Steph Curry thinks Warriors’ on-court chemistry still has room to grow

By Jennifer Lee Chan • NBCSports

LOS ANGELES — While DeMarcus Cousins’ debut with the Warriors exceeded expectations, teammate Stephen Curry said that the team still has a long way to go to build their chemistry on the court. 

“A lot of things we’re going to have to work on going forward,” Curry said on Sunday. “We understand that. A lot to focus on, so leading up to the all-star break, going to continue to build this momentum that we had the last six games.” 

There was an understandable hype leading up to Cousins’ return to the court. Now that his first game is behind them, the team can look forward to building their chemistry. 

“There’s a lot of excitement in terms of welcoming him back,” Curry said. “We looked forward to it for an entire season, I know he has. I know it was a good first step for him, just getting comfortable with it back on the floor.” 

Cousins’ debut came at the right time, according to coach Steve Kerr. The time of year right before the all-star break is a challenging one to build momentum. 

“DeMarcus’ coming in right now is perfect,” Kerr said. “It gives us a little bounce in our step, a little challenge to incorporate him and to feel comfortable with the group. And we got a lot of work to do.” 

The team worked on offense in their first practice after beating the Los Angeles Clipperson Friday. The Warriors appeared to click right away on Cousins’ first-quarter that created headlines, but Curry said Sunday’s work was necessary. 

“To be honest,” Curry quipped, “for his first four minutes he was on the court, I think we called one play and I think we messed it up.” 

Curry further detailed why the offense can be such a challenge for a new player coming into the fold, let alone one working his way back from such a significant injury. 

“Honestly we have certain sets we’ve been running for years now,” Curry said. “And it’s kind of second nature now for most guys. For him, I don’t know how much he saw play calls from scouts when he was on opposing teams, but it takes a while to get caught up to speed. Then things start moving 100-miles an hour on the court and it’s even tougher.” 

[RELATED: With DeMarcus Cousins back, GM Bob Myers updates Warriors’ open roster spot]

What the Warriors have going for them is how close they are off the court. Having Cousins around, even when he didn’t play in the first 45 games, has been a positive for the Warriors. It should help them moving forward, too. 

“I think we have chemistry in terms of we care for each other,” Curry said. “Trying to bring the best out of each other. Chemistry in terms of what we’re doing on every possession will continue to get better as we go forward. It will be a work in progress because of just how complex some of the things can be and all the talent we have.”


Associated Press

Derrick Rose lifts Timberwolves past Suns, 116-114

MINNEAPOLIS — Derrick Rose hit an 18-footer with 0.9 seconds left to give the Minnesota Timberwolves a 116-114 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.

Rose scored 29 of his 31 points in the seconds to help Minnesota overcome an 11-point deficit.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 of his 30 points in the first half for Minnesota. With Towns struggling against double-teams in the second, Rose kept the Wolves in the game on 11-for-18 shooting in the half.

T.J. Warren led Phoenix with 21 points and Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre, Jr. each added 18. Warren’s last-second corner 3 hit off the side of the backboard.


SAN ANTONIO — Tobias Harris had 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and Los Angeles beat San Antonio to snap a five-game losing streak.

The Clippers led for all but 14 seconds in handing the Spurs their second straight loss at home.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 14 rebounds for San Antonio. The Spurs had 18 turnovers.

Patrick Beverly added 18 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers. Montrezl Harrell also had 18 points, and Avery Bradley had 15.


INDIANAPOLIS — Victor Oladipo scored 21 points and Darren Collison added 19 points and nine assists Sunday, leading Indiana past Charlotte.

Indiana has won four of five to improve to 16 games over .500 for the first time since the end of 2013-14. Kemba Walker had 23 points for Charlotte.

Lonzo Ball expected to miss 4-6 weeks with Grade 3 left ankle sprain

Dave McMenamin ESPN Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES — Just when it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers were turning the corner on an injury-riddled season, Lonzo Ball is expected to miss four to six weeks with a Grade 3 left ankle sprain, the team announced Sunday.

Ball suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 138-134 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday and an MRI administered Sunday in Los Angeles confirmed the severity of the sprain.

