Archive for the ‘ NBA Playoffs Blog ’ Category

Warriors win 2017 NBA championship

As yellow confetti fell from the rafters and TV cameras swarmed Monday night, Kevin Durant grabbed the charcoal cap emblazoned with the Larry O’Brien trophy before embracing Stephen Curry. In that moment, as a capacity crowd belted along to “We Are the Champions,” the Warriors had finally vindicated the 3-1 Finals lead they squandered last June. Nothing — not the chorus of critics, not the Herculean performances from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, not a lengthy hiatus from head coach Steve Kerr — could keep Golden State from winning its second NBA title in three years.

– San Francisco Chronicle

Cleveland, fresh off a 137-point outburst in Game 4, used an early 14-2 run Monday to seize a seven-point lead midway through the first quarter. With James, Irving and J.R. Smith leading the way, the Cavaliers were up 41-33 early in the second. That’s when Golden State, perhaps the most combustible team of this era, tightened up defensively, ratcheted up the tempo and unleashed a 21-2 rally. Durant poured in 13 points on only five shots in the quarter to power the Warriors to a 71-60 lead by halftime.

– San Francisco Chronicle

Durant scored 39 points — he broke 30 in all five games of the Finals — and Curry had 34 and 10 assists… Right after the pass to Iguodala to put the Warriors up eight, Durant nailed a 3 to erase the Kevin Love and-1 seconds prior. When a Kyle Korver 3 with 8:27 left cut it to six, Durant sliced backdoor for an easy dunk, uncontested just like the six dunks he had in the first half of Game 1. In all, he made 14 of 20 shots, including five of eight from beyond the arc. For the series, he shot 56 percent from the field. He led the Warriors in rebounds and blocks.

– Bay Area News Group

And in the clincher, Curry had 34 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, and enough moments to silence his loudest critics. The reasonable ones, anyway. He led the way to a 129-120 win over the Cavaliers, clinching the Warriors’ second title in three years, completing their vengeance from last year’s epic collapse. This is how you earn super stardom. Curry wasn’t the Finals MVP. But he vindicated himself by averaging 26.8 points, 9.4 assists and 8.0 rebounds in an NBA Finals.

– Bay Area News Group

While James went for game highs in points (41) and minutes (47), Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith were second and third on the Cavs with 26 and 25 points, respectively. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry was second with 34 points — hitting 10-of-20 shots — and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala accounted for 20 points in 38 minutes off the bench.

– Akron Beacon Journal

Steve Kerr wants more edge from Warriors tonight

Many different words can be used to describe “edge.” As in, playing with more edge. Nerves. A sense of urgency. Pick whatever word or phrase you like — you get the idea. But you aren’t Warriors coach Steve Kerr. He’s got a better sense of all of this. And here’s what he said on the matter:

“For us as a team tonight, we’ve got to be more on edge,” said Kerr before the game, according to the Bay Area News Group. “I hope we’re a little more nervous. We didn’t seem that nervous in Game 4. Nervous is good. Appropriate fear is the Greg Popovich line. You need that. When we come out in the beginning of Game 4 and lose shooters and turn the ball over carelessly, we’re obviously not ready. I would hope we’re more ready, more prepared tonight.”

More from the Bay Area News Group: There’s a running theory that the pressure is on the Warriors tonight. They own a 3-1 series lead, but after the Cavs took Game 4, that’s now the same deficit they overcame to beat the Warriors a year ago. If they can get a win in Oakland to send the series back home, they might gather enough steam to pull it off.

NBA Finals Game 5 is tonight in Oakland at 9 p.m. ET. The Warriors lead 3-1.

Draymond Green makes fun comments about Cleveland fans

Warriors forward Draymond Green is a great quote. He’s got big personality and unleashes lots of fun stuff when speaking to the media. And he didn’t hold back when discussing his thoughts on fans in Cleveland.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “asked Sunday whether he regretted saying after Game 4 that Clevelanders “don’t seem to be the sharpest people around,” Green detailed why he seized the opportunity to deride the opposing fan base. “I didn’t bash them,” Green said. “I just gave my thoughts.”

More from the Chronicle: After the referees told the scorekeepers that the first technical should have been assigned to Kerr, Green stepped back on the court. In the wake of Golden State’s 137-116 loss, when a reporter asked him whether he had noticed that the first technical had been announced as his, Green said: “I don’t pay much attention to anybody in Cleveland, honestly. Don’t seem to be the sharpest people around. So, whatever.”

