Warriors at Kings: What to watch for

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Warriors at Kings: What to watch for

The Warriors are in Sacramento on Monday night to play theKings, and theyre trying to win their third consecutive game on the road tostart the season.The last time the Warriors started a season 3-0 on the roadwas back in 1994-95. Unfortunately, Golden State finished that season 26-56, sothere are no assurances as far as that goes.Still, on the heels of Saturdays victory over the Clippersin L.A., the Warriors are feeling good about their start. Theyll be facing an0-3 Kings team playing their first home game of the season.Here are some things to watch for:Boguts return: Warriors center AndrewBogut sat out Saturdays game against the Clippers, but he is expected to be inthe starting lineup tonight. Hell likely play approximately 20 minutes andwill match up against DeMarcus Cousins.Bogut acknowledged some frustration with long stretches ofinactivity as was the case on Friday against the Grizzlies between hisfirst stint in the game and his second, but thats something hes going to haveto deal with for November and perhaps beyond.The plan is to rest Bogut on the second game of back-to-backnights and to limit his minutes in the games he does play. Its worth taking alook at how Boguts teammates handle Bogut being in the lineup on some nightsand out of it on another.Curry at shooting guard: Warriors coachMark Jackson has used Stephen Curry a great deal at shooting guard through thefirst three games, and Curry has responded with a couple of nice scoringnights.While there is a large segment of Warriors fans that want tosee Curry play point guard now and into the future, it seems clear that theteam is better and perhaps Curry also when Jarrett Jack plays point andCurry plays off guard.Handling emotion: The Kings might be 0-3,but they havent played a home game yet. A sellout crowd is expected at SleepTrain Pavilion for this home opener, so the Warriors are going to have tocounter the fans enthusiasm with solid and fundamental play.In the Warriors victory over the Clippers on Saturday,Golden State gave up a big lead but never relinquished it entirely. TheClippers rallied from 14 back to tie the game on more than one occasion, butthe Warriors came up with buckets every time they needed to maintain thelead.There will likely be a time or two tonight when the crowdgets into it and the Warriors will have to keep their poise.

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.