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How the Warriors silenced even their fiercest critics on their return to the battle for the title

Steph Curry plays at MVP level, Draymond Green is Defensive Player of the Year; The Warriors are deep, cohesive, and the best team in the NBA this season. What is there not to like? (Author: Gardener)

Steph CurryGolden State Warriors guardian Stephen Curry (30) holds his shot as he beats Utah Jazz striker Royce O'Neale (23) in the first half during an NBA basketball game on Saturday, January 1, 2022, in Salt Lake is guarded city. The Warriors are not a perfect basketball team. But in the course of this resurgent season, and especially in the last two games, the ardent pessimist has a hard time finding problems with this squad. "I didn't think we'd be that good ... especially so fast," said Green - who has exceptionally high standards - after beating the Miami Heat on Monday night. “We keep improving in training, we keep improving in games and that will position us well if we play through this season. Yes, most of the time these warriors look competent, coherent, and put together to become dangerous in the spring and summer. They've answered every question they've been asked so far this season, creating something really incredible in the process: silence. Even their most passionate haters - the people who are paid to question them even in the good times - can't find anything on these dubs. The win on Monday evening against the Heat was a perfect example of the all-round performance of the Warriors: They shot well from the ground, shot well from the bow, delivered 39 assists - a new season high, rebounded well, made their free throws, forced 18 turnovers in defense and limited own sales. All of this while MVP leader Stephen Curry had one of his worst games of the season. Don't you think this Warriors team is real? How do you explain the fact that Curry had one of his worst games of the season against one of the NBA's better teams - a squad that plays hard and is trained exceptionally despite being exhausted - and the Warriors won anyway? They would have been chased off the pitch last season and the year before. Most teams in the NBA don't stand a chance without their superstar being a superstar. The warriors '21-22 were fine. What's more impressive is that this Warriors team even seems to be fixing potential issues at accelerated speed. I've read the concerns of fans and the media about the size of this team. I haven't seen a real problem yet, but you can ask Rudy Gobert, of Utah, what he thinks of the tiny fives of the Warriors. Plus: the 7-foot James Wiseman is nearing a return. With Draymond Green running out of time with COVID, there were concerns that the Warriors' defenses could stall without their ace. These concerns were found to be unfounded. And my concerns about this team's performance in the clutch - the lack of an elite wing-bucket getter - have recently been quieted as well. Andrew Wiggins didn't transform into Kevin Durant, but neither did he have to with the way curry played. In their last 15 games, the Warriors have been the top performing clutch battle team in the NBA, averaging 1.35 points per possession in tight, pinpoint games, while they only allowed 0.96. This is triggered by Curry, who has achieved a net rating of plus 39.4 in clutch situations since the beginning of December with an increased willingness to attack in midfield. In terms of the net standings, only four players in the league have recently been better than Curry in the clutch: Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan of the Bulls (who seem to play every game to the limit and are at the top of the Eastern Conference), Draymond Green and Otto Porter. That level of clutch performance could wear off in the weeks and months to come, but the Warriors have found a formula for success late in the games and are working with a nice cushion of success. There were also concerns about what might happen to Jordan Poole if he joined the bench after Klay Thompson's return. The Warriors put Poole a little on the bench before Thompson hit the ground, but after his necessary 32-point performance on Monday as the sixth man of the Warriors, it looks like Poole will take on the new (ish) role like one Fish in the water. (Poole also played a bit as the sixth man last year.) Who cares - it's 2022, no one bounces off anymore. Concerns about young player development? Jonathan Kuminga seems to be playing more and more and looking good doing it. Problems with sales? You must have missed the Warriors Five Year Run - losing the ball is a natural by-product of an offensive that actually moves the ball. No, this is the best team in the NBA across the board. The only questions that stay with this team are how do they stay healthy and bring in Thompson. But whether Thompson is just a spot-up shooter hanging in the corner on either end of the floor, or whether he's the Thompson who should have been called up to the NBA's all-time 75 team earlier this season, I fail to see a downside to returning No. 11. No matter what role he can play, he will make this team better. Great shooting always goes, and Thompson will always make a great shot. Certainly something else will pop up later this season to worry the Warriors and their fans, but at this point, if you talk about Golden State and what they lack, you are picky. But these dubs are the best the NBA has to offer, and chances are they'll only get better from here.

