Warriors get Kuminga 7th pick; Kings select Queta 39th overall pick

Jonathan Kuminga the Golden State Warriors 7th overall pick in the NBA draft receives congratulations from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn on Thu Jul 29, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jessica Kwong

Golden State Warriors: The 2021 NBA Draft took place Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Golden State Warriors drafted two young players: forward Jonathan Kuminga with the seventh overall pick and guard Moses Moody with the 14th overall pick.

Kuminga, from Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to the US in 2016 and graduated from high school at The Patrick School in New Jersey. Last season, he averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.00 steals in 32.8 minutes in 13 games for the NBA G League Ignite. Kuminga will wear No. 00.

Moody, from Little Rock, Arkansas, as a freshman at the University of Arkansas averaged 16.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.03 steals in 33.7 minutes. He won 2020-21 AP All-America Honorable Mention honors, All-SEC First Team and SEC Freshman of the Year. Moody will wear No. 4.

The 2021 Draft was the first time in Warriors franchise history that they had two Lottery picks since the Draft Lottery started in 1985. Golden State selected two players in the top 14 picks for the first time since 2001.

Sacramento Kings: Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings selected Neemias Queta from Utah State with the 39th overall pick. As a junior at Utah State during the 2020-21 season, Queta averaged 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 3.3 blocks, 1.1 steals and 30.0 minutes per game in 29 games.

Queta was the Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year in 2021 and 2019. He “brings a defensive prowess to the Kings after holding records of most career blocks (219) and blocks per game (2.5) during his three-year stint at Utah State,” the Kings stated in a press release.

The first three draft picks went as planned: the Detroit Pistons selected Cade Cunningham, the Houston Rockets took Jalen Green and the Cleveland Cavaliers nabbed Evan Mobley.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Will Warriors deal Wiseman to bring in more talent?

Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman seen here taking a shot against the Phoenix Suns DeAndre Ayton on Thu Mar 4, 2021 in Phoenix. Wiseman has been in recent discussions about whether the Warriors will keep him on the team or not (AP News file photo)

Amaury Pi-González

Just because the Golden State Warriors were eliminated prematurely by the Memphis Grizzles doesn’t mean they have to overhaul the team. They still have Stephen Curry who at 33 still one of the best players in the world. But they could use another efficient point guard to help the team during those minutes that Curry is not on the court.

Curry is a Hall of Fame player, but even Oscar winners need a supporting cast to make a movie worth the time and effort and hopefully a return on investment. James Wiseman is a young center still learning and with the potential of really helping this team that does need more help on rebounds.

Wiseman at 7′ 1″ could be trade-bait. I like Wiseman and believe he is going to be one of the top centers in the NBA in a couple of years. The Warriors said they are not going to trade him and they expect him to play with them next season, however, I am not too sure of that.

Especially because of his youth and enormous potential James Wiseman is a player that many teams are attracted to and could bring high returns to the Warriors.

When it comes to rebounds, the Warriors are not one of the best teams in the league. The Warriors could be one-trade-away from returning as an elite team in the NBA. Will they pull the trigger? A big question today is: What is the trade value of Wiseman?

There is not much clarity on this, the Warriors organization will have to make that decision, to “trade or not to trade”. One thing for sure is that shooting guard Klay Thompson should come back next season and hopefully most of the troops (like power-forward Draymond Green, who finished third for the NBA defensive player of the year) will be healthy and ready to contend again for another NBA title. This could be a key off-season for the Golden State Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors were one of the few teams in the NBA to first broadcast in Spanish during the 1990’s together with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.

Amaury Pi-González was the first and only Spanish play by play broadcaster to date, for the Warriors, over KIQI 1010AM La Grande 1010 in San Francisco.

Warriors’ season ends lose heartbreaker in overtime to Grizzlies 117-112

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors looks down at the floor as the Warriors were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Western Conference Play In game at Chase Center in San Francisco on Friday May 21, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors (0-2) lost a heartbreaker Friday night to the Memphis Grizzlies (2-0) 117-112. The Warriors lost by three to the Lakers Wednesday night. Had they won the game, they would have been the eighth seed and play the Utah Jazz this Sunday. Could the Warriors rebound?