Trash-talk on the court is fun. And off the court? Still fun. Green won’t label this trash-talking. He’s merely expressing his opinion. And if anybody takes offense, that’s their problem!

But seriously: Green is fun, and we enjoy hearing his take on just about anything. Especially the opposition.

The Cavs are in big trouble, down 3-0 in the NBA Finals against a superior-looking Warriors team. Cavs veteran Richard Jefferson says reaching the Finals is no prize if it doesn’t include the acquisition of a championship ring at the end. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Championship or bust, says Richard Jefferson

“I still do not feel like we’ve reached our potential,” Jefferson said Friday, after the team’s shootaround at their practice facility. “We’ve said it all along — it doesn’t matter if we lose in Game 7, what happens with tonight: If we don’t win a championship, then the season was unsuccessful. That’s it. It’s the same for them.

“It’s probably the same for three teams in this league every single year. And it’s true. If we don’t win a championship, it’s unsuccessful. Nobody would be surprised at the end of the day if before this series you said the Cavs won. No one would be surprised if someone said San Antonio won a championship at the beginning of the season. No one would be, like, mind blown.

“So for the three, four teams that are in that position, regardless of how it ends or whatever, if you don’t raise that banner the next year, then it was unsuccessful.”

Warriors take 3-0 NBA Finals lead

The Cavaliers did everything right in Game 3 except what they needed to do most — close it out.

The Cavaliers on June 7 followed the blueprint drawn up by coach Tyronn Lue for Game 3 like a team of construction engineers erecting a futuristic skyscraper, and still lost, 118-113, and now are one loss away from becoming the first team swept out of the NBA Finals since the San Antonio Spurs did it to the Cavaliers in 2007.

The Warriors went on an 11-0 run to after a 26-footer by J.R. Smith gave the Cavs a 113-107 lead with 2:32 remaining. Smith preened for the Cavalier fans sitting in the front row of The Q as he trotted down the court on defense — way too early, as it turned out.

– Akron Beacon Journal

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said he had to be more assertive driving to the hoop and he was. His driving layup high off the glass as the first half ended were his 16th and 17th points of the first half and cut the Warriors’ lead to 67-61. He finished the game with 38 points.

– Akron Beacon Journal

Steph Curry was incredible much of the night, going for 26 points, a team-high 13 rebounds, six assists and only one turnover. Klay Thompson parlayed his huge Game 2 into a bigger Game 3, nailing six of the Warriors’ 16 threes and hitting 30 points for the first time in this postseason. He kept them afloat early.

But Kevin Durant, the frontrunner for Finals MVP, drove the Warriors home in the final sequence.

With less than two minutes left, the Warriors trailed by four and their perfect playoffs were in peril. But with 1:15 left, Durant powerfully pushed Kevin Love back on a drive, got to about 12 feet out and planted a floater to pull the Warriors within two.

– Bay Area News Group

By the time the Warriors entered halftime up 67-61, they had tallied assists on 21 of 23 field goals. It was the most assists by any team in a half of a Finals game since the Bulls had 22 in the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals. With the Cavaliers’ season on the edge of disaster, James and Irving had combined for 44 points on 18-for-27 shooting. The rest of Cleveland had mustered 17 points on 4-for-14 shooting.

With Durant, Klay Thompson (30 points) and Curry (26 points, 13 rebounds) leading the way, Golden State weathered inspired performances from James (39 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) and Kyrie Irving (38 points). The Warriors’ 16 three-pointers and 29 assists ultimately overshadowed their 18 turnovers. After posting their two worst offensive outings of the playoffs in Games 1 and 2, the Cavaliers scored 46 points in the paint. But the immense assignment of toppling Golden State eventually took its toll. Visibly gassed, Cleveland didn’t score over the final 3:09.

– San Francisco Chronicle

Tonight in Cleveland, the Cavaliers face the Warriors in NBA Finals Game 3. Down 2-0 in the series, the Cavs have clearly been the best team in the Eastern Conference, but the Warriors have been on another level all regular season and all playoffs long.