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Myers offers encouraging news on Wiseman's rehab for Warriors

James Wiseman nears his return for the Warriors. (Author: Gardener)

WisemanKlay Thompson's imminent return rightly takes up most of the oxygen surrounding a Warriors team that roared about a 29-7 start. But since Thompson is on everyone's lips, it's easy to forget that James Wiseman also has to contest the place for Golden State this season. Wiseman had put his rehab on hold after entering the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety logs, but the 20-year-old left the logs on Monday and is preparing for the next step in his rehab. "Well, he got close and then COVID happens, and he's right there to start some live stuff, whether it's the end of this week or next," said Bob Myers, president of Warriors' basketball division. opposite 95.7 The Game's "The Morning Roast". Tuesday. "" That was really the last, and once you get there it will be how do we get replay and real scrimming? "So James is going to have to go through this part. We just can't answer the next step until we see what he looks like. But this team, I'll tell you, for a young player, be it Wiseman, [Jonathan] Kuminga, [Moses] Moody, it's so hard to crack that rotation. Not that James isn't I think he'll find a place. But it's a difficult team to find minutes for everyone. I think when James comes back he'll find them. "But we're not a situation where minutes are difficult to find when we're healthy unless you're one of the first three or four. I'm not just saying that about him, it affects many of our "young people." Some expected Wiseman to return sooner, but meniscal injuries are difficult to spot and can often take eight or nine months to fully rehabilitate. Memphis Grizzlies striker Jaren Jackson Jr. tore his meniscus in his bladder and didn't return until eight and a half months later. The Warriors have taken over the big picture with Wiseman. They know the young Center is a huge part of their future, and there was no need to press him to return to the Warriors, who have the best record in the NBA. According to reports, Thompson could return as early as Sunday and it appears Wiseman isn't far back. The 29-7 Warriors are about to become a whole, and that's a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.

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TV channels, NBA livestream information, start time

How to watch the Mavericks vs. Warriors basketball game (Author: Gardener)

NBAThough the Dallas Mavericks came into the game as underdogs, they are well on their way to steal victory from the Golden State Warriors. After three quarters, neither side has the fight under their belt, but the Mavericks are 70-67. Point guard Luka Doncic has shown the way for Dallas so far, as he has 23 points and five assists in addition to five boards. Golden State has had no offensive standouts so far as all players have been kept at 12 points or less. The Dallas Mavericks will play at home again on Wednesday, but the experts predict a 4.5-point defeat. You will face the Golden State Warriors at 7:30 p.m. ET at the American Airlines Center. Dallas didn't have much of a problem with the Denver Nuggets at home on Monday as they won 103-89. It was another big night for Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic, who almost lost a triple-double with 21 points, 15 dimes and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat usually has all the answers at home, but Golden State proved too difficult a challenge on Monday. The Dubs prevailed against the Heat with a score of 115-108. Shooting guard Jordan Poole was the offensive standout of the matchup for the Dubs, who shot 5-on-9 from the bow and ended with 32 points and five assists. Dallas is now 19-18 while Golden State sits at 29-7. A couple of defensive stats to watch out for: Dallas enters the competition averaging just 103.9 points per game, good for the third-best in the league. The Warriors have kept their opponents at a field goal percentage of 42.60%, which puts them at the top of the league. The Warriors are a 4.5 point favorite against the Mavericks according to the latest NBA odds. The odds makers got a good feel for this line as the game started with the Warriors as a 5 point favorite. Check out NBA tips for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine's advanced computer model. Golden State have won 13 of their last 21 games against Dallas.

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Draymond's message to Poole, Warriors before Klay's return

Draymond Green knows that Klay Thompson's return will force some players into other roles, but he has a creed to draw upon if the Warriors' rotation changes. (Author: Gardener)

