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 2019-20.

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 NBA Finals last season, 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.

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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. 

Waiting for the Replay: Cal breaks losing streak vs USC, Warriors win without Steph

The wheels of NCAA-style justice are turning. Cal is going for their first win against USC in 15 years, and they’ve just turned the ball over. Or have they? Cal quarterback Chase Garbers was getting bent over backward and robbed of the ball simultaneously, his knee grazing the LA grass. So who knows what’ll happen? Point is, I’ve got some time.

The last time Cal beat USC, Jeff Tedford was in charge and Aaron Rodgers was his quarterback. But Rodgers didn’t lead the Bears’ 34-31 overtime win over Matt Leinart’s No. 3 ranked Trojans. Backup Reggie Robertson relieved an injured Rodgers, and kicker Tyler Fredrickson hit the game-winning 38-yard boot. Fans poured onto the Memorial Stadium turf — it was Cal’s first home win against a top-5 team in 28 years.

“Some girl grabbed me at midfield and gave me the biggest French kiss of my life,” Fredrickson recalled, according to the East Bay Times and Jeff Faraudo. “I have no idea who she is.”

There have been no kisses since. Cal has lost 14 in a row. Five times the boys from Berkeley entered the game with a top-25 record, including a Rodgers-led No. 7 team in 2004, the year after Cal’s aforementioned miracle victory. Problem was, USC still had Leinart and was ranked No. 1.

It’s been misery since. Cal hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl since 1959. Beating the Trojans would be a good start.

This year’s edition of the Bears includes a stout defense, a freshmen quarterback and a depleted wide receiver unit. Chase Garbers has wrestled the QB job away from Brandon McIlwain, but the wide receiver position lacks depth, largely due to player transfers.

Coach Justin Wilcox’s defense held Washington State’s high-powered attack to just 19 points a week ago though, so there’s a chance for the Golden Bears. Fifteen years and there’s still optimism. Not bad.

Also not bad: The Golden State Warriors, even without Steph Curry. Curry missed Saturdays’ game against the Nets to rest a strained adductor (groin) muscle. The Warriors still waxed Brooklyn, 116-100.

Kevin Durant had a double-double with 28 points and 11 assists. Curry’s stand-in, guard Quinn Cook, notched a season-high 27 points. Klay Thompson added 24 points of his own.

The Nets came to town off an impressive win in Denver and lost some steam at the end of the game. But the Warriors were determined. They didn’t just lose Curry when on the floor last, but they also lost the game. The Bucks had their way on Golden State’s home court, scoring an astonishing 84 points in the paint on the way to a 134-111 victory.

Curry’s MRI came back negative, so he should be back soon. But the win was an important one for Golden State. They were able to shake off a terrible loss, and they did so without the leader, Curry, as well as forward Draymond Green, who was out with a toe injury. The Warriors have the firepower necessary to overcome the absence of a couple All-Stars, but a win in the NBA is no sure thing, especially when missing such vital players.

Coach Steve Kerr just hopes the team is healthy come playoff time, like last season. The Warriors are going for their third straight NBA title, and they’ll need all they’ve got to accomplish the feat.

We’re back to action at the LA Coliseum. They say Garbers indeed fumbled. It was weird, though.

USC looked to have clearly stripped the ball after long QB run, and the Trojans had picked the ball up and started running as the official’s whistle started blowing. If anything, whether the recovering USC player was down or not should have been reviewed. The call on the field was a fumble. There was zero reason for a whistle.

USC went down the field and scored a TD. It’s 14-0 Trojans at the half and Cal is barely hanging on. It may be Cal’s fifteenth loss in a row to the Trojans when it’s all said and done tonight. But hey, I’m always grateful for the extra time I’m often given thanks to the marvel of modern technology.

Update: Cal won.

It was a sudden switch of momentum that led to the comeback, starting with a Cal safety early in the third quarter. Vic Wharton III had a touchdown catch from Garbers, who also ran for a score. Cal’s defense held on for a 15-14 win.

No word on any postgame kisses. But you can kiss Cal’s losing streak to USC goodbye.