Did they have enough gas left in the tank to take down the young and hungry Memphis team? The Warriors beat the Grizzlies last Sunday 113-101, and the team was confident they could beat Memphis again. Unfortunately for Golden State, Memphis figured out a way to beat them.

The Grizzlies’ young stars Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks led Memphis to the playoffs. They gave the Warriors all they could handle. Golden State didn’t quit as a late surge in the fourth quarter forced the game into overtime.

The Grizzlies got off to a great start. They were leading 24-14 when Steph Curry went on a personal 10-2 run to bring the Warriors within two, 26-24. Jordan Poole hit a three to give the Warriors a short-lived lead 27-26. Memphis regained the lead to finish the first quarter leading 30-29. 

Things did not go well for the Warriors in the second quarter. Memphis started the quarter on a 15-9 run. They increased the lead to 15, 57-42. The Warriors Stephen Curry made a three, and Jordan Poole made a two-point basket to close within ten, 59-49.

The Grizzlies answered with a three to finish the first half leading 62-49. The Grizzlies outscored the Warriors 32-20 in the period. The Warriors continued to have problems handling the ball. They turned the ball over nine times in the first half to give the Grizzlies 13 points. Curry led the Warriors with 17. No other Warrior were in double figures. The Grizzlies’ bench outscored the Warriors bench 25-11. 

The Warriors’ defense came to life in the third quarter. The Warriors held the Grizzlies to 16 points while scoring 24. The Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks hounded Curry all night long. Curry and Andrew Wiggins helped the Warriors fightback to finish the third quarter trailing by five, 78-73.

The fourth quarter would be a nailbiter. Memphis upped the lead to nine 97-88 with less than three minutes left in the game. The Warriors went on a 9-0 run tie the game 97-97. Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and Curry all made key plays on the 9-0 run. Memphis went ahead by two 99-97 with 55 seconds left.

Andrew Wiggins made a bucket to the game 99-99. Memphis had the ball with 33.2 seconds left. The Warriors defense came up with the stop. The Warriors had 9.2 seconds left to make a basket and win the game. They could not score, and the game went into overtime.

Memphis scored the first bucket in OT. Wiggins tied it with a two-pointer to tie the game at 101-101. Curry scored a basket to put the Warriors in the lead 102-101. The Grizzlies’ Grayson Allen connected on two three-point shots to make it 107-103.

Green and Poole made baskets from downtown to give the s the Warriors advantage, 109-107. The Grizzlies’ Xavier Tillman made a three. Ja Morant made two more buckets to put the Grizzlies in the driver’s seat 114-109 with four seconds left. Poole hit a three to cut the lead to two, 114-112. With two seconds left in the game and Memphis had the ball. Desmond Bane scored the final three points of the game. Memphis wins 117-112.

Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors’ season ended Friday night. The Warriors lost key players to injuries. Klay Thompson will return to action next season. He suffered an Achilles tendon injury in November and worked hard to get back into playing shape.

Rookie center James Wiseman suffered a knee injury, Kelly Oubre, Jr wrist, Eric Paschall hip flexor. The Warriors were down to eight players. Curry had an amazing season and is now a candidate for the NBA’s MVP award. Jordan Poole showed that he could be an offensive threat coming off the bench. Poole was sent down to the G-League. He found his game.

Andrew Wiggins played well on both ends of the court this year. Green, a finalist for Defensive Player of the year, excelled as a point guard. He was third in the league with assists, averaging about nine per game. 

Curry led the Warriors with 39 points. He was 13-for-28 from the floor and connected on six threes. Andrew Wiggins had a double-double with 22 points and ten boards. Green did everything he could to help the Warriors effort. He finished the night with a triple-double.

The Warriors usually never lose when Green has a triple-double. It was the second time in his career that the team lost when he achieved his goal. His line was 11 points, 16 rebounds, and ten assists. Poole had 19, Kent Bazemore ten.

As a team, the W’s shot 44.7% from the floor. They made 12 threes.