DraymondDraymond Green is thrilled that Klay Thompson could return to the Warriors as early as Sunday when Golden State welcomes the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Chase Center. But the Warriors star striker also knows that Thompson's return will force Golden State to change its rotations and change the roles of certain players who grew up early on for the best team in the NBA, with shooting guard Jordan Poole being the boss is. Green knows these role changes could annoy some of his teammates whose playing time is being changed, but that's the reaction he wants from those who will be by his side, which he and the Warriors are hoping to be a deep playoff run . "No, because I think we still have at least two games where everyone is playing exactly the same roles they played, so you don't want to jump with the gun," Green said on Monday when asked if he had spoken to Poole or others about her upcoming role change. There are no idiots on this team as you can see in our game. Guys understand what's ahead. I think as a leader there will be a time when you need to step in and, more importantly, keep the guys spirited up. "There will be some pissed off guys for wanting to be out there no matter if Klay Thompson is back," Green continued. I don't want a man on the team who agrees to sit on the bench. If there is one man on the team who can only sit on the bench, he will not be ready on his opportunity. So there will be some guys who are upset. “And there should be a couple of guys who are upset. Not upset because you're a better player than Klay Thompson, but because you want to put the work in and play and it works for you instead of working against us. Green is quick to tell his newer teammates, however, that even if their roles change, if the Warriors become whole, it doesn't mean they won't see the place. It's not in the Steve Kerr way. "As the leader, me, [Andre Iguodala], Steph [Curry], Klay, when he comes back just make sure you keep your pulse on the team," Green said. “Keep an eye on the guys and let people know, one thing about Steve Kerr is that he doesn't leave anyone in the bank. There may be a three-game section that you don't play in, but it won't be a seven-game section, a ten-game section like you see with other teams in the league. Green goes back to a message from Mark Jackson during his rookie season that he hopes his teammates will heed the role change. "I'll never forget Mark Jackson telling me as a rookie, 'Weird things happen all the time in this league,'" said Green. "[He said that] the day before my first game." Strange things happen all the time in this league. You just make sure you're ready whenever the opportunity presents itself. "Brandon Rush was injured, his ACL tore in the second game of the season. I'm sitting on the bench, crushed that Brandon was just injured. When Brandon leaves the pitch and I sit and watch the game, I think, 'I think that's what he was talking about.' It just happens for no rhyme or reason. These guys understand that. I don't think that's going to be a problem, but like I said, you're going to have some angry guys and you want that. "As for Poole, the Guardian played in his third year of the 115-108 win over the Heat , 32 points from his role if Thompson returns, the Warriors have the best record in the NBA at 29-7 and are about to bring back one of the greatest shooters in NBA history for the first time in nearly 1,000 Days. The roles will change, but as long as the Warriors win there is no reason to believe that there will be dissatisfaction with a team prepared to play well into May and June.

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Ticket prices for Thompson's expected return of the Warriors are rising. Could it be higher?

Klay Thompson can return to the Warriors against the Cavaliers on Sunday. (Author: Gardener)

ThompsonThe ticket market has reacted as fans rush to see the Warriors star, but there is reason to believe another spike could come. The Warriors reportedly hope Thompson will play the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Chase Center on Sunday - his first game since June 13, 2019 (when the Warriors were still playing at the Oracle Arena). Thompson himself appeared to be confirming his imminent return earlier this week, tossing up six fingers as he walked off the Chase Center site, six days before Sunday, ahead of the Warriors' game against the Miami Heat on Monday night. On Ticketmaster, the Warriors' official ticket marketplace, the lowest price for a pair of tickets for this Thursday afternoon game is $ 181 each, including fees. By comparison, the Warriors' next home game, January 18 against the Pistons, has tickets to a low of $ 90 (up from a high of $ 4,000). However, prices are down compared to Monday's spike after ESPN reported there was "optimism" that Thompson would be returning for the Cavaliers game. As of Tuesday, secondary marketplace TickPick said its starting price was $ 329, more than three times the cost at the start of the season. That entry price had dropped to $ 202 by Thursday. On Thursday, SeatGeek had tickets on sale for $ 138 each, which appear to be the cheapest on the secondary market. Without Steph or Draymond, the supporting cast of the Warriors in New Orleans is only neglected. Steph Curry, Draymond Green Warriors eliminated at New Orleans But prices could skyrocket again if and when the Warriors make Thompson's return date official. The ESPN report that caused the surge noted that the team is expected to decide on Friday whether Thompson will play Cleveland. All remaining tickets for Sunday's game are in the secondary market, the Warriors said in a statement, adding:

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Warriors' Steph Curry suffers a bruised left thigh after losing to Mavs and could miss Thursday's Pelicans game

Steph Curry injured himself against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night amid a tough performance amid an unusual slump. During an ugly loss (Author: Gardener)

Steph CurrySteph Curry injured himself against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night amid a tough performance amid an unusual slump. During an ugly loss to Luka Doncic and the Mavs, Curry suffered a left thigh bruise, according to Steve Kerr. With the Warriors facing the New Orleans Pelicans on the second leg of a consecutive street on Thursday, Curry's status for the competition is in jeopardy. After Wednesday's game, Kerr said there was a chance the Warriors Curry would play the Pelicans. Steph Curry suffered a contusion in his left thigh tonight. Steve Kerr said "there is a chance" the Warriors will give him a rest in New Orleans tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/atDQ8ZB730 - Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) Jan 6, 2022 In his post-game press release on Wednesday, Curry said he was not optimistic that he would play on Thursday as he felt after the game in Dallas have. Steph Curry said how his left thigh feels he is "not optimistic" that he will play against the Pelicans tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/jitkJgYiRi - Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) Jan 6, 2022 If Curry is ruled out Thursday, Jordan Poole is likely to slip back onto the Golden State grid alongside Gary Payton II in the backcourt against the Pelicans. With two days off after the Golden State clash, Curry could have three days off to recover before the Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Chase Center on Sunday. Follow Warriors Wire on Facebook and Twitter. Pelicans on Thursday Warriors at Pelicans: Lineups, injury reports and broadcast information for Thursday

