Steinmetz's Instant Replay: Warriors 105, Mavericks 101 (OT)

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Steinmetz's Instant Replay: Warriors 105, Mavericks 101 (OT)

BOX SCORE

Warriors 105, Mavericks 101 (overtime)Player of the game: Stephen Curry, who had 31 points and nine assists, owned the fourth quarter and overtime for the Warriors. Curry scored the last eight points in regulation, then had six points in overtime. Curry also had the key assist of the game, a nice feed to David Lee that Lee turned into bucket and a 101-99 lead.It was a huge win, Curry said. Obviously, we started (the trip) great in Minnesota. And for us to get a win on a back-to-back on the road against a team were going to be fighting for one of those last spots It would have been a long flight home, but well have some smiles on it.Key stretch: With the Warriors holding a two-point lead and a half-minute remaining in overtime, Golden State needed a stop and got it.The Warriors finally were able to get the ball out of O.J. Mayos hands and it ended up with Shawn Marion. But Marion missed a tough shot, and the Warriors brought it home.Late-game craziness: The Warriors had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but couldnt get it done. But it was the way they couldnt get it done that was most troubling.With the score tied 90-90, Harrison Barnes got a great look in the lane but came up a little short with a jumper and 22 seconds left. But Barnes got the rebound and kicked it out to Klay Thompson with about 20 seconds left. Rather than hold it for the final shot, Thompson launched a 3-pointer and it missed, giving Dallas the final possession in regulation.It wasnt as though Thompson was feeling it on this night, either. In fact, that miss made him 2-for-14 for the game.The Mavericks, however, failed to take advantage. Vince Carter took an off-balance 17-footer and missed, sending the game into overtime.Curry tweak: Curry seemed to tweak his right ankle in the fourth quarter, after falling awkwardly while trying to convert a drive in the lane.Curry penetrated to his right and went up against Bernard James, who tried to block the shot. James didnt get the ball, but he and Curry collided.When Curry hit the ground, he was visibly frustrated. Curry missed most of last season with right ankle issues.The good news was that Curry remained in the game despite looking a touch hobbled.I got hung up and landed on it, Curry said. As long as I can walk and run, Im going to play. Ive been through this a lot so its nothing new for me.Sloppy half: The first half wasnt much of an aesthetic exhibition, but the Warriors were the ones on top after a brutal half so it probably didnt bother them as much.The Warriors shot just 37.5 percent in the first half, while the Mavericks shot 32.5 percent. Dallas missed enough shots and so did the Warriors for there to be 58 rebounds in the first half. Golden State got 36 of those rebounds, with Lee pulling down 12.Each teams backcourts were brutal shooting the ball in the half. Curry and Thompson combined to shoot 4-for-18 from the floor, with Thompson missing all seven of his attempts.Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo combined to shoot 1-for-10 from the field in the first half.Gritty start: The Warriors didnt exactly have their A-game when things started, but they were scrappy enough and active enough to lead 23-20 after a quarter.What was most impressive about that three-point lead was that it came with Curry and Thompson combining to shoot 1-for-10 from the field.As a team, the Warriors shot just 35.7 percent through 12 minutes, but they made up for it with 18 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.Injury update: The Warriors were without small forward Richard Jefferson, who missed the game because of a strained right calf.Center Andrew Bogut also missed Mondays game as he continues to rehab in Los Angeles under the supervision of his surgeon, Dr. Richard Ferkel. Of the Warriors 11 games so far this season, Bogut has played four.The Warriors also were without Brandon Rush, who will miss the regular season because of a torn ACL in his left knee.

Confident in what he's built, Kerr should prioritize health over coaching

Confident in what he's built, Kerr should prioritize health over coaching

Steve Kerr has always tried to will his vicious post-surgical back into obedience, to the point of showing discomfort even with well-wishing inquiries.

And he has failed. Damned bodies, always acting out.

He wanted the nick in his spinal cord and the fluid it released to self-correct, and though nobody is sure that this is the specific cause of his absence from the remainder of the Golden State-Portland, it has been a persistent issue for the last 20-plus months.

And now it, or a related issue, may jeopardize his ability to guide the Warriors to whatever their playoff destiny is.

That he chose to surrender to the logic of pain gives us all a pretty clear indication of how poorly he truly feels. Behind his jocular exterior and the perspective that comes with it lies a series of shields that forces him to be less forgiving about himself than others. He was going to defy his actual spine by showing how mighty his metaphorical backbone is, and as if usually the case, actuality trumps metaphor.

