Warriors lose heartbreaker to Mozgov, Nuggets, fail to clinch playoff birth

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (48-29) lost the Denver Nuggets (34-44) in ugly fashion, 100-99, Thursday night, at Oracle Arena. Losing by one point doesn’t look so bad on it’s face, but the Warriors let a 20-point lead slip away, got out-worked for long stretches, were thoroughly dominated on the glass, and couldn’t convert on their first chance to seal a playoff birth. Stephen Curry nearly saved the day with a last-second floater, but wouldn’t be outdone by Kenneth Faried, who followed with one of his own.

The Warriors played well out of the gate. They quickly built a double-digit lead, a lead that grew to 20 just four minutes into the second quarter. From there the momentum swung to Denver’s favor, and for Golden State it all went down hill. The Nuggets kept chipping away, as the Warriors play slipped. Denver finally grabbing their first lead of the contest half way through the fourth.

Curry did his best Superman impression to try and salvage the win, but came up just short. He scored the Warriors last eight points to bring them back, very briefly giving them the lead. The last two of those points were a thing of beauty. With less then a minute to play, Curry somehow came down with a rebound, took it the length of the court weaving through several defenders, and floated a shot over Denver’s big front court. The shot gave Golden State a 99-98 lead with five seconds to play.

Unfortunately for Curry and the Warriors, Faried countered with his best Kryptonite impression. In those five remaining seconds he received an inbound pass, backed down Draymond Green, got up a floater of his own that he would sink to drown Golden State’s hopes for a win.

Faried may have hit the game winner, but the night belonged to Timofey Mozgov. The big center scored 23 points to go along with a career-high, and an NBA-high this season, 29 rebounds. He also had three blocks and a steal. Faried chipped in a big double-double as well, adding 18 points and 17 boards.

In the losing effort, Curry was the standout, but did struggle with his shot for much of the night in the face of heavy pressure from the Denver defense. He had a team-high 24 points, six assists, and four steals. Klay Thompson was their only other consistent offensive option, contributing 21 points.

Unfortunately Golden State’s other three starters had very poor nights. Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green combined for 14 points, on six-of-15 shooting.

The Warriors will have another shot at clinching tomorrow night in Los Angeles, when they will be facing off with the Lakers at the Staples Center. The game begins at 7:30 PM.

Warriors refuse to lose, mount late comeback to top Grizzlies, 100-93

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (45-27) simply wouldn’t be denied as Stephen Curry led a late comeback to topple the Memphis Grizzlies (43-29), 100-93, Friday night, at Oracle Arena. A Grizzlies win would have tied the two squads in the standings, and extended their luck on the Warriors home court, having won four straight in Oakland. Golden State was without David Lee and Andrew Bogut, but they still put together one of their more impressive outings of the season, leading to very different headlines.

The contest was close throughout, and was played with a true playoff atmosphere. Neither side ever held more than a seven-point lead, as the two Western Conference foes duked it out. The Warriors had a three-point lead after the first quarter, and that was trimmed down to one point heading into half time.

After another close quarter in the third, as it often does it all came down to the final 12 minutes. Heading into the waning minutes the momentum swung decidedly in the Grizzlies favor, and it looked like they would outlast Golden State. With a bit more than three minutes remaining, Memphis had opened up a game-high seven-point lead. The Grizzlies wouldn’t score another point, however, and the Warriors came alive, going on a 14-0 run.

A huge Draymond Green three-pointer brought the Dubs back to within just two points, and a minute later Curry followed suit with a trey of his own to tie grab back the lead. Golden State suffocated the Grizzlies offense in the final minute plus, and Curry provided the dagger on the offensive end. Two Klay Thompson free-throws with a few seconds left officially sealed the Warriors victory.

Curry was fantastic, finishing with a game-high 33 points, eight assists, five rebounds, two blocks, and a steal. If he was Batman, than Green may well have been his batman. He played a huge 32 minutes off the bench, and contributed 12 points and nine boards. Marreese Speights got his first start of the season, a decision that was initially confusing, but paid off. He had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and eight rebounds.

On the negative side Bogut took a hit to the groin just four minutes into the game, and never returned after heading to the locker room. His status moving forward is unknown, but would be a huge loss if he has to miss any significant time.

Zach Randolph led the way for Memphis in the losing effort. He posted a team-high 21 points and seven rebounds. Mike Conley added 20 points and six assists.

The Warriors are back in action this Sunday, when the New York Knicks come to town. The game starts at 6:00 PM.

