Warriors drop third in a month to Thunder

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Warriors drop third in a month to Thunder

BOX SCORE

Thunder 110, Warriors 87Player of the game: Kevin Durant had 23 points on 9-for-14 from the field and 10 rebounds and six assists in just 30 minutes.
Key stretch: The Warriors were sitting pretty midway through the second quarter and were up 39-36. But the Thunders trio of Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden turned things on, and they turned them on in a hurry.They finished the half on a 22-9 run and wound up going into the intermission up 58-48; from that point on, Oklahoma City was in control."Thats the second straight game where the second quarter hurt us," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "Against Portland and tonight we gave up 38 points in the second quarter. Eighteen turnovers on the road versus a very good team in their own building. I thought we got great looks. Tough loss but the good news is off to Memphis" (where the Warriors play Saturday).Ellis banged-up: Shooting guard Monta Ellis tweaked his right knee late in the third quarter. Ellis fell awkwardly while going for the ball against the Thunders Reggie Jackson and stayed down for a little bit.He went to the bench and began getting treatment from trainer Chad Bergman before heading to the locker room. Ellis returned to the bench, and the Warriors said he was available to return, but coach Mark Jackson didnt go to him.Westbrook, too: Earlier in the period, Westbrook rolled his right ankle while going to the bucket on a fastbreak. Westbrook took the ball into traffic, but he didnt appear to step on anyones foot.He simply rolled the ankle while trying to make a cut. He went to the locker room for treatment.Curry struggles: Warriors point guard Stephen Curry had one of his least productive games of the season. Curry missed eight of his first 10 attempts and had four turnovers by the midway point of the third quarter.Curry hit a couple of cosmetic 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 points on 4-for-13 from the floor. He also had four turnovers and four assists.Jackson was less concerned with Currys play than his team in general.We have to be consistent for 48 minutes, Jackson said. Especially on the road. We gave them life with our turnovers.Taking advantage: Oklahoma City entered Fridays game leading the NBA in turnovers, averaging 17.1 per game. The Warriors did a nice job of forcing OKC into nine turnovers in the first half which led to 11 first-half points. Those turnovers were a big reason why the Warriors were able to keep the game within 10 at halftime.Thunder injuries: The Thunder were without two starters for Friday nights game. Shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha missed the game because of an injured foot, and center Kendrick Perkins was also out because of a knee contusion.Perkins sustained the injury when he banged his knee in Oklahoma Citys last game against the Houston Rockets.

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.