Ja Morant led Memphis with 35 points. Dillon Brooks had 13, Jarret Jackson 10. The Memphis bench outscored the Warriors bench 40-27. 

The Warriors committed 21 turnovers. Memphis scored 22 points off those turnovers. 

So, the season ends for Golden State. The team played well down the stretch. Curry was amazing. The team may not be going to the playoffs this year, but there is great anticipation for next season when Thompson, Wiseman, Paschall, and Oubre return. They were fun to watch.

Lakers outlast Warriors win thriller 103-100; Play in with Grizzlies on Friday night

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James forward (23) tries to take a shot against the Golden State Warriors forward (95) Juan Toscano-Anderson during the first half of the NBA Western Conference Play In game on Wed May 19, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers met to decide the seventh seed in the NBA’s Western Conference. The defending NBA champions had a rough season as two of the superstar players, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, missed significant playing time due to injuries.

The injury bug also affected the Warriors. Golden State lost Klay Thompson for the season, and Kelly Oubre, Jr. is sidelined with a wrist injury. Rookie James Wiseman went down with a knee injury and was done for the year. The Warriors were down to using eight players. The task was monumental. The Lakers blew out the Warriors in two of three games played in the regular season.

Steph Curry has a history of not shooting well in Staples Arena. Was it possible the Warriors could find a way to beat the Lakers and become the seventh seed? The Warriors pulled out all the stops, but it was not enough as they fell to the Lakers 103-100 Wednesday night.

The Lakers will face the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. The Warriors return home to play the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night at the Chase Center. The winner will be playing the Utah Jazz in the first round of the tournament. 

The Warriors raced out to an early 15-4 lead in the first quarter. The Lakers, as so many teams in the NBA have done, put two players on Stephen Curry. The Lakers wanted the other four players on the court to beat them. The Lakers were much bigger than the Warriors. Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, and LeBron James had the height advantage over Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins. The Warriors were excellent on defense, and they finished the first quarter leading 28-22.

In the second quarter, Curry hit three threes. They held the Lakers to 32% from the floor. Jordan Poole and Juan Toscan-Anderson knocked down threes to propel the Warriorss to a ten-point lead 52-42 with seconds left to play in the first half.

Curry knocked down his third three when he connected as the buzzer sounded to end the first 24 minutes of play. The Warriors led 55-42. Curry led the Warriors with 15. Wiggins had nine, Juan Toscano-Anderson eight. The Lakers’ Alex Caruso paced LA with 12. The Warriors held the Lakers’ big three scorers, James, Davis, and Dennis Schroder, to 13 points total.

After the halftime intermission, the Lakers came out determined to change the outcome of the game. LA went on a 14-2 run to start the third quarter to close with a single point 57-56. The Warriors regrouped as Curry, Kent Bazemore, and Kevon Looney made crucial buckets to put the ‘s ahead by nine 73-62.

The Lakers fought back. LeBron James hit a three to make it 76-73. Anthony Davis threw down a deuce to close within one, 76-75. Curry countered with a three. The Warriors finished the quarter with a two-point lead 79-77. The Lakers outscored the Warriors 35-24 in the third period. The Laker defense forced eight Warrior turnovers that led to 12 points for LA. The Warriors knew they had to play better in the fourth quarter if they hoped to be the seventh seed. 

Things did not go well for the Warriors at the start of the final stanza. The Lakers rolled off an 8-0 run to lead for the first time in the game 85-79. The Warriors fought back to tie the game 91-91. The Warriors regained the lead 96-95 when Jordan Poole connected on a three. The teams tied again 100-100 with 1:21 left to play. LeBron James hit a three-pointer just before the 24-second clock went off the put LA in the driver’s seat. The Lakers’ defense stopped the Warriors to win 103-100.

Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors will face the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night at the Chase Center. The Warriors beat the Grizzlies 113-101 last Sunday night. The winner of Friday Night’s game will face the number one seed, the Utah Jazz, in the playoffs. The loser is done for the year. 

Curry finished the night with 37 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. He was 12-for-23 from the floor, and he connected on six threes in nine tries. Andrew Wiggins finished with 21. Kent Bazemore and Jordan Poole each had ten. Draymond Green finished with two points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Kevon Looney pulled down 13 boards. 