Now, we don’t actually root for one team over another. But we certainly root for what’s good for basketball. And the Warriors going on to win Game 3 in all likelihood means they will go ahead and win the series. Which is great for NBA history buffs whosw main interest is to compare the Warriors with other dominant NBA teams of the past. But for regular everyday basketball fans, it would certainly be better for the Cavs to step up tonight, defend home court, take the win, and make it look like a real series.

We’ll be watching.

The Warriors beat the Cavs 113-91 Thursday in Oakland to take a 1-0 NBA Finals lead. Some quotes from the web are below:

Warriors beat Cavs in NBA Finals Game 1

To kick off a matchup that has been anticipated since the Cavaliers escaped Oracle Arena with the Larry O’Brien trophy 347 days earlier, Golden State sent a statement: It is much improved from the group that squandered a 3-1 lead to Cleveland.

The biggest difference for the Warriors, of course, is that they now have a do-everything future Hall of Famer who thrives on the biggest stages. Durant poured in 23 of his game-high 38 points in the first half Thursday, adding eight rebounds and eight assists to finish with a near triple-double.

Stephen Curry overwhelmed Cleveland with a sterling third quarter on a night he finished with 28 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Because Golden State was at its ball-moving best, he and Durant feasted on open looks. The Warriors had more assists (31) Thursday than the Cavaliers had field goals (30).

By the start of the fourth quarter, the most-hyped NBA game of the year was rid of suspense. It was the type of thorough pummeling that only underscored why few have given Cleveland much of a shot in this series. Though he scored 28 points, LeBron James piled up eight of the Cavaliers’ 20 giveaways. Tristan Thompson, one of the league’s elite role players, was a non-factor on a night he totaled zero points and four rebounds in 22 minutes.

– San Francisco Chronicle

The Cavs committed 12 turnovers in the first half — seven by LeBron James. They were slow on the defensive glass, allowing the Warriors 11 offensive rebounds in the first 24 minutes. To put that in perspective, Golden State had only five offensive rebounds the entire game on Christmas Day when the Cavs beat the Warriors, 109-108, at Quicken Loans Arena.

Golden State took 61 shots in the first half compared to 43 by the Cavaliers. Despite those lopsided numbers, the Cavs were down only eight, 60-52, in a building in which they know they can win.

– News Herald

Durant shook LeBron to the ground for a slam, powered through Irving for another layup — his first eight makes were all at the rim — and then forced his way to the free throw line a few times late in the first half, putting up 23 in the first 24 minutes. He finished with a game-high 38 — finally busting out his 3-point shot late to cap the huge night.

But Steph Curry never had to get hot from 3 because he just stayed hot, carrying over his scorching stroke from the last round to plant six of his 11 threes on Thursday, giving him an NBA-high 59 made 3s in 13 playoff games. Kevin Love is the next closest shooter, with 41 makes in 14 games.

– Bay Area News Group

The Warriors are doing just fine — okay, way better than fine — so far in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. They’re 12-0 and will play the Cavaliers on Thursday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. But they remain without head coach Steve Kerr. Here’s the San Jose Mercury News with the latest update:

Steve Kerr not ready to return to coaching yet

Steve Kerr made a surprise appearance in front of reporters after the Warriors’ practice on Monday, filling in for his fill-in, Mike Brown, who was out with the flu.

Kerr updated his own health status in an 11-minute interview with reporters, saying he’s still unsure whether he will coach Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers on Thursday night, though it sounds unlikely.

“No. As of right now, I would not coach Thursday night,” Kerr said. “But it’s still up in the air. Waiting for that ‘ahhhhhh’ (moment). It’s coming.”

It sounds like Kerr has set a deadline for himself, saying he doesn’t want it to be a night-by-night decision about whether he can return to the sideline throughout the Finals. He wants to make a firm decision, either way, before Game 1 tips off.

Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4

Celtics-Cavaliers Game 4 is tonight in Cleveland. Boston’s starting lineup is undergoing a change. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said center/forward Kelly Olynyk will start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Center Amir Johnson is not likely to play, Stevens said, due to a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

It will mark Olynyk’s first start for the Celtics in their 17 playoff games. He’s averaging 8.9 points and three rebounds in 18.9 minutes off the bench.

Kawhi Leonard out for Game 3

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting that the Spurs will continue to be without star small forward Kawhi Leonard. The league MVP candidate will miss tonight’s Game 3. The Warriors are up 2-0 and have been absolutely dominant in these Western Conference Finals and the entire 2017 NBA Playoffs so far.

