Steinmetz: Trouble brewing on Warriors' road trip

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Steinmetz: Trouble brewing on Warriors' road trip

Dec. 28, 2010STEINMETZ ARCHIVEWARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEOMatt SteinmetzCSNBayArea.com

The Warriors have won three in a row and are playing better. There are whispers of turning a corner and theyre approaching full health for the first time this season.Theres some upbeat-ness around the team, no doubt.But the road awaits, and we all know what that means: Trouble brewing. The Warriors are 4-12 away from Oracle this season, with the wins coming against Sacramento, Minnesota, New York and Toronto.This ones is going to be tougher than most. Lets take a look Wednesday, at Atlanta: The Hawks have been just so-so since their 6-0 start, but theyre still awfully good at home, and are currently working on an eight-game winning streak at Philips Arena. Atlanta has the kind of big and talented frontline (Al Horford, Josh Smith) that often gives the Warriors problems.Friday, at Charlotte: On the surface, this is the most winnable game on the trip, but keep in mind the Stephen Silas factor. Silas, who had been an assistant for five seasons with the Warriors, recently joined his father, Paul, on the bench in Charlotte. If anyone knows the Warriors, Silas Jr. does. Who knows? Silas Jr. might have some Monta-Stopper in him.Saturday, at Miami: The Heat has won 14 of its past 15 games, and are the best defensive team in the NBA when it comes to points against. On Dec. 10, Miami shut down the Warriors at Oracle in the second half of a 20-plus point win, holding them to just 39 points. It doesnt look like Miami is messing around anymore.Monday, at Orlando: The Magic is coming off consecutive 59-win seasons, and still that wasnt good enough for GM Otis Smith. He rolled the dice by trading for Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu. The Magic is a very good team, has a sense of urgency, and the Warriors are on a back-to-back. Not good at all.Wednesday, Jan. 5, at New Orleans: After an 11-1 start, the Hornets are 18-13 at this point. New Orleans is no lock to make the playoffs, but its nice start has put them in a nice position. Any game on Chris Pauls home floor is going to be a difficult one for the Warriors.

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.