The Warriors shot 44% from the floor, and LA shot 40%. The Warriors made 15 threes, and LA knocked down ten. The Lakers’ defense helped LA win the game. They had 15 steals, seven blocked shots, and forced 20 Warrior turnovers. The Warriors committed five in the first half. The Lakers earned 29 points off the turnovers. The Lakers also had the advantage from the free-throw line. They outscored the Warriors 19-11 in that department. 

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 25 points. He had five in the first half. Davis also had a double-double with 12 rebounds. LeBron James finished the night with a triple-double. He scored 22 points to go along with 11 boards and ten assists. Other Lakers in double-figures were Alex Caruso, 14, Dennis Schroder, 12, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ten.

The battle for the right to play Utah will start at 6 pm at the Chase Center in San Francisco. 

Golden State Warriors podcast with David Zizmor: Will LeBron’s ankle sprain be a factor in Wednesday night play in game?

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) as seen here playing against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sun May 16, 2021 will face the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center in Los Angeles for the Play In game Wed May 19, 2021 (AP News photo)

On the Warriors podcast with David:

#1 Because the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James has had the high ankle sprain and has been reportedly not been 100% how effective will he be against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at Staples Center?

#2 The Warriors Stephen Curry for a lot of this season had been carry the load for the Warriors and his offensive nights scoring some 30 points or more and getting into the 40 point range has been nothing short of amazing.

#3 Dave as you look at this play in game how do you see these two teams matching up on Wednesday night in the Southland?

Join David Zizmor for the Golden State Warriors podcast Wednesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Curry pours in 46 points leads W’s to sixth win in a row 113-101

The Golden State Warriors forward Kent Bazemore offers guard Stephen Curry a drink to cool off from his 46 point night against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Sun May 16, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors (39-33) played the final game of the regular season Sunday afternoon at the Chase Center in San Francisco against the Memphis Grizzlies (38-34). The teams were tied with identical season records 38-33. The winner of the game would be the eighth team in the Western Conference.

The loser would be the ninth. In the new NBA play-in format, the eighth team plays the number seven. The winner of that game becomes the number seven seed and will face the second-best team in the conference in the first round of the playoffs.

The loser will face the winner of the game between number nine and number ten. The loser of that game is done for the season. The winner meets the loser of number eight or number seven. The winner then becomes the eighth seed and faces the team with the best record. The whole play-in formula sounds confusing, but after Sunday’s game, things are a bit clearer. The Warriors helped explain what will happen as they beat the Grizzlies 113-101.

The Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, had to find a way to slow down the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter. The Warriors ended the third quarter leading by 17, 86-69. The Grizzlies had bottled up Curry in the first half. They held him to 13 points, and they trailed at the end of the first half, 55-49. Curry came to life in the third quarter when he put 17 points on the board. The Warriors seemed to be on their way to an easy victory.

However, the Warriors have to be wary of a fourth-quarter letdown. The Grizzlies’ young star, Dillon Brooks, went on a personal 8-0 run to make it 86-77 game. Curry made a three and a deuce to put the W up 91-79. The Grizzlies put their offense into overdrive as they continued to put points on the board while stopping the Warriors on defense.

They tied the game at 91-91, finishing a 22-5 run. The question at this point was this: can the Warriors regroup and find a way to win? The question was answered when Dillon Brooks fouled Draymond Green. Brooks, who covered Curry like a blanket, was gone.

Green made the two free throws to make it 93-91. Memphis responded by going ahead 97-95. The Warriors’ Jordan Poole started a 14-0 run with a three. Andrew Wiggins scored to give the Warriors the lead 100-97. Curry showed the Grizzlies why he is the best shooter in the game. Curry made three consecutive threes to give Golden State a 12-point lead 109-97. The Grizzlies were toast. They could not catch Golden State. The Warriors win 113-101.

Game Notes and Stats: The Warriors will face either the Portland Trailblazers or the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night. A Laker loss and a Portland win will send the Warriors to Portland. If the Lakers win, the Warriors will face the Lakers at the Staples Center. If the Warriors win the play-in game, they will be the seventh seed. If they lose, they will host the winner of the game between Memphis and San Antonio for the eighth seed.

