OAKLAND, Calif. -- Wednesday night’s contest versus the Chicago Bulls was the closest thing to a scheduled win that the Warriors will see all season. The Bulls are hanging together by a single strand of Robin Lopez’s hair.
Head coach Fred Holberg rested disgruntled stars Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, then masterfully danced around player specific questions after the game.
The Warriors coasted to a 123-92 victory, a game in which Steve Kerr saw each active player on his team record a basket.
“That’s always something that you love as a coach,” Kerr said of the impressive feat. “It doesn’t happen very often, but everybody feels good when they go home and they’ve scored and contributed. It’s a powerful effect for the team when everybody feels like they are a part of it.”
D-League call up Briante Weber saw his first action as a Warrior on Wednesday, recording two points, two rebounds and an assist in just six minutes of action.
“I liked what I saw from Bri,” said Kerr of the Warriors’ newest addition. “He’s a high energy player and he’s really fast. He fits our roster well. That’s a position where we actually needed some depth.”
Standing at six feet two inches tall and weighing in at 165 pounds, Weber is far from physically intimidating. There were a couple of instances where he got stuck trying to get around some on-ball screens, but as Kerr mentioned after the game, his noticeable speed and energy more than made up for it.
Weber, who is currently signed to a 10-day contract, will have three more games to earn an extension with the Warriors. But if we put on our tin foil hats and dissect Kerr’s post game thoughts on Weber, it seems as though he will be sticking around after the all-star break.
“You want to close the game the right way, have balance to your roster and have positions filled,” said Kerr. “I think Bri is going to fill that role well.”
Klay dedicates remainder of season to lost family members
After missing two days of practice to mourn his late grandfather with family, all-star guard Klay Thompson returned to the Bay Area in time for the Warriors morning shoot around on Wednesday.
Thompson announced early yesterday morning that we would be dedicating the rest of the season to family members who he has lost.
It’s never easy to lose a family member and then celebrate a birthday only days later. But this was the case for Thompson, who turned 27 years-old on Wednesday. But would this day have a true birthday feel given his circumstances over the past few days?
“It felt like my birthday,” Thompson said without pause. “People showed me a lot of love, I got a lot of text messages and phone calls. I was just happy we got a win.”
Even though it was Klay’s day, he still carries the weight of his family on his back at all times.
“It was really nice to get out there tonight because my family loves to watch me play and it gives them a lot of pride to see me on the court. It’s a great way to honor them.”
Klay connected on six of his nine three-point attempts and led all scorers with 28 points in just 29 minutes. While still in a somewhat somber mood with his grandfather on his mind, basketball serves as an outlet for Thompson and his family.
“Basketball is like that oasis out there for everybody, to just go play and enjoy what you do,” teammate Stephen Curry said after the game. “That could’ve been a nice distraction for him just to get back to work and do what he does.”
Thompson’s teammates also hooked him up with a pretty sweet cake after the game; one that featured his boy Rocco.
Kevin Durant finally has someone to call him out
We all saw Draymond Green and Kevin Durant yelling at each other both on the court and on the bench during a timeout last Saturday night in Sacramento. Reports are now coming out that Green may have intentionally provoked Durant through his tirade.
“Obscenities were repeatedly tossed back and forth by both players, sources told ESPN. Durant was enraged. Sources said Green, knowing he had accomplished his goal, began winking and smiling at some of his teammates and coaching staff”
Sound familiar? Steve Kerr would use a similar method on Green during the Warriors championship run in 2015, often holding shouting matches with Green during timeouts.
These reports that Green may have intentionally tried to rile Durant up do not come as a surprise, to say the least. Anyone who has grown up with an older brother or two knows that sometimes you just need a swift kick in the ass to get your head back in the game.
“I didn’t have any energy in terms of pressuring the ball, boxing out, getting out in transition and running,” Durant said of the confrontation. “He saw that and as a teammate, you can just let me be in the clouds or you can bring me back down. I think he did a good job, we went back and forth there and that kind of got me going.”
Mind you, Durant said this with the slightest smirk on his face. But he wasn’t finished there. “As a teammate, he saw me drifting the other way and whatever that was we had, it helped. It felt like it was planned.”
It seems as though Durant didn’t really have anyone to keep him in check or call him out when he wasn’t playing with peak energy while in Oklahoma City. He was the guy for the Oklahoma City Thunder and if you messed with him, you risked toying with the social fabric of the entire team.
But things are different in Golden State. The Warriors have successfully built a championship culture that heavily relies on the emotional passion and leadership from Green.
Is this what has been holding Durant back from truly unleashing his greatest basketball self? Everybody needs to be told now and then that they are capable of more and that they can do better. Draymond was not attacking Durant, he was simply inspiring him.
It seems less and less likely that Durant had that type of inspiration in Oklahoma City. As questions in the post game presser began to steer towards his days in the midwest, Durant’s answers were whittled down to unenthusiastic four to five word answers.
Rest of the week
Friday night, the Warriors will travel to Tennessee to take on the Memphis Grizzlies. In their first meeting with Memphis, Golden State was held to 89 points — their lowest point total of the season. The Warriors lost again to the Grizzlies at home, in overtime.
Following the Memphis game, Kevin Durant will return to Oklahoma City for the first time since joining the Warriors in July. It’s a good week to be a basketball fan.