Steve Kerr was effusive in his praise of Jordan Poole after the 23-year-old led the Golden State Warriors to victory at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

Poole scored 32 points as the Warriors won 120-114 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, with the defending NBA champions without star players Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.

Coach Steve Kerr rested them and others after their agonising overtime defeat at the Boston Celtics on Thursday, and was pleased to see Poole step up in their absence.

"He's continuing to grow and he's continuing to get better," Kerr said post-game. "In the last two games, he was fantastic... To play that way tonight without Steph and Klay and Wiggs and Dray, to give us that scoring and that force, he made so many plays out there. He set the tone.

"He's getting better and better. There is still so far to go, which is exciting."

Golden State did not particularly miss Curry as they managed to hit 23 three-pointers, the most they have ever recorded in a game without the eight-time All Star.

Poole acknowledged he and his team-mates had to learn from their mistakes against Boston, where they threw away a lead in the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers also began eating into a lead that had been as high as 20 points at one stage, but this time the Warriors were able to close it out.

"It was a learning experience yesterday," Poole said. "It was something that we were very aware of. It kind of was a very similar situation, being up with six minutes left and then it became a close game. We knew we needed to lock down, get some stops and make a good run. We needed to close it out and we did. Now we have to build on it.

"Everybody on our team is confident, and shout-out to Coach Kerr for allowing us to play with that confidence. We know what we are capable of. We were spacing the floor and getting good looks. We got laser-focused."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was emotional following his side's 144-113 drubbing of the San Antonio Spurs in front of a record crowd.

Officially 68,323 people packed into the Alamodome for the special occasion to break the NBA attendance record, previously set at 62,046 when Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls played against the Atlanta Hawks at the Georgia Dome in 1998.

The Warriors had eight players score in double-figures, led by Jordan Poole with 25 points on eight-of-16 shooting with six assists, while Stephen Curry had 15 points in his first win with the team since December 10.

It was an even more special night for Kerr, who was a member of the Spurs' championship teams in 1999 and 2003, with the home side airing a video package dedicated to him before tip-off.

"First of all I want to say thank you to the Spurs for the incredible night," he said. "Just the presentation of the game was spectacular.

"For me, it was a little bit of a trip down memory lane. I got emotional before the game when they played the video and introduced me – to get an ovation from 68,000 fans gives you chills. This was a really special night, and the Spurs made it special. 

"I think the reason I was feeling the way I did, is I know how fortunate that I was to be a part of the Spurs, and to meet 'Pop', and [general manager] R.C [Buford], and play with Timmy [Duncan], and Manu [Ginobli], and David Robinson, and Avery [Johnson] and Sean [Elliot] – the whole group.

"Just to be part of this team, and this community here for five years of my life, and to be embraced by the fans, and my family to be embraced here – my kids spent a good chunk of their childhood here. 

"This is a special place, and tonight was a great display of how special the Spurs are, and how special San Antonio is."

Draymond Green compared the atmosphere to college basketball's Final Four, which is usually played in a similar sort of stadium.

"It was very fun," he said. "It was funny, I was saying to somebody at the beginning of the game that it feels like you're playing in the Final Four all over again. 

"To have that experience – you never think you're going to be able to experience that again. 

"I think this is a great thing that the Spurs organisation has done, and I'm happy that we were the game and the team that could be part of it."

Draymond Green has labelled the Golden State Warriors as "very fragile" after their 1-5 road trip which left the reigning champions 11th in the Western Conference and below .500.

The Warriors had started the six-game road trip with an outstanding 16-point win over last season's NBA Finals opponents, the Boston Celtics, but lost their next five to be 3-16 on the road this season.

Golden State, who lost reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry to a shoulder injury during the road trip, have lost seven of their past nine games.

"Right now, I think we are very fragile," Green told reporters on Friday after practice.

"You start going through these things and then you start believing them. Once you start believing them, it becomes who you are. The only way to break them is by being mentally tough."

The Warriors suffered back-to-back 30-point losses for the first time since 2001 to round out the road trip.

"I think this is a team that has struggled from the spirit perspective since [the road trip started]," Green said.

"It's a bit more frustrating. You can make what you want of it being on the road versus being at home, but it's mental. It's a team struggling mentally and that makes it hard to overcome anything else.

