Warriors’ identity crisis as told by Celtics and Cavs
[+notes/quotes/video from Celtics, Cavs, Nets]
You can learn a lot from opposing players and coaches, especially when they go through their own crises or describe their experiences against the Golden State Warriors.
Going in reverse chronological order, Kyrie Irving is on fire. He’s scored 21 points I each of the last two 4th quarters. Meanwhile Nic Claxton has blocked three or more shots in eleven straight games. So which Warriors team will show up tonight, the “Oh, they don’t have Kevin Durant” one or the one that treats the Nets as a potential matchup in the Finals? Incidentally, KD (sprained MCL) did not travel with the team, so there won’t be a video tribute for the crowd yet again — there was one in 2020 but to an empty Chase Center during the pandemic. Here’s the video from Utah postgame in which Kyrie praised Stephen Curry but deflected the matchup tonight as a team effort:
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Speaking of identities, JB Bickerstaff laid into his Cleveland Cavaliers that same night Irving went off (for 48 points at the Utah Jazz, btw), after the loss to our Dubs. He angrily told reporters that his Cavs saw there was a depleted opponent — remember, Steve Kerr, er, Rick Celebrini, rested four starters — and didn’t take the game seriously from the get-go. Bickerstaff said it was “disrespectful” to the game. Interestingly, Darius Garland and Caris LeVert did not necessarily agree with Bickerstaff.
Ironically, it’s this Jekyll-Hyde identity problem that has plagued the Warriors all season long. And the denial from Garland and LeVert makes me wonder how hard it is in this era of basketball to get the message through to players, youngsters or veterans — I would say this has been an issue with our “Foundational Six” (and I’ll finally say this on this website, I think Kerr messed with the basketball gods when he coined that term), five of which are vets.
Here’s that video:
And finally I’d like to point out the Boston Celtics’ postgame where, gulp, Jayson Tatum actually called the Warriors’ defense “physical”. Al Horford even added some praise: “They don’t foul.”
Uhh, our Warriors are physical and don’t foul? Lol. And so it’s pretty evident — reinforced by a championship-contending opponent — that sometimes a different squad shows up.
I’ll just end it there for now as we’re approaching tipoff. Dean “of Positivity” Chambers and I did a livestream last night to cover all the bases of the trade deadline, so I’ve been busy and will post that content later.
Below is the aforementioned Celtics postgame (i.e., not in chronological order per se and please ignore the timestamps) and then I will just copy and paste from my notes everything in reverse chronological order starting with Nets pregame which just happened a few minutes ago, and dating back to the Celtics loss and the Cavs win.
[NO VIDEO YET FROM BKN-GSW]
• Steve Kerr starts off his press conference by sending his thoughts to the family of Gwen Knapp, who covered sports in the Bay Area as part of a stellar career in the industry. (Alex Schiffer)
• On the starting lineup: going small again with an almost fully healthy squad. Warriors starters: Steph, Poole, Klay, Wiggins, Draymond. Kerr is also watching the 49ers game while taking questions. Multitasking. (Dalton Johnson, Alex Schiffer)
• On Poole starting; “He seems to play better in the starting lineup … He has more space when he’s playing with Steph, usually has a lesser defender on him. He makes people better because if space and shots he can create. It’s a good fit.” (Kendra Andrews)
• Jacque Vaughn said T.J. Warren will go through his pregame warmup before determining if he can play against the Warriors tonight. Warren is listed as probable with a knee contusion. (Alex Schiffer)
• Vaughn pregame Warriors on Kyrie’s leadership: “building relationships with his teammates…shootaround…huddles…morning meeting…giving himself to the group…leadership takes its ride in different ways…fourth quarter.” (me)
• Warriors got denied (probably by Nets) to move tonight’s game back, per Shayna Rubin: https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/01/22/request-denied-warriors-cant-push-tipoff-vs-nets-to-accommodate-49ers-fans
The Warriors requested to push back their start time until after the 49ers game, but the request was denied, league sources told this news organization. In order for a request to be approved, the league, the Nets and the networks broadcasting the telecast — NBC Sports Bay Area, YES Network and NBA TV, in this case — would need to sign off.