Curry joined Michael Jordan as the only two players 33 years or older to win the NBA scoring title. Curry finished the season with an average of 31.8 points per game. Curry finished the night with 46 points. It was the 11th game this season with 40 or more points. It was the 38th game with 30 or more points. 

Curry had help from Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Juan Toscano-Anderson. Green’s line was 14 points, nine boards, and nine assists. He almost had a triple-double. Wiggins had a double-double- with 21 points and ten rebounds. Wiggins continued to be consistent on both ends of the court.

Poole had 15. The Warriors shot almost 50% from the floor. They connected on 15 threes. Curry knocked down nine of the 15 threes. Quite a performance for the two-time NBA MVP. The Warriors outrebounded the taller Grizzlies 52-48. The Warriors recorded 26 assists on 41 made field goals. The only ugly stat was the 19 turnovers.

The Grizzlies’ Jonas Valenciunas paced his club with 29 points and 16 rebounds. Dillon Brooks had 18, Ja Morant 16, Kyle Anderson 10, and Jaren Jackson 14. The Grizzlies shot 43% from the floor, and they made six threes in 25 attempts.

The Warriors won their sixth game in a row to finish the season 39-33. The Grizzlies are 38-34. The Warriors’ next game is Wednesday night, either in Portland or Los Angeles.

Warriors hang on to slip by Pelicans 125-122; Poole leads with 38 points for W’s

The Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole (3) shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (right) and center Willy Hermangomez bottom at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Fri May 14, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors (38-33) won their fifth straight game, downing the New Orleans Pelicans (31-40) 125-122 Friday night at the Chase Center. The Warriors currently reside in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies, with the same record as the Warriors, meet on Sunday to determine which team will be the number eight team.

A loss to the Pelicans and a Grizzlie win Friday night would not have changed the importance of Sunday’s game. The Warriors’ head coach, Steve Kerr, decided to rest his three best players Friday night. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins watched the game from the bench.

The Pelicans, in 11th place in the conference, were eliminated from the playoffs last week. Their head coach, Stan Van Gundy, rested Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Steve Adams. Zion Williamson broke his finger last week in the second game against the Warriors, and he is done for the year.

Jordan Poole and Mychal Mulder were in the starting lineup at the guard position. Juan Toscano-Anderson was the other bench player getting a starting assignment. The teams played a very fast-paced and entertaining first quarter. Mychal Mulder was channeling Curry as he knocked down five threes in the first quarter. Jordan Poole paced the Warrior offense with 14 points. The Warriors outscored the Pelicans 41-32 at the end of the first 12 minutes of action.

The Warriors continued to shoot well from the floor. Kent Bazemore, along with Nico Mannion, helped keep the pressure on the Pelican defense. The Warriors outscored the Pelicans 34-25 in the quarter to finish the first half leading 75-57. Mychal Mulder made his sixth three of the game in the quarter and finished the first half with 20 points. Jordan Poole led the team with 24.

Kent Bazemore had 13, and Nico Mannion added nine. The Warriors shot 60% from the floor. Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the Pelicans with 11. Willy Herangomez had 10, Eric Bledsoe 9, and Jaxson Hayes 7. The Pelicans shot 45% from the floor.

The Pelicans coach, Stan Van Gundy, must have had a heart-to-heart talk with his team about playing defense during the halftime break. The Pelicans turned the tables on the Warriors in the third quarter. Their offense came alive as they put 33 points on the board while holding Golden State to 24. Jordan Poole injured his ankle midway in the quarter. He went to the locker room and had his ankle iced. The Warriors finished the third quarter leading 99-90.

The Warriors were able to maintain the lead for most of the fourth quarter. In his first game in over a month, Eric Paschall was a catalyst keeping the Pelicans at bay. Mulder hit a two-pointer to put the Warriors ahead 112-101. They led by eleven 119-108. It was at this point that the Warrior offense went ice cold.