"It's not something that's going to be fixed with the snap of a finger. You've got to work through these issues to get that confidence.

"It's just not showing up. As much as you'd like to think, 'Oh, we'll be fine and this guy will come back.' No, no, no. You've got to work [for] positive outcomes, positive feelings, that ultimately give you that boost of confidence."

Despite their struggles, Green remained confident that the Warriors could make an impact in the playoffs, even without the benefit of a high seeding.

"I feel sorry for the one or two seeds if we're in that situation," Green said. "Is Steph Curry still on this team? Klay Thompson? Me? I think we would be fine."

Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed an impressive 105-90 road win over Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

The victory improved the emerging Cavs to an 18-11 record and third spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Mavs slipped to 14-14 and ninth in the west.

Mitchell was in an inspired mood against the side who bundled his former franchise, the Utah Jazz, out of last season's playoffs, shooting 13-of-20 from the field, going six-of-nine from three-point range.

The shooting guard scored 27 of his 34 points in the first half, the most he has had in a half this season. Mitchell had good support from Lamar Stevens with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Evan Mobley added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Doncic shot nine-of-23 from the field in his 30 points, but gave up five turnovers for the Mavs, who trailed 60-41 at half-time at American Airlines Center, with the Cavs going on a 17-0 run at one point.

The Slovenian helped the Mavs rally within nine points in the fourth quarter before Mitchell hit a clutch three-pointer to thwart their momentum.

The victory ended the Cavs' recent road struggles, having lost eight of their past nine games away from their home court.

Mitchell's performance meant he has the fourth highest points per game average by a player in the first 25 games with a new team in NBA history at 29.2, behind only Wilt Chamberlain (35.4, Golden State Warriors), Elvin Hayes (30.4, Houston Rockets) and Adrian Dantley (29.7, Utah Jazz).

Curry injured as Warriors beaten on road

Stephen Curry scored 38 points but exited with a shoulder injury, while Draymond Green was ejected as the Golden State Warriors' road struggles continued with a 125-119 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Amid a Warriors rally, after allowing 47 points in the second quarter, which tied the most by them in any quarter under head coach Steve Kerr, Curry clutched at his left shoulder in the third quarter and did not return, having previously shot five-of-10 three-pointers.

Green was tossed out in the final quarter after a second technical foul as Tyrese Haliburton led the Pacers to victory with 29 points, with the team draining 16 three-pointers. Golden State are 2-13 on the road this season.

Lillard maintains rare three-point form

Damian Lillard sunk seven three-pointers as he scored 37 points before being benched late as the Portland Trail Blazers crushed the San Antonio Spurs 128-112.

The 32-year-old Blazers point guard is averaging 34.4 points per game in December, including hitting 11 triples in Monday's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, amid a form upswing following injury.

Anfernee Simons added 23 points and Jerami Grant had 18, while Keldon Johnson top scored with 25 points and seven rebounds for the Spurs, who had won three in a row after ending an 11-game losing run.

Draymond Green revealed a fan said "threatening stuff to my life" leading to him asking officials to have him thrown out of the Fiserv Forum during Tuesday's 128-111 Milwaukee Bucks win over the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors power forward was involved in a heated exchange with a fan who had heckled him courtside while Giannis Antetokounmpo shot free-throws with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter of the game with the Bucks up 81-59.

The situation threatened to boil over, but Green walked away before asking the referees to get security staff to eject the fan amid boos from the home crowd.

"Some threatening stuff to my life," Green told reporters when asked what was said to set him off from the exchange, having been fined $25,000 last week after a verbal altercation with a Dallas Mavericks fan.

"I was this close to really going back and diving on him. I just went back and told the official. When I told the official, he said, 'he's gotta get out of here'. You gotta get out of here."

Green added that he feels there needs to be consequences for fans who step over the line with such comments.

"There are no real consequences," Green said. "Yeah, you can't come back to the game, or even if you get arrested, nothing really happens.

"You just hope it gets to a point where these leagues can work with legislators to implement laws, because that's the only thing that's really going to correct the issue."

Home team Milwaukee said in a statement that the fan's ejection was "under the referee's digression" and that they would investigate the situation alongside the NBA.

