Warriors vs. Nuggets: What to watch for


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.

LeBron reacts to Kyrie Irving trade: 'What a ride...'

LeBron reacts to Kyrie Irving trade: 'What a ride...'

The dynamic duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving lasted just three seasons.

Despite making it to the NBA Finals in all three seasons, Irving wanted out of the partnership.

On Tuesday, he got his wish as the Cavs traded him to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick.

While the rumor was that Irving didn't want to play with James anymore, the four-time MVP had nothing but nice words to say about Irving on Twitter a few hours after the trade became official.

"That's the only way to be to the kid! Special talent/guy! Nothing but respect and what a ride it was our 3 years together Young Gode," James wrote in response to a short video of a fan placing a 'thank you' note on Irving's No. 2 Cavs jersey.

James and Irving won't have to wait very long to see each other again. The Cavs and Celtics face each other on Opening Night in Cleveland.

All the NBA deck chairs have been moved, but it doesn't even matter

All the NBA deck chairs have been moved, but it doesn't even matter

The Kyrie Irving-from-LeBronville Heights-to-Bahstin trade is rightly being called a blockbuster because it engenders so many concepts at once – making the second-best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference seemingly better than the first-best team with one phone call and five shifted bodies.

At least that’s how it plays outside the Bay Area, because now that the Golden State Warriors have taken ownership of the entire league, Kyrie Irving’s whereabouts don’t actually change the balance of power – because there is none.

There’s the power, and there’s the other 29 teams.

Plus, and this is a forgotten element through all the machinations of the NBA’s Meth-Bender Summer, the league is fighting over individual pieces when the Warriors are preaching the virtues of the mega-ensemble.

Irving wants to be the focus of his team, which seems to fly in the face of Boston’s ball-movement philosophy. Paul George, who complained when he didn’t take the last shot in a playoff game this April, is in Oklahoma City with the master of the me-first game, Russell Westbrook. Carmelo Anthony is still in stasis but constantly mentioned as the next Houston Rocket, joining Chris Paul and James Harden in what would seem to be the living embodiment of The Total Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts ball.

Unless, of course, all these assumptions are wrong, and all the relocated stars suddenly find the virtues the Warriors displayed in boatracing the field this year and become not only unselfish offensively but more stridently devoted to defense. All these players are bright, determined, and seemingly open to new ideas (well, maybe not Melo, but even that is open to debate), but will they choose to be?

And even more compelling, will there be the immediate payoff in doing so?

On Question A, let us be charitable and suggest that they can do that. On Question B, however, such a return seems unlikely unless the Warriors either devote themselves to the pursuit of self or fail to avoid the medical department.

There is something worrisome about the sureness with which people are conceding 2018 – can all these self-absorbed morons be right? Things can happen to great teams, even in the NBA, which is the most hierarchical of sports.

But only the Warriors can beat the Warriors, because Kyrie Irving the Celtic does not seem at first glance to be better positioned for a parade than Kyrie Irving the Cavalier.

And that’s true of every roster move this summer. Deck chairs were moved for a better view, but the bridge is manned by the same captain, at least for the time being.