David Lee

Curry renews MVP push, Draymond pushes buttons, Warriors get 50th win

curry tongue

It’s weird to go from reading about the 49ers’ incessant craziness to watching the Warriors’ pleasant dominance in the same day. After finishing their longest, coldest, toughest road trip with a record of 3-3, Golden State is getting back into their regular groove. The Warriors beat Milwaukee by nine, routed Dallas and took a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter against the Clippers.

Stephen Curry’s numbers (17.7 ppg, 7.3 apg, 1.3 rpg, 41.7 FG%) over those three games weren’t bad, but they weren’t up to his normal standards, which this year have been obscenely high. However, he put forth an obvious Play-of-the-Year candidate on Sunday, when he yo-yo’d the ball between four Clippers defenders and nailed a fallaway three.

The degree of difficulty on some of his shots has been otherworldly all season, but the threes he’s been taking lately have brought an entirely new level of ridiculousness. He had at least four such shots in the Warriors’ 98-80 win in Phoenix on Monday night, including another obstacle course-like gauntlet where he weaved around guys, turned around and fired from behind the arc.

36 points (14-for-24, 7-for-13 on threes), six rebounds, five assists (slacker) and four steals — he got Eric Bledsoe on two of those. He also had a reverse layup to beat the first quarter buzzer that looked comically easy, and multiple “celebration threes.” There was the one where he high-stepped down the court afterward, and the one in the corner where he took a tumble in front of the courtside seats, then looked up and pointed to the crowd.

http://youtu.be/G2tC4a-qdUQ

If we’re worried about the MVP thing, which gets talked about a lot more than the season itself these days, Curry needed a game like this. He probably needs several more, preferably on national television against playoff teams … like the 50-13 Atlanta Hawks. The Warriors should be able to pick up steam fairly easily between now and their Mar. 18 game against the team with the second-best record in the league. (Between now and a week from tomorrow: Pistons, Nuggets, Knicks and Lakers.)

— Yes, the Warriors are 50-12. And when Draymond Green was asked about whether it was a goal to match last year’s win total of 51, he laughed and said …

I’m not sure if, before the season started, this roster expected to breeze past 50 wins in early March. Maybe they did. They absolutely expect that kind of dominance now.

— Green got shoved by Dahntay Jones the day before, during his postgame interview, and he tossed several verbal jabs in return from the Warriors’ locker room.

“If [Dahntay Jones] gets suspended, they may not even notice. So I guess good bump-by, but I definitely expect to be reviewed by the NBA. You know, for him to look at me and look at me again, and bump me, when I’m doing a postgame interview, that’s really smart too, when it’s on ABC. And obviously the postgame interview is the highlight of that segment, and you bump somebody? He got some camera time, which he needed because there wasn’t much celebration from their bench today, so you didn’t see him much. So he got the camera time that he was looking for…He served his purpose in today’s game.”

Doc Rivers’ retort: “I guess that tough guy in Golden State I think the bump was too hard for him clearly by how he reacted. I thought that guy was tough.”

— Rivers should worry more about his son being awful than defending Jones’ honor. And his son, Austin, should worry more about defending. And scoring. And assisting. When I named the Clippers as a “team to avoid” in the playoffs, I wasn’t thinking about Austin’s presence on this year’s team. Maybe it’s time to change the Clippers to “team to throttle” on that list. (However, they’re a shell of themselves without Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford.)

— Looks like Klay Thompson’s shooting touch is back. He scored 25 points against Phoenix and is 17-for-32 over his last two games, 7-of-13 on threes.

— Marreese Speights played four minutes against the Suns, while David Lee didn’t leave the bench. Meanwhile, Festus Ezeli grabbed eight rebounds in 15 minutes.

— Mark Jackson can’t stand the Warriors’ success without him around, but nothing beats his disdain for Andrew Bogut (the feeling is mutual, and it’s not a York/Harbaugh kind of mutual). When Chris Paul went around a DeAndre Jordan screen and made a jumper with Bogut running at him, here’s what Jackson said.

“And that’s the problem having a big. I got in trouble before talking about a rim protector being overrated. But Chris Paul comes off that pick-and-roll, it does not matter if you have a rim protector,” Jackson said. “He’s stepping in rhythm to a midrange jumpshot. And he knows how they’re defending him.”

Later in the broadcast, Jackson said Jordan was his pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Jeff Van Gundy questioned Jackson’s comments earlier this season about rim protectors (Bogut being the prime example) being “overrated.” Jackson had no answer, and got flustered before accusing Van Gundy of attacking him, in a semi-joking kind of way that didn’t really seem like standard announcing banter.

— Jackson did lead the Warriors to their first 50-win season in 20 years. One year later, they’re going to win 60 for the first time in franchise history, and it’s going to come easily. What a year — it hasn’t included much in the way of Niner-like drama, but 50-12 and serious MVP consideration were both impossible to imagine in this region for my entire life … until this season.

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