Its been a long offseason, but itstime to get busy. The NBA lockout ended early Saturday morning, and theWarriors have things to do.The Warriors havent played for aboutseven months, so it might be worth the time for a little refreshercourse.When we last left them they had finishedthe season 36-46, 10 wins short of the No. 8 playoff team in the WesternConference. In other words, they've still got a ways to go.But for now, this is the roster theWarriors are sitting with, including for how long each player remains undercontract.Lou Amundson, PF: One year remaining at 2.4million. Amundson wasn't healthy for most of last year, and the Warriors needmore energy off the bench from him this season.Charlie Bell, PG: Oneyear remaining at 4.1 million. Hard to imagine Bell will be any kind offactor. Expect the Warriors to package Bell as part of a deal or hold onto himso his 4-million-plus comes off the books at season's end. Its possible theycould use the amnesty clause on Bell, although that would seem a tadshort-sighted.Andris Biedrins, C: Three years remaining at 27million. Once upon a time, this contract seemed OK. But that was beforeBiedrins' game went missing. Can he retrieve it?Stephen Curry, PG: Twoyears remaining at 7 million. The Warriors have made it clear they want Curryas part of their long-term future. But does Curry want the Warriors?Monta Ellis, SG: Threeyears remaining at 33 million. It's a simple question and one the Warriorshave been wrestling with for a little while: Can the Warriors get better bytrading their best player?Charles Jenkins, SG: Unsignedrookie. Is Jenkins destined for the D-League or does he have a shotat beating out Jeremy Lin?David Lee, PF: Fiveyears remaining at 68.5 million. No doubt it hurts when you see the amount ofmoney Lee is still owed. General manager Larry Riley hoped to build around Lee,but there are other voices now in the team's front office.Jeremy Lin, PG: Unsignedsecond-year player. Everyone knows Warriors owner Joe Lacob had a lot to do withLin's signing. But if Lin isn't cutting it in Year No. 2, will Lacob keep himaround?Klay Thompson, SG: Unsignedrookie. Looks to have NBA range, and seems likely to get some backup minutes atshooting guard and small forward.Jeremy Tyler, C: Unsignedrookie. The question comes down to Tyler's motor. If he's into it andcommitted, he could pitch in off the bench for the Warriors. If not, he'll getplenty of playing time in Dakota.Ekpe Udoh, PF: Threeyears remaining at 11.2 million. Udoh seems poised to make strides in hissecond year. He's gotten stronger and knows he'll consistently be in therotation. And as the Warriors' best interior defender, coach Mark Jackson isgoing to use him.Dorell Wright, SF: Twoyears remaining at 7.9 million. Wright's game took off last year. This yearthey need that -- and for him to get back to his defending ways.
While players like Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut offered support for Steve Kerr on Saturday, one NBA coach wants to pump the breaks on the conversation surrounding marijuana use.
Suns coach Earl Watson preached caution during an interview with ESPN after the Warriors beat Phoenix 138-109 on Saturday night.
"I think our rhetoric on it has to be very careful because you have a lot of kids where I'm from that's reading this, and they think [marijuana use is] cool. It's not cool. Where I'm from, you don't get six fouls to foul out. You get three strikes. One strike leads to another. I'm just being honest with you, so you have to be very careful with your rhetoric," Watson told Chris Haynes.
Watson doesn't appear to be a fan of Kerr advocating for the use of marijuana.
"I think it would have to come from a physician -- not a coach. And for me, I've lived in that other life [of crime and drugs]. I'm from that area, so I've seen a lot of guys go through that experience of using it and doing other things with that were both illegal. And a lot of those times, those guys never make it to the NBA, they never make it to college, and somehow it leads to something else, and they never make it past 18," Watson told Haynes.
Watson highlighted a potential problem of leagues legalizing the use of marijuana.
"So when we really talk about it and we open up that, I call it that slippery slope. We have to be very careful on the rhetoric and how we speak on it and how we express it and explain it to the youth," Watson said.
Watson finished the interview with a message for the kids who might have been emboldened by Kerr's comments.
"I've never been a fan of the use, but I'm also not a medical doctor. So for the kids who are reading this and they might take the headlines and run with it, don't run anywhere with it. Understand that if you're from an environment or social area where a lot of luck and a lot of blessings is your only way out, you cannot risk that opportunity ever. Ever. It's just the way it is. It's not the same everywhere. I don't know as far as the pain [and how marijuana could help], but I think we have to be careful how we present that to the public," Watson said.
OAKLAND – Stephen Curry paused, scanning his memory, and came up empty.
Draymond Green sank into deep thought, taking even more time before conceding he was “stumped.”
Neither could remember the last time the Warriors lost consecutive regular-season games, perhaps because it was 19 months ago.
The Warriors are specialists at self-correction, and that was the case again Saturday night when, following a tough loss two nights earlier, they stepped onto the floor at Oracle Arena and played one of their more effective games this season.
Their 138-109 smacking of the Phoenix Suns was a rather comprehensive effort, with some players performing superbly and others merely well. The scoring load was shared among Curry (31 points), Klay Thompson (26) and Kevin Durant (20), while everyone brought something useful to the proceedings.
“It didn’t turn out to be a great night on the stat sheet,” coach Steve Kerr said, noting the Warriors committed 17 turnovers, off which the Suns scored 25 points. “But maybe around the nine-minute mark in the first quarter until about two minutes of the second quarter, we were fantastic.”
The Warriors (17-3) trailed by as much as six in the first before going on a 25-4 run, taking an 18-point lead, and taking command early in the second quarter. Though they stumbled enough for Phoenix to get as close as eight in the second half, there never was a sense the Warriors were facing real trouble.
With Curry and Thompson leading the scoring charge, forwards Draymond Green and Durant excelled in playmaking roles, combining for 21 assists, the most in a game by two Warriors starting forwards since 1970, when Elias Sports Bureau began tracking starters.
“It’s a little unorthodox, but our guards are great shooters, so playing them off the ball and getting the ball to KD and Draymond seems to work well,” Kerr said. “And those guys seem to enjoy playing that way.”
The victory extended to 106 their NBA-record number of regular-season games without consecutive losses. The Warriors last lost back-to-back regular-season games in April 2015, dropping games at San Antonio and then New Orleans.
So long ago that neither Curry nor Green could remember.
“Um . . . let’s see . . . I think it was my second year in the league,” Green finally guessed, wrongly.
It was his third season, and the first under Kerr.
“There’s a resiliency to our team that, obviously in this league, anything can happen,” Curry said. “So for us to be able to correct mistakes and find ways to bounce back quickly and not have multiple games in a row where we don’t show up to play says a lot about the character we have on this team.”
Though Green cited the team’s heightened focus after a loss, there is one thread that runs through Curry and Thompson and Green. All three have been dismissed at some point and, therefore, carry a burning desire to validate their status.
Perhaps no one on the team carries that edge more than Curry.
“I’d be interested the see the numbers of Steph, after we lost,” Green said. “He has incredible games after we lost. It’s just a focus level, guys really lock in and come out and do what it takes to win the next game.
“I think guys do get a little pissed off as well, which definitely helps. That is probably the biggest thing. Guys get mad about it, and it carries over.”
Perhaps feeling Phoenix was poised for a run in the third quarter, Curry rang up 20 points in that 12-minute stretch, hiking the lead beyond the reach of the Suns. It was the 16th time he has scored at least 20 points in a quarter.
There would be no ending of this underappreciated streak. Not on this night, and not with Curry and his friends on watch.