OAKLAND -- It's a tough sell after the most successful road trip in franchise history, but Warriors coach Mark Jackson is still offering up familiar rhetoric that his team hasn't done anything yet.
Moreover, in the face of forward David Lee winning NBA Western Conference player of the week and improving his standing as a potential All-Star, Jackson also maintained the Warriors don't and won't chase individual accolades.
One can see his mindset in both instances. The Warriors are barely more than a quarter of the way through the season, and although 16-8 following n historic 6-1 trip, it won't mean a lot if the club doesn't successfully navigate its next stretch of games in which it plays eight of 11 at Oracle Arena. That string starts Tuesday night when Golden State hosts the New Orleans Hornets.
"You notice the confidence level rising, you notice a sense of accomplishment, but you also see a group that understands that we've done absolutely nothing," Jackson said. "The thing that's important for us to realize is we have to do the things we preach every day to put us in position to win. If we don't, we can be beat. We don't have the luxury to just show up and win ballgames."
It's one thing for Jackson to spout it. What's notable is that his team appears to believe it to the letter. To wit, Lee took the honor of winning the player of the week award Monday as an advertisement of what the team has done, not so much what he has accomplished individually.
"You can't be player of the week unless your team is doing well," he said. "If you're averaging 30 points and you're 0-3 for the week, they don't give it to you. So I'm happy that the Warriors are starting to get recognition for the hard work they're putting in. But it doesn't change my approach whatsoever."
Said Jackson, "I told the guys in the huddle, we will not chase down individual awards. When they do come, we're certainly going to acknowledge and embrace them, and then we're going to continue to chase down awards collectively. But it's a heck of a statement for this franchise and for David Lee. We're proud of him."
No question, Lee had a great trip and a particularly magnificent week. He averaged 22.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and shot 60.6 percent from the floor (40 for 66). But perhaps his defining moment was a foul -- the hard hack he put on Miami's LeBron James as he was driving the lane during the Warriors' most high-profile victory on the trip.
Lee's playing improved defense, too, and protecting the paint as a power forward must. James fell awkwardly after being hammered and appeared a bit stunned Lee had delivered such a rough foul.
"A number of times I've seen on 'SportsCenter' where guys just hack him on an arm, it's a and-one and the whole crowd goes crazy, or he dunks on someone and the crowd goes even crazier," he said. "I was just trying to make sure. I don't feel like we have to be tough guys. What I feel is we're a group that isn't scared of any team and we're not going to back down."
What they hope not to do more than anything is relax. The Warriors can really make some significant hay on this next run of games and really establish themselves as a bona fide playoff contender by duplicating the same kind of intensity, focus and execution they demonstrated on the road. At the same time, they don't want to start giving those hard-earned road victories back at home.
"We believe we can play with anybody, we believe we can beat anybody," Lee said. "At the same time, against some of these teams we have coming up with lesser records, we know we can lose to anybody. We have that fear of letdown games."
Jackson said the voting doesn't matter to him.
"I don't expect them to be voted in," he said. "That's a popularity vote and some guys with bigger names will certainly get the vote."
That said, he did give a forceful stump speech on behalf of his top two players.
"When you start talking about All-Stars in this league, if it was voted on today, you've got to have Steph Curry and David Lee in the discussion," he said. "I'm not talking about the fan voting. What I'm talking about is the coaches who watch what these guys do every single game, and watch the run these guys have been on. Hopefully we continue to do it, which I fully expect. If that's the case, I expect educated guys to make educated choices."
New Orleans (5-18) at Warriors (16-8). 7:30 p.m. CSNBA