Read and React: The Warriors flip their 'on' switch

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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Good morning crew. It’s Thursday and the Golden State Warriors have silenced the doubters yet again. For now, at least.

The Warriors win their ‘statement’ game

The Warriors haven’t dominated the NBA this season like years past and have even looked bad at times, like Sunday’s ugly home loss to the Phoenix Suns. It’s been cause for concern and raised questions about whether this Golden State team has the fortitude to win a fourth championship in five years.

But whenever concerns have reached an apex this season — this week it was whether Steve Kerr could make good with Draymond Green after that whole lip-reading incident — the Warriors have come up with an answer. They did so again Wednesday night in a 106-104 road win over the Houston Rockets.

In what many expect to be a preview of the decisive Western Conference playoff series, Golden State went into Houston and snapped the Rockets’ nine-game winning streak (and staved off a season sweep). They did so with their best player on the sideline. Kevin Durant sprained his ankle against the Suns and didn’t suit up Wednesday.

But does it mean anything?

Well, it helps quell concerns that surface when, say, you drop back-to-back road games to mediocre Orlando and Miami. And it shows that Golden State still has an on switch, much like it did in a 31-point road win over then-first-place Denver in January.

Whether that on switch for a team that so clearly also has an off button will be available enough to win 16 games against playoff competition is the biggest question the Warriors will face starting in April.

Even if they get past a grueling Western Conference slate, they’ll likely face an outstanding Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors squad in the NBA Finals. And those are two teams that have shown little sign of turning things off all season.

— Jason Owens

NFL: Free agency: Earl Thomas lands with Ravens

Baltimore is adding safety Earl Thomas (meaning the Dallas Cowboys aren’t) and now the Ravens already stout defense will be even tougher. That is, if Thomas returns to his dominant self. Baltimore also added running back Mark Ingram. — Details of the moves

Also: Adrian Peterson stays with Redskins; Jags cut Blake Bortles; and the Seahawks re-signed a convicted felon. — Free-agent tracker

NCAA BASKETBALL Zion Williamson expected to return

It’s been three weeks since the presumptive No. 1 pick’s Nike blew out, and now all signs point to Zion Williamson returning to the court Thursday in Duke’s ACC tourney matchup against Syracuse. He will be a welcome sight, with the Blue Devils going 3-3 in his absence. — Pete Thamel answers 5 key questions

Antonio Brown: My goal is to catch Jerry Rice

The newest member of the sliver and black made a bold declaration in his introductory press conference: “My goal really is to catch Jerry Rice.” Can he? Well, depends on watch “catch” means. After his Age 30 season, AB has more receptions (837 to 610), more yards (11,207 to 10,273) but fewer TDs (74 to 103). The sheer fact that it’s even a discussion tells you how good AB, because Rice’s numbers were once thought uncatchable.


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