Kobe's 39 leads Lakers past Warriors, 97-90

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Kobe's 39 leads Lakers past Warriors, 97-90

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LOS ANGELES -- The Warriors, playing without Stephen Curry and Andris Biedrins, lost for the 16th time in 17 games at Staples Center to the Lakers, 97-90. They finished their road trip at 0-3, and have now lost four in a row and are 2-5 on the season.Star of the game: Kobe Bryant did most of his work in the second half, scoring 26 of his game-high 39 points and helping the Lakers bounce back after being down to the Warriors 39-35 at half.

Key stretch: The Warriors were hanging in late in the third quarter, down just 57-56. But the Lakers finished the period on a 10-2 run, and took a 67-58 lead into the fourth quarter.The Warriors made a run or two in the fourth and cut the deficit to 85-82 with three-plus minutes remaining, but the Lakers ripped off six straight to put an end to that.Hes playing great, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Very aggressive, carrying that team offensively and hes their lone playmaker. Hes playing great, but thats no surprise. Thats who he is.
The real hurter was Bryants 27-footer at the buzzer over an outstretched hand that gave the Lakers big momentum.Its not enough to hang in there, Jackson said. Were not surprised about that You shoot that ball on the road, you outscore them three out of four quarters, you battle. Another tough loss but we did some very good things out there on the floor.Tale of two halves: Bryant seemed to be letting the game come to him in the first half, but he appeared to have enough of that once the third quarter came around. Bryant had 13 points at halftime going 5-for-10 from the field. Bryant took 11 shots in the third quarter alone knocking down six and just like that he had 30 points heading into the fourth quarter.Corner turn coming?: Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who finished 18 points, 10 assists and five steals, was pretty upbeat after the game, all things considered. He said he is no less optimistic about the Warriors after their 2-5 start than he was at the beginning of the year.This is a long season. Weve got a lot more games to play. Were going to turn that corner eventually. This is just a learning experience for this team. I still feel great about (this team).Jacksons first T: Jackson earned his first technical foul of the season with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. He didnt get it for profanity, we know that. Jackson doesnt swear. So, what happened?I asked for a technical foul because my guys were working their tails off, Jackson said. And I refuse to watch them fight and come up on the short end.Bench play: Jackson went to his bench early on Friday and they produced. Nate Robinson, Ekpe Udoh, Klay Thompson and Brandon Rush helped lift the Warriors to an early 27-21 lead.Robinson was the teams leading scorer at halftime with nine points and thats what he ended up with. Thompson finished with 14 points, a career-high.I still have a long ways to go, Robinson said. Coach said play your game, have fun and be yourself. Its easy playing off Monta. Its fun. Were energetic and we play hard.
No Biedrins: Warriors center Andris Biedrins missed Fridays game against the Lakers because of a right ankle sprain and toe injury. Biedrins sustained the injury early in the San Antonio game on Wednesday.Kwame Brown started in Biedrins place against the Lakers.

Kerr befuddled by Barkley's criticism of Warriors: 'I think he goes overboard'

Kerr befuddled by Barkley's criticism of Warriors: 'I think he goes overboard'

As Charles Barkley continues to throw rubber darts at the Warriors, disparaging their style of play at every opportunity, sometimes going out of his way to do so, the Warriors continue to shrug them off.

They believe the only significant response to Barkley or any other critic is by producing successful results.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has known Barkley for years and he basically sees his act as perfect made-for-TV moments.

“Having worked with Charles in TV, for TNT, I understand that there’s a show that has to happen,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast. “There’s an entertainment value that he brings that nobody else can bring. I think Charles is hilarious. He’s really good at what he does.”

Yet Kerr is at least slightly puzzled when Barkley constantly singles out the Warriors for being a “jump-shooting team” or playing “little girly basketball,” as he said Thursday on TNT.

