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Warriors edge Rockets 99-98 to take 2-0 series lead

James Harden had Game 2 on his fingertips - and then he didn’t.

Now the Golden State Warriors have the Western Conference finals in their grasp.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points before Harden lost the ball in the closing seconds, and the Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

Harden rallied the Rockets from 17 points down in the second quarter and had a chance to finish off the comeback in the fourth. Instead, Klay Thompson harassed him and Curry came over to trap Harden, who lost the ball as time expired…

Harden had 38 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Dwight Howard overcame a sprained left knee that slowed him down to finish with 19 points and 17 rebounds for a Rockets team headed home in a major hole.

– Associated Press

Stephen Curry fined for flopping

Stephen Curry fined for flopping

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 1 of the Warriors’ Western Conference Finals series against the Houston Rockets.

The incident occurred with 3:07 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 110-106 victory over the Rockets on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.

UPDATE: According to AFP, “I don’t agree with it,” Curry said Wednesday. “I watched the play over and, transition play, so obviously balance is not very good in that situation.” Added Curry: “That play happens countless times. I wasn’t even looking for the foul. I was just reacting to the contact.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr also disagreed with the fine — not because Curry’s move wasn’t a flop, but because such falls, from minimal contact, are so common.”

Without Tony Allen, Grizzlies lose Game 5 to Warriors

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Wednesday’s Warriors-Grizzlies second round playoff game, which went quite badly for Memphis:

Without Tony Allen, Grizzlies lose Game 5 to Warriors

Much like the last playoff game in Oakland, Game 5 came down to a key Grizzlies player who was a game-time decision because of injury. While Mike Conley put on a face mask and cape in Memphis’ win in Game 2 at Oracle Arena, Tony Allen was not able to play with a bad hamstring Wednesday night.

The defensive repercussions were obvious, but the Grizzlies were actually somehow worse offensively without their jump shot-challenged tough guy.

“It’s huge, being without Tony,” Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee said. “We can’t replace his energy or his defensive intensity. We needed to step up tonight and we didn’t.” Memphis shot 5-of-25 in a 12:35 span over the end of the first quarter and most of the second quarter, turning a 25-15 lead into a 49-37 deficit.

Memphis shot 5-of-25 in a 12:35 span over the end of the first quarter and most of the second quarter, turning a 25-15 lead into a 49-37 deficit.

And a 12-point deficit might as well be 24 — which it grew to — for a big, physical team that can’t get out on the fastbreak (six points all night) or shoot threes (they made four).

Andrew Bogut remains healthy

No, Andrew Bogut isn’t injured. He’s still good to go.

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting good news on the Warriors front:

Andrew Bogut banged up, but still healthy

Andrew Bogut said his ribs are fine. In fact, his post-Game 4 X-ray was on his left knee, and that checked out OK, too.

“Everything is good,” the Warriors’ center said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “No problems.”

Bogut did grab at his right ribs a couple of times during the second half of the Warriors’ Game 4 victory over Memphis, and it was reported by multiple outlets that he had X-rays on his ribs. But the big man said the bigger concern was a tweak he felt in his left knee, and that’s what he had checked after the game.

Marreese Speights out with calf strain

Marreese Speights out with calf strain

Marreese Speights out with calf strain

Warriors forward Marreese Speights underwent an MRI this morning that revealed a moderate right calf strain. The injury occurred last night during the fourth quarter of Game 3 of Golden State’s Western Conference Semifinals series versus Memphis.

His official injury status will be listed as OUT, and he will be reevaluated in one (1) week.

Zach Randolph scored 22 points and Marc Gasol added 21 points and 15 rebounds as the Grizzlies beat the Warriors 99-89 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal…

Mike Conley and Courtney Lee both finished with 11 points for Memphis, which has yet to lose this postseason with Conley in the lineup.

MVP Stephen Curry finished with 23 points for Golden State but was 8 of 21 from the field, including 2 of 10 outside the arc. Klay Thompson had 20 points, and Harrison Barnes added 16…

For a second straight game, the Grizzlies made the Warriors look nothing like the team that was the NBA’s best home or away during the regular season. The Warriors missed seven straight 3s during one stretch, several wide-open looks, and the Grizzlies harassed them into a handful of ugly turnovers.

The Warriors went just 6 of 26 from 3-point range, tying their season-low at 23.1 percent, and 19 of 28 at the free throw line.

– Associated Press

Mike Conley not mad at Draymond Green

Mike Conley not mad at Draymond Green

Look. In games, players fall. And when that player has the ball, sometimes another player tries to grab it. These things happen. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting on Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and Warriors forward Draymond Green:

Mike Conley not mad at Draymond Green

In the days following Mike Conley’s Game 2 brush with Warriors’ power forward Draymond Green, the Grizzlies’ point guard has gone from “no comment” to “it is what it is” to forming an opinion.

