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.

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. 

Steph Curry has MRI, will sit out Saturday vs Nets

Warriors guard Steph Curry suffered a strained adductor muscle Thursday against the Bucks and will not play Saturday against the Nets, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.

Curry isn’t expected to miss an extended amount of time, per NBC’s report. But second-year guard Quinn Cook will get the superstar’s minutes Saturday, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater.

The former two-time NBA MVP’s current campaign is off to an incredible start, and he has some talking of another MVP run. He’s shooting 54 percent from the field, including 49 percent from three-point range according to Pro Basketball Reference. His ability to drive to the basket has continued to grow, even as Curry transitions into his 30’s.

Curry only played in 51 games a season ago, and he looked determined to have a better regular season as his team goes for its third straight NBA title. He’ll have to take what appears to be a short rest before he can resume his dominance. Until then, it’s up to Cook to shore up the starting lineup.

Warriors’ Curry injured, team plays with ‘mindless intent’ in loss to Bucks

The Warriors were humbled by the Bucks Thursday, losing at home 134-111, in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score would indicate.

Golden State was without defensive stalwart Draymond Green — not to mention guard Steph Curry, who left with an adductor strain in the third quarter and will undergo an MRI Friday, per ESPN — but coach Steve Kerr put the onus on players on the floor. He said the Warriors played with a ‘mindless intent’ according to 95.7 The Game’s John Dickinson.

Kerr mentioned that early foul trouble and poor shot selection got his team off course. The margin of error for the Warriors was smaller than usual — Milwaukee is one of the best teams in the NBA thus far. Led by long, lean and skilled forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks entered Thursday’s game with an 8-2 record, good for No. 2 in the Eastern Conference behind the Raptors.

The Celtics have been thought of as Golden State’s chief rival in the East, but the Bucks are fighting for that title. They won their second consecutive game at Oracle Arena Thursday. When they next meet, the Warriors intent will no doubt be more mindful. Hopefully, for Kerr, Curry, Green and the rest of the team will at full physical strength as well.

Warriors’ McKinnie in the zone, doesn’t even see wide open Steph Curry

The Warriors beat the Grizzlies Monday, 117-101, thanks to a strong third quarter and swingman Alfonzo McKinnie’s continued rise in the Warriors’ rotation. McKinnie scored 14 points in 29 minutes on 6-9 shooting, including 2-3 from three-point land.

McKinnie was apparently in the zone. He didn’t come close to seeing a wide open Steph Curry on his three-point attempt to end the third quarter, which he drained. Here’s footage courtesy of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Curry threw his arms up in celebration, no doubt happy for his teammate. McKinnie made the team out of training camp and now he’s in the playing rotation for the reigning champs. And McKinnie is becoming more involved. He played his season high in minutes Monday.

But he had to make that shot. Curry is the best shooter in the NBA. McKinnie delivered, however, and only proved himself further to his teammates and coach Steve Kerr.