2022 NBA preseason begins with big game from Warriors center James Wiseman

The 2022-23 NBA preseason game slate has begun, starting off overseas, with the Warriors facing the Wizards in Japan. Via the Bay Area News Group:

James Wiseman had butterflies when he checked into Friday’s preseason opener in the first quarter and for good reason.

Not only did Wiseman have to wait 1 1/2 years to suit back up for the Warriors, but Friday night also was the first time he’s ever played an NBA game in front of a full arena.

And boy, did Wiseman give the crowd of more than 20,000 engaged fans a lot to cheer about.

Wiseman made his 7-foot presence known in the Warriors’ 96-87 win over the Washington Wizards, throwing down five dunks, including an alley-oop in the second quarter off an assist from Steph Curry.

Wiseman finished with a game-high 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. He also grabbed nine rebounds playing just under 24 minutes off the bench.

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Kenny Atkinson will reportedly stay with Warriors rather than coach Hornets

Kenny Atkinson was reportedly close to becoming the next head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. Per ESPN.com, it’s not happening:

Kenny Atkinson has informed the Charlotte Hornets that he won’t become the franchise’s new coach and will remain with the Golden State Warriors as the top assistant, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

After accepting Charlotte’s job offer during the NBA Finals last week, further conversations with the Hornets’ organization led Atkinson to believe that both professionally and personally it would be best to remain with the Warriors, sources said.

Atkinson and the Hornets had agreed in principle to a four-year deal, but a contract was never signed, sources said.

Stephen Curry has a good memory

Steph Curry has a good memory. Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

Earlier in the NBA Finals, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry called himself “the petty king” in reference to him wearing a T-shirt mocking a Boston bar that insulted his wife Ayesha’s cooking prowess.

“I know all about everything and I use it as entertainment and have fun with it,” Curry said.

After clinching the NBA Finals Thursday night — and winning his first-ever Finals MVP in the process — Curry made sure to use his knowledge of “everything” to settle several scores.

The Boston bar that put up signage and sold T-shirts with the phrase “Ayesha Curry can’t cook” was predictably on Curry’s list of targets: the Dubs star posed for a picture with one of the shirts along with his Finals MVP trophy. “Bye Boston,” he wrote in a caption on Instagram.

The article goes on to review Steph’s reaction to what various sports commentators predicted for him.

Safe to say, for Steph, yesterday was a pretty great day.

Golden State Warriors win 2022 NBA championship

NYTimes.com: “It turns out the dynasty had just been paused. Golden State has won the N.B.A. championship again, four seasons after its last one. It is the franchise’s seventh title and the fourth for its three superstars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who have spent the past decade growing up together, winning together and, over the past three years, learning how fragile success can be. On Thursday, they defeated the Boston Celtics, 103-90, in Game 6 of the N.B.A. finals. They won the series, 4-2, and celebrated their clinching victory on the parquet floor of TD Garden, below 17 championship banners, in front of a throng of disappointed partisans. With 24 seconds left in the game, Curry found his father near the baseline, hugged him and shook as he sobbed in his arms. Then Curry turned back toward the game. He put his hands on his head and squatted down, then fell onto the court. “I think I blacked out,” Curry said later.”

ESPN.com: “Draymond Green played his best game of the series, scoring 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, grabbing 12 rebounds, recording eight assists with two steals and two blocks. He also hit two 3-pointers after missing his first 12 attempts of the series. He struggled on the other end, however. With Green as the primary defender, the Celtics shot 9-of-17 from the floor. Andrew Wiggins continued his strong series, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. Jordan Poole added 15 points off the bench, while Klay Thompson scored 12. Gary Payton II had just six points, but finished with a plus-18 net rating.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “All through these NBA Finals, Steph Curry has been more openly emotional than usual, getting into it with Boston fans and doing audaciously early celebrations. Those emotions completely took over on Thursday night as his Warriors put away the Celtics late in a 103-90 win that clinched their fourth NBA title since 2015 and their first since 2018. After coach Steve Kerr pulled the Golden State starters with the win — and the title — assured, Curry began crying on the baseline, embracing his father Dell, who had a victory cigar at the ready. When time expired, the tears really started to flow, with Curry weeping through his ABC interview with Lisa Salters.”

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NBA Finals big for all, but especially Andrew Wiggins

Via the San Jose Mercury News:

After having only one double-double during the entire regular season, [Warriors forward Andrew] Wiggins has recorded five this postseason. His most recent was overshadowed by [Stephen] Curry, who dropped 43 points and snagged 10 rebounds in the Warriors’ Game 4 win over the Celtics Friday night. But Wiggins was also impressive and noteworthy as he shot 41.2% from the field for 17 points while grabbing a career-high 16 boards — 13 of which on the defensive glass. He did this while being the primary defender on Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

“He’s a very mild-mannered guy, but he’s taken a leap in these playoffs in terms of his impact on the game defensively, on the glass,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Because the games are obviously so meaningful, there’s more emotion from him and from everybody.”

Draymond Green comments on Jayson Tatum’s play in NBA Finals through Game 4

Via Boston.com:

Celtics star Jayson Tatum hasn’t played to his usual standards through four games of the NBA Finals, but Warriors forward Draymond Green — who has grilled his share of beef with Celtics fans — believes Tatum has still been integral to the Celtics’ success…

“It’s tough,” Green said. “You’re experiencing something for the first time. I think he’s handled it well. He’s maybe not shot the ball as well as he’d like or everyone else would like, but overall I think he’s been playing well, and that’s why it’s a 2-2 series, coming back for Game 5.

“I think he’s handling it all extremely well. He’s taking what the defense gives him, and that’s what great players do. But I think he’s doing a good job.”