Draymond Green expressed his frustration at being hit with a "crazy" and "ridiculous" technical foul during the Golden State Warriors' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Green scored a season-high 19 points and provided 11 assists - his first double-double of the season - in a commanding 134-114 victory for the defending NBA champions on Sunday.

The four-time All-Star was not impressed when he was slapped with a seventh technical foul of the season late in the fourth quarter, though.

Green was punished for moving slightly onto the court at Target Center when he rose from the bench to celebrate a late layup from Jordan Poole.

He said: "It's crazy. I probably got four techs this year that are questionable. They told me I was at the lane line, but I thought I was standing in the corner. So I don't know. It sucks, though."

Stephen Curry was also given a technical foul for coming on the court and waving his towel after Donte DiVincenzo hit a three-pointer following the incident involving Green.

Green added': "It's the NBA, man. Your team-mates make a good move, I didn't affect the play. There was no one near me. So it sucks. And the fact that that's going to count against my tech count? Come on, that's ridiculous."

The Warriors scored 47 points in the first quarter to lay the foundations for a third consecutive win, moving to 11-10 for the season.

Golden State's tally of 137 points was their biggest of the campaign, Curry scoring 25 of those and Poole weighing in with 24.

The Timberwolves have slipped to 10-10 following back-to-back losses, sitting just below the Warriors in 10th place in the Western Conference.

Steve Kerr hailed Steph Curry's "breath-taking" performance in the Golden State Warriors' win over the Sacramento Kings, which evoked memories of Game 4 of the NBA Finals for Draymond Green.

The Warriors were in need of some respite having lost five straight road games, making unwanted history as the first defending champions to start a season 0-6 on their travels in the process.

Curry delivered in some style at the Chase Center, putting up a season-high 47 points from 17-of-24 shooting including making 7-of-12 three-point attempts.

He also had eight assists and as many rebounds, with 17 of his points coming in the fourth quarter.

"Steph was just breath-taking," Warriors coach Kerr said. 

"He's obviously one of the greatest players of all time and he plays so well on so many nights. But this even seemed like something special for him."

For team-mate Green, while the 116-113 victory was not of the same significance as Game 4 of last season's Finals against the Boston Celtics, Curry's performance was reminiscent of his heroics that night.

On that occasion, Curry had 43 points and 10 rebounds to level a series the Warriors would go on to win 4-2.

"It was very Game 4 of the NBA Finals to me. He just wasn't going to allow us to lose," Green said. 

"Take that with a grain of salt because I'm not saying this game was as important. But you know when to get out of the way. It was one of those times where he was taking over."

The Warriors have endured defensive struggles and problems with an unproductive bench in the early stages of a season that sees them own a 4-7 record and sit 12th in the Western Conference.

Each of Curry, Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were absent against the New Orleans Pelicans las time out, but played 38, 36, 38, and 40 minutes respectively against the Kings.

Kerr accepted such volume is not viable long term but said it was a case of needs must to get a W on the board.

"It was obviously necessary," Kerr said. "But it's not sustainable. So we know we can't do this for a long time."

For Curry, there is a realisation the Warriors will go through peaks and troughs this season.

"We have to understand that [the young players] are all going to get an opportunity to perform, and there are going to be some struggles – some real high highs, and some real low lows," he said. 

"That's the story of this team. As vets, you understand every year is a little different and you are ready for that challenge. For these young guys to try and find themselves in this league and also a specific role, it's challenging."

Draymond Green dismissed the necessity to rebuild trust within the Golden State Warriors following his altercation last week with team-mate Jordan Poole.

Green returned to practice on Thursday and will play in the Warriors' preseason game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday after stepping away following last Wednesday's incident where he punched Poole.

Team-mate Kevon Looney has spoken about Green needing to regain the group's trust, while head coach Steve Kerr has danced around the subject publicly, but the Warriors power forward was dismissive on Thursday.

"Everyone says, build trust as a team," Green said. "I don't really quite understand what's trust? Is it trust that you're going to make the right play?

"I always make the right play to be the best of my ability, so what is that? We do have to make sure we're together, make sure we're doing the necessary things that it takes to win a championship and have everyone's back.

"I think there's so many different things when I hear the word trust, that I'm not always certain that that is the most fitting word for what people are trying to say.

"I think it always sounds good. Everyone kind of has this idea of what that means. But yet what does that truly mean?"

Green insisted that he and Poole would be professional enough to maintain a working relationship at the Warriors this season.

