In the NBA’s Western Conference race, the Golden State Warriors (59-6) lead the San Antonio Spurs (56-10) by 3.5 games for the No. 1 seed. The NBA’s top two teams, both unbeaten at home and newly crowned division champions, play three more times in the regular season, starting in San Antonio on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The Warriors have lost 32 consecutive regular-season games at San Antonio, their last victory coming Feb. 14, 1997. (The Warriors did win at San Antonio during the 2013 playoffs.) The Spurs and Warriors also meet Thursday, April 7 at Golden State (10:30 p.m., TNT) and Sunday, April 10 at San Antonio (7 p.m., NBA TV).
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The Golden State Warriors today clinched the 2015-16 Pacific Division title by virtue of the Cavs’ 114-90 win over the Los Angeles Clippers this afternoon, giving the franchise its first back-to-back Pacific Division crowns since the club won consecutive division titles in 1974-75 and 1975-76.
Golden State has earned the franchise’s fourth Pacific Division championship since the NBA began using the current divisional format in 1970-71. Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr is the first head coach to win back-to-back division titles in his first two years at the helm since Tom Thibodeau earned consecutive Central Division titles with the Chicago Bulls in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Among the four major professional sports leagues, the Warriors are the first Bay Area team to earn consecutive division crowns since the Oakland Athletics won back-to-back West Division titles in 2012 and 2013.
Roster-wise in the NBA, the rich just got richer.
The 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors have signed free agent center Anderson Varejao to a contract.
Varejao, 33, has spent all 12 of his NBA seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, posting career averages of 7.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 25.0 minutes over 591 games (208 starts). The 6’10” center appeared in 31 games for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 2.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.0 minutes before being sent to Portland as part of a three-team trade on Feb. 18, where he was subsequently waived by the Trail Blazers.
Originally selected by the Orlando Magic with the 30th overall selection of the 2004 NBA Draft (first pick of the second round), Varejao has appeared in 71 career postseason games and was named to the All-Defensive Second Team in 2009-10, finishing third in Sixth Man of the Year voting that season. Prior to making his NBA debut in the 2004-05 campaign, he played professionally for three seasons with FC Barcelona in Spain’s top league, Liga ACB. A native of Santa Teresa, Brazil, Varejao joins fellow Brazilian Leandro Barbosa on the Warriors roster, making the pair one of two sets of Brazilian teammates on an NBA roster (Toronto’s Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira are the other).
Varejao will wear uniform #18 for the Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors have waived forward Jason Thompson.
Although the Warriors didn’t have much use for Thompson, I would assume another NBA team will pick him up. He’s worthy of being in a rotation.
Thompson, 29, appeared in 28 games (one start) with the Warriors this season, posting averages of 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per contest. The Rider University product owns career averages of 9.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 569 games over eight campaigns, having spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Sacramento Kings.
Originally selected by Sacramento with the 12th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, Golden State acquired Thompson on July 31, 2015, from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for forward Gerald Wallace and cash and draft considerations.
Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli underwent successful arthroscopic surgery this morning to clean out debris from his left knee, the team announced. The procedure was performed by Dr. Arthur Ting at the Fremont Surgery Center.
Ezeli, who is expected to return this season, will be re-evaluated in six weeks. The 6’11” center last appeared in a game on January 25 versus San Antonio and has missed the last five games due to a sore left knee. In 40 games this season (11 starts), Ezeli is averaging 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.23 blocks in 17.8 minutes per contest.
The 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors are the favorites to win it again in 2016. Logic suggests they will an appealing free agent destination for anybody and everybody this upcoming summer who wants to join up with success. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and friends should remain highly competitive for years. But until there’s reason to believe otherwise, we assume Durant will stick with OKC. Anyway, with that said, here’s the San Francisco Chronicle following up on a Yahoo Sports report:
Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes says he stopped following scuttlebutt about NBA transactions after his rookie year trade deadline, so he seemed genuinely surprised Tuesday to hear that Kevin Durant might be replacing him.
“Oh man, that’s part of the business,” Barnes said on a phone call before the team’s plane left New York for Washington, D.C. “He’s a great player. If that’s the move they want to make, you know, hopefully, it works out.”
Hours earlier, Yahoo Sports reported that the Warriors are determined to recruit Oklahoma City’s All-Star forward Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent this summer. That much was a well-known fact, but the report went further.
According to league sources, Yahoo wrote: “The truth is that (the Warriors are) the most intriguing destination to him. If Durant leaves the Thunder, the Warriors are the significant frontrunners to sign him.”
Here’s the Bergen Record reporting on the Golden State Warriors, who won the 2015 NBA championship and are the favorites to win it again this season:
The stands at Madison Square Garden were crowded two hours before the game began. Kids in Golden State Warriors jerseys and their families waited for a glimpse of the greatest show on hardwood.
And the show arrived. Stephen Curry came out for his pregame ritual of machine-gun-speed dribbling and shots from all over the court — all the way to half-court. When the game began it continued, a stream of beautifully orchestrated passes leading to quick-trigger three-point field goals. Curry was contained for the most part, but the Warriors come in waves. On this night it was Klay Thompson (34 points, 14-of-18 shooting) and Draymond Green (20 points, 9-of-9 shooting, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) who carried them to an easy 116-95 win over the Knicks.