The Pelicans made stop after stop and were able to go on a 12-0 run to take the lead 120-119. The Warriors went three minutes and 39 seconds without scoring. Eric Paschall broke the spell with a basket to put the Warriors ahead 121-120.

The Pelicans answered with a basket of their own to lead 122-121, with 25.9 seconds left. Jordan Poole hit a basket that took just four seconds of the clock. New Orleans has 21 seconds to find a way to beat the Warriors. They tried, but the Warrior defense held. The Warriors had control of the ball. The Pelicans fouled Poole with 0.1 seconds left. Poole made both free throws, and the game was over. The Warriors win 125-122.

Game Notes and Stats: With the win, the Warriors are 39-33 for the year. The Pelicans are 31-40. The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Sacramento Kings in Memphis 107-106 to remain in the ninth spot. The winner of Sunday’s game will play the Number seven team in the conference. The Number nine team will play the Number ten team.

Jordan Poole and Mychal Mulder had career-highs in scoring Friday night. Poole finished with 38 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Jordan knocked down four threes. Mulder’s line was 28 points, two rebounds, one assist, and was seven-for 13 from downtown.

Other Warriors in double figures were Kent Bazemore with 14, Eric Paschall had 12 points and four rebounds, Nico Mannion 11 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Juan Toscano-Anderson almost had a triple-double. His numbers were nine points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. The Warrior shot 49% from the floor. They made 17 threes in 39 tries. 

The Pelicans’ Nickeil Alexander-Walker had quite a night with 30 points. He connected on four threes. Naji Marshall had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Willy Hernangomez had 10. Wenyen Garland had 14, and Jaxson Hayes had 19.

The Warriors meet the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at the Chase Center. The game will start at 12:30 pm.

Golden State Warriors podcast with David Zizmor: Warriors come back on Suns remain in 8th in Western Conference

The Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins who scored 38 points against the Phoenix Suns is congratulated by forward Draymond Green (23) at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Tue May 11, 2021 (AP News photo)

On the Warriors podcast with David:

#1 The Golden State Warriors (37-33) were down but staged a comeback holding the Phoenix Suns (48-21) to just 18 points in the fourth quarter and scored 30 to win it 122-116.

#2 One of the keys to the Warriors offense was Andrew Wiggins who scored 38 points the Suns just couldn’t shut his shot or his offense down.

#3 It’s a tight spot for that last and final eighth spot in the Western Conference that the Warriors are holding onto they host the New Orleans Pelicans (31-38) on Friday night at the Chase Center and hope to keep winning to stay alive for a playoff position.

Join David each Wednesday for the Warriors podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Warriors fourth quarter rally stuns Suns 122-116; Wiggins top scorer with 38 points for Golden State

The Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (30) takes a shot against the Phoenix Suns Devin Booker at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Tue May 11, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

For the second night in a row, the Golden State Warriors (37-33) faced one of the top teams in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns (48-21). The Suns entered the game, still smarting from a 123-110 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night. If the Suns were to win, they would be just one game behind the Utah Jazz in the race for first place in the Western Conference.

If Utah and Phoenix finish with identical records, Phoenix would be Division champs as they won the season series from the Jazz. The Warriors needed a win to remain in eighth place in the Western Conference. The eighth-place would give the Warriors two chances to make the final eight teams for the Western Conference title. If the Warriors finish in ninth or tenth, one loss will send them home.

Things did not go well for the Warriors in the first half. Phoenix, as so many teams have done, had two men defending Stephen Curry. The Warriors needed someone to step up and fill the void if Curry was shackled. Andrew Wiggins was the man. Wiggins finished the night with 38 points to lead the Warriors to an exciting 122-116 win.

 In the first quarter, the teams played a very face-paced, competitive game. The Warriors led 21-20 when Phoenix went on a 16-2 run to lea 36-23. The Suns were making threes, and the Warriors were not. The Suns connected on six threes. Phoenix led 38-29 after the first 12 minutes of action.

Things didn’t get better for Golden State in the second period. The Suns led by 15 points, 55-40, about halfway through the period. Kent Bazemore, Andrew Wiggins, and Juan Toscano-Anderson helped the Warriors close the gap to a eight-point deficit, 66-58 at the end of the first half.