"Jordan is a professional, and I'm a professional," Green said. "We have a job to do. We both have experienced a lot of winning over the course of our lives and we know what that takes, and so we want to do just that. What it takes to win. And I think that's the most important thing."

Four-time NBA champion Green was in a combative mood, adding that he did not care about how people perceived him.

And Green, 32, spoke about his desire to win another NBA title this season with the defending champions.

"I'm going to prove a lot of people wrong this year," Green said. "I've been proving people wrong my whole life, so there's some added motivation.

"Not quite proving people wrong because the same people that are talking now are the same people who have been talking forever, and they've been wrong the entire time.

"They just give new hot takes about how, 'You can't do it this time', but never acknowledge the million times that they said I couldn't do it and were wrong. I'm not quite motivated by those people.

"But there are definitely some motivations that have been sparked by some people and I'm going to use that, and I'm going to do exactly what I do when I’m motivated. In a major way."

Green was a key part of Golden State's title-winning 2021-22 side, averaging 7.3 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 7.0 assists per game and having a big impact defensively.

The Warriors are due to open their 2022-23 NBA campaign on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Chase Center.

Draymond Green has been fined but avoided a suspension over an altercation with Jordan Poole that Steve Kerr described as "the biggest crisis" of his time as Golden State Warriors coach.

Footage emerged last week of the two team-mates pushing one another before Green escalated the incident by throwing a punch at Poole.

Green, a four-time NBA champion with the Warriors, has consequently been spending time away from the team and training in isolation ahead of the new season where Golden State are preparing to defend their championship.

The Warriors defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in preseason on Tuesday, after which head coach Kerr announced Green would return to the fold for their final warm-up against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, and their season-opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Kerr confirmed the decision had been taken following extensive conversations among several parties, including general manager Bob Myers, superstar Steph Curry, and after talks between Green and Poole themselves.

"We feel like we have a great feel for our team. We've got a lot of continuity on this team, so Bob and I know our players extremely well," Kerr said. 

"We feel like this is the best way after assessing everything for us to move forward. It's never easy no matter what decision you make in a situation like this. It's not going to be perfect. This is the biggest crisis that we've ever had since I've been coach here. It's really serious stuff.

"We have spent the last week in deep discussions with all of our key figures in the organisation, including Jordan and Draymond of course, Steph, all of our players, Bob, myself, and I can tell you there have been a lot of conversations, individual, one-on-one discussions, players-only discussions. 

"Everything that you can think of, all the different combinations that are possible to have in a conversation, we've had them. It's been an exhaustive process."

Kerr noted all possibilities were "on the table" over the ugly incident, and confirmed investigations are taking place into how the footage was leaked to TMZ.

He also accepted the final decision may come under scrutiny but felt Green has earned a chance to atone for his actions.

"Any criticism that we face here is fair," Kerr added.

"He broke our trust with this incident but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt because I think he's earned that, and I think our team feels the same way."

As well as his title wins, Green is a four-time NBA All-Star and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green will step away from the team for a short period after being involved in a physical altercation with team-mate Jordan Poole.

On Wednesday, reports suggested Green could face disciplinary action after becoming involved in a heated interaction with Poole, forcing the team to halt practice.

Subsequent social media footage of the incident appeared to show the players pushing one another before Green escalated the confrontation by throwing a punch.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Green apologised to Poole and his family, and professed his hope he could still face the Los Angeles Lakers in Friday's season opener.

"Number one, I was wrong for my actions," Green said. "There's a huge embarrassment that comes with [this].

"Not only for myself, as I was the one who committed the action, but the embarrassment that Jordan has to deal with and that this team has to deal with, this organisation has to deal with.

"But also Jordan's family. His family saw that video. His mother, his father saw that video. If my mother saw that video, I know how my mother would feel.

"I watched the video 15 times, maybe more, because when I watch the video, I'm looking at the video, I'm like; 'this looks awful! This looks even worse than I thought it was'. It's pathetic."

Asked whether he expected to be involved on opening night after spending a short period of time away from the team, Green added: "Yeah, I expect to play. Will I play? That's a different story. It's something we will figure out. What the answer is, is to feel our way through this."

Green's future has been the focus of speculation recently, with the four-time NBA champion stating he does not expect to agree a contract extension in the near future.