The allure of the Warriors isn’t just the magical display of finesse. To have gotten where they are now, the real magic has been in the hearts and minds of the players, an underappreciated toughness up and down the roster. When they were listless in the first quarter Sunday, coach Steve Kerr huddled up the team, smashed the clipboard, and threw it at the bench.
“Coach Kerr got on us pretty good,” Thompson said. “He had a terrible clipboard throw, but other than that, he was very animated on the sideline. We responded well to it. He told us we were playing very embarrassing and to pick it up.”
The Golden State Warriors have assigned forward Kevon Looney to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.
Looney made his NBA debut last night in Golden State’s 127-107 win over Dallas, tallying two points and two rebounds in six minutes. He has appeared in five games with Golden State’s D-League affiliate this season, averaging 8.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.2 minutes in Santa Cruz.
Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on the Warriors, who just finished smacking around the Spurs and are feeling pretty good these days:
The Warriors had a unique video session before Tuesday’s practice.
There were neither highlights of Monday’s drubbing of the Spurs nor reminders about their next opponent, the Mavericks, who pulled off a 23-point upset of the Warriors on Dec. 30.
Instead, head coach Steve Kerr had a video spliced together that offered an ode to Australia Day and included a comedy bit from Conan O’Brien.
“I was pretty disappointed, because I thought we were going to watch film on Dallas,” power forward Draymond Green joked a day ahead of the Warriors’ rematch with the Mavericks. “Terrible coach. … No, this environment is always loose and fun.”
The Golden State Warriors are an amazing 37-4. But two of their losses have come in their last three games. As you’d expect, the squad isn’t exactly worried. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:
The Warriors’ post-practice session Sunday started with Draymond Green playfully mocking Luke Walton’s work ethic and ended with Stephen Curry proudly wearing a Carolina Panthers cap while signing the team’s theme song.
If the Warriors are panicking about their declining play during the past 11 games, including an 18-point spanking from Detroit on Saturday, they sure weren’t conveying it before flying to Cleveland for an NBA Finals rematch.
“There’s no need to panic, turn on each other or point a finger. We all sucked,” Green said. “… You want to keep the environment loose. You don’t want to tense up and feel like it’s the end of the world and play like that. Yeah, we have to play with a chip on our shoulder, and we have to play with that fire and intensity, but you don’t want to play like you’re in a panic.”
The Warriors (37-4) will have a good barometer for their keep-it-loose approach during the next five games. They play road games at Cleveland and Chicago before hosting Indiana, San Antonio and Dallas — teams that went into Sunday’s games a combined 131-68 (.775).
Before the game, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Golden State simply has more margin for error than other teams, meaning the Warriors can win even when they don’t play their best.
Not on this night against Van Gundy’s Pistons.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope held his own against Stephen Curry for most of the night, scoring 20 points as the Pistons handed the Warriors their second loss in three games, 113-95 on Saturday.
Much of the pregame talk centered around how well Caldwell-Pope might be able to defend Curry. The Golden State star scored 38 points, but Caldwell-Pope gave the Pistons a boost offensively.
“I think we know that we’re capable of beating anybody,” Van Gundy said afterward…
Drummond had 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons had six players in double figures, while Golden State had only three. Klay Thompson scored 24 points for the Warriors.
– Associated Press
Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 3.
Lopez led the Nets to a 2-1 week behind averages of 26.7 points (second in the Eastern Conference), 13.3 rebounds (third in the conference) and 3.67 blocks (second in the conference). He made 60.9 percent of his field goals, sixth best in the East. Lopez recorded point-rebound double-doubles in all three contests, including his 30-point, 13-rebound effort in a 100-97 win over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 2.
Green helped the Warriors to a 3-1 week behind averages of 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds (tied-fourth in the Western Conference) and 9.5 rebounds (fourth in the conference). Green recorded two triple-doubles, raising his league-leading total to six on the season. On Jan. 2, Green powered the Warriors with 29 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists in a 111-108 overtime win against the Denver Nuggets.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Cleveland’s LeBron James, the Los Angeles Clippers’ J.J. Redick, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Portland’s CJ McCollum, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.
Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, who is currently banged up and could use a break:
Stephen Curry skipped Wednesday morning’s shootaround to get an MRI on his injured left lower leg, and Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton said there’s a slim chance that the point guard will play Wednesday night against the Mavericks.
Already limping on a strained right calf, Curry injured his left lower leg in Monday’s victory over Sacramento. He could barely limp to his locker after the game, but he moved better from the bus to the team hotel in Dallas on Tuesday night.
Look at what Stephen Curry did to Jazz forward Derrick Favors on this one-man fast break:
Santa Cruz Warriors guard Elliot Williams was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 20. This is the first Performer of Week honor for Williams who was named Player of the Month for November.
