Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

Warriors’ worries: Stephen Curry limited, Monta Ellis worn down

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If you want, you can spin the Warriors season as a positive — they have 30 wins, already more than last season (26). Baby steps, but with a new owner at least there is hope they can improve on that next season.

But on the ground, they have lost five straight and the same old cracks are showing.

Monday night, coach Keith Smart was the anti-Don Nelson and limited Stephen Curry to just 20 minutes, notes Matt Steinmetz at CSN Bay Area:

This time last year, Curry had the keys to the car, so to speak — and the apartment out back, too. He was playing 40-plus minutes per night under Don Nelson and putting up big numbers.

He was running the offense, taking the shots and making the plays. This year he can’t seem to stay on the floor, and when he’s on it, doesn’t appear nearly as comfortable as he was in 2009-10.

Part of that is about defense. Smart demands they play some, unlike Nelson. Curry is not a good defender. He still got the green light from Nelson but Smart is clearly getting a little fed up. But it also is Curry not fitting as well in the offensive system.

Then there is what Steinmetz says about Monta Ellis.

Monta Ellis is clearly struggling, too. Looks like he’s fatigued, a long season taking its toll. Good chance it has something to do with all the minutes he’s played. All due respect to Acie Law, who didn’t do a bad job, but the Warriors paid the price for not having a bigger presence off the bench in the backcourt.

That is one thing — one of many things, really — this team needs to address in the offseason.

How they address it, how aggressively, will tell fans how much the ownership change means real change in the Bay Area.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.