Golden State Warriors re-enter ‘the reality of the NBA’

The Warriors’ new-look squad fell apart against a tough Clippers team to open the brand new Chase Center, losing 141-122.

But the Warriors franchise as a whole, when taking its last five magical seasons into account, fell back down to earth, according to coach Steve Kerr.

Here’s what Kerr said after the game, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

The last five campaigns were sublime, and yes, unworldly. The Warriors earned three championships and appeared in the NBA Finals every year of that run, starting with Kerr’s first with the club. That was also Kerr’s first year as an NBA coach.

Golden State still has it’s core three players on the roster in guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and forward, Draymond Green. Thompson tore his ACL in the most recent NBA Finals, however, and as Kerr said, the remainder of the roster is loaded with inexperienced players.

The last five seasons were majestic, but this year’s team is arguably as interesting — unfortunately for the Warriors, most of the intrigue lies in whether they can make the playoffs rather than if they can win the NBA title. And that new reality will take some getting used to for those that follow the team and the core members themselves.

Reality without Klay Thompson sinks in for Steph Curry, Warriors

Warriors guard Klay Thompson wasn’t around postgame to sit in front of his own locker, so his Splash Brother, superstar guard Steph Curry, kept Klay’s seat warm while talking to reporters on Friday, after Golden State played its final preseason game in 2019.

He surely can’t wait for Thompson to sit in his own chair.

Thompson will miss the majority of the regular season after tearing his ACL in the most recent NBA Finals, in just one of the many changes the Warriors will deal with this year.

They’re no longer considered a shoo-in for the Finals or even the playoffs. Forward Kevin Durant left in free agency, former team leader, Andre Iguodala was traded away. Swingman Shawn Livingston, a member of all three recent championship teams, retired.

But the loss of Thompson, while temporary, could be the largest blow to the team, certainly in the short term. Here’s what Curry said about Thompson while he sat in his teammate’s chair, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

“It’s different, man. He’s such a unique player and such a huge part of our DNA and who we are as a team.

“When we’re out there on the court, you gotta have guys step up in his absence until he comes back, hopefully, later in the season … Seven years we’ve been playing together, and you get used to a certain look. We’ve got to adjust as NBA players and keep it moving until he gets back.”

Reporters asked Curry if he’ll miss Thompson most on offense or defense. After a pause, Curry said, “both.”

It would be easy to expect Curry to say, or at least think defense. Thompson famously takes the defensive pressure off Curry, guarding the opponent’s best guard. But Curry knows that Thompson is, incredibly, one of the best shooters in NBA history. Curry would know. He’s arguably the best shooter of all time.

And that’s why he’ll be missed. In the meantime, Curry will keep his seat warm for his Splash Bro and do all he can to keep the team on track to make the playoffs.

Warriors break yet another NBA record in dismantling of Nuggets

The Warriors had a chance to take first place away from the Nuggets in Denver and they came through in record-breaking fashion. Golden State was on fire from the outset and scored an NBA record 51 first-quarter points on their way to a 142-111 win.

Guards Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and forward Kevin Durant were incredibly hot to open the contest. Here are their numbers in the first stanza, courtesy of The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

The entire game, save for a bit of a run by the Nuggets in the second quarter, was a positive for Golden State. Center Kevon Looney had a career high in rebounds with 12, Thompson, the noted sharpshooter, had four dunks, and the team won its fourth straight game as the debut of center Demarcus Cousins nears.

Plus, Draymond Green had 13 assists, and Golden State set a club record with 10 made 3-pointers in a quarter.

This was the year’s best performance from the two-time defending champions, and if any fan missed this game they’d do well by finding a friend who DVR’d this masterpiece from the finest collection of NBA superstars The Association has to offer.

But if that’s not possible, here’s the boxscore, courtesy of Slater, as well as a Curry 3-point shot that left Durant motionless. Enjoy.

Richard Jefferson says Cleveland would have defeated Warriors in 2017 if not for Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant joined the Warriors on July 4, 2016, everything in the NBA changed.

Former NBA forward Richard Jefferson believes the move cost him a second championship ring. He says his Cavaliers, the team that defeated Golden State’s 73-win squad in the 2016 Finals, would have won again in 2017 if not for Durant, according to Jefferson himself via The Players’ Tribune, per NBC Sports’ Ali Thanawalla.

“It genuinely pisses me off that we didn’t repeat as champions. I should have two rings,” Jefferson said. “(F***ing Kevin Durant, man!!!)”

It is by no means a foregone conclusion that the Cavaliers, led by star forward LeBron James, would have won another title if not for Durant’s free agent move to Golden State. Jefferson does have reason to be confident, however. The Warriors fell apart after forward Draymond Green’s suspension after Game 5 of The 2016 Finals and squandered a 3-1 series advantage.

But those Warriors didn’t win 73 games by accident. What could have been a rematch for the ages turned into a no-contest when Durant was added to Golden State’s already deadly lineup (putting aside the fact there are no guarantees in an alternate universe where Durant signs elsewhere).

Richardson is retired now, and he’s just thinking on what could have been. But he’ll just have to be content in beating the record-breaking 2016 Warriors squad led by Steph Curry, Green and Klay Thompson. Those three players won it all without Durant in 2015, and they would have been capable of getting revenge on their own.

