Warriors coach Steve Kerr praises Bulls’ Alex Caruso: ‘Happy to see him go to the Eastern Conference’

SAN FRANCISCO — Having worked himself into one of the league’s premier role players after going undrafted out of Texas A&M, Alex Caruso recently revealed that the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t exactly work hard to retain him this past offseason, leaving him essentially no choice but to sign a four-year, $37 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.

So far he’s has earned every penny of that contract, and then some, for the 8-4 Bulls. In addition to Chicago fans, one person happy that Caruso no longer plays for the Lakers is Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

The Warriors used a huge third-quarter run to throttle the Bulls on Friday night, 119-93, in Chicago’s first game this season without All-Star center Nikola Vucevic. But before the game, Kerr showered Caruso with praise when asked about his defense, particularly against Steph Curry.

“Caruso’s great. I was really happy to see him go to the Eastern Conference,” Kerr said. “He’s an excellent defender on and off the ball — tough, smart. Great pickup for the Bulls.”

Our Brad Botkin went into detail about how Caruso has been wreaking havoc on the defensive end so far this season, particularly when paired with Lonzo Ball. NBA matchup data is essentially useless when it comes to Curry, because his off-ball movement necessitates constant defensive switches that defy one-on-one battles, but the eye test shows that Caruso at least gives Curry a hard time, which is all you can really ask against one of the best offensive weapons of all time.

Here’s an example from Friday night, when Curry was attempting to create the last

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Warriors re-establish home-court advantage in dominant homestand, setting foundation for tougher road ahead

SAN FRANCISCO — Steph Curry in MVP form. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala throwing down breakaway dunks. Devastating third-quarter runs that debilitate the opponent while driving the Bay Area fans into a frenzy. If you squint with a reasonable amount of force, you might just mistake this season’s version of the Golden State Warriors for the 2014-15 bunch that announced themselves to the basketball world with an NBA title.

But no matter how raucous the Chase Center crowd gets and how fun the atmosphere becomes, make sure you keep the Oracle Arena comparisons out of your mouth.

“It’s an unfair comparison to Oracle, honestly,” Curry said earlier this week. “We’re trying to put ourselves in position where we’re winning games, protecting home court, where we can develop a new identity of what this building means in terms of home-court advantage. We had three championships in that building. We want to try to get one in here, but it’s a work in progress.”

Similarities between this year’s Warriors and the championship dynasty aside, there is a distinct cohesiveness and confidence to this group that began in training camp and has carried all the way through their league-best 11-1 start. Friday’s matchup with the Bulls was supposed to be a test — a barometer against one of the NBA’s best after a cupcake schedule. Sure, the Bulls were without All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, but they were methodically transmuted into delectables during a thorough 119-93 Golden State victory, in which they blitzed Chicago to grow their six-point halftime lead to a laughable 24 at the conclusion of the third quarter.

Just like the good old days.

Considered one of the biggest mysteries heading into the NBA season due to the uncertain status of Klay Thompson, the Warriors couldn’t have asked for a better

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Warriors’ seven-game win streak comes to end: Stephen Curry, Golden State shooters lay an egg in Charlotte

The Golden State Warriors raced out to an 11-1 start behind the top-rated defense in the league and an MVP start to Steph Curry’s season. They’ve also played the league’s softest schedule thus far. They’ve gotten away with some sloppy showings against inferior competition; a couple big runs was all it took to quell their turnover demons.

But you can’t get away with throwing the ball all over the court forever, particularly when Curry — who’s a central part of the turnover problem himself — doesn’t bail you out with a personal fireworks show. 

On Sunday, Curry had what was probably his worst game of the season as the Warriors fell to the Charlotte Hornets 106-102 (box score). The loss snapped Golden State’s seven-game win streak, all of which had come over more than a two-week home stand vs., again, some pretty soft competition. 

The Warriors are opening a four-game road trip, and it didn’t start well. They turned it over 15 times against the Hornets, and that number does not do justice to how lazy and shaky they were with the ball. 

Turnovers are something you have to accept with the way Golden State plays on the edge, forcing the issue in the half-court with never-ending cuts and needle-threading assists, and always pushing the pace in transition. But every game there are a handful of giveaways that just make you shake your head. Curry is never going to fully stop making those one-handed flip passes over double teams that are just waiting to be deflected and/or picked off. 

After posting 50 and 40 points in two of his last three games, Curry shot just 3-of-13 from 3-point range and 7-of-22 overall on Sunday. He still put up 24 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals, and to be

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Draymond Green and Warriors’ veteran ‘dogs’ lead NBA’s best defense, creating blueprint for title contention

SAN FRANCISCO — Steph Curry’s logo 3-pointers. Klay Thompson’s unfathomable hot streaks. Draymond Green’s borderline telepathic passing and anticipation. For the better half of the past decade, the Golden State Warriors have been the embodiment of modern basketball offense. Fast. Precise. Accurate. Deadly.

The graceful beauty of that offense, particularly after Kevin Durant joined the fray, made it easy to overlook the rugged, disciplined effort taking place on the other end of the floor. During the Warriors’ three title runs in 2015, 2017 and 2018, their postseason rankings in defensive efficiency were first, second and first, respectively. The two times they didn’t win the championship during their stretch of five straight NBA Finals appearances, they finished the playoffs seventh and 11th defensively.

With that corporate knowledge safely secured in their collective hippocampus, it’s easy to see why defense has remained the top priority for the Warriors, who own the NBA’s stingiest defensive rating during their 7-1 start to the 2021-22 season. Green said that Warriors defensive coordinator Mike Brown “challenged everyone” to be accountable defensively, and so far — it’s working.

“What they have in their favor is, they’ve had success when they’ve defended. They have that in their history and their experience. Steph understands that. Draymond understands that,” said Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego, whose team recently suffered a 114-92 loss to Golden State. “When you have your two best players leading the charge on the defensive end, there’s got to be buy-in, and they understand that. They’re a smart group. It’s probably pushing the younger guys to defend at a higher level much quicker than they expected,

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NBA Star Power Index: LeBron James raining 3-pointers; LaMelo Ball has to have Warriors kicking themselves

Welcome back to NBA Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players who are most controlling the buzz around the league. Inclusion on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing. It simply means you’re capturing the NBA world’s attention. This is also not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order as it pertains to the buzz they’re generating. This column will run every week throughout the regular season. 

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The Lakers have gotten out to a sluggish 2-2 start (they survived in OT at San Antonio on Tuesday without LeBron James, who was out with a sore leg), but the good news is LeBron James continues to look like a player capable of carrying a team. James’ 3-point shot is particularly splashy (as is his fadeaway). 

Through three games, James is taking just under 10 3-pointers per game and hitting 48 percent of them. If you’re interested in how the Lakers have played with using Russell Westbrook as a pick-and-roll partner with LeBron, our Sam Quinn provided a good breakdown here. 

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Do yourself a favor and clear your schedule for as many Hornets games as you can. They are an Indy car, and LaMelo Ball is in the driver’s seat with the throttle pegged. Charlotte has jumped out to a 3-1 start with Ball shooting 50 percent from 3 on eight attempts a night; he’s already made seven 3s in two separate games. 

That kind of shooting was simply not expected from Ball, and certainly not this early. His comfort and confidence bely his experience. When he’s making 3s off the dribble and the catch on top of making passes like this one below, he’s an All-Star level player already. 

People are going to play the premature card, but the Golden State Warriors, though they’re obviously going

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