Splash Brothers lead Warriors to 111-107 victory over Bucks

By Gabe Schapiro

They didn’t make it look easy, but the Golden State Warriors (44-26) scratched out a win against the Milwaukee Bucks (13-56), 111-107, Thursday night, at Oracle Arena. Coming into the contest, the Bucks had the worst record in the NBA. However, you wouldn’t have known it from watching the game. The Warriors played far from their best, but you have to give credit where credit is due, and Milwaukee played hard. Despite a big disadvantage in free throw attempts, and an uncharacteristically poor shooting night from beyond the arc, Golden State found a way to hold on.

The game was close throughout. Every time the Warriors made a small run and made people think they were about to run away with it, as they probably should have against an inferior opponent, the Bucks swung back and played tough. Heading into the locker room Golden State grasped a slight 53-51 lead.

After briefly trailing towards the end of the third quarter, the Warriors would lead the rest of the way, but never managed to convincingly put Milwaukee away until the final buzzer rang.

For Golden State, it was their talented backcourt that led the way. Stephen Curry had a game-high 31 points and 11 assists. He was one of the few Warriors to have some success from three-point range, hitting three-of-five. Klay Thompson wasn’t nearly as efficient, but added another 29 points.

Andrew Bogut had a strong game going up against his former club. He finished with eight points and 12 rebounds. David Lee contributed his nearly customary double-double, posting 22 points and 12 boards.

On the negative side, Harrison Barnes struggled mightily starting in place of the still out Andre Iguodala. He failed to score a point on seven field goal attempts, to go along with two turnovers. The bench also had a pretty quiet night, outside of a solid 12 points from Jordan Crawford in just 12 minutes of play.

For the Bucks it was a true team effort that made the Warriors sweat it out. A whopping seven players finished in double figures, four of whom did it from the bench. Brandon Knight was the standout, producing a team-high 27 points and six assists.

Golden State will rarely be able to turn in this kind of performance and still eek out a win, but thankfully they timed it against a bad team at home. They’ll need to clean up their mistakes for their next matchup against the best in the West, the San Antonio Spurs. The game is this Saturday, March 22, at 7:30 PM, at Oracle Arena.

Shorthanded Warriors make it look easy, beat Orlando 103-89

By Gabe Schapiro

No Andrew Bogut or Andre Iguodala? No problem. The Golden State Warriors (43-26) didn’t skip a beat despite two of their starters being out with injuries, easily beating the Orlando Magic (19-49) 103-89, Tuesday night, at Oracle Arena. Orlando has struggled mightily this season, but when Bogut and Iguodala were ruled out, the defensive backbones of the team, there is no doubt that it had some nervous for this one. Those concerns were fairly quickly put to rest, however, as all three of Golden State’s other starters picked up the slack. After the first quarter, this contest was rarely ever in any doubt.

The game started as a bit of a dogfight, in a tightly played opening frame that saw 13 lead changes. After 12 minutes the Warriors exited from the fray with a slim three-point advantage. There wouldn’t be another lead change the rest of the way.

Golden State slowly started pulling away from the Magic, and really slammed the door shut in a big third quarter, which saw them outscore Orlando 30-19.  The end of the bench saw some action late, as they eased to the victory.

It was nearly all good signs from the Dubs on this night. It was 14 minutes into the contest before they committed their first turnover. It was the third quarter before they missed their first free throw.

The three normal Warriors starters who did play in this one all had very strong games. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and David Lee finished with 23, 20, and 20 points respectively. Lee finished with a double-double, adding 10 rebounds to his line. Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes got the starting nod in the place of their injured stars, and while both struggled offensively, they chipped in in other ways. Green hauled in nine boards, dished out three assists, and had two steals. Barnes had five rebounds and three assists.

Golden State’s bench, which saw a little extra play tonight, had a strong game as well, particularly Mareese Speights and Steve Blake. Speights hasn’t played much recently, but clearly came in ready to go. He contributed 13 points, eight rebounds, and a block in 23 minutes. Blake also put up double-digit points, finishing with 12 to go along with four assists.

In the loss five Orlando players finished in double figures. Nikola Vucevic led the way with a team-high 15 points. Tobias Harris performed admirably off the bench, adding 14 points and a team-high six rebounds. Their backcourt really struggled, combining for just eight points.

The Warriors have now won two straight, and will look to make it three this Thursday, when they will be taking on the Milwaukee Bucks. The game starts at 7:30 PM, at Oracle Arena.

Warriors squander fast start, lose an ugly one to the Cavs 103-94

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (41-26) only managed to put together one good quarter, ultimately falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers (26-40), 103-94, Friday night, at Oracle Arena. Early on Golden State led by as many as 18, only to find themselves down by as many as 16 in the second half of the contest. The disappointing loss snaps a five game home winning streak for the Warriors. Klay Thompson missed a rare game to attend his grandfathers’ funeral, and it appeared that his presence was missed. At times it appeared that Stephen Curry was playing by himself, and they simply couldn’t get stops when they had to.

