Warriors have lots of voices, but are they united?

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Warriors have lots of voices, but are they united?

Warriors owner Joe Lacob has made a lot of front office and coaching moves in the past few months. Taken one by one, Lacob has seemingly assembled a pretty impressive team and certainly a very large one at that.

The big question, however, is whether this team of more than a half-dozen men is capable of turning around the Golden State Warriors, who have missed the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 seasons?

Most important, do the Warriors decision-makers have the ability to work together? They have an abundance of voices, but do they have focus? Heres the real question: Is this group a hodgepodge of talent or a team put together with chemistry in mind?

Lets take a look:

Joe Lacob: He is the owner, he is interested and he is very much involved in all decisions regarding basketball and basketball personnel. No trade will be made, no player will be drafted and no player will be acquired via free agency unless Lacob signs off on it.

Jerry West: Everyone agrees that his voice is and should be the most respected one in the room. There is certain to be deference shown to West, who has been brought in as an executive board member. We already know West liked Klay Thompson before the June draft, and sure enough, the Warriors selected Thompson with the No. 11 pick.

By the same token, it will not be West working the phones, creating deals or inquiring about players. West will surely be brought in at the end of the process when the franchise believes it has a decision to make.

Larry Riley: Technically, Riley, the teams general managerexecutive vice president of basketball operations is above Bob Myers on the organizational flow chart, and yet it is generally acknowledged that Myers, the assistant GM, has more power and will eventually become the GM.

Riley is still going to be the one in front of the cameras, explaining the Warriors trades, signings, etc., but its tough to imagine hell be the decision-maker he was a year ago.

Bob Myers: There are agents out there who know the game of basketball and there are agents out there who dont know as much. Instead, they see the game more through their clients eyes which often distorts the view.

We have no idea what kind of basketball mind Myers has whether hes creative, whether he understands and values chemistry, whether hes got a specific idea of how to build a team.

By virtually every account, he was a respected agent, forthright and competent. But thats a very different skill set than the one hell need now as the teams assistant general managervice president of basketball operations.

Travis Schlenk: After the transition from Chris Cohan to Lacob, Schlenk came away with a promotion and extension. Hes the teams assistant general managerdirector of player personnel.

Last season, he traveled and saw more college and international games than anyone else in the organization. Riley has openly credited Schlenk with the Dorell Wright signing, which brought in a very competent player at a very reasonable salary.

Riley was said to have leaned on Schlenk quite a bit in the past season or two. Riley still may in fact be doing that, but does it matter? Despite Schlenks promotion, he probably has less decision-making power than he did a year ago.

Kirk Lacob: Conventional wisdom is that Kirk Lacob, the director of basketball operations and son of Joe Lacob, will eventually run the Golden State Warriors. And so he is absolutely in on everything of significance when it comes to basketball operations.

He also was recently named the general manager of the Dakota Wizards the Warriors D-League team which will give us our first clue as to what hell do in terms of assembling a basketball roster, etc. Kirk is very much like his father in that he wants to know anything and everything thats out there in terms of trades. Kirk certainly doesnt have the kind of clout that his dad or Jerry West has. But its not like hes walking around the office without a point of view.

Mark Jackson: Most of the time a coach shouldn't be on this list. But the sheer force of Jackson's personality is going to make him a factor. Not to mention, on the day he was hired, Jackson said he expected to be involved in personnel decisions. And Jackson, more than anyone else, seemed to quell the talk of Monta Ellis being traded. Point is, don't forget about Jackson.

How Warriors became better team right before the return of Kevin Durant

How Warriors became better team right before the return of Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant returns, which could happen as soon as next week, the Warriors will be an appreciably better team than they were when he left.

Better because in Durant’s absence, veteran wing Andre Iguodala found the best of his game and fully regained his shooting confidence.

Better because David West, who spent the first two quarters of the season acclimating to his new teammates and the third on the injury list, has settled in and turned up his fire and production to a level that pleads for more playing time.

Better because Stephen Curry is dancing and Klay Thompson is cooking and Draymond Green is destroying opposing offenses.

Better because everybody on this team can sense the postseason and is making the mental adjustment, while knowing they’ll get an emotional bounce from Durant’s presence on the floor.

“Obviously, you hate to see KD go down; he’s going to be back soon,” Curry told reporters after a 110-98 win over the Spurs in San Antonio. “But we never really lost confidence in ourselves. There was no panic. We’ve just battled.”