With Durant, however, the team turned into a dynasty that is still going. The team will go for their third consecutive NBA championship in 2019, and the Cavaliers as we know them are gone, with James having moved on to the Lakers. And that’s just what the situation is, no revisionist’s history needed.

5 takeaways from Warriors’ romp vs Bulls

The Warriors overwhelmed the visiting Bulls from the opening jump Friday and won their third straight game after losing to the Rockets in overtime a week ago. Klay Thompson hit three consecutive 3-pointers to start things off, and Chicago never had a chance, losing 146-109.

It was Thompson’s backcourt mate, Steph Curry, that hit a career milestone, however. Curry headlined the happenings from this last game of a homestand before the club travels to play Dallas on Sunday.

Steph Curry|Moving up the 3-point ladder

Stephen Curry
Warriors at Wizards 02/24/15

Steph Curry moved past former NBA guard Jason Terry into third place in all-time 3-pointers made, going 5-11 from distance. He had 28 points in 27 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter.

His efficiency in this particular game is vintage Steph Curry, and it speaks to how he could already be on the heels of former NBA guards Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. They needed far more career games to eclipse 2,000 3-pointers made, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

Curry continues to melt minds with his devastating impact on the court, all set up by his deadly 3-point shot that can be unfurled at any instant. If Curry stays on course, he’ll smash this record.

Warriors to play stretch of national TV games after Cousins’ expected return

The Warriors are having a subpar season — for their high standards in the Steve Kerr era, anyway. Coach Kerr’s bunch is 27-14 as the year hits the halfway point, and they haven’t been themselves.

Golden State’s hunt for a third straight NBA title has barely begun, however. And All-Star center Demarcus Cousins hasn’t even joined the party yet. He’ll finally return from an Achilles injury suffered as a Pelican, reportedly on Jan. 18, according to ESPN’s Marc Spears.

Coach Kerr didn’t confirm the exact date, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, but did verify his timeline lines up closely with Spears’ report.

Assuming Cousins returns on Jan. 18, he’ll join the NBA Champs at the start of a rough road trip — in front of a national audience. Here’s the Warriors schedule, and TV schedule for that stretch, courtesy of Slater.

That Clippers game, on ESPN, is right at the start of the Warriors’ toughest road trip of the season. It includes games at the Lakers (on TNT), Celtics (on ABC), Wizards (on TNT) and Pacers (on NBA TV). Cousins is about to get tossed into the fire and under the microscope.

Now, everyone can see how Cousins reacts to the challenge of jumping into a championship chase while coming back from injury. The whole NBA world will undoubtedly be watching.

Cousins’ signing with the Warriors rocked the Association. It was a rare case of the rich hitting the lottery. Cousins actually called Golden State and signed a very team-friendly one-year deal.

If Cousins can incorporate himself into the team, the Warriors may be impossible to beat. Injuries to Steph Curry and Draymond Green, an uneven season from Klay Thompson and a near falling out between Green and forward Kevin Durant have knocked things a bit sideways.

But everyone knows Cousins, the four-time All-Star, is on his way. The Warriors can’t truly mesh until all their stars are healthy, so Cousins’ return will be must-watch TV — for those that love the Warriors and also those that don’t.

Warriors coach Kerr says Steph Curry is ‘the short Tim Duncan’

Turmoil surrounds the Golden State Warriors after the one-game suspension of Draymond Green for his emotional outburst directed at Kevin Durant, and coach Steve Kerr says superstar Steph Curry is the leader his team needs to get through these tough times. 

“He’s got the respect of everybody in the organization, on the team,” Steve Kerr told reporters Thursday per The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II. “He’s very wise. He brings us together. He’s a guy we count on to keep things rolling. I’ve said many times, Steph is the short Tim Duncan. Having played with Tim and having been through all kinds of stuff in San Antonio. (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) would tell you, we went through stuff back then — actually, Pop would not tell you — but we went through all kinds of stuff. When you have a guy like Tim Duncan, a guy like Steph Curry, it makes your whole world easier.”

Former NBA center Tim Duncan played 19 seasons as a professional, all with the Spurs, and won five NBA championships, along with three Finals MVP awards. He was as stoic as he was brilliant on the floor. 

Green’s verbal attack of Durant came at the end of Golden State’s overtime loss to the Clippers Monday, Nov. 12. Durant asked why Green didn’t give him the ball at the end of regulation with the score all tied up. Green, fresh off an embarrassing turnover that robbed his team of a potential game-winning shot, didn’t take kindly to Durant’s attitude. Here are some juicy details courtesy of Rob Perez and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. 

It’s a good thing the Warriors have Curry. The longest tenured Warrior and two-time NBA MVP wasn’t in LA the night Green and Durant got into it, but he’s on the road with his team now. Steph’s status and demeanor should help diffuse the situation, and his presence on the road has already paid dividends. Green, Durant and new Warrior and notorious malcontent DeMarcus Cousins were spotted bonding on the bench during Golden State’s blowout loss at Houston on Thursday. 

Here’s footage of the four superstars, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. 

The drama, unprecedented during the Warriors dynastic run, has come early in the 2018-19 season. Kerr has seen it all during his career as player and coach. He even reportedly got into a fight with Michael Jordan during his days with the Bulls, as recalled here by NBC Sports. That Kerr believes Curry’s presence alone can overcome the team’s internal strife speaks volumes.