[SEE BKN-UTA POSTGAME VIDEO ABOVE]
DISCLAIMER: These are all just notes for my main workflow of YouTube videos, tweeted by beatwriters, as listed, or transcribed by me. I used to transcribe every interview but it became too tedious and not worth the investment for the small amount of views we got on the soundbites on YouTube. The links to the tweets are not available because sometimes I don’t use the full tweet and just having a ton of tweets on this website imo isn’t aesthetically pleasing and gets away from the main goal: transferring information (not so much entertainment) to the brains of DubNation asap.
1:15 • Kyrie Irving postgame Utah on Friday, on taking a couple charges: “I talked it about yesterday, just getting out of my own way and really thinking team first, putting my body on the line and leading by example…”
1:50 • On being in the zone: “Every night I try to put myself in that place…the way we started out the game really made a difference tonight. And then the way we finished I felt we grew as a squad. I trusted Seth (Curry) in that corner three…”
4:20 • On the matchup vs Steph Curry: “Yeah I could load up on a bunch of superlatives for Steph, how much we match up and how much I enjoy that. But it’s a team attitude that I’m having coming in Sunday. That’s really the foundation of us growing throughout this process right now we’re in. Me getting out of my own way, allowing the other guys to help and taking this journey day-by-day. The ups and downs are gonna come and go, but we just have to stayed poised and stay consistent and it starts with me, showing up every day and leading by example. Just putting my body on the line and doing whatever it takes to win. So, (I) feel good.”
6:45 • Jacque Vaughn on Kyrie scoring 21 points in the 4th quarter for the second straight game in a row: “Different segments of the game where he really put his imprint…we played pick and roll, we gave him space…those threes in transition are tough to guard.”
12:30 • On Nic Claxton having 11 straight games with 3 or more blocks: “It’s a good space where teammates believe in you, how you can protect the rim. That’s the first thing we talked about when we walked in the huddle as coaches, is the impact he’s having on both ends of the floor.”
16:35 • Nic Claxton on Kyrie’s hot shooting: “He’s just in a different word. He’s locked in he’s in a different type of zone…create shots from all three levels.”
• Spencer Davies postgame exclusive with Kevon Looney: https://www.basketballnews.com/stories/nba-feature-interview-q-a-kevon-looney-best-basketball-of-my-career-golden-state-warriors-stephen-curry-jordan-poole-draymond-green-shaun-livingston
You're also in the NBA's top 10 with 449 screen-assist points. As far as gaining chemistry with your teammates, how has that come about?
Looney: "Just getting more experience and getting more reps, learning where guys like to get to on the floor and learning them guys' spots. Know when to get certain guys shots, know where these guys are going. It's something I learned from watching Draymond [Green], watching [Andrew] Bogut, Zaza [Pachulia] — some of the best screeners I've ever seen. So learning from them took my game to that level. Talking to Steph [Curry], talking to JP (Jordan Poole), talking to the guys coming off the bench, knowing where they want to be at is something that you've got to learn. Early on, it was a struggle for me, but now, I do it in my sleep."
Looney: "Yeah (laughs). Playing with JP, he's really herky-jerky and he's kinda all over the court. He's really creative out there. I think Steph is a little bit more decisive. He kinda know where he wants to get to, I know what spots he really wants to get to. But JP's like free-flowing, he's like all over the place (laughs). We talk all the time like, 'Man, slow down. Let me do my job and I'mma get you open' (laughs). We have those talks all the time. So it's a big difference playing with both of 'em, but it's a lot of fun."
learning that if a team goes on a run, it's not the end of the world. If you go down 3-1, 2-1, it's not the end of the world. You can come back. Different things like that. I learned playing with these guys and seeing them going down in series, never giving up. In the Houston series (in 2018), we were down 15 at halftime and nobody's worried, everybody would just keep fighting and keep playing our style of basketball.
