Down 17, Warriors force OT and win wild one over Heat 111-106

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Down 17, Warriors force OT and win wild one over Heat 111-106

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND The Warriors battled back from a 17-point thirdquarter deficit to defeat the Miami Heat in overtime on Tuesday. The victorysnapped a five-game losing streak for the Warriors, and it was only the secondloss of the season for the Heat.Warriors 111, Heat 106 (OT)Star of the game: Dorell Wright came outof his slump in a big way. Wright had 20 points and three huge buckets to helpthe Warriors come back from a 17-point deficit.Wright hit a 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining inregulation to tie the game at 96-96, then hit two more 3-pointers in overtime.Both of the 3-pointers came with the Warriors down two at the time, the firstwith 4:55 remaining and the second with 1:25 remaining.
Wright credited coach Mark Jackson.One thing is him sticking with me, said Wright, whofinished 20 points and 10 rebounds. Its nine games and Ive just stunk it up.I havent been good at all. I havent helped this team. When Im making shots,making plays for my teammates, getting rebounds thats when werebetter.Robinson produces: Guard Nate Robinsonhad 15 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, one in which theWarriors outscored Miami 24-12.Robinson didnt shoot well (4-for-12), but he got to theline, going 14-for-14.It was great to see Nate Robinson, who people havequestioned, doubted I didnt know what he was when was on other teams. But Iknow hes a fighter, I know hes a competitor and no pun intended, hes awarrior, Jackson said.Tough stretch: The Heat held the Warriorswithout a field goal for nearly 10 minutes to start the third quarter, takingcontrol of what had been a close one.Miami led 57-53 at halftime, but by the time David Leedunked with 2:11 remaining in the period Golden States first bucket of thequarter the Heat lead had grown to 80-65.That big deficit was the reason it turned out to be such abig win for the Warriors.Not just this win, were a team that beat the Knicks, Bullsand Heat, Jackson said. So we can beat very good teams. And we can beat verygood teams when things dont go our way because we are an outstanding defensiveteam. When you hold the Miami Heat to 12 points in the fourth quarter, you giveyourself a chance to win, you give yourself a chance to fight back andwin.Hanging in: The Warriors were shootingjust 35 percent from the field and had committed 18 turnovers, and were downonly 93-87. They stayed in the game because they didnt allow Miami to score inbunches let alone much at all.We fought, Jackson said. I talked about it all seasonlong. We are a team that is not going to quit. When it got tough, I thoughtthere was a point just like in life where you can fold the tent or you canbegin to believe and fight back and we did that.Brown injured: Warriors center KwameBrown appeared to injure his right shoulder midway through the third quarterwhile trying to get a rebound.He came out of the game and then headed to the locker room.He didnt return.Lees impact: Warriors power forwardDavid Lees been getting his double-doubles, but against the Heat his 20 pointsand 14 rebounds were meaningful.Said Lee: I finally, after a day off, kind of felt myselfagain after being sick. The thingweve done a poor job of is closing out games and thats all the way around.But on a personal level, I wanted to be aggressive defensively, rebounding andalso be aggressive offensively. You saw in overtime they went down to me aboutfive or six straight times and I found guys for shots and was able to scoreonce. I wanted to be aggressive. Ellison in house: Oracle CEO LarryEllison was in attendance courtside on Tuesday night, sitting approximately 10seats down from Warriors owner Joe Lacob.Ellison had tried to purchase the Warriors when previousowner Chris Cohan had the team up for sale. But Lacob wound up getting theteam.Ellison has been to Oracle Arena just two times for Warriorsgames. The first was a few years ago for a Cavaliers-Warriors game whenCleveland had LeBron James.No Curry, Biedrins: The Warriors playedwithout point guard Stephen Curry and center Andris Biedrins. Curry missed hissecond consecutive game after spraining his right ankle in San Antonio.Biedrins missed his third straight game with a sprainedright ankle and toe injury.

Don't tell David West Cavs-Warriors means nothing: 'We need to win this'

Don't tell David West Cavs-Warriors means nothing: 'We need to win this'

OAKLAND -- Don’t tell David West that the game between the Cavaliers and Warriors on Monday is without significant consequence. He has played too long, seen too much. He knows better.

“This is a very important game for us,” West said Sunday, “because this is the last time we’re going to be able to measure ourselves against these guys.

“The only other time we’d get to face them would be in The Finals.”

Reaching The Finals was in the back of his mind when West signed with the Warriors last July. After scanning his options and doing his research -- including conversations involving Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and coach Steve Kerr -- he chose to come to the Bay Area to continue his quest to reach the NBA’s ultimate series.

At age 36, West has gone 933 games, and another 83 counting the playoffs, and gotten no closer to The Finals than back-to-back dismissals in the Eastern Conference Finals. West in both instances was a member of the Indiana Pacers, and the team that stood in the way both times was the Miami Heat.

That would be the Heat featuring LeBron James, who has since returned to Cleveland.

So, yes, Warriors-Cavs is is a big deal to West. It’s why he’s here.

“Obviously, it’s a regular-season game,” he said. “But for us, every game means something. That’s probably another driving force of why I wanted to be a part of this team. And why I chose San Antonio last year. When you’re playing with a group of this caliber, with these types of expectations, every game, every night, means something. There’s no dropoff or letdown and no room to let up. That’s a vital part of being in the NBA.