“At the end of the day, I think Draymond Green is a phenomenal player,” Conley said before Friday’s practice. “He’s a competitor. In the heat of the game, things happen. Guys get hit. Guys bring a lot of passion to the game. I have no opinion other than that. I think it was just basketball.”

Conley was driving through the lane when he got tied up by Green and Klay Thompson midway through the second quarter. He recovered the ball with 4:58 remaining and called a timeout while lying on his back with the ball near his chin. Green reached in to try to grab the ball and bumped Conley in a mask designed to protect surgically repaired facial fractures.

Officials reviewed the play as a potential “hostile act” and didn’t call a foul, but that hasn’t changed the opinion of the Grizzlies’ fans. Green said he’s gotten Twitter hate and warnings about coming to Memphis.

Stephen Curry wins 2014-15 NBA MVP

Stephen Curry wins 2014-15 NBA MVP

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who set a single-season record for three-pointers made and led the league’s best regular-season team in scoring, assists and steals, has won the 2014-15 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, the NBA announced today. The 6-3 guard becomes the second Warriors player to win the award, joining Wilt Chamberlain, who was honored in 1959-60 when the franchise played in Philadelphia.

Curry totaled 1,198 points, including 100 of 130 first-place votes, from a panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada, as well as the Kia MVP fan vote on NBA.com. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five points for each third-place vote, three points for each fourth-place vote and one point for each fifth-place vote.

Rounding out the top five in the voting were the Houston Rockets’ James Harden (936 points, 25 first-place votes), the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (552 points, five first-place votes), the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (352 points) and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis (203 points).

Curry helped the Warriors win a franchise-record 67 games by averaging 23.8 points (sixth in the NBA), 7.7 assists (sixth), a career-high 2.04 steals (fourth) and 4.3 rebounds. The 27-year-old Curry made 286 three-pointers, breaking his own NBA record of 272 set in 2012-13. He shot 48.7 percent from the field and ranked fourth in the league in three-point field goal percentage (44.3). Curry also led the NBA in free throw percentage (91.4), converting a career-high 52 consecutive free throws from March 9 to April 4.

Read fan reaction or share your opinion here: Steph Curry named MVP 

Warriors take Game 1 vs Grizzlies

Warriors take Game 1 vs Grizzlies

Stephen Curry had 22 points and seven assists, and the Golden State Warriors wore down the undermanned Memphis Grizzlies in a 101-86 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday.

Klay Thompson added 18 points and Draymond Green scored 16 to help the top-seeded Warriors roll to their 21st straight victory at raucous Oracle Arena. They led by nine at the half, 20 late in the third quarter and never let the Grizzlies build any momentum in the fourth.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Oakland.

Marc Gasol had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Zach Randolph finished with 20 points and nine rebounds for a Memphis team missing point guard Mike Conley. He sat on the bench in a suit, his left eye still swollen, as he continues to recover from surgery to repair broken bones in his face.

– AP

After sweeping Pelicans, Warriors get time to rest

One really nice thing about tossing an opponent out of the playoffs as quickly as possible is that the winning team gets to relax and heal up before the next round begins. After sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans, the Golden State Warriors get to recover physically and study who they face next.  It’s a luxury. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

During the next week, the Warriors want to mix rest with repetitions, treatment with training and all-out scrimmaging with sit-down studying. It’s a delicate balance that Kerr observed a handful of times in winning five championships as a player with the Bulls and Spurs.

But the Warriors might actually have a head start on some of those teams. They’re pretty healthy and rested already.

Point guards Stephen Curry’s arms are scratched and bruised from being held and grabbed, and power forward Draymond Green rolled his left ankle a couple of times in the series. But the only player to miss any time during the first round was reserve forward-center David Lee, who has almost fully recovered from a lower back injury.

Warriors sweep Pelicans in first round

Warriors sweep Pelicans in first round

The Golden State Warriors have quickly escorted the New Orleans Pelicans out of the the playoffs and into the offseason. Which is either rude or polite, depending on how you look at it. Rude, because nobody wants to be swept from the playoffs. But polite, because the Warriors ended the Pelicans quickly. They didn’t draw it out. No time was wasted. Time is valuable. Yeah. Anyway, here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

For about a month now, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been waiting for his team to take its game to another level.

The wait is over.

They practiced most everything Kerr has preached this season in a 109-98 victory over the Pelicans on Saturday night to sweep the best-of-seven, first-round series.