Consider that the Warriors, who own the best record in the NBA, are coming off two nights during which they also proved to be the best team. Going into Houston and San Antonio on successive nights, they extended their seven-game win streak to nine, the longest active streak at a time when all playoff teams wish to peak.

By wiping out a 22-point deficit to a Spurs team that simply doesn’t allow that but did anyway even with Green completely off his offensive game.

And this was done with Durant observing and cheering from the bench in street clothes while also learning more about his teammates and appreciating what they’ve been able to accomplish.

Most notably, as a team, what they’ve done on defense. After recovering from the body blow that was losing Durant, losing five of seven in the process, the Warriors have pulled off a dazzling stretch during which they’ve taken apart all comers.

Prior to holding the Spurs to 41 percent from the field, the Warriors limited the explosive Rockets to 38.8 percent, the Grizzlies to 44.7 (34.8 in the decisive second half), the Kings to 48.2, the Mavericks to 35.9, the Thunder to 42.5, the Bucks to 40.4, the Magic to 37.2 and the 76ers to 43.8.

“We play a finesse style . . . but when we’re at our best, you talk about our defense,” Curry said. “It’s about having each other’s back, trying to do little things, physically, to keep teams out of the paint and off the glass.”

What has happened is most everybody in the playing rotation has grown in the absence of Durant. And while some had to if the Warriors were to withstand his loss, that they managed to do so is significant. The evidence is visible and palpable, never more than late Wednesday night.

“We have what it takes to win all sorts of ways,” Curry said. “Whether you’re down 15 and can’t figure out what’s going on in the first quarter, or you put together a beautiful performance for 48 minutes, it doesn’t matter. Night in and night out, you’ve just got to be ready to play."

At no point this season have the Warriors had reason to feel as good as they do returning home to Oracle Arena, where they will play six of their final seven games. Winning five more games gives them the No. 1 overall seed, regardless of what the Spurs do.

They’re on top of their game and they’re a few games away from adding the man who was their best player through the first 60 games.

By all appearances and insinuations, Durant will be back for the final two or three games of the regular season. That beats any trade-deadline deal eight days a week.

Instant Replay: Warriors erase early woes for big win vs Spurs

Instant Replay: Warriors erase early woes for big win vs Spurs

BOX SCORE

The Warriors won their ninth consecutive game, and this one was profoundly more significant than the previous eight.

With a 110-98 win over the Spurs at AT&T Center in San Antonio Wednesday night, the Warriors took a giant step closer to achieving their goal of the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs.

They now lead the Spurs by 3.5 games in the Western Conference. The magic number is five, meaning any combination of Warriors wins or San Antonio losses adding up to five would give the Warriors (61-14) the top seed throughout.

Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Klay Thompson tossed in 23, David West a season-high 15 and Andre Iguodala 14 as the Warriors, coming off a win at Houston on Tuesday, swept the toughest back-to-back set of the season.

Kawhi Leonard paced the Spurs (56-17) with 19 points, on 7-of-20 shooting. The Warriors offset a 42-34 rebounding disadvantage by limiting San Antonio to 41-percent shooting.

STANDOUT PERFORMERS

Curry carried a large measure of the scoring load, but Iguodala and West had terrific all-around games that included timely scoring.

Curry’s line: 29 points (9-of-20 shooting from the field, 4-of-8 from deep, 7-of-7 from the line), 11 assists and three rebounds. He played 35 minutes and finished plus-6.

Iguodala’s line: 14 points (6-of-9, 2-of-3 from deep), six rebounds, two steals and one assist. He played 30 minutes and was plus-17.

West’s line: 15 points (7-of-11, 1-of-2 from deep), five assists, four rebounds and two blocks. He played 22 minutes and finished plus-23.

TURNING POINT

When the Spurs went up 43-29 on a jumper by Kawhi Leonard with 6:46 remaining in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 16-2 run to pull into a 45-45 tie on a Shaun Livingston jumper with 3:29 left in the half.

That wiped out a deficit that had ranged as high as 22 points.

The Warriors took the lead for good 80 seconds into the second half. San Antonio got no closer than five in the fourth quarter.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F/C James Michael McAdoo (L eyebrow laceration) was listed as probable and made available. F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, bone bruise) and F Kevon Looney (R hip strain) were listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Spurs: G Dejounte Murray (L groin strain) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Friday night, when they close out their season series with the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.