But the 32-year-old was adamant any frustrations concerning that situation had nothing to do with Wednesday's incident, adding: "The one thing I can assure you is that that had absolutely nothing to do with anything.

"I am a flawed human being, and the work I've done to correct those flaws – I think – has been tremendous.

"There's a long way to go, that's a constant work in progress. The day that that took place, I was in a very, very bad space mentally, dealing with some things in my personal life."

Most assumed after Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors in 2019 that their time atop the NBA mountain had come to an end.

There appeared to be significant evidence to support that school of thought when the Warriors spent the 2019-20 in the cellar as Stephen Curry joined Klay Thompson in being sidelined through injury, and an Achilles injury suffered by the latter helped leave Golden State ill-equipped to compete in 2020-21.

But after a season in which the Warriors meshed championship experience and difference-making youth, Golden State heads into the 2022-23 campaign back at the summit having seen off the Boston Celtics in six games in last term's NBA Finals.

Curry added the missing component of his Hall of Fame resume, winning Finals MVP for the first time in his illustrious career, and he and the Warriors are the bookmakers' favourites to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the fifth time in nine seasons.

Yet their build-up to the new campaign is a reminder of the many obstacles, including internal ones, that can scupper hopes of sustained success, with Thompson held out of exhibition games in his first preseason since 2018-19 and an altercation between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole in which the former punched his young team-mate, overshadowing Golden State's preparations for a push for a second successive title.

It is an extremely difficult situation to navigate with both Green and Poole looking to receive lucrative contract extensions, and whether the Warriors can overcome the discord between two key players will play a huge role in their ability to successfully defend their crown, but what will be the other key factors, and who will be their primary competition? Stats Perform looks at the Warriors' odds of fending off their rivals and improving their standing among the best dynasties in NBA history.

Staying strong on defense

Though Curry was the obvious centrepiece of the Warriors' championship push, they would not have regained the title without the defensive strength displayed throughout the campaign.

Golden State allowed 105.5 points per game, the third-fewest in the NBA, with opponents shooting just 43.8 per cent against them from the field. Only the Celtics (43.4 per cent) fared better in that regard.

Though those numbers ballooned to 111.9 points per game and a field goal percentage of 48 in the postseason overall, the Warriors' Finals performance was in part defined by four stellar defensive performances.

Indeed, in each of their four Finals wins, the Warriors did not allow the Celtics to score 100 points. Boston's average points total across those games was 92.25. For context, the lowest points per game total in the regular season was the Oklahoma City Thunder's 103.7.

Though his standing is likely at an all-time low after the incident with Poole, Green is still the heartbeat of the defense. His defensive rating of 102.8 was the sixth-best among players to have featured in at least 50 regular-season games last season.

Green never lacks for motivation, but the fact he does not have an extension from Golden State and likely lost a lot of leverage after his fight with Poole may add even more fuel to his eternal fire. Andrew Wiggins (defensive rating - 105.4), whose defense on Jayson Tatum in the Finals drew effusive praise will also be key to the Warriors' success to containing opponents, while Kevon Looney (107.2) and returning veteran Andre Iguodala (97 in 31 games) will be tasked with providing crucial support on the defensive end.

Yet with Gary Payton II (102.2) and Otto Porter Jr. (103.2) departing for pastures new in free agency, the Warriors must replace the impact they had off the bench if they are to remain one of the NBA's premier defensive teams. While the Warriors made a free-agent addition with their defense in mind, there will be a significant onus on recent high-profile draft selections to have a consistent influence on that end of the floor.

The kids are (hopefully) alright

The Warriors did move to address the departures of Payton and Porter by signing Donte DiVincenzo, a member of the Milwaukee Bucks' championship-winning team whose defensive rating of 108.9 since entering the NBA in 2018 is tied for 43rd among players to have featured in at least 200 games in that span.

But the Warriors will also have been comfortable letting Payton and Porter walk because of the faith they have in recent draft picks to contribute on the defensive end.

Jonathan Kuminga finished his rookie year level with Payton for rebounds per 48 minutes with 9.5, and he was fourth on the team with 7.3 defensive boards every 48 minutes. The Warriors will look for him to use his exciting athleticism to harness that same efficiency over a higher number of minutes in 2022-23.