The Warriors will play the winner of the Memphis-Portland matchup in the Western Conference semifinals, a series that could start next weekend in Oakland.

With a chance to close out the plucky Pelicans, the Warriors played nearly perfect ball. They outshot the Pelicans 54.2 percent to 22.7 percent from three-point range, dished out 28 assists to 10 turnovers and won in fastbreak points 20-0. The Warriors even beat New Orleans in rebounding (39-36) and paint points (44-40).

The stellar team stats came on the coattails of some brilliant individual efforts. Stephen Curry had 39 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Draymond Green put up 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Klay Thompson added 25 points.

Warriors unleash amazing comeback to win Game 3 vs Pelicans

The Golden State Warriors unleashed an amazing comeback to push Game 3 of their first round playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans into overtime, and then coming away with a shocking win. Golden State now has a 3-0 series lead. Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting:

The Warriors became the third team in postseason history to overcome a deficit of at least twenty points entering the fourth quarter, and win.

Steph Curry’s miraculous game-tying 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in regulation will be remembered forever, but he wouldn’t have been able to play the role of hero without a lot of help from his teammates.

“We were pretty desperate,” Steve Kerr said following the historic win. “We went small. We put Shaun Livingston in there. We gave Steph a brief rest to start the fourth … our small unit in the fourth quarter just came in and turned it into a track meet.

“Draymond was fantastic. When you go small and you have to guard (Anthony) Davis, you’re really not getting much help on the backside and Draymond thwarted several lobs and plays at the rim, and got rebounds and then we were able to get out and run.

But I’m gonna have to watch the tape. I’m not quite sure what happened. I’m as startled as everybody else.”

No Defensive Player of Year award for Draymond Green just yet.

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on versatile Warriors talent Draymond Green:

Was Draymond Green the real 2014-15 Defensive Player of year?

After finishing second in the voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Warriors forward Draymond Green says he’s not angry. Disappointed? Absolutely. Puzzled? No doubt.

He would truly like to hear an explanation for such fluky, aberrant voting.

Green had more first-place votes than winner Kawhi Leonard (45 to 37) but lost the overall voting because he was completely left off 42 ballots.

“Now, I don’t understand that,” Green said Thursday morning. “I don’t understand that one. But it is what it is.”

Each voter lists three players for the award. Leonard, the San Antonio forward, received 332 points overall. Green finished with 317 points. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan finished third, with 261 points and 32 first-place votes.

Warriors aiming for sweep of Pelicans

Warriors aiming for sweep of Pelicans

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on the Golden State Warriors, who were the best team in the league in the 2014-15 regular season and hope to keep it rocking all playoffs long:

The Warriors are up 2-0 despite some obvious difficulties with New Orleans. With the elongated form of Anthony Davis blanketing half the court, the Pelicans have been disruptive on defense. On offense, they’ve utilized screen-and-rolls to get Davis near the rim or, more damaging, to give Quincy Pondexter and Eric Gordon open looks beyond the arc.

But if the Warriors fix those two problems — and they believe they will — it’s realistic to believe they can win twice at Smoothie King Center and achieve the sweep.

“I like the position we’re in,” coach Steve Kerr told CSNBayArea.com. “I don’t think we’re ahead of the game; you don’t get ahead of the game until you win on the road. But I feel good. I know we can play better.”

The Warriors have put together impressive stretches but no truly impressive game, partly because New Orleans is a well-coached, high-quality team. But the Warriors expect better.

Aaron Craft named D-League Defensive Player of Year

Aaron Craft named D-League Defensive Player of Year

Santa Cruz Warriors guard Aaron Craft has been selected as the 2015 NBA Development League’s Defensive Player of the year by a vote of the league’s 18 head coaches. Craft will be honored with a trophy for his efforts by NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner prior to tonight’s playoff game against the Oklahoma City Blue, which will be broadcast live on ESPNNEWS at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Craft (6-2, 192, Ohio State) played in all 50 regular season games for Santa Cruz, anchoring a Warriors defense that held opponents to league-lows 42 percent shooting from the field and 99.6 points per 100 possessions. Santa Cruz’ opponents averaged 102.2 points, good for third-lowest in the NBA D-League. Individually, Craft averaged an NBA D-League best 2.5 steals while topping the league with a 1.4 steal-to-turnover ratio. Additionally, he averaged 9.2 points, 6.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 36.1 minutes.

“Aaron has shown his aptitude, intensity and desire on the defensive end all season long,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “His ability as a lock-down defender has been a tremendous asset for coach Casey Hill and the Warriors this season. We congratulate Aaron on an impressive rookie campaign and this well-deserved award.”