The Warriors got off to a lightning fast start, opening up a 20-4 lead within the first six minutes of the game. The Cavaliers composed themselves a bit, but were still looking up at a 32-16 deficit heading into the second quarter. All five Golden State starters had an assist, and the bench scored four field goals, more than they did in the entire contest against the Los Angeles Clippers two days ago.

That’s where most of the good news would end for the Warriors, however, as Cleveland caught fire and Golden State’s wheels all but flew off. In the second frame the Dubs were badly outplayed, and helped the Cavaliers case with far too many turnovers. Heading into the locker room the Warriors lead had shrunk to just one point, at 53-52.

Unfortunately for Golden State, the third quarter was more of the same. Their mistakes didn’t stop, which led to them being outscored 68-39 in the second and third quarters combined. Heading into the final 12 minutes, the Warriors found themselves down 84-71.

Golden State tried to put together some semblance of a comeback, but nine points would be as close as they could get to the lead. Cleveland finished out the game with relative ease, in one of the Warriors more disappointing losses of the season.

Curry had a pretty strong game amidst the sloppy play, finishing with a game-high 27 points and eight assists. He was five-of-10 from beyond the arc, and added three steals. Draymond Green was fantastic off the bench for another glimmer of a bright spot, tying a career-high with 18 points, to go along with nine rebounds and as always good hustle defense. The most glaring stat of the night, however, was probably the Warriors 17 turnovers.

For the Cavs Spencer Hawes was a force in the paint, posting a double-double. He had a team-high 22 points, and a game-high 13 rebounds. Their young backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters had good games as well, combining to score 34 points, dish out eight rebounds, and grab five steals.

The Warriors followed up a five-game win streak by losing their last two. They’ll look to get back to their winning ways this Sunday, March 16, against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Lee led Warriors earn ugly win, outlast Rockets in OT, 102-99

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (33-22) didn’t always make it look pretty, but as the saying goes, a win is a win. On Thursday night, at Oracle Arena, they beat the Houston Rockets (37-18) for the first time this season, 102-99, in overtime. Both offenses struggled for much of the game, in what often came down to isolation plays for James Harden against isolation plays for David Lee. When the dust settled, Golden State had grinded out a tough win.

The Warriors had their customary slow start to the game. Through 12 minutes of play they only trailed by four, but had only gotten eight points from their starters, compared to 12 points from their bench. Both teams were plagued by bad turnovers, miscues, and missed open looks.

The Dubs rebounded a bit in the second, turning the four point deficit into a four-point lead at halftime. Surprisingly the two foes star guards, Stephen Curry and Harden, had extremely quiet starts. Heading into the locker rooms they had only accounted for five points apiece. They would both come alive in the stretch run.

The sloppy but close play continued. Heading into the fourth quarter Golden State held on to their four-point lead, but it wasn’t a lead they held with confidence. Sure enough, in the fourth the Rockets clawed their way back, tying the game back up halfway through the quarter. In the waning minutes the two sides traded blows. Harden made one of his many big shots, a 23-foot jumper with 6 seconds left, to give Houston an 89-87 lead. Curry responded with a beauty of his own, a left-handed floater in traffic that arced over the skyscraper that is Dwight Howard, and sent the game into overtime.

In extra time, Curry again came up big and gave Golden State the quick lead with a three-pointer, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Jermaine O’Neal, starting in the place of the still injured Andrew Bogut, had the play of the game. With 23 seconds left in OT, the Rockets’ Chandler Parsons drove hard to the basket, and O’Neal elevated to meet him at the basket and ferociously blocked the shot.

Curry made four of four free throws, and Draymond Green made two more, to ice the victory in the waning seconds.

Curry made the big shots late, but it was Lee who was practically the entire Warriors offense for long stretches of the game. He finished with a team-high 28 points, to go along with 14 rebounds. Curry’s strong second half gave him 25 points and six assists.

Iguodala had a relatively quiet night outside of some big points in OT, but still filled up the stat sheet. He compiled 11 points, eight boards, and seven assists. Guard Steve Blake made his debut in a Golden State uniform after the trade that sent him over from the Los Angeles Lakers, and he finished with three points, two rebounds, and one assist in 18 minutes off the bench.

For Houston, Harden led the way with a game-high 39 points, 34 of which came in the second half and overtime. Chandler Parsons had a strong game, adding 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Dwight Howard had a dismal shooting night, hitting just 4-13 shots, but made his impact felt with 21 rebounds and four blocks.