[SEE POSTGAME CAVS VIDEO ABOVE]
• JB Bickerstaff postgame: “We saw some of their guys were out and we took it lightly…disrespectful.”
• Caris LeVert and Darius Garland did not necessarily agree with Bickerstaff’s assessment.
• Ty Jerome postgame on his clutch three: “I try to always live in that range. Float some threes…they can’t always get to the float.”
• Postgame recap: “Our balance. Six guys in double-figures. Loon was amazing. That says 17 rebounds…PBJ hit two big threes…that’s awesome for us.”
• On the details of the clutch three: “Trying to get the clock as far down as I could…Mobley was high…Garland went under…Loon turned it and three seconds on the clock, gotta shoot it.”
• On a pump fake that deep: “I was ready to shoot it, so…probably not a smart play (laughs).”
• Jonathan Kuminga postgame on his return: “Glad to be back…Keep building from what I did today. It felt good to be back.”
• On his ordeal with the injury: “It’s not like I wanted it to happen…I wasn’t supposed to be rushing back…understand what I had going on…keep getting healthy every day…feeling good to come back and having let me come back and play.
• On a successful road trip: “We just haven’t been connected together…hopefully now is the time to click…we get used to each other, it’s gonna be fun to watch.”
• Jordan Poole postgame recap: “Good bounce-back for us. We have to use this momentum for us to keep getting wins.”
• On not closing out the game vs the Celtics but doing so vs the Cavs: “We learned from it…something we were very aware of…closed it out. Now just gotta build off of it.”
• On the hot shooting: “S/O to Coach Kerr for allowing us to play with that confidence…good looks…laser focused.”
• On Kuminga and JaMychal Green: “Good to have them back. Now we can find ways to try to string together some wins.”
• On the successful road trip: “Now we get to go home and play in front of the best fans in the league.”
• On the late delay-of-game call: “I’ll probably have to look back at the film…high emotions late in the game. Everybody wants it.”
• On his conversation with Kerr to not talk to refs: “Maybe, maybe not. If I see something I’m gonna ask to see what they see…all the refs are different…I’ll ask, I’ll fight for my teammates…play off of that. Like I said it was just flared emotions…good learning experience.”
• JaMychal Green postgame on what it was like being out: “It was a long wait…it was Christmas…I was able to see my family so that made it better.”
• On his performance tonight: “I was worried about my rhythm and my touch…felt great.”
• On how he was playing before going out: “Before I got COVID I was playing free…miss a few games, might make some mistakes but just get through it.”
• On what being out with COVID was: “Terrible, I was stuck in a little room (in New York)…couple coaches checked up on me…stayed with it…watched movie shows, staying in the room. Not much to do. It was terrible…I just probably shouldn’t think about it…it just felt good to know your teammates and coaches eeee thinking about you.”
• On the leg infection: “That was worse. Don’t pop a bump, don’t pop a zit…flared up on me.”
• On not being able to work out: “It was hard to walk. I had to spend a night in the hospital…small hole they had to cut in my leg to drain out.”
• On how it felt being back: “Definitely felt good especially on the road…gets no better than that.”
• On what he needs to do to get back to 100%: “Just get back out there to feel flow…tough stretch coming out…gotta be ready…get these wins…put us in a position to win a championship.”
• On hearing any trade rumors while he was out: “Gotta block that out.”
• From Anthony Slater with probably a tidbit of info off-camera: https://theathletic.com/4111967/2023/01/21/warriors-reserves-steal-win-cleveland-cavaliers/?source=emp_shared_article
Green got a cut on his leg that developed a nasty case of staph infection.
That hospitalized Green for a night, and doctors were forced to cut a little chunk from his leg to drain the infection. During the healing process, he was unable to get on the court because he wasn’t allowed to sweat.
• Steve Kerr postgame recap: “Number One defense in the league…we had 14 (turnovers) in the second half…we kinda hung on for dear life.”
