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10:18AM

S.F. Examiner: Is it Dirty Zaza or Unlucky Kawhi? Depends on who you support

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

OAKLAND — The issue deals with laundry, more specifically uniforms, such as which ones are the bad guys wearing. Well, “bad guys” is over the top, or in this case, under the shoes. Let’s go with “opposition.”

By the Bay, that’s the Spurs. Deep in the heart of San Antonio it would be the Warriors and Zaza Pachulia.

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner

9:14AM

Warriors play like champs that they are — and now comes hostility

By Art Spander

OAKLAND — This is the way a champion plays, aggressively, intensely, knowing it’s the better team but acting like it’s the underdog — a silly description of the Warriors — sweeping the court, crashing the boards and never giving the opponent a chance.

Sure, the NBA Western Conference semis shift up to Salt Lake City, and the Jazz will be home. But what does that matter? They’re down 2-0 to the Warriors. They haven’t been ahead in either game. Not for a second.

In the opener on Tuesday, the Warriors were up 9-0 before we blinked or the Jazz recovered. And in Game 2 on Thursday, again at Oracle Arena, the Warriors were up 12-3. Punched quickly if not unsuspectingly, Utah had its bursts, but so did the Warriors, who won 115-104.

Six in a row so far for the Dubs, a sweep of Portland and now two against the Jazz. Pressure. On defense, although Utah shot 45 percent. On offense, Draymond Green showing he can score as well as block and rebound, getting 23 points, along with Kevin Durant’s 25 and Steph Curry’s 23.

“Whether it’s Salt Lake or here,” affirmed Quin Snyder, the frustrated Jazz coach, “we’ve got to be better at the start of games. If you’re not, they’re going to capitalize the other way."

Meaning building a lead that so far has proved insurmountable.

Meaning that any moment they get the opportunity, the Warriors will race to the rim or hit a three-pointer.

The Jazz hold the ball, move it, as much to try to keep the other team from making baskets as to make its own. The Warriors are demons, sprinting, soaring. A contrast in styles. Thus far, the Warriors' method has been the one that works.

Everybody knows that Green, the guy from Michigan State, the guy who crashes into people like a fullback and floats above them like a ballerina, is the heart of the Warriors. In the absence of ailing head coach Steve Kerr and in the presence of acting coach Mike Brown, Green is the leader, the fire, sometimes the fighter — as the technical fouls will attest.

When Green went down in the fourth quarter, hobbling off with what seemed like a knee injury — oh, my goodness — who knew what might happen? But he returned to the bench and the game. Phew.

“Yeah,” said Brown, “any time any of our guys goes down it’s a concern. A guy like Draymond does so much for us at both ends of the floor, and he seldom goes down. So when he did, you think that initially it had to be serious. But I went over and asked him if he was OK, and he said yes.”

So the Warriors were OK.

“He was big,” said Brown of Draymond, who had four steals, a blocked shot, and seven rebounds — and was 5-of-8 on three-pointers. “Draymond is at the top of the floor quite a bit. Their game plan is to have whoever’s guarding Draymond to sit in the lane. So he’s getting wide-open threes. And hopefully he’ll keep shooting the ball the way he’s been shooting it throughout the playoffs.”

Curry was 5-of-8 on his three-point attempts, and while Durant was 0-for-4 he did make 13 of 15 free throws, the one Warrior who goes inside for rebounds (11) and points.

Green said his knee locked up after a collision. “I’d had it before,” he said. “It wasn’t like a huge sigh of relief because I kind of knew what it was from the jump.” He also said the Warriors “kind of lost our focus” at times, if not their drive.

Asked what he expected from the crowd at Salt Lake City, Green gave the proper response. The man has been around.

“I expect it to be hostile,” said Green, who can be pretty hostile himself at times — most times. ”It always is. They cheer pretty loud for their team, obviously. With a few things that went on this past week, it will probably be a bit hostile. But that’s fine.”

As, two games in, are the Warriors.

 

9:25AM

S.F. Examiner: Defense wins championships — and the Warriors look like champions

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

OAKLAND — Steve Kerr wasn’t in the building. His back pain, the headaches, the nausea, wouldn’t allow him to be at Oracle. But his game plan was here Tuesday night, the relentless defense he and his staff continually preach and the gold-shirted crowd screams for the Warriors to play.

“Defense. Defense.” It’s what the fans chant. Defense, defense: It was what the Warriors played. The Dubs got the ball in the basket often enough, but when the other team, in this case the Utah Jazz, has a final total in double figures, the Warriors winning the opener of the Western Conference semis, 106-94, the reason was defense.

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner

10:08AM

S.F. Examiner: JaVale’s journey brings him to Golden State, benefitting both parties

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

OAKLAND — The pregame questions carried a sense of worry and a hint of panic. Kevin Durant wasn’t going to play, and my goodness, what were the Warriors going to do without him? Play basketball, of course, as brilliantly as demanded.

You thought otherwise?

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner 

10:15AM

S.F. Examiner: Andre Iguodala settling into familiar role for Warriors: Being important and impactful however he can

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

He’s the man who goes unnoticed until you can’t stop watching him, the guy who gets his teammates’ — and his coach’s — praise, but rarely gets the headlines.

Andre Iguodala’s problem is not that he isn’t a key component of the Warriors but that he’s not Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. Or Draymond Green or Kevin Durant.

Read the full story here.

©2017 The San Francisco Examiner

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