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Draymond amazes how good the Warriors are this season

Even Draymond Green is surprised at how dominant the Warriors were at the start of the season. (Author: Gardener)

DraymondThe Warriors' 29-7 start this season has been almost all impressive. The fact that they were the best team in the NBA with Klay Thompson and James Wiseman speaks for their high ceiling. At the start of the season, the Warriors were expected to be one of the teams at the heart of the Western Conference race. But nobody, not even Draymond Green, saw it coming. "I have to be 100 percent honest," Green said Monday after the Warriors beat the Miami Heat at the Chase Center. “I didn't know we would be that good. It's not the first team to have 30 wins or anything. In May and June, put yourself in the best position to win a championship. We keep improving in the games and that will position us well if we play through this season. So I'd be lying if I told you this team was as good as us. "Green also knows that Thompson's imminent return will make the best team in the NBA a dreaded one. Thompson worked alongside before beating the Heat Green, and reports suggest there is "optimism" that the five-time All-Star could return on Sunday when the Warriors receive the Cleveland Cavaliers. Green, like everyone else, can't wait to have Thompson back want that for him, and I think he's extremely excited and eager to be out there again, "said Green. Everyone's looking forward to Klay Thompson's back out there on the ground." The Warriors have hit a 29-7 record without Thompson, which gives the shooting guard the runway he needs to improve his stamina. But his return is on the horizon, and with him back there is no telling how good these warriors can be.

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Suns rise, warriors lose their position at the top

There's a small upheaval at the top of this week's power rankings, largely because the Golden State Warriors are slowly looking mortal ... (Author: Gardener)