Gary Payton II wins 2021-22 NBA season Bob Lanier Community Assist Award

The NBA today announced it will rename the Season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award in honor of late Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA Global Ambassador, Bob Lanier, for his dedication to teaching NBA values and making a positive impact on communities across the globe.

And the first winner of the new Bob Lanier Community Assist Award for the 2021-22 season is Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II.

Payton was selected by fans during a 12-day public voting period and by an NBA executive panel for his sustained community outreach in support of youth in the Bay Area over the course of the season.

PER THE NBA:

Payton II has prioritized engaging with and giving back to his community, particularly through initiatives related to youth with learning disabilities and those dealing with hardship. This season, he founded the GPII Foundation, a nonprofit that acts as a conduit for Dyslexia-awareness, an educational disability he has dealt with throughout his life. The foundation provides funding for educators to become certified in early intervention services and support for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, including early screening, detection and certified assessment for youth and young adults.

Payton’s own personal struggle with dyslexia, and his passion and efforts to uplift young people impacted, led to the Warriors expanding their Read to Achieve program to specifically include students with learning disabilities. He also led attended a rally at San Francisco City Hall in support of universal screening for risk of dyslexia via Senate Bill 237 and hosted his first-ever Reading Rally with Decoding Dyslexia for students affected by learning disabilities. Additionally, Payton participated in the Warriors’ Black History Month celebrations and 75th Anniversary Live, Learn or Play Center dedication, among other events. He was awarded the January monthly NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.

Lanier, a League Office executive and NBA Global Ambassador for more than 30 years, had an enormous influence on the NBA family and young people globally, traveling the world to teach the values of the game and making a positive impact through his kindness and generosity. An author and humanitarian, Lanier was the recipient of many distinguished awards throughout his lifetime, including the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his significant contributions to civil and human rights and the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award as a player. The legacy he built will continue to live on through the seasonlong Community Assist Award recognition, which honors the next generation of players’ commitment to positively impacting their community throughout the NBA season.

2022 NBA Finals game schedule

Game 1: Thursday, June 2: Boston vs. Golden State, 9 ET, ABC

Game 2: Sunday, June 5: Boston vs. Golden State, 8 ET, ABC

Game 3: Wednesday, June 8: Golden State vs. Boston, 9 ET, ABC

Game 4: Friday, June 10: Golden State vs. Boston, 9 ET, ABC

Game 5: Monday, June 13: Boston vs. Golden State, 9 ET, ABC (If necessary)

Game 6: Thursday, June 16: Golden State vs. Boston, 9 ET, ABC (If necessary)

Game 7: Sunday, June 19: Boston vs. Golden State, 8 ET, ABC (If necessary)

Warriors eliminate Mavericks in five games to reach 2022 NBA Finals

ESPN.com: The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2019 and for the sixth time in the last eight years. The Warriors punched their ticket with their 120-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday night. Klay Thompson played his best game of the series, finishing with a game-high 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting, including eight 3-pointers.

ESPN.com: Stephen Curry celebrated the Golden State Warriors’ return to the NBA Finals by adding a new trophy to his collection as he was named the first Western Conference finals Most Valuable Player on Thursday. After the Warriors eliminated the Dallas Mavericks with their 120-110 win in Game 5, Curry was handed the brand-new Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP trophy and was immediately hugged and lifted in the air by his teammates. Nine members of the media voted on the series MVP at the end of the game.

San Jose Mercury News: “Steph Curry added to a dusty trophy case Thursday night as the Western Conference Finals’ MVP. What comes with that is the NBA’s inaugural Magic Johnson Trophy, named after the Los Angeles Lakers’ legend. “The new trophy is pretty cool,” Curry said, “especially with who it’s named after and the standard that Magic set in terms of being a champion and playing the point guard position — and other positions — and the excellence he had through his career.” What may be surprising is that Curry’s trophy case is not as filled as you might suspect for a Warriors legend who’s closing in on his fourth NBA championship. In his three NBA Finals triumphs, MVP honors did not go to Curry, but rather Andre Iguodala in 2015 and Kevin Durant in 2017 and ’18. Of course, that Larry O’Brien Trophy is Curry and the Warriors’ ultimate goal once the NBA Finals get underway for the first time in San Francisco, at the Chase Center next Thursday night.”

On the Warriors and Mavericks Western Conference Finals matchup

The 2022 Western Conference Finals, featuring the Golden State Warriors against the Dallas Mavericks, begin tonight. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle on the Mavs:

Luka Doncic, the sort of generational talent who can drag mediocre teams to first-round exits through sheer excellence, is now balling lock-step with his supporting cast, most of whom are stepping up at critical moments. The first round was a Jalen Brunson coming out party. Dorian Finney-Smith, who has spent years percolating in the organization, is a rangy wing with great defensive chops who is shooting the 3 at just under a 40% clip. Reggie Bullock is a more than serviceable professional basketball player with cool hair (he’s shooting it pretty well too). And then there’s Maxi Kleber, the pesky floor-stretching German big who can and probably will punish this often disengaged Warriors team.

The Mavericks in general are built to punish the disengaged, to chase down the weak links again and again, as they showed so memorably against Chris Paul, going at him disrespectfully hard, eventually grinding him to future Hall of Fame dust. They will score off of sloppy turnovers. They have, and will again, put Steph Curry in a half-court dungeon. The Warriors will need to be crafty, perhaps even mean-spirited with their adjustments. Jason Kidd, who will be barking on the sideline like some mix of a Sea Lion and the singer of Sleaford Mods, will make sure his guys know exactly who to exploit, when to trap, how they’ll ram the ball down Golden State’s gullet, and all the best places in Oakland to get a steak. He’s a great communicator, Jason Kidd.