Warriors 2012-2013 outlook: Issue No. 3 -- Coach Jackson

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Warriors 2012-2013 outlook: Issue No. 3 -- Coach Jackson

The Warriors are thinking playoffs in 2012-13, and the reality is that they have every right to think that. On paper, their team is as talented and as deep as the Warriors team of 2007-08, when they followed up on We Believe with a 48-win season.The Warriors roster is more balanced than it has been in the recent past, and their coaching staff has had a year together. But if the Warriors are to make the postseason and break a five-year drought theyre going to have to overcome some challenges.Here are five of the biggest issues heading into the season for the Warriors:1) Andrew Bogut's health 2) Stephen Currys health
3) Coach Mark Jackson: He came in last seasontalking about the playoffs, but what happened instead was the Warriors went23-43 and were the 13th-worst team in the conference. The nice thing for Jackson is that most wereskeptical of his playoff prediction and didnt exactly hold him to it once theteam was eliminated. The Warriors were banged-up for most of theseason, and they also made a blockbuster trade for an injured Andrew Bogut. In otherwords, Jacksonavoided criticism, for the most part. This year expectations aredifferent. There is a sense within the organization and among the fans that theWarriors are a playoff team. Its up to Jacksonto deliver.It is Jacksons responsibility to foster a winningculture among this group of players. It will also be Jacksons responsibility to figure out thebest style for this team to play. The Warriors arent really the fast-breakingteam theyve been in past years, and theyre not a typical halfcourt team,either. One of the most challenging aspects of Jacksons job thiscoming season will be to find a way to take advantage of the Warriors roster which is a little bit unconventional. Bogutand David Lee are excellent passing big men, so there should be an opportunityto play a little bit differently than most teams. And, similarly,Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the teams likely starting backcourt, are better atshooting the ball than playmaking. So it will be up to Jackson to figure out a way to get those twoplayers shots instead of those two players having to worry about gettingshots for teammates.

Instant Replay: Warriors score 50 in third, win 10th straight vs Clippers

Instant Replay: Warriors score 50 in third, win 10th straight vs Clippers

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Shaken by a languid and sloppy first half, the Warriors woke up after halftime and laid a 123-113 pasting on the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

Stephen Curry scored a game-high 35 points, including 20 in the pivotal third quarter, while Kevin Durant fired in 25 points and Klay Thompson tossed in 18.

The Warriors (48-9) finished off a four-game season-series sweep of the Clippers, extending their win overall streak over LA to 10 in a row, dating back to Christmas Day 2014. They’ve won the last 11 games played in Oakland.

Shooting 73.9 percent, the Warriors scored 50 points in the third quarter -- the first 50-point quarter in the NBA since the Lakers scored 51 against the Knicks on March 25, 2014 -- to fuel their comeback. They trailed by as much as 16.

Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford each scored 19 points to lead the Clippers (35-22), whose win streak ended at four.

The game featured several boisterous moments reminiscent of Warriors-Clippers battles of a few years ago. Officials called four technical fouls, three on the Warriors and one on the Clippers.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Though Durant was the triggerman for the comeback, scoring 11 points in an 83-second stretch early in the third quarter, Curry did most of the heavy damage, annihilating the Clippers with his outburst.

Curry’s line: 35 points (10-of-16 shooting from the field, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, and 9-of-10 from the line), seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. He played 32 minutes and finished plus-26.

TURNING POINT

After a Rivers 3-pointer gave the Clippers a 66-54 lead with 9:24 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded by outscoring LA 45-21 over the remainder of the quarter and taking a 99-87 lead.

The Clippers got no closer than 10 in the fourth quarter, during which they trailed by as much as 23.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: C Zaza Pachulia (R rotator cuff strain) and C David West (L thumb fracture) were listed as questionable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. C Damian Jones and F Kevon Looney were healthy inactives.

Clippers: G Chris Paul (L thumb ligament tear) and C Diamond Stone (L knee bone bruise) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Saturday night, when they face the Brooklyn Nets at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:35.

Zaza returns to starting lineup, West available to play vs Clippers

Zaza returns to starting lineup, West available to play vs Clippers

OAKLAND -- For the first time in nearly four weeks, the Warriors will take the court Thursday night with their regular starting lineup.

Center Zaza Pachulia, out since Jan. 29 with a strained rotator cuff, was cleared to play and will return to his status as the starting center when the Warriors face the Clippers at Oracle Arena, coach Steve Kerr said in his pregame news conference.

Backup center David West, who has been out since Jan. 18 with a fractured thumb, also received clearance and will be available.

JaVale McGee, who performed well while starting eight games in place of Pachulia, will return to his normal role, playing spot minutes off the bench.

“I considered either way, but I think we had a good groove with Zaza as a starter,” Kerr said. “And JaVale was still making an impact when Zaza was starting, bringing him in midway through the first quarter. We hadn’t done it the other way.

“I’ve seen JaVale with our other group, later in the first quarter, and that worked well. So I figured I might as well go back to what’s already worked.”

While Pachulia was out, McGee averaged 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 16.5 minutes per game. Generating most of his offense on dunks off lobs, he is shooting 74.7 percent (71-of-95) over his last 22 games and 67.8 percent this season.

Pachulia, who has started 44 games, is averaging 5.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He is shooting 52.7 percent from the field.