The Warriors are back in action this Saturday, when the Brooklyn Nets come to town. The game begins at 7:30 PM.

Warriors can’t overcome LeBron’s greatness, lose nail biter 111-110

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (31-22) lost a heartbreaker to the Miami Heat (37-14), 111-110, Wednesday night, at Oracle Arena. The Warriors looked horrible early before storming back and making a game of it. It eventually became the LeBron James and Stephen Curry show, in an epic duel of greatness. After beating Miami on their home turf last time these squads faced off, tonight the Heat exacted some revenge. James hit a last second three-pointer to stun the Golden State faithful, icing the victory for Miami.

For much of the early going the Warriors offense looked hopeless. They came out of the gate cold, and for a time it looked like they might lose a blowout. However, they rose to the occasion, and pushed back against the defending champions.

Golden State trailed by as many as 21-points, a few minutes into the third quarter. Thanks in large part to Curry and some impressive paly from Harrison Barnes on the bench, the Warriors began mounting a comeback. They went on a 20-2 run, and crawled all the way back to take the lead on a Curry three seconds into the fourth.

The momentum swung back in the Heat’s favor, who re-took the lead and held it for much of the quarter. With 47 seconds left, Curry nailed a 15-foot jumper to tie it up. Then he struck again, making an impressive lay-up in traffic with just 14 seconds remaining, which turned into a three-point play, giving the Warriors the 110-108 lead.

In their final possession Miami predictably went to James, who had been on fire all game. Andre Iguodala stuck with him, but the King couldn’t be stopped. He nailed a deep, fade-away trey with just 0.2 seconds left, lifting the Heat to victory.

Curry was the obvious standout for the Dubs. He scored a team-high 29 points on just 14 shots, to go along with seven assists and five rebounds. David Lee contributed a double-double, posting 21 points and 11 boards. Barnes was big off the bench, compiling 14 points and five rebounds. Draymond Green started in the place of Andrew Bogut once again, and filled up the stat sheet. He added eight points, eight boards, two steals, and three blocks.

For the Heat, the unstoppable James finished one assist shy of a triple-double. He finished with a game-high 36 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists. Chris Bosh had 19 points and five boards. Michael Beasley and Norris Cole had good games off the bench, contributing 16 and 10 points respectively.

Despite the loss, the Warriors did well to come-back from such a large deficit against one of the league’s best teams. It wasn’t the positive note they were hoping for heading into the All Star break, but there were positives to be found. They’re back in action on Wednesday, February 19, when they’ll be traveling to Sacramento to take on the Kings.

Speights’ career night leads Warriors blowout over 76ers, 123-80

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (31-21) thoroughly dominated the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers (15-33), 123-80, Monday night, at Oracle Arena. The 76ers came into this contest as one of the league’s worst, and the shorthanded Warriors made them look like it. The game was never close, as Golden State had the clear edge in every respect. Marreese Speights was going up against the team that drafted him, and certainly made it a special one.

In what would be a good indicator of the rest of the night, the game began with a Philadelphia turnover leading to a Stephen Curry three-pointer. As a team they hit four of their first five shots, including 3-3 from beyond the arc. They kept pouring it on from there.

It was the surprising Speights who provided the majority of the entertainment tonight. He has spent most of the season as a bench player with minimal impact. He was once again a bench player, but on this night his impact was anything but minimal He entered the game with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, and seemingly out of nowhere turned into the human highlight reel.

Soon after entering, Speights was fouled and hit two free-throws, and much like the Warriors as a whole, he just kept scoring. He hit his first seven shots from the field, including a rare three-pointer, and 5-5 from the free throw line. At the half he already had 22 points, his season-high. Heading into the locker rooms, Speights had helped the team build an already insurmountable 66-33 lead.

He kept it up in the second half. Golden State coasted to the easy win, and when the dust had settled, he had scored a career-high 32 points, in just 26 minutes. For good measure, he added eight rebounds and three blocks. At one point the beaming Warriors faithful rained “M-V-P” chants down on him. He received a resounding standing ovation once he was removed, when the Warriors emptied their bench in the final minutes.

In all, six Dubs finished in double figures. On a rare night when he won’t dominate the headlines, Curry was still fantastic. He contributed 23 points, including 6-9 from three-point range, along with eight assists.

Draymond Green started for the third consecutive night, with Andrew Bogut still out, and notched his first career regular season double-double. He posted 11 points, 10 boards, and four blocks.

