Not so golden Warriors: Steph Curry slumping, team skidding

Stephen Curry screamed, turned and kicked the nearby wall, disgusted by another missed jumper. It was just practice and most of his other shots went in, so there was little reason for concern.

But if he keeps misfiring in games and the Golden State Warriors keep losing them, there might be.

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With Curry in a rare shooting slump and the Warriors on an even rarer losing streak, the NBA leaders are facing adversity – at least by their standards – as they visit the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Curry is 4 for 31 from 3-point range through three games of the Warriors’ road trip, with most of the last two games coming after Kevin Durant was injured. The Warriors found a way to win the opener in Philadelphia – when Curry missed all 11 attempts behind the arc – but they then dropped games in Washington and Chicago to end their NBA-record streak of regular-season games without consecutive losses at 146.

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“We haven’t lost two in row in a long time obviously and we’ve been in a rut on this trip in general,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice Saturday at a court in the Manhattan building where the players’ union is headquartered. “We’re not making shots, but we’re also well aware that this is just a blip on the radar screen. We’ll be fine and I’m not concerned at all. We just have to play better.”

Klay Thompson is also struggling, and the Splash Brothers really dried up Thursday, going a combined 3 for 22 on 3-pointers in a 94-87 loss in Chicago. But the Warriors don’t seem stressed and don’t think defenses are crowding the guards more than normal without having to worry about Durant.

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“We’ve had plenty of openings and creating decent shots, just haven’t gone in in the last three games,” Curry said. “But that happens as you go through a long season, you just have to fight through it and not let it affect how you play. Obviously if we make a couple more shots in Chicago the game’s a little different. Philly it was a struggle but we found a way to win, so just got to stay on the mission of letting the offense create good things for us and still have confidence to knock down shots.”

The Warriors were held to their lowest point total of the season Thursday. Curry and Thompson were a combined 15 of 49 from the field. Those are performances Golden State can’t afford without Durant, its leading scorer who is lost for at least four weeks with a knee injury.

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“It happens to the best of them, so you just move on,” All-Star Draymond Green said. “You try to make plays, get them the ball and get them open shots, knowing that more often than not they’ll fall. But everybody has shooting struggles. Michael Jordan had shooting struggles and the list goes on.”

This was Durant’s first game in the nation’s capital since signing with the Warriors; the Wizards – and their fans – had hoped to try to sign him as a free agent last offseason.

It was also Durant’s first game against his former coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Scott Brooks, who joined Washington this season.

“I have a lot of respect for him and think he’s a great player. He’s happy where he’s at. We had a good run together. I’m glad he’s happy, I’m glad he’s successful, but he’s always going to be successful. He’s a worker; he competes,” Brooks said. “I got nothing but positive things to say about him, not one bad thing. … He’s a winner. I’ve said it for years and I’ve meant it and I still mean it. The guy is a winner more off the court, and he handles himself with class and dignity and respect for the game and his coaches and teammates. You want … all your players to be a pro like him.”

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Durant said before Tuesday’s tipoff that he used to get too worked up about playing in front of friends and family in Washington. But that’s no longer an issue, he says.

Asked what he anticipated the reaction from spectators to be, Durant said: “I don’t know. I don’t expect it to be anything.”

Warriors #33 Kevin Durant Gold Oak Hill Academy High School Stitched NBA JerseyNew Orleans’ Anthony Davis scored an All-Star record 52 points in this year’s game, 10 points more than the mark by Wilt Chamberlain that stood for 55 years. The West has flirted with 200 points in each of the last two seasons – 196 in 2016, 192 this year. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 dunks by himself, and LeBron James was taking (and once, made) shots from China jerseys and the midcourt area.

“We collectively want to try to make All-Star weekend better for the fans,” Paul told reporters in Milwaukee on Friday. “All the way around. Even in CBA talks and stuff like that, that was one of the things that the players, the owners and everybody was talking about. Trying to fix that, spice it up a little bit to keep it interesting.”

Bucks coach Jason Kidd, a perennial All-Star as a player, is confident the league will find the right fix.

“Adam’s a very smart man,” Kidd said, “and they’ll figure it out.”

For this year’s game, the voting process was changed – fan votes were no longer the sole basis for selecting starters, but instead part of a formula that also took player and media balloting into account. The player-voting element in particular was criticized by some NBA coaches like Golden State’s Steve Kerr, who said it wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been.

