W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91


W's cool off Suns, win third in a row 98-91


OAKLAND It took the Warriors a little while, but it looks like theyre building something. Golden State beat the Suns on Monday at Oracle, their third consecutive victory and longest of the season.Warriors 102, Suns 96Key bucket: With the Warriors up three and the shot clock winding down, Monta Ellis had the ball stripped from him and it wound up in the hands of Ekpe Udoh.Udoh took the ball strong to the hoop and finished with his left hand over a couple of Suns defenders to give the Warriors a 96-91 lead with 36 seconds left.Im certainly pleased with what hes doing on the floor, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Outstanding defense on the pick and roll, on the block, all over the place, altering shots and then offensively hes becoming more aggressive. The guy is playing great basketball and Im really pleased hes responding.Key stretch: With the score 88-84, and Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat having just re-entered the game, it appeared to be time for the Suns to make a run.But Klay Thompson and Nate Robinson promptly connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, and just like that it was 94-84 with 5:43 remaining with the Warriors in control.The lead got down to three, but not any closer than that.Lees night: He did virtually all of his work in the first three quarters, but David Lee still finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Lee took advantage of plenty of minutes at the five, taking Phoenixs Marcin Gortat to the mid-post area and doing damage from there.He was attacking and being aggressive, Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. We went to him a lot down in the post, even isos iin the wing, where he was getting to the basket and finishing around the basket. He controlled the glass, thats what he does. Hes a double-double machine when hes out there playing the way he is supposed to. It was a huge game from him.Ellis struggles: Ellis got off to a rough start against Phoenix, missing his first nine shots from the field before settling into a 2-for-12 half. Ellis had been shooting the ball well coming into Mondays game, going 37-for-66 (56 percent) from the field in his past three games.Incidentally, Ellis was playing his 400th game as a Warrior.3-pointer AWOL: After using the 3-point shot to their benefit in the past four games, the longball was hard to find in the first half against Phoenix. The Warriors went just 3-for-12 from beyond the arc through two quarters. The Warriors had gone 51-for-99 from 3-point range (52 percent) in the four games prior to Monday.State of the Warriors: Jackson was asked before the game now that hes had a few months to assess the team, what does he think?Weve got some very good pieces and were playing some very good basketball right now, Jackson said. Bottom line is were doing a better job of taking care of the basketball. When we rebound and defend we put ourselves in position to beat whoever comes in here or wherever we go.Very pleased with the direction were heading in. Ive got a great group of guys. Ive been on teams and Ive followed teams where it wasnt fun to be part of -- whether it be in the locker room or in games. Ive got a great group of guys. I dont have a bad guy. Ive got a bunch of guys who are buying into what were trying to do.

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.