SunsThere's been a minor upheaval at the top of the power rankings this week, largely because the Golden State Warriors are slowly looking mortal. This week they beat Jazz in Utah but they lost three of the last five and Stephen Curry is at a freezing cold shooting range the team could finally catch up with. Of course it's only January. But this week has brought many reminders that there are several real contenders in the NBA. The Phoenix Suns have done enough to claim the best record in the league. Even the Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat might be able to threaten these competitors. For almost everyone else, 2021-22 remains something of a nightmare caused by Health and Safety Protocol, but several teams seem to be finding the other side of this fight as well. Things are looking up for much of the NBA. The Detroit Pistons distracted the tank a little with back-to-back wins on Saturday and Monday, but looked a lot like the "worst team in the league" on Wednesday and Thursday. After being blown up by the Charlotte Hornets with 29 points, the Pistons lost at 30 the next day to the Memphis Grizzlies. On the plus side, despite a 5-out-of-19 performance against Memphis, Cade Cunningham is starting to show the playmaker's wing advantage that put him in first place in the standings. He has averaged 8.3 assists in his last six games. There's one pretty obvious and consistent theme for this season that has developed for the Orlando Magic. The young, promising starters play well, but the team loses. On Wednesday, Cole Anthony had 26 points and was plus one on a 10-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Franz Wagner added 15 points and Wendell Carter Jr. decided on 12 points, 10 boards and three groschen. If all three have been on the floor this season, Orlando has plus 2.3 points per 100 possessions. And that's probably ideal for a team in Orlando's position. Playoff competitions are fun, but a chance at another candidate in the lottery, particularly one that includes Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith, offers more long-term benefits to a team or player is one of the sport's most overused clichés. He was then suspended from the team for Monday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Then, in his first game back, he hit a three dribbling pull-up on Summer to beat the Washington Wizards and finish with nine points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and four steals on Wednesday. Losses for the Oklahoma City Thunder are piling up (they lost four of the last five), but the middle of the rebuilding season is about looking for potential young members of the core. For Giddey, emerging from health and safety logs with a record-breaking triple-double had to be tempting to fans. A season after LaMelo Ball set the standard for the youngest player with a triple-double, Giddey had a performance of 17 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks. OKC lost, but Giddey was a plus-six in the game. SGA has averaged 25.4 points and 5.4 assists in its last 10 appearances. And throughout the season, when he's on the floor with Giddey and Mike Muscala, the Thunders have 5.2 points per 100 possessions. esque gap year. The casualties continue and Damian Lillard's abdominal injury will keep him out until at least January 9th. Moving further south, the possibility of long-term shutting down Lillard may need to be considered - old Anfernee Simons is either adding to his trade value or pleading that he should be a staple in the next version of the Blazers. In the last two games (both missed by Lillard), Simons has averaged 35.5 points and scored 7.0 points in helping with shooting 14 out of 26 out of three. The New Orleans Pelicans took an important win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. Granted, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green weren't on the line-up for Golden State, but the Pelicans will take wins but they can get their real chance at the play-in tournament right now, whether or not Zion Williamson ever returns. For this stretch, New Orleans is plus -24.0 points per 100 possessions with Brandon Ingram, Devonte 'Graham and Jonas Valanciunas all on the ground. In theory, De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton should be able to play together. The latter is more about craft and pace, and he can shoot well enough to attract attention outside and pull defenders off Fox's drives. In reality, the Sacramento Kings have minus 5.8 points per 100 possessions when both are on the ground. And even on one of the rare occasions where they both played well in the same game, Sacramento lost at home to a team from the Atlanta Hawks who played without Trae Young's correct bid for Fox before the deadline the Kings may have to listen to, Lance Stephenson gave the Indiana Pacers a much-needed boost of energy against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, scoring 20 points in the first quarter and helping his team build a 19-point lead through the third quarter. Unfortunately, even one of the best games of Stephenson's career wasn't enough to drive away the Pacers' demons, with Indiana's net score of minus 0.4 for the season, not far from average. But in the clutch (defined by the league as the last five minutes of play within five points) the Pacers are a 29th place minus 27.8 per 100 possession. The New York Knicks may finally be generating some positive momentum. And they begin to defend like the team that secured the home advantage for the first round of the 2021 postseason. On this route, the 103.1 points per 100 possessions have made New York third in the league. And if Thursday is any indication, one of their off-season acquisitions might be ready to add a little firepower to that defense. Against the Celtics, Evan Fournier scored 14 out of three in 15 out of 25 shoots (including 10 out of 25). Over the same seven game stretch described above, Fournier shoots 46.7 percent out of three. The San Antonio Spurs stopped a four-game losing streak on Wednesday and beat the Celtics in Boston 99:97. And although Dejounte Murray returned with 22 points, 12 assists, nine boards and three steals had a lot to do with the surprise, Jakob Poeltl's steady game inside was a common theme in Spurs' victories this season. Poeltl had eight points, 14 boards and a block against the Celtics and was a team high plus five on the night. During the season, the Spurs have plus 1.2 points per 100 possession of the ball with Poeltl on the ground and minus 1.2 without him. After losing to the New York Knicks on Thursday, the Boston Celtics have now lost five of seven. And they both had Jays in the last two losses. Individually, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had many highs throughout the season. And Tatum is 23.3 over the same range (although his shooting efficiency was miserable). But throughout the season, with both on the ground, Boston only scores 105.9 points per 100 possession, well below the league average of 109.7. There is obviously a lot of talent among the first two, but it is becoming increasingly clear that they may need a more traditional playmaker to make the throws and lead the offense. To do justice to the Denver Nuggets, any team would be in pretty serious trouble without the second and third best players. As long as Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are out, Denver will struggle. But in the past few weeks there have been several nights when it looked like everyone outside of Nikola Jokic was almost helpless. This season, Jokic averaged 25.7 points, 14.2 rebounds and 7.0 assists in just 32.7 minutes. He leads the league in victories against substitutes, while the next nugget on this list (Will Barton) ranks 87th. Like much of the mid-NBA this season, the Washington Wizards are consistently inconsistent. Anytime it looks like they're putting in a bit of momentum, they've got a stinker (or a couple) like Wednesday's home loss to the Houston Rockets. And if the Wizards can ever rediscover their defensive mojo earlier in the season while Kyle Kuzma and Bradley Beal keep their most recent production, Washington should get back on track. In the last five games, Kuzma averaged 27.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.2 helps. In the same distance, Beal has 29.5 points, 10.