Warriors focus: Jarrett Jack

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Warriors focus: Jarrett Jack

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the sixth installment in a seven-part series that spotlights the seven new Warriors.
Part 1: Harrison BarnesPart 2: Kent Bazemore
Part 3: Andrew Bogut
Part 4: Festus Ezeli
Part 5: Draymond Green

Of all the moves the Warriors have made in the past six months, you could argue that trading for Jarrett Jack was the most necessary of them all. With Stephen Curry coming off an injury-plagued 2011-12, it was mandatory that the Warriors go out and get some insurance at that position and thats what they did by acquiring Jack for Dorell Wright this offseason.For a while this summer, it didnt seem like acquiring a point guard was a priority for the Warriors as they appeared to show little interest in free agents such as Andre Miller, Kirk Hinrich and Jason Kidd.But rather than find a point guard in free agency, which most expected, the Warriors moved Wright to Philadelphia and acquired Jack from New Orleans as part of a three-team trade.In addition to upgrading the point guard spot, the move also balanced out the roster some. Small forward, the position Wright plays, isnt exactly an area of need.Jack was brought here to back up Curry, no doubt about it. And who could fault that?Curry played in just 26 games last year because of ankle issues, and if the ankle starts acting up again this season the Warriors will have a competent veteran player behind him.And if Curry does stay healthy, then having Jack gives them a quality backcourt player coming off the bench. Jack is a versatile guard, capable of playing both backcourt positions and he also possesses toughness and veteran know-how. Over the course of his career, Jack has started 249 of 532 games so the assumption is that if Curry gets hurt Jack will step in.Jack is probably more of a combination guard than true point guard, but hes the closest thing to a traditional point guard the Warriors have. Jack played almost exclusively at point guard last season for the Hornets, pairing in the backcourt with former Warrior Marco Belinelli.Jack averaged a career-high 6.3 assists in 2011-12. He also had a couple of big games against Golden State last season, including a triple-double in which he finished with 17 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and zero turnovers.What makes Jack a good fit for the Warriors is his ability to play both guard spots. That will allow him to play alongside either Curry or Klay Thompson, the Warriors projected starting backcourt.RELATED: Who subs for Klay Thompson?
Having Jack should also allow Curry to play some shooting guard, taking advantage of Currys ability to move without the ball and come off screens.Jack averaged 34 minutes per game last season for the Hornets, but its tough to see him getting that many for the Warriors in 2011-12 not if the team is essentially healthy.Ideally, Jack would play somewhere in the mid-20s minutes-range, but with Jack its not so much how many minutes he plays as when he plays. Its not hard to see him logging his share of crunch-time minutes.Jack is a better defender than either Curry or Thompson, and on top of it, hes often able to defend either backcourt position. Hes a steady presence late in games and a solid decision maker. Like Curry and Thompson, Jack is an excellent free-throw shooter.Hes also just one of six players on the roster with any kind of playoff experience. If theres one thing Jack has proven over the course of his career, its that hell find a way to get playing time. Thats not going to change with the Warriors.

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

While head coach Steve Kerr was unable to make Saturday's Game 3 due to an illness, the Warriors went out and took a 3-0 series lead over the Blazers. 

After the game, Steph Curry dedicated the win to Kerr by keeping the game ball for him. 

"Our coach is going through a lot right now physically and he told us this morning this is a situation where we need to rally and go out and win a game for him, but we felt like that," Curry said after the Warriors' 119-113 win. "The way that game had gone on we had to fight and do it for him. 

"The way that he said it was we had to win one for The Gipper, so shout out to coach Kerr." 

Curry led the Warriors with 34 points in Saturday's win. 

Instant Replay: Warriors battle Blazers, take commanding 3-0 series lead

Instant Replay: Warriors battle Blazers, take commanding 3-0 series lead

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND -- Head coach Steve Kerr didn’t show and All-Star forward Kevin Durant didn’t play.

Neither did Shaun Livingston or Matt Barnes.

No matter. Trailing by as much as 17 before a surging Trail Blazers team and a thunderous sellout crowd at Moda Center, the Warriors found their way to a 119-113 victory in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Saturday night.

The Warriors can close out the series with a win in Game 4 here on Monday night.

With assistant coach Mike Brown serving as acting head coach in the absence of an ill Kerr, five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry’s 34 points. Klay Thompson put in 24, Andre Iguodala 16, JaVale McGee 14 and Pat McCaw 11.

The Warriors overcame a 16-point third-quarter deficit and a 52-42 rebounding disadvantage with a single, searing stretch of defense in the third quarter, when they limited Portland to 30.4-percent shooting.

Guards CJ McCollum, who totaled 32 points, and Damian Lillard, who posted 31, led the Trail Blazers.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As crucial to the comeback as was the offensive reemergence of Curry and Thompson, nobody did more good things over different portions of the game than did McGee.

McGee’s line: 14 points (6-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 from the line), four rebounds and one steal. He played 16 minutes and finished a game-high plus-24.

TURNING POINT

Trailing 82-66 after a Lillard finger roll with 6:20 left in the third quarter, the Warriors rumbled back with a 19-1 run, taking an 85-83 lead when McGee slammed through a lob with 2:01 left in the quarter.

The Warriors during that stretch held Portland to 0-of-8 shooting, with three turnovers.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Matt Barnes (R foot/ankle bone bruise), F Kevin Durant (L calf strain) and G Shaun Livingston (R index finger sprain and hand contusion) were listed as questionable and downgraded to out. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as out.

Blazers: G Allen Crabbe (L foot soreness) and G CJ McCollum (R ankle sprain) were listed as probable and upgraded to available. C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) was listed as doubtful and upgraded to available. C Ed Davis (L shoulder surgery) and C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The teams reconvene Monday night at Moda Center for Game 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.