For the 76ers, Michael Carter-Williams was probably the only bright spot. He had a team-high 24 points, as one of three Philly players to finish in double figures.

The Warriors have one more game before the All-Star break. It’s not one they can write off, however, as they always dangerous Miami Heat are coming to town. The game is this Wednesday, at 7:30 pm.

Curry leads shorthanded Warriors past Bulls, 102-87

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (30-20) overcame a sluggish start, easing their way over the Chicago Bulls (24-25), 102-87, Thursday night, at Oracle Arena. The Warriors were without their two best big men, an already thin position, as Andrew Bogut and David Lee sat out due to injuries. Jermaine O’Neal and Draymond Green got the starts in their place. Despite the depleted roster, Golden State made much of the game look easy in a nice bounce back win.

The Bulls quickly opened up a 15-point lead in the first quarter, as the Warriors had an ugly start. The mood seemed grim, as it looked like it could be another poor outing for the scuffling Dubs squad. In the waning minutes of the first they seemed to slowly start righting the ship, ultimately carrying their regained composure through the rest of the game.

After chipping away at the lead in the second quarter, Golden State grabbed their first lead with 47 seconds left in the half. By the time the buzzer went off they had turned a 13-point deficit into a four-point advantage. They never turned back, building on their lead at the end of the third, and ultimately cruising to the victory with a strong fourth.

With two starters out, Stephen Curry stepped up with a great game. He scored a game-high 34 points on 13-19 shooting, 4-6 from three-point range, to go along with nine assists.

The other half of the splash brothers, Klay Thompson, did his part as well. He chipped in 22 points, 3-6 beyond the arc, to go with solid defense.

Harrison Barnes, who has been struggling as of late, had a good game off the bench. He scored 11, including a big three-pointer late to hammer the last nail into the Bulls coffin. He added six rebounds and two steals, in 29 minutes. Jordan Crawford also played well, scoring another 11 points in 21 minutes.

Four Chicago players finished in double figures, led by a double-double from Taj Gibson. He notched 26 points and 14 rebounds. Joakim Noah accomplished the rare rebounds-assists double-double, finishing with just seven points, but 10 boards and 11 assists.

The Warriors hope this is step one in regaining some consistency to their play. They’ve got the Phoenix Suns next up on the docket, when they travel to Arizona this Saturday, February 8. The game begins at 6:00 pm.

Warriors offense falls flat, lose to Wizards 88-85

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (27-19) struggled for most of the game, losing to the Washington Wizards (22-22), 88-85, Tuesday night, at Oracle Arena. Neither squad looked particularly good, in a contest that quickly turned into an ugly offensive showing. Both sides failed to shoot above a 38% clip, and combined for 37 turnovers.

The contest remained close throughout in a very defense-oriented game, and ultimately came down to which side would make the least mistakes and hit the big shot when the opportunity presented itself.

For the Wizards it was their electric backcourt that saved the day, and nailed the last nail in the Warriors coffin. Washington held a slight one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Bradley Beal, who’s impact had been limited, came up big and sunk three straight from beyond the arc to open up a lead.

Golden State slowly scratched their way back. A tough David Lee lay-up in traffic tied the game up at 85-85 with 1:47 to play. Unfortunately, that would be the last points they could muster.

On the very next possession Beal finally missed a three-pointer, but an offensive rebound kept it alive for the Wizards. The pass quickly went to a wide-open John Wall, who nailed the trey. The basket would prove to be the game-winner. Stephen Curry had the final shot, but Trevor Ariza did an impressive job covering him, and all Curry could get off was an awkward heave that never had much of a chance.

For Golden State, Curry was their only consistent source of offense. Despite an off shooting night, he finished with a game-high 23 points, to go along with four assists and four steals. He was the only Warrior to reach double figures until Klay Thompson joined him in the fourth quarter. Thompson contributed 13, on 5-of-17 shooting.

Lee and Andre Iguodala both struggled. They combined to make just four-of-17 shots, for 16 points.

Golden State’s bench, which has struggled for much of the season, was the biggest bright spot. They combined to hit 11-of-20 shots, for 29 points. Jordan Crawford in particular played a big role in bringing the team back in the fourth quarter with several electric plays.

Beal led the way for Washington. He contributed a team-high 20 points, with seven rebounds and four assists. Wall came up big when he needed to, and had 15 points, eight boards, and five assists. Ariza and Marcin Gortat both finished with double-digit rebounds, with 11 and 12 respectively. As a team they out-rebounded the Dubs, 56-47.

It was a disappointing loss after such a strong win over the Portland Trail Blazers a couple of nights ago. They’ll look to rebound when the LA Clippers come to town, this Thursday.