Steinmetz: Mullin's memorable 41 vs. L.A.

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Steinmetz: Mullin's memorable 41 vs. L.A.

Aug. 12, 2011

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Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com

When Chris Mullin scored 41 points -- on 16-for-21 shooting -- to lead the Warriors to a 125-124 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals in 1991, long-time and legendary announcer Chick Hearn called it the greatest exhibition of shooting he'd ever seen.As is usually the case with Mullin, there's a story behind that game.
Lost in Mullin's incredible shooting performance was the fact that he almost didn't play in the game at all. Mullin had injured his right knee in the previous series -- against San Antonio -- and had missed Game 1 against the Lakers.RELATED: Chris Mullin elected to Basketball Hall of Fame
He was expected to miss Game 2. But Mullin had other plans. So the night before the game, Mullin, athletic development coach Mark Grabow and athletic trainer Tom Abdenour headed out to test Mullin's knee. The threesome didn't quite sneak into the gym that night, but the probably would have if they needed to."We drove to the (Great Western) Forum, and there was a security guard sitting at the gate," said Grabow. "He recognized Chris so he let us in. The Forum had just one little light that was on above the court, but it was still pretty dark. So there he was, working out, getting shots up in a dark, empty Forum, with nobody around."RELATED: Mark Jackson says Chris Mullin was a 'bad man'
Said Abdenour: "I want to say the only lights that were on were the emergency lights and maybe a light or two on the shot clock. He started firing of 'Js,' planting on the knee, cutting. And the next night was simply amazing."Mullin proceeded to get shots up for about 45 minutes, worked up a good sweat and then announced to Grabow and Abdenour he was ready. Mullin wore a knee brace during the game and told teammate Mitch Richmond before the game that it felt uncomfortable.RELATED: Why Mullin was the ultimate gym rat
That might have been the case with Mullin's right knee. But his left arm was completely healthy.

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

OAKLAND -- Though Kevin Durant is eager to get back to the court, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants are in preliminary stages of planning his return.

One thing is certain: There will be restriction on the number of minutes Durant is plays in the first few games after he receives medical clearance.

“It’s something we’ll consult the training staff on,” Kerr said Saturday after practice. “I imagine we’ll ease him back by playing him shorter minutes to start, so he can build up his rhythm and his conditioning.”

Durant has been out since Feb. 28, when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bone bruise to his left knee. After several days of strict immobilization, he has over the past week progressed to the point where he is engaging in vigorous workouts and shooting sessions.

Yet Durant will not be re-evaluated until next Thursday, which means he likely will not be cleared before the week of April 3. Not until then will the coaching staff devise a plan to reintegrate Durant.

“That obviously has a domino effect on the entire rotation,” Kerr said. “When we get to that point, we’ll figure that out. But it’s not something I’m giving a lot of thought to right now because he’s still at least a couple weeks away.”

The Warriors lost five of seven in the immediate aftermath of Durant’s injury but have recovered to win the last six in a row.

 

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any baseball manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.