Stephen Curry says he’s still adjusting to Mark Jackson being gone, wants Warriors to keep Klay Thompson

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Golden State’s players thought they had something special — a real locker room chemistry, a team that won 51 games, a team that is both entertaining and on the rise.

Then days into the offseason coach Mark Jackson was let go over the objection of players. Not long after rumors started to come up about the Warriors wanting to get into the Kevin Love trade conversation, and would they give up Klay Thompson to get him?

Through all of it Warriors players have been silent. There were no welcoming tweets for Steve Kerr, something done out of respect for Jackson.

But in accepting the NBA’s 2013-14 Kia Community Assist Season long Award Stephen Curry was in front of the microphones and spoke to CSNBayArea.com’s Monte Poole about this offseason. He clearly misses Jackson.

“He was a sign of stability for me,” Curry said Thursday. “I had three coaches in three years and (Jackson) embodies what I know as good around here with the Warriors, winning and that kind of feel. It was a lot different in my first two years. I love Coach (Keith) Smart and Coach (Don) Nelson, but he embodied winning. And it’s tough to see that end….

“The feeling was how quick things happened after the season was kind of a shock,” he said. “It took some time to respond and react. Obviously, they made a semi-quick hire. As the summer goes on and we remove ourselves from last year and look forward to next year, we’ll be fine.

“It’s just tough. There’s no sugarcoating it. It was a weird, expedited situation that we didn’t see coming. Guys are human and have got to adjust to it and (need) some time to respond. That’s kind of what happened. I think we’ll be fine once we have a clear picture of what’s going on next year.”

Curry also wants Klay Thompson to remain as his backcourt running mate.

“I definitely want him to continue be my backcourt mate and keep pushing,” Curry said, “keep growing together and not to waste the nickname.”

“I love playing with him,” Curry said. “He makes me better. I try to make him better. How much better he’s gotten since Day 1 is kind of scary. He’s such a great two-way player. He hasn’t come anywhere close to hitting the ceiling.”

I understand Curry saying that, but if they need to move Thompson (with David Lee and maybe other small pieces) to get Kevin Love, you pull that trigger. I love Thompson’s game, but Love’s skill set is far more unique and would help Curry win faster. Not that this trade is likely.

As always in professional sports, if the Warriors are winning things will work themselves out, both with Kerr and whatever roster changes may come to Golden State. To paraphrase Daryl Morey, chemistry is a three game winning streak.

But if the Warriors struggle with all the adjustments next year, things are going to get interesting. And everyone is going to be pointing the finger at ownership, not the players.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.

Video Breakdown: Rockets launch Eric Gordon from 3-point range against Thunder in Game 4

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The Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, 113-109, and now the series heads back to Texas with the Rockets in the lead, 3-1.

Houston and OKC played a weird game, with Nene scoring 28 points off the bench for the Rockets and serious mischief in the final moments. The end of the game included a purposely missed free throw by Steven Adams that allowed Russell Westbrook to grab a quick 3-pointer and a missed call when James Harden shoved Alex Abrines out of the way like an NFL tackle.

While the Rockets didn’t shoot a stellar percentage from 3-point range — just 31.5 percent — they still knocked down 11 buckets from deep. Part of that action was a play run for Sixth Man of the Year candidate Eric Gordon that included a little semi-Pistol action, and a stagger screen that allowed Gordon to work his way free.

I picked this play to go over this week because it exemplifies just how committed to the 3-point shot the Rockets are. Plus, Gordon ran around three screens just to get this one bucket, which is always fun to see.

Watch the full video breakdown above.

Jimmy Butler on Marcus Smart dustup: ‘He’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down’

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Marcus Smart and Jimmy Butler had to be separated during the Celtics’ Game 4 win over the Bulls after Smart pushed Butler, who was hounding him defensively in the backcourt.

Butler:

As far as the Marcus Smart situation goes, he’s a great actor. Acting tough, that’s what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that, and I’m the wrong guy to get in my face. So, he needs to take it somewhere else because I’m not the one for that.

Was that their first run-in? Butler:

That’s the first time. Last time, too. We’re not going to sit here and get in each other’s faces like that. Like I said, he’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down.

The Bulls, who’ve lost two straight to allow Boston to tie the series 2-2, is angling for any edge. Butler tried to intimidate Smart on the court, and the Chicago wing might actually rattle the too easily shakable Smart with his postgame comments.

The irony: Some might say Butler, who did come up hard, lost touch with his roots as he entered stardom. I don’t buy that, at least not majorly.

But even if both – or neither – are posturing to any degree, this will be a matchup to watch in Game 5.

Remembering former NBA official Jess Kersey, who passed away Saturday

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Jess Kersey, who officiated more than 2,200 NBA games, including being part of 19 NBA Finals, passed away over the weekend, losing his battle with cancer at age 76.

Kersey was a well-respected official who feared nothing. Maybe the most remembered image of Kersey is him trying to break up a fight between Mitch Kupchak and Hakeem Olajuwon, essentially trying to tackle Olajuwon with his head in Olajuwon’s chest and his arms wrapped around him. Kersey got in the middle of everything if that was what was required.

Our thoughts go out to the Kersey family for their loss.