The Warriors conclude their four-game road trip on Fridaynight against the Jazz in Utah. The Warriors are coming off a 97-94 win overMinnesota on Wednesday, a game that snapped a season-high six-game losingstreak.The Jazz are 10th in the Western Conferencestandings a game-and-a-half behind eighth-place Houston. Utah is a half-gamebehind Phoenix, which is in ninth-place.Interestingly, this is a game with draft pick implications.If the Warriors get the No. 8 pick or worse, it will go to the Jazz. If theWarriors get picks No. 1 through No. 7, they keep pick.In other words, a Jazz victory doesnt do them any favors interms of ultimately getting the Warriors pick. Nevertheless, Jazz GM KevinOConnor said he wants his team to make the playoffs. Period.Here are some things to watch for when the Warriors play atUtah on Friday:Hang in early: This is a game withsignificance for the Jazz. Utah has lost five of its past seven games, whichnow has them on the outside looking in when it comes to the Western Conferenceplayoff picture. After the Warriors, the Jazz has a home-and-home seriesagainst the Spurs.So, this is one you figure Utah knows it needs. The Warriorsneed to match Utahs energy early and see if they can find a way to keep itclose heading into the fourth quarter.Jenkins emergence: Charles Jenkins hitthe game-winning shot on Wednesday against the Timberwolves, and hes beginningto pitch in on a consistent basis.Jazz point guard Devin Harris has a sprained left ankle, andhis status for the game is uncertain. If Harris cant go, expect Earl Watson toget the start and for Jamaal Tinsley to get minutes.But no matter who plays the point for Utah, its a matchupthat Jenkins has a chance to win.Thompsons impact: Warriors rookieshooting guard Klay Thompson has hit a little bit of a wall. Its not that hesplayed poorly, but he hasnt been much of a factor.Hes shooting just 36-for-88 over the past six games (40.9percent), including just 9-of-31 (29 percent) from 3-point range. Worse,however, is the fact that Thompson has taken just five free throws in the pastsix games, which total 168 minutes: more than three 48-minute games.During that span of games, Thompson has particularlydefended well, rebounded well or assisted well, either.
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 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.
For the 44th time in the 2016-17 season, the Warriors dished out 30-plus assists in one game. Not only does that set a franchise record, Golden State is also the first to do so since one of the greatest teams in NBA history.
On a Steph Curry heave down the court that resulted in an Andre Iguodala running reverse dunk with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, the Warriors made history with their 31st assist of the game. The nifty assist made the Warriors the first team since the 1985-86 Showtime Lakers to hand out more than 30 assists 44 times in one season.
Last season, when the Warriors set an NBA record record with 73 wins, the team finished 43 games with the feat.
The '85-86 Lakers were looking to repeat as NBA champions 31 years ago but came up short in five games to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.
Golden State finsihed Friday night with 37 assists in a 114-100 win over the Kings. Curry led the way with 12 dimes.