Warriors vs. Nuggets: What to watch for

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Warriors vs. Nuggets: What to watch for

The Warriors take on their early-season nemesis on Thursdaynight at Oracle -- the Denver Nuggets. The Warriors are off to a nice 8-6 startthis season, but two of those losses have come to Denver.The Warriors blew a late lead against the Nuggets a coupleof weeks ago in a double-overtime loss at home, then were beaten on the road byDenver after getting outscored 15-0 to start the second half.Here are some things to watch for during Thursdays gamebetween the Nuggets and Warriors:Establish backcourt consistency: Warriorspoint guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson have had theirmoments this season but have hardly been consistent.Curry is shooting just 41.2 percent from the field thisseason, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is worse than two-to-one. Those aretroubling numbers for a starting point guard.Thompson has been shooting the ball poorly all season andthats been reflected in his 37-percent shooting. The nice thing for theWarriors is that Jarrett Jack has given coach Mark Jackson a security blanketand theyve been able to win consistently despite the starting backcourtwoes.But its a stretch to think the Warriors can continue to winconsistently with Curry and Thompson continuing their struggles from thefield.Avoid Bogut hangover: This has been a badweek for the Warriors front office -- with Boguts announcement that his Aprilsurgery was more invasive than most believed.Bogut indicated on Wednesday that he might not be backanytime soon and mentioned the possibility of his return taking anywhere fromone to three months.RELATED: Bogut's return up in the air
If thats the case, the Warriors are going to have tore-commit to winning without their big man, only now they know he might not beback for a little bit.Question is: Do the Warriors players believe they can hangon -- and perhaps even thrive -- without Bogut for a long stretch?RELATED: Can Warriors hang without Bogut?
Limit easy buckets: Kenneth Faried andJaVale McGee have given the Warriors problems in the first two games because oftheir size, energy and athleticism. Faried and McGee have given the Nuggetssecond-shot opportunities and allowed Denver to score too many baskets from inclose.Its important for the Warriors to limit the effectivenessof both of those players.

Jazz hold off Clippers in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead

Jazz hold off Clippers in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Utah controlled the paint, and the Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 96-92 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Hayward returned after missing most of Utah's win in Game 4 because of food poisoning that caused him to lose weight and energy.

Chris Paul's 3-pointer drew the Clippers within two with 5 seconds left. After George Hill hit two free throws, Paul struggled getting the ball under control near the sideline and couldn't do anything as time expired.

The Jazz made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including three by Rodney Hood, who finished with 16 points.

Paul led the Clippers with 28 points and J.J. Redick added 26 with injured star Blake Griffin watching from the bench, his right foot encased in a black walking boot.

The Jazz can clinch the series with a victory in Game 6 on Friday night in Salt Lake City.

The Clippers rallied from an 11-point deficit early in the fourth to tie the game. They made 12 of 15 free throws in the final period, but never managed to take the lead.

Paul and Hayward were called for double technical fouls with 40 seconds to go. Paul had already pushed Hayward in the back after they got tied up scrambling for a rebound in front of Utah's bench. Hayward made both shots for a 90-85 lead.

Joe Johnson's step back jumper extended Utah's lead to 92-87.

Neither team shot well, but the Jazz were better at most everything else. They owned a 34-28 edge in the paint, and the team that has done so has won each of the first five games in the best-of-7 series.

Utah outscored the Clippers on second-chance and fast-break baskets.

Utah took the game's first double-digit lead early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Hood that made it 69-58.

The Clippers clawed back with an 11-0 run featuring five straight free throws by Redick and two consecutive 3-pointers from Paul that tied the game at 69-all.

Suddenly, the quiet crowd was on its feet cheering and Utah called time out.

The Jazz regrouped to take a 77-69 lead. They ran off eight straight, capped by Haywood's 3-pointer after the Clippers' defense shut down Hill inside and forced him to pass out to the perimeter with the shot clock winding down.

TIP-INS:
Jazz: Neither team has won by more than eight points so far in the series.

Clippers: Griffin's injured big right toe needs further evaluation before it's decided whether he'll require surgery. ... G Austin Rivers played 17 minutes in his return from a strained left hamstring. He was 0 of 4 and had two points. ... They fell to 1-11 all-time in Game 5 of a playoff series that was tied 2-2.

 

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Festus Ezeli will not be back with the Blazers next season, Portland GM Neil Olshey said on Tuesday.

Last summer -- after the Warriors let Ezeli walk in free agency following the addition of Kevin Durant -- he signed a 2-year contract worth just over $15 million.

But Year 2 was essentially a club option with a $1 million buyout.

A knee injury prevented Ezeli from ever suiting up for the Blazers this season.

He underwent cadaver ligament replacement surgery in early March.

The Warriors drafted Ezeli 30th overall in 2012.

Over 46 games (13 starts) with Golden State in 2015-16, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over 16.7 minutes per contest.