Jordan Bell

Draymond Green, Bradley Beal ejected in Warriors’ comeback win over Wizards

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)  — Golden State lost its emotional leader when Draymond Green was ejected shortly before halftime. The defending champs were sloppy again, even forgetting several plays after one timeout and still somehow won – but it has hardly been easy so far.

Kevin Durant had 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to help rally the Warriors from 18 points down and beat the Wizards 120-117 on Friday night, a game marred by a fight between Green and Washington’s Bradley Beal that led to both being tossed.

With 19.5 seconds left in the second quarter, Beal held the front of Green’s jersey with his left hand while grabbing Green around the jaw with his right. That enraged Green, who threw his right arm in frustration and wrapped arms with Beal as if hugging, then other players joined the scrum.

“It was a scuffle. I’m not going to go into details about it. I’ll do that with the league tomorrow,” Beal said. “We just got into it and things got out of hand and we both got ejected. I told my teammates I can’t put myself in a situation like that to leave them out there to battle out against a tough team without me out there.”

Green had to be pulled away from the skirmish by Andre Iguodala and Warriors security personnel. Green was tossed after getting his second technical foul. The back of his uniform was torn from near his right shoulder down to his waist.

“I thought Draymond defended himself and bit the bullet of being ejected for the game,” West said.

Green was hit with his first technical at the 8:05 mark of the second quarter for arguing an offensive foul call. He had six assists, three points, three rebounds and three blocks before his early exit.

 

 

Warriors’ rookie Jordan Bell goes off the backboard to himself for dunk

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The best part of this is the stunned reaction of the Warriors bench.

The Warriors had taken total control of the game against Dallas in the second half, and with a few minutes left Steve Kerr emptied his bench in garbage time. That’s when rookie Jordan Bell made the play of the night: He blocked Dwight Powell‘s shot then leaked out, JaVale McGee batted the ball ahead to him, and Bell threw the ball off the backboard for a self alley-oop. He got an and-one on the play.

The move didn’t sit well with everyone, there is an unwritten rule about showboating in a blowout game. Draymond Green had thoughts on that — he has thoughts on everything and isn’t afraid to share them — and he came to Bell’s defense speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Listen man, when you get on the basketball floor, I don’t care if you get out there with two minutes to go up 25 or with two minutes to go down 25, somebody is evaluating you. So you gotta play the game just like it’s tied up or if you’re up four or if you’re down four. You gotta play the game the same way. Somebody is evaluating you. So if you want to throw it off the backboard, feel free and dunk the ball. He got an And One. It was a great play. So, I got no message for him. Do what you do. Play basketball. That’s what he did. I don’t get all up into the whole ‘Ah man, they’re winning by this much, that’s bad.’ Says who? Dunk the ball. What’s the difference between if he threw it off the backboard and dunked it as opposed to grabbing it and dunking it?”

Or, put another way, if you don’t want a player to throw down the massive alley-oop dunk on you, play better defense in the first place.

Watch Stephen Curry score 40 points as Warriors rout Wolves in Shanghai

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Stephen Curry finished off his China trip with a performance ripped right out of his MVP highlight reel.

Curry scored 40 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 142-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday in Shanghai for a split of their two-game series in China.

It was the Warriors’ first win of the preseason and came like so many of their victories of the last three years, filled with Curry’s incredible shot-making and playmaking .

The 2015 and 2016 NBA MVP was 13 for 20 from the field, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and added eight assists.

Klay Thompson added eight 3-pointers and 28 points, while Kevin Durant scored 22.

Andrew Wiggins had 19 points for Minnesota, which won’t play again in the preseason.

WARRIORS 142, TIMBERWOLVES 110

WARRIORS: Golden State shot 60 percent from the field (51 of 85) and 61 percent (20 for 33) from behind the arc. … Rookie Jordan Bell made all five shots and scored 11 points. … Draymond Green also scored 11.

TIMBERWOLVES: Karl-Anthony Towns scored 16 points and Jimmy Butler had 15. … The Wolves poured in 44 points in the first quarter, but Tom Thibodeau’s club yielded quarters of 36, 40 and 38 points over the first three periods.