Williams (6-5, 183, Memphis) led Santa Cruz to a 2-1 week, averaging 30.7 points on 83.0 percent shooting from the floor (44-for-53) to go with 5.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists. On Dec. 18, Williams recorded a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds in a 99-93 victory over the Bakersfield Jam. On the following night he recorded a season-high 40 points on 16-for-24 shooting in a 117-107 loss to the Idaho Stampede.
For the season, Williams is averaging a league-leading 29.6 points on 51.8 percent shooting to go along with 7.0 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.3 steals.
Williams earned two GATORADE call-ups last season with the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans before returning to the Warriors, where he was named Finals MVP and helped Santa Cruz to their first NBA D-League Championship.
Other top performers considered include Austin’s Orlando Johnson, Bakersfield’s Xavier Munford, Idaho’s Tyus Jones, Iowa’s Andrew Harrison, Raptors’ Ronald Roberts Jr., Rio Grande Valley’s Jaron Johnson and Westchester’s Jordan Bachynski.
The Warriors (25-1) get a chance to smack around the Bucks (10-17) tonight, at Golden State. Will be fun to see what happens. Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting:
The Bucks dealt the Warriors their first loss of the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday in Milwaukee — Golden State’s final stop on a seven-game road trip.
Less than a week later, the Bucks will face a rested Warriors team at Oracle Arena. Warriors players, recalling a late-game dunk by Michael Carter-Williams and the subsequent celebration, are plenty motivated. And interim head coach Luke Walton is all for it.
“They had a little celebration. It is what it is. They won a regular season game. The 24-1 shirts in the NBA store and the streak-buster shirts, I’m not sure if … that’s what I want to promote for my team. But hey, to each his own. I don’t really get caught up in it.
“I think Michael Carter-Williams getting a dunk at the end of the game and looking at our bench like, ‘Dude, you lost your spot.’ It’s not quite common that you should be looking toward someone’s bench and yelling when you’ve got some ground to make up. But I love the intensity. It is what it is.
“And they’ve got to come in here on Friday night.”
Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on the 24-1 Golden State Warriors, who after winning 24 games in a row this season finally took a loss:
No team ever wants to lose a game, but the Warriors grudgingly admitted Monday, after two days of reflection, that the first blemish on their previously perfect record brings a measure of relief.
It took coach Luke Walton, who initially said no part of him welcomed the end of their win streaks – 24 in a row this season, 28 overall – a while to realize this can be a positive.
“I think with the streak being over,” he told CSNBayArea.com after a long pause, “we can get back to focusing on some smaller, more important, detail things. Obviously, you don’t want the streak to be over because of how much fun it is.
“But, I guess, to answer your question, there’s a little part of me that knows we’re going to get some better work in, now that the streak is over.”
The streak is over for the Golden State Warriors.
Their NBA-record start ended after 24 wins when the Milwaukee Bucks beat them 108-95 on Saturday night.
Golden State fell to 24-1. Its 28-game winning streak, counting the final four games of last season, came to a halt. The NBA’s longest winning streak was 33 by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72 — and it was also snapped by Milwaukee.
Greg Monroe scored 28 points for the Bucks, who got the all-around effort needed to beat the defending NBA champions.
It also helped that the Warriors, perhaps fighting fatigue after needing two overtimes to win at Boston on Friday, were cold from 3-point range. They usually make 13 a night, but were just 6 of 26 from behind the arc playing on the final game of a seven-game road trip.
Stephen Curry had 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field, including 2 of 8 from 3-point territory.
– Associated Press
Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson and the Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 6.
Jackson led the Pistons to a 4-0 week behind averages of 27.0 points (fourth in the conference), 8.8 assists (second in the conference), 3.0 rebounds and 1.75 steals. Jackson shot 56.9 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from three-point range and 89.3 percent from the foul line. He scored 20 or more points in each contest, and eclipsed the 30-point plateau twice. During a 127-122 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 2, Jackson scored 34 points and dished out a season-high 16 assists.
Curry led the Warriors to a 4-0 week, with all wins coming on the road, behind a league-best 34.5 points. Curry, who also averaged 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds, scored 25 or more points in each contest, and twice reached the 40-point plateau. On Dec. 5, Curry connected on 9-of-15 three-point field goals en route to a game-high 44 points as the Warriors topped the Toronto Raptors 112-109.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Al Horford, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Orlando’s Victor Oladipo.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ David Blatt and the Golden State Warriors’ Luke Walton today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in October and November.
Blatt guided the Cavaliers to an Eastern Conference-best 13-4 (.765) record for games played in October and November. After dropping their season opener to the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers reeled off eight consecutive victories from Oct. 28 – Nov. 13. The defending conference champion Cavaliers own a 9-0 record at Quicken Loans Arena, and rank sixth in the NBA in both scoring (103.1 points) and team defense, limiting opponents to 96.5 points.
While filling in for head coach Steve Kerr (back surgery), Walton has led the defending champion Warriors to the best start in NBA history at 19-0. The Warriors lead the NBA in scoring at 115.3 points, and enjoy the largest point differential in the league at 15.4 points. Walton is in his second season on the Warriors’ staff, and previously served as a player development coach with the NBA D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders during the 2013-14 season.
Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, Indiana’s Frank Vogel, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan, Orlando’s Scott Skiles, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.