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds. After 1-3 weeks, the Los Angeles Clippers seem to be really feeling the absence of Paul George, who is sidelined with an elbow injury and still has a decent amount of talent available on the list. And they still have the versatility to play many of the small ball lineups that have served them well over the past couple of seasons. But anyone playing now is best suited for a third or fourth role, and no one has really shown the ability to rise to # 1 in the absence of Kawhi Leonard and George Trail Blazers felt like a microcosm of the entire season on. Although Trae Young was aiming for 56 points, 14 assists, and the highest game score for any player in 2021-22 ("... a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game, according to the Basketball Reference, Atlanta lost to a Trail Blazers squad without Damian Lillard, This year the Hawks have plus 2.4 points for every 100 possession with Young on the ground and minus 4.5 without him, back and forth season for the Minnesota Timberwo lves, but they finally have all three of their primary offensive weapons this week getting back on the line-up plus 14. That brought the net worth for this trio throughout the season to a stellar plus 14.7. With Russell set the table and KAT and Edwards scoring on all three levels, Minnesota can sometimes like look like an offensive juggernaut. If those three join the Big Three, the Wolves will only allow 86.4 points per 100 possessions. Things start looking for the Los Angeles Lakers s who have won four of the last five and achieve a production that should seem impossible for a leading playmaker in his 37-year-old season. In his last 15 games, LeBron averaged 30.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 3.1 threes, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks. A lot of the big appearances came with losses, but some of the supporting cast are finally starting to catch up. During the 4-1 stretch, Malik Monk averaged 20.8 points while shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 45.9 percent from three, with Kelly Oubre Jr. taking 32 points in 24 minutes in Wednesday's blowout win against the Detroit Pistons, and a trend could develop for him and the Charlotte Hornets. If Oubre scores at least 20 points, the Hornets stand 9-5. In all other games they are 11-14. With LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges in the starting XI, there is plenty of firepower. It's that extra punch from the bench that makes Charlotte particularly difficult to beat. In 2021-22, obviously, having a team affected by a lack of availability of players across the roster is obviously far from unique, and that is certainly true of the Toronto Raptors, but Toronto’s most important players have returned to the lineup lately, and the Raptors suddenly have a four-game winning streak. During this run, Fred VanVleet averaged 29.5 points and 6.5 assists. And OG Anunoby has 19.0 points. Those were the alleged top 3 for Toronto to start the season this season, but they have only appeared in seven games together. If the raptors can keep them on the ground, they'll likely keep climbing up. When Kristaps Porzingis entered the health and safety protocols, Luka Doncic returned and looked rejuvenated after 10 missed games, averaging 20.3 points, 11.0 assists and 8.0 rebounds in his three appearances since joining the line-up. More importantly, he got plus 23 in those three games and the Dallas Mavericks 3-0. Before that final run, Dallas was a worrying minus 5.5 points per 100 possessions with Luka on the floor and plus 5.3 away with him. The Philadelphia 76ers have won five in a row (and six of the last seven) and are back on the hunt for NBA home advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and Joel Embiid has played like an MVP contestant in all of these competitions. In these seven missions he averaged 33.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Injuries, health and safety logs, and a regression on the defensive all contributed to a 2-5 record and a slide in the Eastern Conference rating for the Cleveland Cavaliers. On this route Cleveland ranks 20th in the league with 114.0 points per 100 possessions. Of course, Evan Mobley missed two of those games. If this season's numbers are any clue, the Rajon Rondo acquisition won't make up for Rubio's loss, but everyone else's health should still secure a playoff spot. When Garland, Mobley, and Allen were on the floor without Rubio, the Cavs were plus -5.0 points per 100 possessions (76th percentile). For years, the San Antonio Spurs were known as the team that could seemingly find any edge and turn NBA talent into solid role-playing players. Now the Miami Heat may have adopted this coat. The latest discovery is Max Strus, who went offline in 2019 after playing two seasons at Division II Lewis University and two more at DePaul. Strus appears to have taken Duncan Robinson's starting place, averaging 23.0 points and 5.2 threes, while in his last six games he shot 46.3 percent of three in Bane's suggestion that he might be the best point guard in the league. During the streak, Morant averaged 29.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He's a team high plus 118 in 223 minutes. And that run increased his boxing plus / minus to 6.4 (BPM "is a basketball boxing score-based metric that estimates a basketball player's contribution to the team when they are Player is on the court, "says Basketball Reference). That's within calling range of Stephen Currys 6.9 (the current high for point guards). Just when it looked like the Milwaukee Bucks might finally have a basketball track where the team was mostly complete, Giannis Antetokounmpo had to line up with a non-COVID illness. After losing to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, the Bucks' net rating dropped to minus 4.3 with no Giannis on the floor. You're plus 10.6 points per 100 possessions if he plays. You probably can't put that momentum or Wednesday's defeat on Jrue Holiday though. With or without Giannis, he looks like Milwaukee's second all-star this season. After taking 15 points and 12 assists on Wednesday, his averages are 18.4 and 6.7. Kevin Durant had 39 points (in 15-of-24 shooting), eight boards, and seven assists in the Brooklyn Nets' win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, but he was kind of not the story. "It was amazing to have [Kyrie Irving] out there," KD told reporters of his teammate's season debut. ... Basketball is happy to have it back. "Although Irving hasn't played since June, he looked a lot like the old self when he played against Durant and James Harden. He had 22 points, was plus 16, and hit several of his own patented mid-range pull-ups. With his dynamic offensive ability in the line-up for street games, it's hard to imagine that many teams can score with the net-back games, DeMar DeRozan fell in a win over the Orlando Magic 29. And his Chicago Bulls did now won eight in a row, a streak that coincided perfectly with DeRozan's return from health and safety protocols. Since his return, DeRozan has accumulated 28.5 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game, in seven of those eight games he was on the right-hand side of the plus-minus ledger. And this production, combined with the drama of its game winners and Chicago's rise to the top seed in the East, has DeRozan officially in the MVP -Content pushed on. It ranks ninth in Basketball Reference's MVP Tracker ("... based on a model created with previous voting results ...") and has the sixth best odds on FanDuel. Even without Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles on Wednesday, the Utah Jazz were able to beat a monster triple-double from Nikola Jokic to beat the Nuggets in Denver. Part of what makes them so dangerous in the regular season is their depth of fire. Whether Donovan Mitchell, Gobert, or Mike Conley, there is generally enough outside firepower (and hot-streaking players) to turn the math in their favor. On Wednesday, it was Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gay who really moved the needle. Bogdanovic had 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting while Gay added 18 and shot 4-of-7 out of three. A well-documented concern for the Golden State Warriors lately is the completely untypical inefficiency of Stephen Curry points in shooting 5-out-of-24 (including 1-out-of-9 out of three) in Wednesday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Curry has dropped to 26.8 points with a 42.0 field goal percentage and a 38.8 three-point percentage. In his last 16 games these shot percentages are 36.7 and 34.7. Even so, even during the extended cold streak, Golden State has plus 8.0 points per 100 holdings with curry on the floor and minus 6.6 without it. The mere threat of an outside shot weakens the immune system and makes life much easier for his teammates. Now he could use someone to make his life easier. Fortunately, it looks like Klay Thompson could make his Sunday debut after more than two seasons in injury reporting. The Phoenix Suns set the best record in the NBA on Thursday. Phoenix is ​​4-3 in the last seven while the Golden State Warriors have lost three out of five. Even so, the Suns deserve credit for their consistency. Despite the recent losses, Phoenix feels like one of the most predictable teams in the league (in a good way). Chris Paul will command good execution, Devin Booker, who turns 20, feels like a given most nights, and Deandre Ayton can paint that on either end.