• On what this win does for them: “A bunch of guys came in and played with confidence, played with force…JP was fantastic…JK,
welcoming him back. All these guys are earning roles, fighting for roles…gives you a little boost. Now we get to head home after a long trip.”
• On the differences from the Celtics game: “Turnovers down the stretch but we also made big plays…Loon was tremendous…17 boards against a great front line…JaMychal…force…8 rebounds, 16 minutes…huge role.”
• On the tense moment with Poole: “I’m gonna stay on Jordan…last two games he was fantastic in terms of staying off the referees…held the ball as he talked with the ref…to the point where he understands where every play counts…I snapped in that moment and he looked at me like I was nuts.”
• On Poole still scoring 32: “To play like that tonight without Steph/Klay/Dray…Okoro all over him…so many plays…set the tone…he’s just getting better and better. There’s still so far to go which is exciting…stay off the refs, embrace the fact that there’s gonna be some bad calls and move on to the next play.”
• On the road trip: “To win 3 out of 5 against good teams with some guys out…we had a lot of bonding on this trip…White House…really spend a lot of time together…great week…hoping that this is kind of the boost we’re looking for…we’re getting guys back…finding their rhythm…heading home.”
• On the hot threes without Steph and Klay: “We’ve got a lot of guys that can shoot…also just one of those nights…you’re only gonna have a few of these…we knew we were gonna have to have one to win the game…wasn’t just Jordan…everybody was filling it up.”
• On Ty Jerome’s clutch three: “That was the shot of the game…we didn’t have anything going in that possession. Ty is amazing. I know he’s a two-way player. This guy, 22 points…he’ll probably be inactive next game. It makes no sense, but we’re trying…keep games down…both of them are legit NBA players.”
• On Lamb only having 12 games left out of 50: “we’re just going Thelma & Louise, we’re just speeding off the cliff…we’ve got our eye on it…that was a reference to a movie 40 years ago…I know you didn’t see it.”
• Ty Jerome on-court postgame on the hot shooting: “every time we had late shot clock… Lamb would bail us out…I could go down the line. Everyone…”
• On the career-high 40 mins played: “What they value here is skill set and IQ.”
• On staying ready: “Just a lot of work…hour and a half yesterday morning because I knew guys would be out.”
• On Kerr having been a role player: “The confidence that he has in me…when you have a guy that’s telling you stay ready when he’s done it himself.”
12:00 our nickname for Ty Jerome is henceforth "TyRoam"
17:00 L2M report from Boston Celtics game last night: 5 missed calls in OT
20:00 4min15 Q1 Jordan Poole misses layup but he just needs to finish, developing, later 3min00 JP finds Moody, JP is cutting up the Cavs defense (and last night)
22:30 JP going through the lane like a hot knife does butter, casuals criticizing the small-ball lineup even though we loved the pace last night plus so does Chris Mullin and Dorrell Wright
23:30 PBJ pays immediate dividends (catch and shoot 3 off the bench) 1min15
26:30 Cavs buzzer-beater: if Moody were an "elite" defender, he would've rotated over to the Levert three with 3 seconds or less left to go (think Andre Iguodala)
31:00 PBJ steps on the line in the corner, that's three mental errors by the rookie: 1) defensive 3 sec, 2) didn't help the help on the drive past Moody and JK, 3) this one.
34:00 7min30 Q2 PBJ should've shot the ball (mental mistake No. 4)
46:00 looking at the play where JK called PBJ to leave and posted up Garland, but did not attack early enough before the Mobley show
50:00 2min15 JP blocked at the rim again, hopefully will put that as No.1 priority at practice (as has been done by PBJ)
52:00 Kerr failed to call timeout (5 of them left) with Donte writhing in pain in the key
53:30 Cavs commit penalty foul with 6.9 seconds left, Daughterty said in the pregame that the Cavs tend to play down to their competition, which he ironically said was a symptom of a young team (when we all know our veteran team here has that same malady)
55:30 Kuminga dumb foul with 6.9 sec (all these youngster mistakes)
56:30 0.6 sec remaining, Lamb fouls Mobley, he gets a little foul happy sometimes but it's part of the package (of having good instincts, for example, even when he fouls, he actually is in the right place)
58:00 DomS59, new commenter: "wow, I'm surprised" by halftime score: what we do here on LGW is we try not to predict, enjoy moments, and embrace the unknown.