Moses Moody, the second of the Warriors' two 2021 first-rounders, had five defensive rebounds per 48 minutes and is seen as a player who could thrive as a three-and-d player at the highest level.

The three-ball provided significant joy for rookie Patrick Baldwin Jr. in the Warriors' second of two games with the Washington Wizards in Japan, in which he went four of five from deep. Any first-year success for Baldwin would be a luxury for Golden State. By contrast, they will likely view third-year strides from former second overall pick James Wiseman as a necessity.

Wiseman did not feature in the Warriors' championship campaign due to setbacks in his recovery from the torn meniscus that ended his rookie year. He has played only 39 games in the NBA having featured in just three in college, but the flashes he produced in his first year and in this year's Summer League provided evidence he can blossom into a dynamic center at both ends of the court for a team that has long since lacked a definitive answer at the 5 spot.

The Warriors do not lack answers in the frontcourt. The question they face this season is how they will divide the minutes of the three players who produced pivotal play at guard last campaign.

Stick with the Splash Brothers or go to the Poole party?

The Splash Brothers finally reunited last season as Thompson made his long awaited return from injury after over two years on the sideline.

By the time he made his comeback, the Warriors already had a 29-9 record, with their success in large part down to the combination Curry had formed with Poole, the Warriors' 2019 first-round pick who blossomed into a key part of their rotation.

Poole averaged 30 minutes a game in his third season and a career-high 18.5 points per game despite giving his starting role back to Thompson.

Across a much smaller sample size of 32 games compared to Poole's 76, Thompson averaged 20.4 points in his comeback season, though there is a case to be made the Warriors were more effective with Poole on the court.

Poole had a plus-minus per game of 4.3 to Thompson's 2.1 and had a marginally better field goal percentage. Thompson shot 42.9 per cent from the field while Poole converted on 44.8 per cent of field goal attempts. 

As Thompson went cold in the NBA Finals, shooting at a 35.6 per cent clip, Poole shot 43.5 per cent against the Celtics and rattled through half of his field goal attempts in the postseason overall.

It is too early, though, to make the judgement that Thompson's best days are behind him and head coach Steve Kerr should lean more towards the energetic Poole. The challenge for Kerr is to find balance between relying on the spot-up ability of arguably the best catch-and-shoot player of the modern era and the young spark-plug with a well-rounded offensive game who can produce dazzling finishes at the basket and confound defenses with deep shooting.

 

Even if Kerr, who has suggested Thompson could play power forward this season, initially struggles to find that balance, it is unlikely to stop the Warriors from thriving, so long as Curry is available to Golden State. Curry's plus-minus per game of 7.9 was the second-best in the NBA last campaign, one that ended with him silencing any critics questioning his resume by averaging 31.2 points per game in the six games with the Celtics to win his first Finals MVP award.

The need for the right mix of Curry, Thompson and Poole will come if the former endures a drop-off, but having three players of their talents allows Kerr to be more experimental in the regular season and better preserve the two-time MVP for the postseason, when those looking to dethrone the Warriors will face the substantial challenge of trying to stymie his enduring brilliance.

West rivals flawed, but Bucks could set up mouth-watering Finals

The Warriors aren't short of challengers blessed with star power in the Western Conference, but it's tough to pick out many who have an overall roster that looks as strong as the one Kerr has as its disposal.

While the Phoenix Suns have an established but still youthful core that could allow them to push the Warriors, they are coming off an extremely chaotic offseason and will again be relying on 38-year-old Chris Paul as creator-in-chief. Curry's history of success against the 'Point God' suggests that is a matchup stacked firmly in Golden State's favour.

By contrast, Kawhi Leonard has consistently been a thorn in the side of the Warriors and he and Paul George will hope to lead a success-starved Los Angeles Clippers franchise to glory. However, such hopes rely on Leonard returning to his best in the wake of a long lay-off with a partially torn ACL. Similarly, the Denver Nuggets have the back-to-back MVP in Nikola Jokic, but his support comes from players in Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. who are both returning from long spells on the sideline. Without that pair, the Warriors breezed to a 4-1 first-round win over the Nuggets last season.

That was also the margin in the Western Conference Finals as the Warriors beat Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Simply put, the Slovenian superstar did not have enough around him, especially on defense, for the Mavs to compete with Golden State, and the Memphis Grizzlies were ill-equipped to upset the Warriors once Ja Morant went out with a knee injury in the previous round.

