Warriors-Thunder: What to watch for

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Warriors-Thunder: What to watch for

PROGRAMMINGALERT: Tune into Warriors Pregame Live on CSNBay Area at 4:30 p.m. and Warriors Postgame Live immediately after thegame.

The Warriors play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday forthe third time in 22 days. The first two games were at Oracle Arena, and theWarriors simply couldnt contain Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in eitherone of them two Thunder victories.The Warriors get one more chance at beating Oklahoma City,although this one will be on the road.Here are some things to watch for as the Warriors try to putWednesdays tough loss to the Portland Trail Blazers behind them:

Get better on Durant, Westbrook: Thebottom line is the Warriors have done a very poor job of defending Kevin Durantand Russell Westbrook in the first two games.Durant is averaging 35 points and 12 rebounds on 49 percentshooting, and Westbrook is averaging 29.5 points and nine assists on 54 percentshooting in two games.Regardless of how well the Warriors defend the rest of theThunder, theyre unlikely to win a game in which Oklahoma Citys stars do thismuch damage. The Warriors have to find a way to make these two players lessefficient. Perhaps the answer is more Dominic McGuire.Improve in the end-game: In both of thegames against the Thunder at Oracle Arena, the Warriors hung tough for much ofthe game. But their execution in the games final minutes was poor, and thatsbeen the case for much of the season.Simply put, the Warriors havent done a good job of playingwell down the stretch, and it has cost them a bunch of ballgames. During thosetimes, the Warriors seem to become predictable, and they dont get a variety ofshot distribution from their lineup.Instead, it seems to come down to one player usually MontaEllis or Nate Robinson trying to create a shot or play on their own.The question is simple: Are the Warriors capable of winningmore consistently late in games or is their personnel simply not good enough todo it on a game-in and game-out basis?Rebound: The Warriors did a solid job ofrebounding in Game 2 between these teams, but Game 1 was a different story. TheThunders frontline, which includes Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, NickCollison and Nazr Mohammed, has punished the Warriors at times.If Warriors coach Mark Jackson decides to play small like hehas often this year it will be imperative that David Lee and Ekpe Udoh canhold their own inside.

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.