1:04:00 Mac McClung: still not a good fit for Kerr System, but congrats to him for being in the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest -- it's a free trip to Utah, a free cameo on TV -- HOT TAKE: If there are no Warriors in the Three-Point Contest, then for DubNation, the Slam Dunk Contest is must-see TV
1:07:15 Serge Ibaka is a minimum salary: to do any deals, I think as of today, we would have no choice but to include Moody in any deal and I'm still not sure I want to mortgage the future mainly because I've been through a two-decade rebuild let alone what Lacob says of "five-year rebuild" (Houston Rockets aren't gonna be in contention for the WCS anytime soon and they're in Year 4) -- also "play better", if our potential was last night's roster
1:16:00 HOT TAKE: I would rather lose the 5th championship ("waste prime") than go through a 5+ year rebuild
1:18:00 9min30 good news is Cavs walk the ball up (we're up 13)
1:18:30 9min00 JK triple, Cavs probably have his 25.8% 3PP on their scouting report, leaving him open
1:19:30 8min00 JP seems to miss wide open threes
1:22:00 7min00 JP hard foul of Levert after the turnover, needs to keep his temper in check
1:32:45 3min37 Q3 JP bad shot over Raul Neto, needs to keep his temper in check
1:43:00 0min07 Q3 JP tech, I remember when I was 23 years old, never thinking I made a mistake, you think you're invincible and you're in denial of any call against you. The struggle to get beyond yourself is a tough one for 20s.
1:46:30 10min00 Lamb catch and shoot, Kevin Love can't believe the young Cavs missed the scouting report
1:49:00 7min56 Neto steps on the sideline, this is normally the NBA, we are just spoiled with 3 hall of famers
1:58:00 I don't think JP should be thrown under the bus after games when other 23-year-olds (like the Cavs, Garland dribbling off his foot for example) are making 23yo mistakes too
2:09:00 the good news about 20yo's is that they'll be 25-27yo and when that happens sometimes you sit back and say, "Damn, we are good," as you win some games, further anecdotes to me why I don't want a five-year rebuild
2:14:30 00min13.9 Q4 JP is actually NOT an elite dribbler although he's an elite move-maker
2:48:45 ForbiddenTechniqueTV: "Love or hate JP, he led the Warriors to the best Warrior win of the season." I think most people do have a love/hate thing with JP, but they focus on the hate so much because it's easy to do with zero consquences on social media.
3:56:00 ChiLLax: "What if the Warriors bought out Andre Iguodala's contract?"
• The Warriors are sitting Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson in Cleveland tonight. Last game of a five-game road trip. Went into OT in Boston last night. (Anthony Slater)
• J.B. Bickerstaff says #Cavs have to be on their toes against short-handed Warriors: “We have to play to our standard.” (Spencer Davies)
• J.B. Bickerstaff says he and Cavs joked about Mobley’s dominant periods, calling him “Fourth Quarter Ev.” (Spencer Davies)
• Steve Kerr at Cavs pregame presser Steve Kerr expects Jonathan Kuminga and JaMychal Green to play tonight if all goes well in warmups. (Dalton Johnson)
• On the Warriors never taking their record into consideration when deciding when to rest players, and who to rest, whereby the decision is solely based on health and work load: “We never factor in the record…We’re going to play it safe all year as long as guys are banged up and vulnerable to injury…I feel terrible for fans who bought a ticket expecting to see someone play. It’s a brutal part of the business. It’s why I’m going to continue to advocate for 72-game seasons.” (me, Anthony Slater, Kendra Andrews)
• On Jonathan Kuminga: “We will welcome him back with the skill set that he has…He’s already established himself defensively. We need that to continue and the offensive side to grow.” He said Warriors “could’ve used him last night” vs Celtics. (Dalton Johnson)
[SEE ABOVE FOR CELTICS POSTGAME]
3:16 • Joe Mazzulla on the game getting chaotic sometimes: “we’re still gonna have some of those moments. Yeah, we had some turnovers, we had some plays where it’s kinda like, ‘That shouldn’t happen,’ but that’s gonna happen. They did, too. They ran a great ATO and threw the ball out of bounds and Klay Thompson didn’t catch it…it’s about the habits that we’re growing as far as our mindsets, our poise, our physicality, our ability to execute, our ability to handle the chaos of a game, the chaos of an NBA.”