Craft helped lead the Warriors to the West Division Championship and a 35-15 record, tied for the best in the league. The team earned the top overall seed in the Western Conference and currently owns a 1-0 lead over the Blue in the first round of the 2015 NBA D-League Playoffs.

“Aaron is one of the soundest defenders I’ve ever been around and without a doubt he deserves this award,” said head coach Hill. “He has been phenomenal for our team all year long and it has been amazing to coach him.”

A four-year contributor at Ohio State, Craft was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014) and was named the NABC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2014. Undrafted last season, Craft earned an invitation to the Golden State Warriors training camp in September 2014.

Shaun Livingston suspended for hitting Dirk Nowitzki in groin

Shaun Livingston suspended for hitting Dirk Nowitzki in groin

Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston has been suspended one game without pay for hitting Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki in the groin, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 1:28 remaining in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 123-110 victory over the Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

Livingston will serve his suspension tonight when the Warriors visit the San Antonio Spurs.

The New York Post reports: “No one plays post defense and does that in normal post defense,” Cuban said after Livingston, a former Net, essentially reached between the big German’s legs and upper-cutted, resulting in a flagrant foul. “That’s not normal post defense. It was obvious.”

To view the play, click on this link.

Steve Kerr sets NBA record for most victories by a first-year head coach

steve kerr

Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr has established a new NBA record for most victories by a first-year head coach in league history, notching his 63rd win of the season with tonight’s 123-110 victory over the Mavericks in Dallas. The previous record for wins by a first-year NBA head coach was 62, a mark shared by Paul Westphal (Phoenix, 1992-93) and Tom Thibodeau (Chicago, 2010-11). Kerr’s winning percentage (.829) also ranks as the highest among head coaches in their first full season at the helm, topping Red Auerbach’s debut season with the Washington Capitols (.817) in 1946-47. With tonight’s win, which improved Golden State’s record to 63-13, the Warriors will have home court advantage throughout the 2015 NBA Playoffs.

Kerr, who was hired as the 25th head coach in Warriors franchise history on May 19, 2014, has led the Warriors to franchise records of 63 wins and 28 road wins, guiding the team to its first Pacific Division championship since 1975-76. He was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for games played in both January and March, becoming the first coach in Warriors history to earn the monthly honor twice in a single season. Golden State, which set a new franchise record with a 16-game win streak from Nov. 13-Dec. 14, has won its last 12 games, posting multiple double-digit win streaks in the same season for the first time in franchise history.

With 63 wins, the Warriors have seen a 12-game improvement over last season’s 51 victories, which is tied for the second-largest win total increase of any 50-win team in NBA history. Golden State leads the league in points per game (109.9), assists (27.4), field goal percentage (.477), three-point percentage (.397) and point differential (+10.7).

David Blatt and Steve Kerr named NBA Coaches of Month for March, 2015

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ David Blatt and the Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

Blatt led the Cavaliers to the best record in the East during March at 11-4 (.733). The Cavaliers averaged 107.0 points and surrendered just 97.9 points in March, en route to posting the best differential in the conference at +9.1 ppg. Cleveland went 5-0 at Quicken Loans Arena, where it has now won 16 consecutive games.

Kerr guided the Warriors to the NBA’s best record in March at 16-2 (.889). The Warriors averaged 108.4 points and surrendered just 96.3 points, which accounted for a +12.1 ppg differential, good for second in the West. Golden State closed the month with 10 consecutive wins, including six against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Brooklyn’s Lionel Hollins, Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.

Warriors clinch the best record in the Western Conference

The Golden State Warriors have clinched the best record in the Western Conference for the 2014-15 season following tonight’s 108-95 road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, improving to 60-13 and securing the best record in the conference for the first time since 1975-76. In doing so, Golden State established a new single-season franchise wins record, earning 60 wins in a single campaign for the first time in the team’s 69-year history, besting the previous wins record of 59 set in 1975-76.

The Warriors are the 70th team in NBA history to amass 60 wins in a season, becoming just the 13th team ever to reach the 60-win plateau through 73 games. By virtue of clinching the best record in the conference, Golden State will be the No. 1 seed in the West in the upcoming NBA Playoffs, granting the Warriors home-court advantage through the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are slated to make their third consecutive postseason appearance after finishing sixth in the conference in both 2012-13 (47-35) and 2013-14 (51-31).

Marreese Speights suspended for pleading no contest to reckless driving

Golden State Warriors’ center Marreese Speights has been suspended for one game without pay for pleading no contest to reckless driving, in violation of the law of the State of Florida, the NBA announced today.

Speights will be suspended for tonight’s game between the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets.

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