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Why Steph's shooting slump shouldn't worry about Warriors, fans

Steph Curry is in the worst shooting weakness of his career and still has a huge impact on the win. (Author: Gardener)

Steph CurryLike a star who is deprived of his strength, a la Charles Barkley or Muggsy Bogues in "Space Jam", Steph Curry fell freezing in the 115-108 victory of the Warriors against the Miami Heat on Monday evening at the Chase Center. Curry only scored nine points in 3v17 shooting from the field and only made one of his 10 3-point attempts. This was an off-night for Curry to say the least, but it resulted in yet another Warriors win thanks to Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and others. Everyone has a tough night shooting balls, even Steph. "He's obviously the best shooter ever, but it happens," Steve Kerr told reporters after the win. "I've been with some of the greatest players of all time in my life, in my blessed basketball existence and I've seen it all." Every great player has tough nights, it's just part of it. "Currys were nine points against the Heat Not just his season low, but also his lowest since scoring nine points before breaking his wrist in single digits in the fourth game of the 2019-20 season against the Phoenix Suns since he did that in the 2018-19 season when he did did so on consecutive nights in April 2019. His filming has now been down for more than one night at the 15-game shooting range of his career. In his last 15 games, Curry shoots just 37.9 percent off the field. His worst 15-game shooting range The stretch made him shoot 40.2 percent. Curry is of course the best shooter the game has ever seen es, the Warriors were fine and Curry found other ways to influence victory. The Warriors beat Curry's cold streak from the ground 11-4. He finished that stretch in negative plus-minus only three times, and the Warriors' offensive rating is still 113.2 with Curry on the floor in those 15 games, compared to just 102 when he was off the floor. The Warriors had 39 assists on Monday night, which is even more impressive as Curry only made three shots. "To get a high total assists you have to drop the first domino and Steph always draws two," said Kerr. It's easy to move the ball and move around until someone is open. "Steph is key in getting the defense to respond and then everyone does a great job from there." "Too-High-To-Count" that Steph is the system. Another reason not to worry about Curry's shootout is because of the shots he takes and which he misses. The offense still works and creates open shots for Steph - they just don't fall. Curry is shooting 39.05 percent on competitive 3-pointers this season, compared to 40.98 percent last season. The difference is that curry is absent from shots that are considered "open" 3-pointers. That's a chilling thought for the rest of the NBA, and a dream for the Warriors - especially as Poole continues to emerge as a top scorer. While his shot was briefly on the ice, Curry has continued to be a better defender and a successful player this season. His defensive rating of 103 basketball reference is synonymous with the second best of his career, his defensive rating of 99.2 per NBA.com is the fifth best in basketball and he still leads the league by 3 points with 179 points of having won games in where he burns down the nets and lays bricks. That is evidence of the depth of the Warriors, but even more of how much Steph changes the game by just putting on his jersey and stepping on the floor. If he starts shooting, imagine like himself.