UP NEXT: Golden State (1-2) hosts Sacramento on Friday. Minnesota (2-1) has finished its preseason schedule.

Zaza Pachulia on Warriors: “I think we’re going to be even better this year”

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Jeff Van Gundy said it out loud, but most NBA observers were already thinking it: The race for the 2018 NBA title is over, just give it to Golden State.

It’s not just that the core of a team that has won 67 games last season and the NBA title last season is back, it’s that they will be even better this season than a year ago. That’s what Warriors starting center Zaza Pachulia told Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News.

“I think we’re going to be even better this year with the confidence, the trust factor and knowing for ourselves we won a championship with that team, with that personalities on the team and the chemistry we have,” Pachulia said. “We can be even better with the focus we have with better details in how to improve…

“We got Nick Young. We got Omri Casspi. We got Jordan Bell,” Pachulia answered.”

Pachulia is right.

There are a couple of reasons for this, and Pachulia hit on them.

First, there is the comfort level factor. Remember last season, the Warriors didn’t exactly stumble out of the gate, but when challenged and put into close games it took them a while to figure things out. Around Christmas Steve Kerr told Stephen Curry to start being himself and not deferring to Kevin Durant so much, and with that the team found an equilibrium. Now they have that — and a ton of confidence — from Day 1.

Second, as Pachulia mentioned, the Warriors made some good off-season acquisitions. I’m particularly high on Casspi, who has played well when not asked to do too much or create too much. Plus, he has ridiculous shooting range which will fit right in with what the Warriors like to do. Look for his minutes to climb as the season moves along.

I’m not sure the Warriors will get or chase 73 wins again, they don’t necessarily want to focus on it, plus the West is very deep this year so they will pick up a few more losses to quality teams on a hot night along the way.

But no team is beating a healthy Warriors squad in a seven-game series. Sorry Houston, sorry Cleveland, you’re very good, but the bar is set ridiculously high.

Warriors’ Jordan Bell on defending LeBron: “I just played the best defense of my life. It didn’t matter.”

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Welcome to the NBA, Jordan Bell.

Fans that want to rip on the NBA — casual ones who clearly don’t watch the games — will say there is no defense in the Association. Which is flat-out wrong. First off, NBA defenses are far superior to the college game these same fans often laud. NBA defenses also are better than they were 20 years ago, the allowing of zones has led to defenders having to make split-second switching and rotation decisions that were not on the table for guys in the 1990s, they just had to stick with their man.

The real lesson even the best NBA defenders learn quickly is, often it doesn’t matter. NBA players are so offensively gifted they just score anyway. Good offense beats good defense.

Jordan Bell, the Warriors rookie out of Oregon, got that lesson the hard way at a recent pickup game at UCLA, where he had to cover LeBron James. Bell talked about it with NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We had an open gym in LA, at UCLA, and I was guarding him the whole time,” Bell recalled of a session last month. “It’s different than what you see on TV. It’s waaaay different….

“It’s crazy how big he is, how quick he is for his size and how smart he is,” Bell recalled. “He was standing straight up, and I’m thinking he can’t go by me if he’s standing straight up. I’m in a good defensive stance. He’s not crouching.

“But there he goes. I’m not going to say he got by me, but I didn’t realize he was so quick. For him to be standing straight up, there’s no way he should be able to move that fast. I’d understand that quickness if he got lower, but I’ve never seen anybody so quick while standing straight up….

“I thought I did a pretty good job on him, but he obviously hit some shots,” Bell said. “But he would get on the block, and I’m containing him, not letting him back me down, and he would fade away from the block to the 3-point line — and make it. And I just played the best defense of my life. It didn’t matter.”

Again, welcome to the NBA Jordan Bell.

LeBron is the best player walking the face of the earth right now, but there are a whole lot of guys in the NBA that you may think you have stopped only to find they score anyway. How many 6-foot plus guards thought they had Isaiah Thomas contained? Or big men who thought they were about to block a Tony Parker shot into the third row only to watch a floater go over their outstretched arms and straight through the net? The list of guys like that is so long.

But Jordan Bell has the skills to make it difficult for a few of them, if he puts in the work.