The Suns Jae Crowder led his team with 17 points. Crowder knocked down five shots from behind the three-point arc. The 36-year-old veteran point guard, Chris Paul, had 11. Devin Booker had nine. Andrew Wiggins kept the Warriors in the game with 21. Kent Bazemore pitched in with 14. Curry finished with four points. He was 0-for-5 from downtown.

The Warriors knew they had to make adjustments to get Curry open so that he could attempt three-point shots. The Suns knew that the Warriors love to put their opponents away in the third quarter. Neither team would wilt in the quarter.

Curry made his only three-pointer of the night to bring the Dubs within six, 70-64. The Suns Devin Booker held to nine points in the first half, took over the Phoenix offense. Booker poured in 22 points while the rest of the Suns tallied just ten. The Warriors won the quarter 34-32 but still trailed by six, 98-92 heading into the final 12 minutes of play. 

The Warriors had to find a way to stop the Phoenix offense in the fourth quarter. Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, and Juan Toscano-Anderson were the players that held Phoenix to 18 points. The Warriors started the final 12 minutes with their second unit.

Wiggins and Jordan Poole each made a three to tie the game 103-103. Curry made a bucket to tie the game at 105-105. Phoenix went ahead 110-107 with three minutes left. Wiggins connected on a three to tie the game again. Chris Paul responded with a three to put Phoenix ahead 113-110.

Toscano-Anderson made his only three of the night to tie the game at 113-113. Jordan Poole gave the Warriors their first lead since they led 21-20 in the first period. Wiggins made a two-point bucket to give the Warriors a five-point lead 118-113 with 1:21 left.

The Suns Jae Crowder made his sixth three of the night to close within two, 118-116 with 1:10 left. Curry made a floater. Curry made a floater. Golden State led 120-116. The Suns, running out of time, fouled Jordan Poole. Poole made both free throws to seal the win for the Warriors 122-116.

Game Notes and Stats: With the win, the Warriors are 37-33 for the year. They have two games left on the schedule. They meet the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night and finish the season against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies trail the Warriors by 1/2 game in the race for the eighth spot in the conference. Sunday’s game should be a barnburner.

Andrew Wiggins was the player of the game for Golden State. Wiggins finished with 38 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Wiggins was 17-for-24 from the floor, and he connected on two threes. Green finished with a triple-double.

His numbers were 11 points, ten rebounds, and 11 assists. The Warriors rarely lose when Green has a triple-double. Poole had 20 points. Poole made three threes. Kent Bazemore had another solid game on both ends of the court.

Bazemore finished with 17 points. For most players scoring 21 points in a game would be a big night. For Curry, it was an off night. Curry tallied 21 points, three rebounds, and six assists. He was seven-for 22 from the floor, and he made one three in 11 tries. Toscano-Anderson finished with seven points, five rebounds, and six assists. He made one three, but it was huge when it happened in the fourth quarter. 

As a team, the Warriors made 47 field goals in 95 attempts. They were 11-for-40 from behind the three-point arc. They outrebounded the Suns 51-40. The Warriors recorded 33 assists on 47 field goals. 

Devin Booker led the Suns with 34 points. Chris Paul had 24, and Jae Crowder finished with 20.

The Warriors play the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night at the Chase Center. Zion Williamson will not play. The Pelicans’ star forward due to an injury he suffered last week against the Warriors in Crescent City. The game will start at 6:30 pm

Warriors hang on down Jazz 119-116; Curry gives it his all again scores 36

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) takes the ball down court against the Utah Jazz on Mon May 10, 2021 at the Chase Center in San Francisco (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors (36-33) met the Utah Jazz (50-19) Monday night at the Chase Center. The Jazz, winners of five straight games, had their sights on avenging the 131-119 loss to the Warriors on March 14th. The Jazz entered the game with the best record in the Western Conference, 50-18.

The Warriors were fighting to remain in eighth place in the Western Conference. It felt as if it were the first game of the playoffs: the Jazz, the only team in the NBA in the top five offensively and defensively. The Jazz entered the game averaging 17 threes a night.