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Doncic, Mavs beat Curry, Warriors 99-82 on Nowitzki's night

DALLAS (AP) Stephen Curry knows he wasn't honoring the legacy of the NBA's best 7-foot-3-point shooter the night the Dallas Mavericks pulled Dirk Nowitzki's number against the Golden State Warriors. (Author: Gardener)

MavsDALLAS (AP) Stephen Curry knows he wasn't honoring the legacy of the NBA's best 7-foot-3-point shooter the night the Dallas Mavericks pulled Dirk Nowitzki's number against the Golden State Warriors. The league's most prolific player from the depths isn't concerned about the little slump he couldn't shake off. Luka Doncic scored 26 points and the Mavericks celebrated the retirement of Nowitzkis No. 41 by beating the cold-shooting Curry and the Warriors 99:82 on Wednesday night. "The work has been pretty solid this year," said Curry, who scored 14 points and only made five of 24 shots on his worst shooting night of the season. The Mavericks knew that the night belonged to their franchise icon and that Nowitzki's No. 41 would not be put in its place until after the game against the team with the best record in the NBA. Dallas responded with their first winning streak of four games of the season in Doncic's third game back in a career-long 10 game absence due to left ankle and knee issues and a positive COVID-19 test. Without European buddy Kristaps Porzingis, who just entered health and safety protocols as Doncic, Dallas' 22-year-old sensation played aggressively, doing 10 out of 12 on free throws with eight assists and seven rebounds. The only concern of the Mavericks was that Doncic hobbled off the ground in the last two minutes and didn't return. He said his distorted right ankle was not a problem. "You have so many things on your mind," said Jason Kidd, the point guard when Nowitzki led the Mavericks to their only championship in 2011, and now the Dallas coach, wearing a green Nowitzki jersey when he met reporters wore and after the game. “You know the Warriors will score. We just tried to make it as difficult as possible and watch the ball on the offensive. And our defense did a great job and gave us a chance to win. ”Curry was 1 out of 9 out of the 3-point range and is 8 out of 41 overall in the last two games. After missing all five attempts from depth before half, Curry scored nine seconds in the second half but couldn't hold it as Golden State missed a chance to be the first team to take 30 wins and hit a season low. "Everyone throws everything at him," said coach Steve Kerr. They try to make it as hard as possible. He's trying to get out of there. ”Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points for Golden State. At 29-8, the Warriors coincided with the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the NBA. Dorian Finney-Smith scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and had nine rebounds and two blocks - one when he took off Draymond Green on a dunk attempt and the other when Curry ran a layup. The Warriors were nine behind but were stopped towards the end of the fourth quarter when Curry missed badly from 3 and Jalen Brunson scored the next four points to bring Dallas to 13. Brunson finished with 15 points. The Warriors shot the worst 18% of the season by 3 (5 out of 28). "Dallas played a great defense tonight," said Kerr. I thought they brought it to us right at the start of the game. Warriors: Gary Payton II had his third double-double of his career with 11 points and 11 rebounds, one of his career highs on boards. (left foot) and Andre Iguodala (right knee) both sat at the front end of a back to back. Mavericks: Porzingis missed his second game due to COVID-19 logs while Boban Marjanovic had to pause for a fifth game in a row and Trey Burke his eighth game. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 14 points and Maxi Kleber had 10 rebounds. Golden State paid tribute to Nowitzki in a video during a hiatus in the third quarter. There was recorded messages from Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, Andre Iguodala and Green joking about two pump fakes of an aging Nowitzki in the same sequence that fooled him when the video showed the highlight. “An icon,” said Curry after the game. “He did it his way and played with the same franchise for 21 years. Warriors: In New Orleans to end a consecutive Thursday night. Golden State are 3-2 for the second night in a row.

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