“But right now in the NBA, there are distinct levels of basketball. And I just wanted to be a part of the highest level.”

It gets no higher than the Warriors and Cavs. They’ve met in The Finals in each of the past two seasons, with each team winning one, and most conceivably will meet again in June.

Meanwhile, the sights and sounds on the road to the playoff is unlike that which he experienced with the former New Orleans Hornets or the Pacers or the Spurs. Those were good teams. The Warriors, coming of an NBA-record 73-win season, not only are favorites to win it all but perceived as the league’s super team.

It’s as if the Warriors have a bounty on their heads every time they take the court.

“When we play against younger teams, or teams with guys that don’t have a lot of experience, the point guard wants to prove he can stay on the floor against Steph,” West said. “Small forwards want to prove they can hang with KD. Same thing guys coming after Draymond; he’s a target. Then you have a bunch of Klay (Thompson) clones out there. You can see the guys that are modeling themselves after Klay. So when they play against him, they measure themselves against him.

“We all feel that. When you’re a part of this kind of group, that’s what makes the challenge so much fun.”

With Warriors-Cavs, the fun is in knowing that you’re facing the best, the reigning champs from Cleveland, who dethroned the Warriors. And on Monday, the Warriors will be trying to defend their turf.

“We need to win this; we need to win them all,” West said. “We know it's a high-intensity, emotional game. There will be a lot of people watching and a lot of energy in the building. We will have to control our energy and be the more fundamentally sound team.

“We have to be the team that hits more singles and doubles than they do. We don’t need home runs.”

Prepping for Cavs, Curry returns to roots on and off the floor

Prepping for Cavs, Curry returns to roots on and off the floor

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry turned back the clock a few days ago, returning to Davidson College.

Not in person but in spirit.

His latest haircut is, Curry says, the shortest he has allowed in at least a couple years and reminiscent of the close-cropped look he sported at Davidson. What’s different now is the beard. Invisible until a few years ago, it’s longer and fuller than desire and genetics had previously allowed.

“Proud of this beard,” Curry said Sunday, 50 minutes after the Warriors concluded practice. “Very proud.”

In the days running up to Warriors-Cavaliers II on Monday at Oracle Arena, Curry has transformed his dome. He is, once again the baby-faced assassin, only this time the look is accompanied by grown-man facial hair.

Curry’s new look comes on the heels of making alterations to his game. He’s playing with more force, being more assertive with the ball and taking a few more shots. His aggression has shifted into a higher gear.

“Lately, he’s been getting the rock and being aggressive and playing his game,” teammate Kevin Durant said of Curry. “Since that Cleveland game, he’s been playing on another level.”

Since that Cleveland game. That’s what it comes back to for the Warriors and for Curry. That Cleveland game, played on Christmas Day, is three weeks behind them yet the single-most eye-opening experience of the season. The Warriors led by 14 with 9:35 left and by 13 with 8:17 remaining and by 3 with 1:14 to play.

And lost, again, as in Game 7 of The Finals, on a late shot by Cavs guard Kyrie Irving.

“That was definitely a moment,” Curry said. “The Memphis game (Curry scoring 40 points but the Warriors blew a 24-point lead in a 128-119 loss on Jan. 6) was a moment. The Lakers game earlier in the year (a 117-97 loss on Nov. 4) was a moment. You’ve got to understand what went wrong in those kinds of games and figure it out as you go through, knowing you’re going to have some more slipups.”

Curry since the Christmas Day loss has advocated for more pick-and-roll action and gotten it, most notably with Durant as his partner. Curry wanted more time at point guard, and he's gotten it. His numbers have improved, and his overall effect has been more noticeable.

In eight games since Christmas Day, Curry has averaged 20 shots and 27.1 points per game. In the eight games up to and including the loss at Cleveland, he averaged 15.6 shots and 19.9 points.

Yet the real test comes when Curry sees the Cavaliers, against whom recent games have not been pretty. His last four games against Cleveland -- Games 5-7 of the NBA Finals and Christmas Day -- have produced 21.7 points on 36.6-percent shooting, 2.5 assists and 3.7 turnovers.

There’s another reason Curry wants to kill his Cavs demons, which began forming as the Warriors became the first team in league history to go up 3-1 in the NBA Finals and lose the series. That was mere months after Curry mentioned that the visiting locker room at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland still smelled of the champagne with which Warriors celebrated after winning The Finals in 2015.

Curry is tired of hearing about, well, his Cavs demons, whether the noise is coming from fans or players or folks he barely knows.

Playing golf in the Safeway Open pro-am at Silverado in October, Curry got an earful from playing partner Harold Varner III, who happens to be an Ohio native and, of course, a Cavs fan.

“He waited until the ninth hole because he was a little unsure about how I’d take it, how much of a good sport I would be,” Curry recalled. “And then, once he tested the waters, he didn’t hold back the rest of the round. But it was all in good fun.”

This is not the kind of “good fun” Curry cares to hear any more. As the Cavs come to town, he’s back in a familiar place, with folks doubting him, wondering if he has what it takes.

And he’s playing as if he has something to prove, just as he did at Davidson.