The problem is the same for so many teams in the West, who do not have the depth to beat the Warriors over seven games. The Los Angeles Lakers possess a star-studded lineup with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook on the roster, but Darvin Ham has too many problems to fix surrounding their chemistry and even getting that trio on the court at the same time for the Lakers to be considered a legitimate threat to Golden State at this stage.

It is in the Eastern Conference where the teams that have the best shot of dethroning the Warriors reside. For all the drama in Brooklyn, the combination of Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons is still one that could deliver a title if their respective talents can be harnessed by Steve Nash, and former Net James Harden and Joel Embiid offer the Philadelphia 76ers a duo that could deliver a long-awaited championship.

Erik Spoelstra's coaching, Jimmy Butler's frequently tireless performances and the well-rounded nature of their roster makes the Miami Heat a tough team to rule out but, in terms of top-end talent and depth, it is the Celtics and the non-Miami team they beat in seven games last season, the Milwaukee Bucks, who stand as the Warriors' biggest threats.

The Celtics' offseason was overshadowed by the scandal surrounding suspended head coach Ime Udoka, but they are led by two stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who are both 25 or under and should be better for the experience of losing in the Finals.

Yet the argument could be made the Celtics never would have got beyond the second round had the Bucks had Khris Middleton available for Game 7.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's athleticism, length and all-round skill set still makes him the most physically fearsome player in the NBA and, when both Middleton and Jrue Holiday are healthy, the Bucks have a big three to rival any team in scoring, facilitation and defense.

Milwaukee had eight players average at least nine points last year and seven are still on the team. Plenty can and will change over the course of a long season but, heading into a year in which everyone will be desperate to knock them off, the team most likely to prevent the Warriors from retaining the trophy is the team that lifted it before them.

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers called Wednesday's practice fight between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole "unfortunate".

Initially reported by The Athletic, Wednesday's session turned heated and led to the two players becoming involved in an altercation.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes later claimed "league sources" said "there was a build-up stemming from team-mates noticing a change in Poole’s behaviour throughout camp with the guard on the verge of securing a lucrative extension".

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Myers said fights in practice will always be a part of highly competitive team sports.

"Everybody's fine," he said. "Look, it's the NBA, professional sports, these things happen. Nobody likes it. We don't condone it, but it happened.

"Draymond apologised to the team this morning, Jordan was there in the room, I was there in the room with the team, the coaches, the players and we heard that.

"It's unfortunate, I'm not going to deny it. It'll take some time to move through, but we'll move through it and move forward, and I'm confident that we will. 

"We've got a good team, we've got good leadership, we've got some guys that have been here a long time.

"This isn't our first thing that's happened, first sense of adversity; we've been through some of this before. Don't like going through it, but it's part of the NBA and it's part of sports."

But Myers suggested reports of conflict relating to player contracts were wide of the mark, saying "[it's not about] who's getting paid and who isn't; I don't sense that".

Green was not at practice on Thursday, with Myers adding "space is good" and that time is needed to cool things down. 

Myers finished by saying any potential suspension for Green will be handled internally.

Poole, 23, is coming off a career-best season in which he became a major asset for the championship-winning Warriors, averaging 17 points per game in the playoffs at over 50 per cent shooting while leading the NBA in free throw percentage (92.5 per cent).

This upcoming season will be the last of his rookie contract, and he will be expecting an extension similar to that recently awarded to the Miami Heat's Tyler Herro, in the region of four years and $130million.

Meanwhile, Green is also in a crucial contract year, as after the season he will have the ability to opt out of the final campaign of his four-year, $99m deal to seek what will likely be the last big extension of his career.

Draymond Green may face disciplinary action from the Golden State Warriors after a "physical altercation" with Jordan Poole at team practice, according to reports.

The Athletic's Shams Charania claims that Green and Poole needed to be separated after a heated interaction escalated during practice on Wednesday.

The players reportedly came chest to chest and pushed and shoved one another, before Green escalated the altercation.

The incident, which occurred on the second day of Golden State's training camp, forced the Warriors to stop practice and exit for the locker room to defuse the situation.

Four-time All-Star Green, who had 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game last season, is known for his physical approach to the game.

