Warriors vs. Mavericks: What to watch for

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Warriors vs. Mavericks: What to watch for

Programming note: Warriors-Mavericks coverage kicks off tonight at 5 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

It might not be as simple as this, but its close: If the Warriors beat the Mavericks on Monday in Dallas, it will have been a good road trip; if they lose to Dallas, then its a not-so-good road trip.The Warriors conclude their three-game trip at American Airlines Center, a place where Dallas has beaten Golden State in 11 of the past 12 meetings.The Warriors are 1-1 on this trip, with a victory at Minnesota and a loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Here are some things to watch for during Sundays game between the Warriors and Dallas:Make some 3s: The Warriors have raised some eyebrows with their ability to score inside this season. Rookie Harrison Barnes has been a factor by being able to get to the bucket, and David Lee and Carl Landry have made an impact at times on the interior.But for the Warriors to be at their best, theyre going to need to do a better job of making 3-pointers. The Warriors (5-5) are shooting just 30.4 percent from beyond the arc, and second-year guard Klay Thompson is in a particular funk.Thompson is shooting 31.4 percent from the field, but has only made two of his past 14 attempts from out there.Win the frontcourt matchup: The Mavericks have a big front line, but its not exactly spry. They start Chris Kaman at center and Elton Brand at power forward, with Troy Murphy coming off the bench.
That will give the Warriors a quickness advantage on the interior. Players such as Carl Landry and Barnes, who has been attacking the rim in recent games, have an opportunity to be effective.Know the stakes: If the Warriors want to make the playoffs this season, theyre going to have to finish ahead of the Dallas Mavericks in the standings in all likelihood.The Warriors will have a better chance to do that if they win the season-series from the Mavericks and a win in Dallas could go a long way toward getting that done.

Durant injury leaves Warriors just like everybody else

Durant injury leaves Warriors just like everybody else

And with that, the Golden State Warriors are now just like everybody else.
 
Let that rattle around your head for awhile. Just. Like. Everybody. Else.
 
The Warriors haven’t been like everybody else for three years now, but with Kevin Durant’s knee going from worrisome to catastrophic in a matter of hours, they are exactly like everybody else now. They don’t get to walk on a floor and make people look forward to the next game any more.
 
They are now one of a select number of very good teams, with San Antonio and Houston and Cleveland and Boston and Washington and maybe one or two others. That will last apparently for six to eight weeks, give or take a week for reckless diagnosis or medical setbacks, while Durant heals from his collision with Zaza Pachulia in the second minute of the team’s loss at Washington, and that could mean anything from the end of the regular season to the first and second round of the playoffs.
 
In other words, it could mean an amazing triumph or a crash-and-burn, or anything inbetween. This is the unknown, right upside the head.
 
And since it is unlikely that the Warriors will go full fetal, we are about to see the level of their competitive character – in success or failure, in June or May.
 
We have seen it before, mind you. In 2013, when they broke through the zinc ceiling, we saw how they could play defense after decades of claiming it was against California law. In 2014, when they learned how hard it is to be a good team. In 2015, when they applied it to become one of the best teams in NBA history (because 83 wins in 103 games and a parade don’t lie). In 2016, when they won more regular season games than anyone else and came within five horrific minutes at the end of Game 7 of the Finals to repeating.
 
All these were lessons learned, good and bad. They deserved what they got, whether it was glory or gall, and they went to school on it all.
 
So now, without Durant for an undetermined yet worrisome amount of time, they will demonstrate how they apply all this knowledge, and how they learn to do without Durant what they did with him.
 
Only now they lose the margin of error that Durant gave them. While most of the other contenders shopped earnestly for four months looking to strengthen here and tweak there, the Warriors had a full pantry and didn’t shop at all. Their big acquisition is Matt Barnes, who they frantically signed Tuesday night to replace Durant.
 
In short, they have a four-game lead on San Antonio for the top seed in the West, but they spotted the field four months of roster improvements.
 
Now they can ill afford the stretches of shooting misery like the one Stephen Curry is currently enduring. Now they can ill afford Draymond Green speaking his mind so freely to people who take away games. They need health and purpose and an understanding that the turning-it-on-and-off thing they can do is no longer applicable to their situation.
 
They are not doomed, not by any means. Only a fool would claim otherwise, and fools come shrink-wrapped by the gross at Costco.
 
But they are now as San Antonio would be without Kawhi Leonard, or Houston without James Harden, or Cleveland without (and we’ll give you your choice here) LeBron James or Kyrie Irving, or Boston without Isaiah Thomas, or Washington without Bradley Beal AND John Wall, though not worse off than Toronto without DeMar DeRozan, since Kyle Lowry is already gone until the playoffs after wrist surgery.
 
They are Just Like Everybody Else. Well, Everybody Else Who Matters This Time Of Year. There is a parade up for grabs again, and lots of hands are reaching for it – rather than just the two hands we know best.

Kevin Durant suffers Grade 2 MCL sprain, tibial bone bruise

Kevin Durant suffers Grade 2 MCL sprain, tibial bone bruise

Programming note: Log on to the CSN Bay Area Facebook page Wednesday morning at 10 a.m when Warriors analyst Kelenna Azubuike joins "Warriors Outsiders" Drew Shiller and Grant Liffmann to bring you the latest on the Kevin Durant injury.

Kevin Durant will be out a minimum of four weeks after sustaining a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain and bone bruise in his left knee, the Warriors announced Wednesday morning.

The team’s leading scorer incurred the injury in the opening minute of the Warriors-Wizards game Tuesday night at Verizon Center in Washington.

The extent of the injury was revealed after the All-Star forward underwent an MRI late Tuesday night at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Though there is no turntable for his return, but Durant is scheduled for reevaluation in the final week of March.

The playoffs begin April 15.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have agreed to sign free agent forward Matt Barnes in hopes of filling some of the void left by Durant’s absence.

The injury occurred 57 seconds into the game, when Wizards center Marcin Gortat grabbed Warriors center Zaza Pachulia and flung him to the floor. As Pachulia stumbled backward, he fell into Durant’s left knee, which was stationary. Durant’s immediate response was to grab his knee and hop away.

Durant continued for another 36 seconds, before signaling to the bench that a timeout was needed. He left the game and did not return.

Durant is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 25.3 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounding at 8.2 per game and blocks at 1.64 per game. Durant’s 53.7-percent field goal shooting ranks 12th in the league, and second among the NBA’s top 40 scorers.