NBA AM: Warriors Hold Their Own Destiny
15 At Home: The Golden State Warriors have taken a beating lately, however with just 21 games left on their schedule things should even out for the NBA’s current sixth seed in the West. Of the Warriors remaining 21 games they’ll see just nine teams with a record of .500 or better, but more importantly 15 of their 21 games will be played in the friendly confines of Oracle Arena.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson sees that as a huge advantage for his Warriors club that’s struggled on the road recently.
“I think so far we’ve played the most away games in the NBA,” Thompson joked with HOOPSWORLD. “It’s going to be big for us especially with playoff seeds on the mind so, we play well at home, and we can make a statement, ‘Protect our home court.’
“[There are] no excuses when you play at home, and we’ll be healthy so, yeah, we definitely control our destiny, and we’ve proved we can beat anybody in this league if we just play together. And it’s a huge advantage having a favorable schedule coming down the stretch.”
The Warriors are 19-7 so far this season at home which is a 73 percent win-rate at home. Outside of two matchups against both the Spurs and Lakers, the Warriors have a fairly favorable set of matchups with a number of teams outside the playoff picture.
Despite a favorable schedule going forward Thompson says his club can’t think about the playoffs yet.
“You really can’t focus on that until late March, early April because we still have a lot of games to play, “ said Thomspon.
The Warriors have been one of the better turn-around stories of the season and Thompson, who has seen a surge in his own production, credits the success the Warriors have had to the unselfishness of his teammates.
“It carries over onto the court,” Thompson said of closeness in the locker room. “I’ve been on teams where guys weren’t that great of friends, but everyone on this team gets along. Nobody has any agendas, and we’re always getting each other’s back, so it carries over onto the court and it shows in our unselfish play.
“It makes it a lot more fun, that’s for sure. It’s a lot more fun for the fans to watch, and it’s very special. We got a lot of young guys and we got some great vets so they’ve done a great job leading us this year. Just leading by example, they’re not selfish at all. We got a really selfless team so it’s a very special thing to play for.”
Thompson knows that his team expects a lot from him every night; however, he says his own expectations are what have been driving him this season.
“I’m probably my biggest critic,” admitted Thompson. “That’s probably, in my past, that’s been one of my biggest weaknesses; hanging my head and getting too down on myself, but as I get older, I’m learning you can’t do that. You can be mad on the bench, you can be mad for the game, but when you’re on the court, you got to keep an even keel. You got to be an example for your teammates, so I’m learning still, and I’m learning not to wear my emotions on my sleeve every time something goes wrong or every time something goes great. I have high expectations for myself, and sometimes I feel like I don’t live up to them, but that’s basketball. You’re not going to be perfect. There’s not a perfect player out there, so just try to learn something every month.”
After last night’s 125-118 win over the Raptors in Oakland, the Warriors will play their next six games at home starting with Sacramento on Wednesday, Houston on Fridays followed by Milwaukee, New York, Detroit and Chicago.
If the Playoff started today the Warriors would hold the sixth seed and square up in the first round against the LA Clippers, who they have played four times this season and lead the series 3-1.
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Kahn Gone?: Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune is reporting that David Kahn, president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves could be replaced by former Wolves head coach Flip Saunders. According to Hartman’s report Wolves’ owner Glen Taylor met with Saunders recently.
After the reports of Saunders as a possible replacement broke, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweeted that he spoke with Taylor about the report and that Taylor said Kahn would be back with the team next season and clarified that his meeting with Saunders was in connection to a possible sale of the franchise.
Taylor for some time has been looking for a buyer for the team and it seems Saunders’ meeting was connected to a group interested in buying the team.
Taylor recently said he’s heard from at least three possible buyers but that nothing was close.
Hartman is also reporting that a massive and long-overdue renovation of the Target Center could be announced soon, such a renovation would surely help solve the revenue generation issues facing the Wolves, which would only enhance the teams value in a sale.
If Taylor’s comments are to be taken at face value, David Kahn could be back next season; the problem is Taylor may not own the team for much longer and it’s pretty safe to assume that once Taylor sells the team, new leadership will be put in place in Minnesota.
The Playoff Picture: If the NBA playoff started today here is how things would look:
(1) Miami (44-14)
Games remaining: 24 (12 Home, 12 Away)
vs. +.500: 10, vs. East: 22
(8) Milwaukee (30-28)
(1) San Antonio (47-14)
Games remaining: 21 (14 Home, 7 Away)
vs. +.500: 13, vs. West: 16
(8) Utah (32-28)
(4) Chicago (34-26)
Games remaining: 22 (10 Home, 12 Away)
vs. +.500: 9, vs. East: 13
(5) Brooklyn (34-26)
(4) Memphis (39-19)
Games remaining: 24 (10 Home, 14 Away)
vs. +.500: 11, vs. West: 19
(5) Denver (39-22)
(3) New York Knicks (36-21)
Games remaining: 25 (11 Home, 14 Away)
vs. +.500: 16, vs. East: 16
(6) Atlanta (33-26)
(3) Los Angeles (43-19)
Games remaining: 20 (11 Home, 9 Away)
vs. +.500: 9, vs. West: 14
(6) Golden State (34-27)
(2) Indiana (38-22)
Games remaining: 22 (10 Home, 12 Away)
vs. +.500: 11, vs. East: 15
(7) Boston (31-27)
(2) Oklahoma City (43-16)
Games remaining: 23 (11 Home, 12 Away)
vs. +.500: 13, vs. West: 13
(7) Houston (33-28)
The LA Lakers are the lone team within striking distance of the post-season sitting just two games behind Utah that’s lost six of their last ten games.
Portland is still mathematically alive in the race for eight in the West, but have lost seven of their last ten, barring a late season surge they may not have enough time to close four game gap they have between themselves and Utah.
In the East, Philadelphia is roughly seven games out of the eight spot and has lost eight of their last ten games. Toronto is also roughly seven games behind eight place Milwaukee, but has lost five straight and six of their last ten.
The NBA regular season end on April 17th which is 43 days from today.
On The Road: The NBA announced this morning that eight NBA teams will take part in a comprehensive global games schedule that will include a total of eight games in six countries this October. Among the new destinations, the Chicago Bulls will face the Washington Wizards in Brazil, while the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers will play in the Philippines.
The NBA will make its usual preseason stops in England, Spain, Turkey and China.
There continues to be growing support inside the NBA for the idea of some kind of NBA expansion into Europe, either as a stand-alone conference of five teams, or some sort of a D-League-type spin-up. Current NBA Commissioner David Stern is set to retire in February of 2014 and plans to spend significant time in Europe working on developing the NBA business there.
Stern has repeatedly said he envisioned a European NBA business inside the next ten years and has pledged to spend some of his retirement working to that end.
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