W's defense spearheads win in Atlanta


W's defense spearheads win in Atlanta


Warriors 85, Hawks 82Players of the game: Monta Ellis didnt shoot the ball particularly well, but he made enough shots to help the Warriors win the game. Ellis finished with a team-high 24 points on 10-for-27 shooting.David Lee may have hit the biggest shot of his Warriors career, knocking down an inside shot with 30 seconds remaining to give the Warriors a two-point lead.Lee finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds.Said Lee: The play out of the timeout was the play we tried to run against Memphis (earlier loss) where they took the charge. This time I pulled up short and shot a floater to make the shot. You make the adjustments as you go along.We talk about losing some games down the stretch and learning from it. And I learned from it. We ran the same play tonight and I was able to complete it.Dominic McGuire got the start and set a defensive tone. He helped limit Joe Johnson throughout the game and he grabbed a team-high 15 rebounds.One thing about him, Jackson said of McGuire, is he embodies everything we preach from Day 1. Putting him in the lineup I knew exactly what I was going to get from him. Great defense, goes after every rebound. Just great energy and effort.Defense doesnt rest: The Warriors rebounded from a clunker with a nice defensive effort. The Warriors held the Hawks to just 34 percent shooting from the field, with the tone being set by McGuire and Ekpe Udoh.It was great all-around, Jackson said of his teams defense. We got after it. We made some mistakes but at the end of the day we competed, paid attention to the game plan, made them work and made them make shots on our terms. Overall I couldnt be more pleased about this victory.
3-point struggles: For the second consecutive game, the Warriors struggled from beyond the 3-point line. The Warriors missed nine of their first 10 3-point shots against the Hawks, and finished just 1-for-12 from beyond the arc.In Tuesdays 102-78 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, the Warriors made just 3-of-22 from 3-point range. The Warriors entered Wednesdays game shooting 36.8 percent from deep, tied for second in the league.McGuire gets nod: Warriors coach Mark Jackson went in a different direction with the starting lineup on Wednesday. When point guard Stephen Curry has missed games with injury, Jacksons M.O. has been to start rookie Charles Jenkins.But Jackson started defensive specialist Dominic McGuire for Curry, and matched him up against Joe Johnson. McGuire did his job at the start, playing nine first quarter minutes, grabbing seven rebounds and holding Johnson to just a field goal.Short stint for Curry: The Warriors played on Wednesday night without starting point guard Stephen Curry, the second consecutive game hes missed because of a strained tendon in his right foot.Well, that's not exactly true, in reality. Curry wound up playing three seconds, when Jackson put him in late to serve as a decoy. Jackson used Curry on the play where Lee ended up hitting the game-winning shot.Curry sustained the injury in the first quarter of last Wednesdays game against the Phoenix Suns. The Warriors are calling Currys injury day-to-day, which would make a return Friday against Philadelphia a possibility. Curry has missed 11 games this season because of injury.

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

OAKLAND -- Though Kevin Durant is eager to get back to the court, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants are in preliminary stages of planning his return.

One thing is certain: There will be restriction on the number of minutes Durant is plays in the first few games after he receives medical clearance.

“It’s something we’ll consult the training staff on,” Kerr said Saturday after practice. “I imagine we’ll ease him back by playing him shorter minutes to start, so he can build up his rhythm and his conditioning.”

Durant has been out since Feb. 28, when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bone bruise to his left knee. After several days of strict immobilization, he has over the past week progressed to the point where he is engaging in vigorous workouts and shooting sessions.

Yet Durant will not be re-evaluated until next Thursday, which means he likely will not be cleared before the week of April 3. Not until then will the coaching staff devise a plan to reintegrate Durant.

“That obviously has a domino effect on the entire rotation,” Kerr said. “When we get to that point, we’ll figure that out. But it’s not something I’m giving a lot of thought to right now because he’s still at least a couple weeks away.”

The Warriors lost five of seven in the immediate aftermath of Durant’s injury but have recovered to win the last six in a row.


Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any baseball manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.