Oakland's Lillard top rookie


Oakland's Lillard top rookie

The buzzer-beating, game-winning 3 Damian Lillard made over Ryan Anderson and the New Orleans Hornets won’t change the current state of the Rookie of the Year race much, but only because the Portland Trail Blazers’ point guard already was lapping the field.

While No. 1 pick Anthony Davis was the overwhelming choice in a preseason survey of NBA general managers – who don’t always personally fill out the survey, I’m told – to win the award, a direct poll of a half-dozen assistant coaches and scouts – the ones who do the detailed advance reports on opponents, including player evaluations – has Lillard as a heavy favorite at the season’s quarter-pole.

Davis, of course, has made only 10 appearances and six starts this season due to a concussion and then a sprained left ankle, but Lillard, the sixth overall pick, has been so impressive that several pollsters believe Lillard may not relinquish his lead even once Davis is healthy and rolling.

“Poise and pace,” said one Eastern Conference assistant coach when asked what impressed him most about Lillard. “He does not get too rattled when things are going bad and when they are good he appears to keep the same focus. He shoots it well and makes good passes, but the poise and pace, while obscure, are more important to his success. He is not afraid of the big moment, either. Which is big.”

The talent evaluators were asked to give their top seven rookies and Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes made five of six lists but the highest ranking he received was fourth overall. The one scout who left him out of his top seven had Barnes as eighth. The consensus magnificent seven: Lillard; Davis; Terrence Ross (Toronto, SG, 8th pick); Kyle Singler (Detroit, SF, 2011 33rd pick);  Dion Waiters (Cleveland, SG, 4th); Barnes (Golden State, SF, 7th) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte, SF, 2nd).

Also receiving votes were Pistons center Andre Drummond, the ninth pick; Mavericks small forward Jae Crowder; Timberwolves point guard Alexey Shved, who played six years with CSKA Moscow before signing as a free agent with Minnesota last summer; and Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas, a Lithuanian power forward drafted fifth last season who stayed overseas because of a prohibitive buy-out clause in his existing contract.

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, the third pick, and Kings power forward and fifth overall pick Thomas Robinson were the most glaring absentees from anyone’s top seven list, although there are extenuating circumstances for Beal: He’s played all season without a bona fide point guard, third-string AJ Price and free-agent pick-up Shaun Livingston filling in for injured John Wall. Robinson could argue that he hasn’t played with a legitimate point guard this season, either, but he also hasn’t been able to get past Jason Thompson, who the Kings signed to a five-year contract extension last summer, and veteran Chuck Hayes, in the rotation on most nights.

If there’s one other notable missing name, it’s Hornets guard Austin Rivers, who was third on the GM survey behind Davis (76.7 percent) and Lillard (20 percent) with 3.3 percent.
 “Rivers has not really caught on to the NBA game yet,” said one Northwest Division assistant coach. “He’s still trying to find where he fits. He seems to be a very good right-handed driver but he’s not really spacing the floor with his shot yet.”

Warriors' Durant exhibits entire scoring arsenal vs Blazers

Warriors' Durant exhibits entire scoring arsenal vs Blazers

OAKLAND – In the final preseason game on the schedule, at his new home of Oracle Arena, Kevin Durant entered the highlight zone.

The team’s newest superstar exhibited his entire scoring arsenal, dropping 3-pointers, soaring in for dunks and swishing mid-range post-ups.

The most impressive dunk came with 9:02 left in the quarter, when Durant took a pass from Draymond Green and finished the fast break by taking off from about 10 feet and throwing it down.

[POOLE: Instant Replay: Curry, Durant light it up in win over Blazers]

The most impressive trey came with 5:43 remaining in the third quarter, when Steph Curry came down in transition, slipped a pass to Durant, who threw it in from 32 feet.

Durant scored 14 points in the third quarter, 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep.

Durant’s line: 28 points (11-of-21, 5-of-8, 1-of-2), seven rebounds, six assists and one block.

Instant Replay: Curry, Durant light it up in win over Blazers


Instant Replay: Curry, Durant light it up in win over Blazers


OAKLAND – The preseason ended Friday night with the kind of offensive fireworks the Warriors expect to carry into the regular season.

Stephen Curry scored 35 points and Kevin Durant poured in 28 points as the Warriors overcame an early 16-point deficit to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 107-96 at Oracle Arena.

Ian Clark added 17 points to bolster the scoring of Curry and Durant.

With the exception of the first five minutes, the Warriors starters sparkled, outscoring Portland 84-50 over the next 31 minutes and leading by as much as 21.

The Warriors finished the preseason with a 6-1 record.

Damian Lillard, playing two miles from his old neighborhood, led Portland with 20 points. CJ McCollum added 16.


Simply put, that would be Curry and Durant.

Curry’s line: 35 points (12-of-21 from the field, including 8-of-13 from beyond the arc, 3-of-3 from the line), four rebounds and two assists. He scored 14 points in each of the first two quarters. He played 28 minutes and finished plus-17.

Durant’s line: 28 points (11-of-21, 5-of-8, 1-of-2), seven rebounds, six assists and one blocked shot. He scored 14 points in the third quarter. Durant played 31 minutes and finished plus-2.


Draymond Green didn’t score much, only 4 points, but his put his fingerprints on this game in just about every other way. He hauled in a game-high 11 rebounds, passed for six assists, adding a steal and a blocked shot. He played 26 efficient minutes, finishing plus-15.

Ian Clark still is trying to nail down a spot in the rotation and he made another impressive argument on his behalf. Coming off the bench with 4:09 left in the first quarter, he took two shots and made them both, including a 3-pointer. Playing both guard positions, Clark had 17 points (7-of-11, 3-of-6), two assists, one rebound and one block.


Warriors: C JaVale McGee (L knee strain) was listed as questionable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery) was listed as out.

Blazers: C Meyers Leonard (lower back soreness) and G Shabazz Napier (L ankle sprain) were listed as questionable. Leonard entered in the third quarter. Napier did not play. C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) was listed as out.


The Warriors open the season Tuesday, Oct. 25, when the San Antonio Spurs visit Oracle Arena.