Sport Warriors-Lakers brings its own brand of intrigue

01:06  14 march  2018
01:06  14 march  2018 Source:   SF Gate

Isaiah Thomas And Julius Randle Almost Fought On Lakers Bench

  Isaiah Thomas And Julius Randle Almost Fought On Lakers Bench Not a good look for Isaiah Thomas.During a TV timeout, ESPN's cameras caught the two jawing at each other. Things got so heated they had to be separated by teammates.

Kevin Durant (35) shoots a layup during the first half as the Golden State Warriors played Los Angeles Lakers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.© Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle Kevin Durant (35) shoots a layup during the first half as the Golden State Warriors played Los Angeles Lakers at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. For months it looked like a cakewalk on the Warriors’ schedule: Lakers at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night, following two days off, and surely a comfortable win leading up to the playoffs.

It might still turn out that way, but this could be the most interesting coaching matchup yet between coach Steve Kerr and his protege, Luke Walton.

Quite often, when these teams play, the Warriors find themselves a bit groggy after sampling the L.A. party scene. This time it’s a local issue. The boys had so much fun at Stephen Curry’s 30th birthday party Monday night, Kerr called off Tuesday’s practice partly because everyone — including himself — could use a break.

Steve Kerr not worried about Draymond Green’s mounting technical fouls

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Videos from Steph’s bash reveal some hilarious revelry, including Kerr, Curry and Klay Thompson cuttin’ it up on the dance floor (Kerr definitely has some moves, not to be confused with elegance, and may not be up for an encore any time soon).

Curry is said to be doubtful for Wednesday night’s game, which makes perfect sense on the Warriors’ part. They need to be absolutely sure his right ankle is game-ready, and even at that, they might tack on a few extra days of rest.

One player who isn’t at all doubtful: Lakers forward Julius Randle, about to engage in his latest jousts with Draymond Green — an inside battle that’s about as spirited as it gets.

This dates back to October of 2015 when the Warriors, coming off their first championship of the Kerr era, played an exhibition game against the Lakers in San Diego. Randle, about to launch his rookie year, drove hard past Green, drew a foul, and was seen to be yelling “Can’t guard me!” in the aftermath.

Aldridge's double-double fuels Spurs by Warriors, 89-75

  Aldridge's double-double fuels Spurs by Warriors, 89-75 LaMarcus Aldridge had 33 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs blew a 16-point lead to the injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors before pulling away for an 89-75 victory on Monday night. The Spurs beat Golden State for the first time in four tries this season and won their fourth straight overall to move into fifth place in the Western Conference, one-half game ahead of idle Utah and New Orleans.BOX SCORE: SPURS 89, WARRIORS 75Already without injured All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors lost Draymond Green in the second quarter to a bruise in the pelvic area.

Randle soon learned that Green can guard anyone, especially when motivated, but Randle has blossomed into a force. He’s an absolute beast around the basket, so dangerous that nobody seems to notice his lack of a jump shot. He just bullies his way to glory, best examplified on Sunday when he piled up 36 points and 14 rebounds in a home victory over Cleveland. He’s been playing that way for weeks, after earning his way off Walton’s bench, and now he poses a bit of an offseason dilemma for the Lakers’ front office.

Executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka managed to secure two maximum-salary slots for this summer’s free-agent market, clearly targeting LeBron James and Paul George. It had been assumed that Randle, a potential restricted free agent, would sign elsewhere as the Lakers cleared him off the books. Now the Lakers realize they’ll need Randle as they construct the foundation for a contender. If James and George take their sweet time making decisions, it’s possible the Lakers will have to make a call on Randle beforehand.

47 more cases of salmonella linked to kratom

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“He’s pretty special,” Walton said of Randle. “The crazy thing is, I still think he can be better.”

Then there’s Isaiah Thomas, still trying to re-establish his place in the league after his long recovery from a hip injury. His shooting was embarrassingly dreadful during 15 games in Cleveland — 36 percent, and only 25 percent from three-point range — and those figures have only slightly improved (39 and 32) since joining the Lakers.

Until recently, it was disconcerting to watch Thomas try to take control of the Lakers’ offense, at the expense of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, but the two of them seem to be figuring it out. The Lakers are 7-2 since the All-Star break, and Thomas had his best game of the season — 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds — against his old Cleveland teammates.

“The world knows what I can do and what I bring to the table,” Thomas said after that game. “I don’t need to show anybody.”

Ball is starting to reach that stage, as well, as he tries to be the NBA’s only top-flight point guard who can’t create his own outside shot. He’s proving his point with rebounding, vastly improved defense and his always-sensational court vision, to the ongoing delight of teammates, and he’s hitting just enough three-pointers, with that unorthodox release, to be a threat when he’s open.

Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant wins Oscar for animated short

  Former Lakers star Kobe Bryant wins Oscar for animated short Kobe Bryant is a winner in retirement, too. The former Los Angeles Lakers star won an Oscar in the animated short category for "Dear Basketball," a poem he wrote after ending his 20-year career on the court in 2016.

To the relief of everyone in the Lakers’ organization, and perhaps Lonzo himself, his blustery father, LaVar, is spending a lot of time with his two other sons in Lithuania. In one of his latest and most absurd remarks, he told a Lithuanian reporter that Lonzo will leave the Lakers (and a lot of money) to play with LaMelo and LiAngelo somewhere else in the NBA (Lonzo is signed through 2021-22). “I want to let every NBA team know,” he said, “that Lonzo will go to any team that will take all three of my boys.”

Well, here’s how it actually works, LaVar. There isn’t a single team that views LaMelo or LiAngelo as NBA-caliber players — especially in the case of LiAngelo; the younger brother is just 16. More importantly, no team wants any part of you, and if you insist on bringing the entire family, you could wreck the whole deal for everyone. Heck of a strategy.

Bruce Jenkins is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: Twitter: @Bruce_Jenkins1

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