Ball, who tweaked the same ankle in late November, turned his ankle outward after colliding with James Ennis III with 8:39 left in the third quarter. He fell to the floor in pain and had to be carried to the locker room by Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley during the Lakers’ ensuing timeout.


VIDEO: Marcus Smart Has Crazy Fight With DeAndre’ Bembry, Knocks Down Ref & Gets Ejected For Throwing Punches!

Marcus Smart loses cool after altercation with DeAndre’ Bembry


Minutes after he was called for his first technical following his fourth foul about three minutes into the third quarter Saturday night in Atlanta, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was ejected following an altercation with the Hawks‘ DeAndre’ Bembry.

Smart and Bembry had to be separated after an exchange of words as players lined up for a jump ball. After being restrained by teammates and coaches, Smart broke free and charged toward Bembry before being restrained again.

Bembry also was called for a technical foul following a video review.

“I need to go back and watch it before I react to it,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said after the Celtics’ 113-105 victory. “From what I saw, obviously, deserved to be ejected. And, I don’t know what was said. I haven’t asked [Smart], I haven’t talked to him about it, but, obviously there’s league punishment for that type of stuff. Can’t react that way.”

Smart did not talk with reporters after the game.

With DeMarcus Cousins back, GM Bob Myers updates Warriors’ open roster spot

Drew Shiller • NBC SportsBayArea

DeMarcus Cousins made his season debut Friday night, and that’s all anybody is talking about.

The hyperfocus is very understandable, because his return always was going to be the most highly anticipated moment of the regular season.

Now that Cousins officially is in the mix, the Warriors’ front office finally can evaluate his progress and zero in on what to do with their 15th and final open roster spot.

Will they automatically add a center as an insurance policy for Boogie?

“This gives us a window here prior to the deadline that will inform us in that direction. If DeMarcus comes back and looks great and looks healthy — and a great wing is available via trade or a great wing is available via buyout — sure we would look at that,” general manager Bob Myers said Friday afternoon on 95.7 The Game. “We’ll factor in all we know in two weeks or three weeks when making that decision.

“But right now, the truth is we lost a center. We’re getting one now, but we always planned on getting DeMarcus. So we have a little bit of a void there, but you never know. If something happens in the next two weeks that leads us to believe we’re short on wing depth — hopefully not, knock on wood — somebody sprains their ankle and is out 2-3 weeks, that may push in a different direction.”

[RELATEDCousins shakes nerves, then rust in impressive Warriors debut]

Damian Jones is out for the year after sustaining a torn pectoral, and he was the big man who could consistently catch lobs. As of now, the Warriors don’t really have a true vertical threat who can set screens, roll to the rim and force defenses to stay attached. In a perfect world, Myers would be able to add somebody with this skillset, but those guys aren’t exactly growing on trees. 

The Warriors have intentionally kept a roster spot open all season so they can have the flexibility to strike if somebody they really like becomes available. The trade deadline is Feb. 7, but if they aren’t able to make a deal, they always could look to the buyout market or take a flier on somebody in the G League.

“Happy that DeMarcus is coming back now so it gives us a chance to evaluate that better,” Myers added. “Speculating on the trade market and buyout market — you always go in with certain thoughts and inevitably it goes in a different direction. So, we’ll see what’s possible and we’ll go from there.”

The fact that Cousins is on the Warriors should be the perfect reminder that you never know what’s going to happen.

Luka Doncic is running away with the Rookie of the Year award

Nick Schwartz • USA Today

19-year-old Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is only trailing LeBron James in All-Star voting for the Western Conference, and it’s easy to see why. Doncic capped a phenomenal week on Friday by taking over a road game in Minnesota to beat the Timberwolves, scoring seven of the Mavericks’ final nine points.

After scoring on two clutch drives to the basket, Doncic hit a deep three-pointer just a few seconds into the shot clock to put Dallas ahead by one.

Doncic finished the game with a near triple-double of 29 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.

Doncic is averaging 20 points, 6.7 rebounds and five assists on the season – but he’s taken his game to another level this week. In his last three games against the Lakers, Suns and Timberwolves, Doncic has averaged 28.6 points, 7 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He’s also proven to be one of the most clutch players in the league as a rookie.