“I think he goes overboard with his criticism of us,” Kerr said. “Everybody is the league is basically doing what we’re doing. Cleveland takes more 3s than we do. They beat us last year in The Finals by going small and shooting 3s and LeBron (James) playing the 4. The series came down to Kyrie (Irving) making a 3.”

It’s apparent to those paying attention that Barkley, who retired in 2000, has not made the observational transition to basketball as it is played in 2016.

The Warriors average 32.2 3-pointers per game, behind the Rockets (37.0) and defending champion Cavaliers (34.8). Only one team, the Pistons, at 19.8, averages less than 20 shots beyond the arc per game.

When Barkley retired in 2000, only the Kings, at 20.2, averaged more than 20 3-pointers per game. The Rockets were second, at 19.8, and Barkley was a member of that team.

“This is just the way the game is played these days: spread the floor, very few low-post plays,” Kerr said. “The game has changed a lot. I don’t know why Charles continues to crush us. But the game’s changed, and almost everybody is playing like this now.”

Whereas the big men of yesteryear – Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson etc. – tended to operate in the low post, those of today are more likely to venture out beyond the elbow, and even the arc.

“The big guys that you see now who are coming into the league, the best players, guys like Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re out there shooting jump shots, because they grew up handling the ball,” Kerr said. “They grew up as guys who wanted to be Kevin Durant, and not Charles Oakley.”

Though some of the transition is due to bigger players being more versatile, it’s also a matter of coaches understanding new rules and finding rosters that can exploit them. Gone is the hand-check, as well as the days of zone defenses being illegal.

“We do what we need to do to be successful,” Kerr said. “. . . Our players are suited to play the way we play, and we’re not going to apologize for that. But we know that criticism and judgment are just part of the deal. It really doesn’t bother us.”

Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

There were days and nights when he was in agony, when no medication – and he tried many – could stop the headaches from corroding his mere existence.

So Steve Kerr tried something once considered radical.

The Warriors coach sought relief in weed.

“I guess maybe I can even get in some trouble for this, but I’ve actually tried it twice during the last year and a half, when I’ve been going through this chronic pain that I’ve been dealing with,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast.

“(After) a lot of research, a lot of advice from people and I have no idea if maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don’t even know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA.”

During the summer of 2015, Kerr underwent two surgeries on his back, the latter procedure in part to alleviate the pain from the first. Still, the pain continued. He arrived at training camp to coach the defending champions and two days later realized he was not up to the grind.

Kerr, now 51, took a leave of absence that lasted nearly four months, during which time he sought comfort through various painkillers and treatments.

He returned to coaching in January 2016, but it was during his absence from the team that he reached the same conclusion as many medical professionals.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr said. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

Vicodin (hydrocodone) and other pain relievers come with side effects – including nausea, vomiting, constipation and blurred vision – that can be even more damaging to the body. Moreover, painkillers invite the risk of addiction that, for some, can lead directly to death.

“I know enough, especially over the last couple years, having gone through my own bout with chronic pain, I know enough about this stuff – Vicodin is not good for you,” said Kerr, who still has experiences discomfort. “It’s way worse for you than pot, especially if you’re looking for a painkiller and you’re talking about medicinal marijuana, the different strains what they’re able to do with it as a pain reliever.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before the NBA and NFL and Major League Baseball realize that.”

Marijuana has been legalized in some form by 26 states and the District of Columbia. It has been used to treat patients suffering from chronic or acute pain. Yet it remains stigmatized in certain segments of American society.

“There’s this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine, but pot is bad,” Kerr said, explaining that some folks continue to resist the notion that pot is somehow more treacherous than, say, alcohol, while others have studied the subject and become advocates.

“I would hope,” Kerr said, “especially for these NFL guys, who are basically involved in a car wreck every Sunday – and maybe four days later, the following Thursday, which is another insane thing the NFL does – I would hope that league will come to its senses and institute a different sort of program where they can help these guys get healthier rather than getting hooked on these painkillers.”