It seems unfair, but as Kerr will grudgingly admit, fair has nothing to do with it. Fair would be a successful surgery with no lingering side effects. Fair would be the ability to do his job pain-free. Fair would be tackling the evident difficulties of meeting the expectations of the entire basketball-playing world with a clear, undistracted mind.

So there’s your fair, in a fetid heap by the hamper.

As for his quality of life, it can be reasonably assumed that he would not jeopardize that just for a second ring. He is hyper-competitive, but he isn’t reckless, or worse, nuts. That’s his call for as long as he owns his back. If he doesn’t coach again in these playoffs, then he doesn’t coach again in these playoffs, and the worst thing that happens is that we argue pointlessly about whether he gets credit for the games they play between now and the end of their season, whenever that is.

And while it seems unduly callous, to talk about how long he’ll be out or what his version of “100 percent” is or how much coaching he will do from his office, or his home, it is where this part of the conversation must ultimately go.

Mike Brown is a qualified head coach whose only real shortcoming as it matters here is his different voice in the room. To the minimal extent that this could be disruptive, there is still Ron Adams and Bruce Fraser and Jarron Collins, not to mention Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and Shaun Livingston . . . oh, and Kevin Durant. The Warriors don’t coach themselves, but they have a healthy idea of what to do, how to do it, and how to create the conditions under which those things get done.

But in a postseason that has been almost notorious for the number of players who can’t, well, play, Kerr’s absence will stand out. The Warriors will be different as a result – certainly not better, probably not materially worse, but different. Every assumption about a hand ride through the playoffs is now so much wadded-up paper, or if you must, tablet without connectivity.

And maybe that’s the real casualty here. If Kerr misses only a couple of games, then it didn’t matter that much. If he can’t come back, it will. But the NBA playoffs are as casualty-strewn in their way as the Stanley Cup playoffs are in theirs, and if nothing else, it may cause us all to assume nothing about anything.

And that includes Steve Kerr. Here’s hoping he doesn’t rush back to fix a problem that doesn’t yet exist. Here’s hoping his view goes beyond mid-June. Here’s hoping he resists the impulse to coach this team with several vertebrae tied behind his front.

As unfair as all this might be (there we go again, doing that fair stuff), he sat out once, and his team thrived because of the atmosphere he had already created. He should be confident in what he’s built, and if he can be return for the start of the next series, it should be because he is ready to, not because he feels compelled.

Implemented by Kerr, 'Warrior Way' fuels Game 3 win in Portland

Implemented by Kerr, 'Warrior Way' fuels Game 3 win in Portland

PORTLAND -- Mike Brown slid over one chair, oversaw a rousing Warriors comeback victory and showered his compromised roster with lavish praise.

They did it, he said, pointing out the work of everybody from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, to Pat McCaw and JaVale McGee in a 119-113 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Green begged to differ. He turned the finger of commendation upon Brown, the assistant coach who adroitly stepped into the shoes of ailing head coach Steve Kerr for a win that gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven first-round series.

“He was the MVP tonight,” Green said of Brown.

So, of course, Curry, who scored a game-high 34 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter to put away the Blazers, gave the game ball to Kerr.

“We’ve got his back,” Curry said. “We’ve had certain situations all year, in previous years, where players are down and you’ve got the ‘next man up’ philosophy. Same with Coach Kerr. He’s done a great job of implementing a philosophy and a strategy and an identity of how we play Warrior basketball, and even in his absence we want to kind of live up to that.”

This is the Warrior Way, every man contributing, every man mattering, and no individual hogging the accolades.

Truth be told, there were heroes aplenty in a game the Warriors yanked straight from the clutches of the loss column.

There was McGee coming off the bench providing a jolt of electricity when his teammates seemed badly in need of recharging.

There was Curry, looking lost on offense for most of the night, before zeroing in when it was needed most.

There was McCaw, the rookie second-round draft pick who again defied his youth, tap-dancing all over the stat sheet.

There was Green, blocking six shots. There was Thompson, drilling four 3-pointers in the third quarter. There was Andre Iguodala, igniting the defense during the pivotal third-quarter stretch when the Warriors wiped out a 16-point lead.

Miss anyone?

On, yes, there was at least one more contributor.

General manager Bob Myers also nudged his way into the picture. After watching Portland shoot 53.3 percent in the first half, Myers jokingly threatened to replace Brown with veteran assistant Ron Adams for the second half.

Brown and the Warriors responded by holding the Trail Blazers to 33.3-percent shooting in the second half.

No single player or coach was responsible, just as they would have it.