The Warriors are preparing for their title defence in 2022-23, after beating the Boston Celtics 4-2 in last season's NBA Finals.

Poole enjoyed a breakout season in Golden State's triumphant 2021-22 campaign, averaging a career-best 18.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists, and is in line for a big contract extension.

Stephen Curry did not need to be named MVP in the NBA Finals to cement his reputation as an "all-time great", according to Draymond Green.

However, Curry went out and made sure he could add the honour to his glittering array of accolades anyway, and Golden State Warriors team-mate Green said it had been "a long time in the making".

Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter in Thursday's 103-90 championship-sealing win over the Boston Celtics, to finish with 34 points (12-of-21 shooting, six-of-11 from three), seven rebounds and seven assists.

Across the six-game series, the 34-year-old Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists, earning the MVP award that had previously eluded him.

"When you look at a guy like Steph Curry, to have the season and the career that he's had, it is amazing," Green said.

"To stamp that with a Finals MVP – I know he said it doesn't matter, and it doesn't matter... still Steph Curry, still an all-time great. But to add that to your resume as a competitor, you want that.

"For him, well deserved. It's been a long time in the making. But he left no doubt, left no doubt, and he carried us, and we're here as champions."

The Warriors clinched their fourth NBA championship in the past eight years, sealing a 4-2 series success with their Game Six win in Boston.

 

Asked how many more championships Golden State might add, Green said: "I'm not sure. I don't like to put a number on things and say we can get five, or we can get six.

"We're going to get them until the wheels fall off. And that's our goal, to compete at this level every year."

Green, who had 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, commended the Warriors defense for keeping the Celtics at bay.

"We have always spoke about our defense, and it's been a constant for us," Green said.

"But when you have such a sexy offense, and guys shooting the ball like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, it's always going to be sexier, and people are always going to appreciate that more. We beat this team because of our defense. Did they score a hundred points tonight?

"That's four out of six games they didn't score a hundred points? We beat them because of our defense, and that's always been a constant.

"You don't win a championship without a great defense. We know that. We understand that. We pride ourselves on defense and ultimately understanding that our defense will allow our offense to flourish."

Steve Kerr admitted he was still in awe of Stephen Curry after his starring role in the Golden State Warriors' NBA Finals success.

The Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 to seal an unassailable 4-2 series lead and claim a fourth title in eight years.

Kerr, who also won five championships as a player, has been at the helm for all of those successes, but he has not lost the ability to be impressed by the feats of his star players.

And nobody has played a greater role in this season's triumph than league and Finals MVP Curry.

"He does [still inspire awe], because what he does at his size is so different from the traditional greats in this league," Kerr said of the 34-year-old.

"I've said it so many times, Steph reminds me so much of Tim Duncan. Totally different players. But from a humanity standpoint, talent standpoint, humility, confidence, this wonderful combination that just makes everybody want to win for him.

"And I'm obviously thrilled for everyone in that room, and a lot of people had a big hand in this, but I think the thing with Steph is, you know, without him, none of this happens.

"That's not taking anything away from Joe [Lacob] and Peter's [Gruber] ownership, because they have built an incredible organisation.

"Bob Myers, hell of a GM. Our players, we have had so many great players, but Steph ultimately is why this run has happened. Much like Timmy in San Antonio.

"So I'm happy for everybody, but I'm thrilled for Steph. To me this is his crowning achievement in what's already been an incredible career."

Curry averaged 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists in the Finals to earn the first Finals MVP of his career.

He put up a team-high 34 points in Game 6 on 12-of-21 shooting, hitting six-of-11 threes while adding seven rebounds and seven assists.

Curry also became the first player to ever win a unanimous league MVP and a unanimous Finals MVP.

Asked what distinguished this title from the rest, Kerr added: "They are all unique, they are all special. I think this one may have been the most unlikely just from the standpoint of where we've been the last couple years.

"A lot of unknowns, the injury to Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green] at the end of the year, Steph at the end of the year. A lot of young guys, a new core, or a new group around our core, I should say.

"But it's really special to see guys like Wiggs [Andrew Wiggins] and Loon [Kevon Looney] and Gary Payton, just how far they have come, the impact they made, Jordan Poole, the same thing.

"I know I'm going to forget people but it takes a full team effort to do this, and we just had a great group who do get it done."

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