rebound better: In the first meetingbetween these teams a 107-100 New Jersey win the Nets dominated the Warrioron the glass 45-26. Power forward Kris Humphries dominated the interior,scoring 18 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.The Warriors have been inconsistent with their reboundingthis season one game getting hammered on the glass and the next game hangingin. Against the Lakers on Tuesday, they held their own.But that hasnt been the case much of the season, and theWarriors are going to have to re-commit in that area against NewJersey.All about effort: Warriors coach MarkJackson was not pleased with his teams play on Wednesday, and he let hisplayers know that in the locker room afterward.Jackson said Theres a right way to lose, and the Warriorsdidnt lose the right way against New Orleans. What he basically meant was thatthe effort level has to be better and the Warriors have to be more consistentwith the energy they bring.STEINMETZ: Jackson says Warriors still have a lot to play for
The one thing Jackson has been good at this season isgetting his players to go hard on a consistent basis. Expect that to be thecase against New Jersey.

Report: Warriors assistant GM on verge of becoming Hawks GM

Report: Warriors assistant GM on verge of becoming Hawks GM

The Warriors are reportedly about to lose a member of their front office.

The Hawks picked Golden State assistant GM Travis Schlenk to become the team's new general manager, and the two sides are discussing contract terms, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Last September, after five seasons as assistant GM, Schlenk was promoted to vice president of basketball operations/assistant general manager.

In his 13th season with the Warriors, Schlenk assists in the management of all day-to-day basketball operations, including all player-related matters.

In 2009-10 and 2010-11, he served as Golden State's director of player personnel. Before joining the front office, Schlenk spent five years as an assistant coach and video scout for the Warriors, having originally joined the organization prior to the 2004-05 season as a video scout.

More to come...

Golden State Warriors media services contributed to this story

Irving fuels Game 4 comeback, Cavs take 3-1 lead over Celtics

Irving fuels Game 4 comeback, Cavs take 3-1 lead over Celtics

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving gritted his teeth, tightened up his left sneaker and hopped to his feet.

The pain didn't stop him. The Celtics didn't either.

Irving took over in the second half and finished with 42 points, LeBron James added 34 and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of an almost inevitable third date in the Finals with Golden State by rallying to beat Boston 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

With James in foul trouble, Irving stayed on the floor despite rolling his left ankle in the third quarter, when he scored 19 points in less than five minutes.

"He put us on his back and carried us," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

The defending NBA champions, who shot 71 percent in the second half to open a 3-1 lead in the series, can wrap up their third straight conference title - and a "three-match" against the Warriors - with a win in Game 5 on Thursday night in Boston.

But if Games 3 and 4 are any indication, it won't be easy.

Fighting to keep their season alive, the Celtics aren't giving an inch despite playing without All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, who may need surgery on a hip injury.

The Cavs, meanwhile, wouldn't be on the cusp of the Finals without Irving.

With Cleveland in jeopardy of dropping its second game in a row after James followed an 11-point Game 3 by picking up four first-half fouls, Irving put on a breathtaking one-man show in the third quarter.

Freezing Boston defenders with his dribble and driving to the basket whenever he wanted, Irving made six layups, two 3-pointers and a free throw in a dizzying span of 4:48. He capped his blistering 19-point outburst with a 3 in the final second of the quarter and celebrated at mid-court by pretending to put two pistols back in his holster.

"Coming out of halftime I just wanted to be aggressive, lead my guys and leave it all out there on the floor," Irving said.

When the horn sounded to end the third, Cleveland's players poured off the bench to greet him. They had to be careful not to knock him off his feet after Irving had put a scare through the frenzied Quicken Loans Arena crowd moments earlier when he stepped on the foot of Boston's Terry Rozier.

Irving stayed on the floor for several seconds before sitting up and re-tying his sneaker. Nothing was keeping him out.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was disappointed with his team's defense on Irving, who was able to spread the floor while surrounded by shooters.

"There's choices," Stevens said. "I'm not sure there are good choices. When he gets going like that, he's tough to stop. The ones we gotta look at are the ones he got at the rim."

Kevin Love added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavs, now 11-1 in the postseason.

Avery Bradley scored 19 and Jae Crowder 18 for Boston.

Lue chuckled before the game when he was asked if he planned to say anything to James following his sub-standard performance in Game 3.

"No message," Lue said. "Just come out, be aggressive, in attack mode like he has been over the last four or five months. Nothing has changed."

Lue should have warned James to be careful, too, as the superstar picked up four fouls and spent the final 6:46 of the first half watching from the bench, unable to help his team.

But beyond James' foul trouble, the Cavs were having other issues as the Celtics outplayed them at both ends while opening a 16-point lead.

Irving kept Cleveland within striking distance while James was out by scoring 12 points over the final 5:11 of the second quarter.

And in the third quarter, the All-Star guard had James' back again, keeping the Cavs on their collision course with the Warriors.

TIP-INS:
Celtics: Thomas spoke to coach Brad Stevens and told him that he has visited one hip specialist and plans to see more before it's decided if he needs surgery. Thomas initially injured his hip in March and played the final two months of the regular season before aggravating it during the playoffs. ... Stevens started Kelly Olynyk, who had 15 points. ... Before the playoffs began, the Celtics were 22-5 at home since Jan. 1. They're 5-4 in the postseason so far.

Cavaliers: Irving scored 41 in Game 5 of last year's Finals. ... J.R. Smith and his wife, Jewel, brought their daughter home after more than five months in the hospital following her premature birth. Smith posted photos on his Instagram account of the couple leaving Hillcrest Hospital with their baby in a stroller. "We Walked In Together We Walked Out Together!!" Smith wrote. ... Deron Williams played 18 minutes after sustaining a shoulder "stinger" in Game 3.

UP NEXT:
The Celtics lost Game 2 at home by 44 and the first two games of the series by a combined 57.