They had the best record, defending the opposing team’s three-point efforts. Both teams were missing key places. Utah’s point guard, Michael Conley, was out with a hamstring injury. The other guard, Donovan Mitchell, was not able to play due to an ankle injury.

The Warriors were missing Daminon Lee due to Covid-19. Kelly Oubre, Jr was out with a torn ligament in his wrist, and Eric Paschall, slated to return on May 11th, sat out with a hip problem. With the two Utah guards out, the Warriors knew the Jazz would commit turnovers.

Could the Warriors capitalize on their miscues? The answer was yes. The Warriors defense forced 15 Utah turnover that translated into 26 points for the Warriors. The Warriors knew that they had to find a way to stop Utah in the fourth quarter. The Jazz averaged 31 points in the last period. Utah put pressure on the Warriors defense as they poured in 41 points in the last 12 minutes. Stephen Curry answered with a three to lead the Warriors to a hard-fought 119-116 win.

Utah’s head coach Quin Snyder assigned Royce O’Neale to guard Curry for most of the first half. O’Neale threw a blanket over Curry as he attempted his three-point shots. Curry started the game with a three. He did not make another three in the first half.

The first half was very close. Neither team would give an inch. The Warriors finished the first period leading 31-30. The second period was a defensive struggle. The Warriors won the quarter by four points to finish the first half with a five-point advantage 54-49. Curry led the Warriors with 15 points. Draymond Green had ten. Andrew Wiggins helped out with eight. Jordan Poole and Kent Bazemore each had seven. The Jazz leading scorers were Bojan Bogdanovic with 15, and Jordan Clarkson, coming off the bench, had 12.

The Warriors won the third quarter 35-26 to finish the third period leading by 14 points, 89-75. Curry had his magic working as he poured in 14 points in the period. Kent Bazemore helped out with ten. Jordan Poole made the shot of the night as he made a 55-foot three-point shot as the buzzer sounded to end the third period. The Warriors didn’t know it at the time, but that three-pointer turned out to be huge.

With the second unit on the floor, the Warriors increased the lead to 17, 94-77. The Jazz kept chipping away at the lead. The Warriors could not stop Utah’s, Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson, a candidate for sixth-man of the year, kept making baskets. He couldn’t make a three in the first half. He made several in the fourth quarter. The Jazz closed to within seven, 122-105, with three minutes left to play.

Their defense continued to stop the Warriors offense. Utah tied the game 112-112. The Jazz went ahead briefly 113-112. Bazemore made a basket to make it 114-113. Clarkson hit a three, and the Jazz led 116-114 with 29 seconds left to play. Curry answered with a three to give the Warriors the advantage 117-116 with 13.4 seconds left. The Warriors had to find a way to stop the Jazz.

They did. Utah did not score on their possession after Curry’s bucket. The Jazz fouled Curry, and he made the two free throws to give the Warriors a three-point lead 119-116 with five seconds left. The Warriors had to stop Utah from tying the game with a three-pointer. They focused on Bogdanovic as the player to defend. The Warriors forced a turnover to win the game 119-116.

Game Notes and Stats-With the win, the Warriors improve to 36-33. They are in eighth place in the Western Conference. Utah is now 50-19 for the year.

Curry’s line was 36 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Curry was 11-for-25 from the floor, and he was three-for-13 from downtown. It was the 37th game that Curry had 30 or more points. The Warriors had four other players in double figures. Jordan Poole added 20 points in 18 minutes of playing time.

Bazemore had 19, Wiggins 14, and Green had 12. Green had a double-double with ten assists, too. Kevon Looney finished the night with 13 rebounds. The third game in a row for Looney with double-digit rebounds, the first time in his career. The team shot 47% from the floor. They made 14 threes in 42 tries.

Jordan Clarkson had a big night with 41 points for Utah. He was 16-for-33 from the floor and connected on five threes. Bogdanovic had 26 points and four threes. The Warriors defense held Rudy Gobert to 10 points. Royce O’Neale was the only other Jazz player in double figures with 10.

The Warriors meet the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night at the Chase Center. The game will start at 7 pm.