9:51 • Al Horford on if the game plan was to have him post up: “It wasn’t…Jayson was like, ‘Hey get into the post,’…trying to be a little more aggressive getting to the hoop.”
13:36 • On the Warriors: “You have to give them credit. They’re a great defensive team…knows their strengths…they don’t foul. They’re very solid. People get caught up in the offense a lot of the time…they speed up the game.”
24:00 • Jayson Tatum on the Warriors forcing them to have more creative sets: “They’re just a really good team, a really physical team on both ends. You can’t keep running the same things against them over and over…they figure things out…continue to play in space…way to smart for that. They’ve just been doing it for a long time so you’ve got to switch things up.”
[NO PODIUM FOR PLAYERS POSTGAME]
• Steph Curry locker room on Poole starting: “Credit to Loon being the consummate professional…still been productive even as late as the playoffs…came back late in the Memphis series…how fast we can play with that lineup…came out with a lot of juice…gotta be better at rebounding…more physical…us guards helping out…creates great space.”
• Draymond Green on Poole starting: “speeds the game up…as far as chemistry and rotations we still gotta figure that out.”
• Jordan Poole on the new lineups “Give us a new layer and I think everybody knows that unit is pretty dangerous together.”
• Steve Kerr postgame recap: “not the way we closed the game…just the final couple minutes…we showed what we can do at both ends of the floor but we didn’t close the game.”
• On the Jaylen Brown play: “The whole game plan is no threes…the guys have to be able to decipher that on the fly. You can debate fouling…early…what you can’t do is give up an open three. The whole idea is switch everything.”
• On stacking decisions: “I love the grit…Jordan was fantastic. Touch matchup against so many big wings…his defense was excellent…for much of the game we did a good job of not fouling…fourth quarter…became a problem…we looked like what we are which is a championship team but we didn’t…better now than in the playoffs.”
• On starting Poole: “get a spark…first time in awhile we’ve had all those guys healthy…can be explosive…against Boston…you gotta open up the floor.”
• On this lineup being more permanent: “I think I’ll keep doing it…obviously we still got some injuries.”
• Steve Kerr postgame on spurts of games over the season vs last season’s 18-2 start: “We’ve got a core group that has won titles…DNA…it’s a long haul to get through the NBA season…in the case of Steph, Dray and Klay, you’ve been at it for a decade…I’m excited about what’s ahead…I know we can do this. Our guys feel the same way.”
• On overtime recap: “They made some tough shots, Smart and Jayson…we fouled a couple times…they outplayed us.”
• On the quick turnaround at Cleveland: “Yeah I’m gonna go talk to Rick (Celebrini) right now.”
[NO GSW-BOS PREGAME VIDEO]
• Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown (groin) will make his return tonight against the Golden State Warriors on TNT, per league sources. (Chris Haynes)
• Steve Kerr (late to pregame presser, as he was stuck in traffic): “They're a massive team.” (CJ Holmes, Dalton Johnson)
• Jaylen Brown tweet the next day confirms the traffic: “It took almost 2hrs to get to the game yesterday I live 15 minutes away Boston traffic was so bad I’m still traumatized and felt the need to tweet this lol.”
• On Kuminga and JaMychal Green: “good chance” and “hopeful” they will play Friday in Cleveland. But won’t make that determination until tomorrow. (CJ Holmes, Madeline Kenney, Kendra Andrews)
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