“In an All-Star game like this, guys aren’t trying to get hurt,” Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving said after the All-Star Game. “We all enjoy the company of each other’s presence. But at the same token, us as competitors, when it starts getting close, you can feel it. For me, I would love to play in a competitive game.”

Steve Kerr calls some players’ All-Star votes a ‘mockery’

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and his staff will coach the Western Conference All-Stars in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. ET at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Kerr earned the honor for the second time in his three seasons as an NBA head coach, having led the Western Conference to a 163-158 victory over the Eastern Conference in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game.

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By virtue of the Houston Rockets’ 127-114 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks jersey on Jan. 23, the NBA-leading Warriors (38-7, .844) clinched the best record in the West through games played on Sunday, Feb. 5 among the 14 conference teams with a head coach eligible to participate in the 2017 All-Star Game. The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich is ineligible for the honor because he coached the West in last year’s All-Star Game.

Kerr, the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year, has a career coaching record of 178-31 (.852). Under Kerr, the Warriors won the NBA championship in the 2014-15 season and set a league record with 73 regular-season victories in 2015-16.

The East All-Star coach will be determined by the best record in the conference through games played two weeks before the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

Nearly 100 players got only one vote from either themselves or an NBA peer in the All-Star balloting, including Mo Williams — who hasn’t played a single second this season. The NBA said a total of 324 players participated in the voting process.

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Kerr was asked why he would use the word ”mockery.”

”I saw the list,” Kerr said. ”I saw all the guys who got votes. … There were 50 guys on there who had no business getting votes. Although a lot of people wrote in their buddies in the presidential vote as well. So maybe that’s just their own way of making a statement. I think if you’re going to give the players a vote, I think they should take NBA jerseys wholesale seriously.”

In past years, starters have been picked entirely by fan vote. This year, those whose All-Star hopes now hinge on the coaches’ vote include Dwyane Wade jersey, Zaza Pachulia, Joel Embiid, two-time All-Star MVP Russell Westbrook and perennial All-Star pick Carmelo Anthony. Wade, Pachulia and Embiid would have started under the old formula.

Kerr said the change to the way starters are picked this year didn’t affect the way he made his votes for reserves. He sent his vote in Sunday.

”Didn’t alter anything,” Kerr said.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he called a staff meeting to get input on the ballot he’ll send to the league.

”How is Russell Westbrook not in the starting lineup?” Spoelstra asked. ”I know how it’s important to players and especially guys that are giving their heart and soul and emotions into the game and should be rewarded for it. I do have to admit, in some years past, I would just give it to my assistants. Not anymore.”

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Spoelstra said he told Heat center Hassan Whiteside, another All-Star reserve hopeful, that to be picked as an All-Star backup wouldn’t be a consolation prize but rather would be a sign of respect.

The Pelicans were going to upset his champion Cavaliers 124-122 on Monday night. They would block 11 Cleveland shots, derive 26 points from backups Donatas Motiejunas (14) and Langston Galloway jersey, and withstand a spectacular 49 points from Kyrie Irving (15 of 28 from the field) and a triple-double in 44 minutes from LeBron James jersey (26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds). And yet, for the winning coach, the context was narrow and fleeting.

Warriors #35 Kevin Durant Black/White Stitched NBA Jersey“It’s one game,’’ said Gentry. “For us its all about creating consistency. We have to do it for the next game, and the next game, and the next game. If we do it eventually, then yeah, it will become habit. But just like I didn’t put a whole lot on the Brooklyn game, I don’t put a whole lot on this game too. It was one game that we played well. We’ve got to do it a lot more consistently before we can say this is who we are.’’

The consistency of having played in these settings for 17 years has enabled James to know who he is regardless of cheap jerseys and his opposition. At age 32, the champion is intent on winning more championships.

For Terrence Jones, the isolation spin move that he executed crucially against James with 1:39 remaining is a crucial play that he will never forget.

For James, a play like that can leverage future outcomes that the rest of us may always remember. He was fully invested in this loss, and still optimistic on James jerseys. Angry and yet reasonable.

“We’re just not very good right now,’’ LeBron James was saying, before he would shower, dress and fly home to Cleveland. “`Got to be better.’’

His next road game will be in Dallas Jan. 30 in a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals. It promises to be a big evening for the Mavericks. For James, it will be yet another Monday.