Kawhi Leonard out for Game 3

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard will not face the Warriors in Game 3 of Western Conference Finals on Saturday night at AT&T Center.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made the announcement prior San Antonio’s Saturday morning shootaround.

“In the end, I guess it’s my decision,” Popovich told reporters.

The road to the NBA finals has already looked incredibly easy for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it just got even easier.

The Boston Celtics today announced that Isaiah Thomas will miss the remainder of this year’s postseason following re-aggravation of a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. Thomas initially injured the hip during the third quarter of the Celtics’ March 15 game against Minnesota, forcing him to miss the next two regular season contests. The injury was further aggravated during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Washington on May 12.

“Isaiah has worked tirelessly to manage this injury since it first occurred,” said Celtics Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian McKeon. “The swelling increased during the first two games against Cleveland, and in order to avoid more significant long-term damage to his hip, we could no longer allow him to continue.”

Thomas did not travel with the team to Cleveland and is currently evaluating treatment options.

The Cavs are up 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Celtics. Game 3 is tomorrow in Cleveland.

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle with a very important update on tonight’s NBA Western Conference Finals Game 2 between the Spurs and Warriors:

Jonathon Simmons will start for the Spurs in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night, replacing injured Kawhi Leonard in the lineup for San Antonio.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made the announcement during his pregame news conference at Oracle Arena.
Popovich also said Leonard’s status for Game 3 on Saturday night probably would not be resolved until Friday at the earliest. He re-injured his sprained left ankle Sunday in Game 1, though an MRI exam showed no structural damage.

Patty Mills to start Game 5 for Spurs

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on the Rockets’ current playoff opponent, the Spurs, who are without starting point guard Tony Parker for the remainder of the postseason:

Patty Mills to start Game 5 for Spurs

Guard Patty Mills will move into the Spurs’ starting lineup for Game 5 against the Rockets on Tuesday, replacing Dejounte Murray who had started the two games since Tony Parker’s season-ending injury.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich did not say if the move was in any way related to the Rockets’ lineup change, with Eric Gordon starting and power forward Ryan Anderson coming off the bench, but was not because of issue’s with Murray’s play.

As pretty much everybody predicted, the Warriors have eliminated the Jazz. As most predicted, it happened in the form of a 4-0 sweep. The Warriors now advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they’ll play the winner of the Spurs vs Rockets series. Here’s the Bay Area News Group reporting:

Now they await the winner of the Rockets and Spurs series, which sits at 2-2. If it ends in six, the West Finals start in Oracle Arena on Sunday. If it extends to seven, the West Finals start in Oracle on Tuesday.

Either way, a rested, steamrolling Warriors team will be awaiting as monster favorites, having won 23 of their last 24 games dating back to mid-March and all eight of their playoff games by margins of 12, 29, 6, 25, 12, 11, 11 and 26 points.

But there were at least tiny moments of adversity on Monday night.

Early on, it didn’t look like it’d be that way. After hitting only one shot in a slow Game 3, Klay Thompson opened the scoring with a pair of jumpers. Then Steph Curry hit a pair of 3s. Then Kevin Durant found Curry on a creative give-and-go layup on a baseline out of bounds play.

Meanwhile, the Jazz offense slumped against a locked in Warriors defense, missing their first 10 two-point shots and going only 6-of-25 in the first quarter. A 12-3 lead became a 21-7 lead became a 39-17 first quarter cushion — similar to the 45-22 first quarter they popped on the Blazers in Game 4.

Steve Kerr undergoes spinal procedure

Steve Kerr is on break from coaching the Warriors, because of serious issues with his spine that are hopefully in correction as we speak. Here’s the Bay Area News Group with the latest update:

Steve Kerr undergoes spinal procedure

Joe Lacob revealed in an interview with Bloomberg Radio on Friday that Steve Kerr got a spinal leak procedure at Duke. The news spread late Saturday night.

So Sunday morning, Warriors general manager Bob Myers met with reporters to confirm the procedure and give an update on Kerr’s status. The ailing coach remains without a firm timetable for a return.

“It’s hard to answer some of this because even the doctors aren’t entirely sure of recovery time,” Myers said. “That’s why we’ve been a little indefinite about everything. We don’t know. But the procedure went well, as far as we know. Now it’s a case of how well it takes and when he might or might not be back. The good news is it’s on the path to recovery, but I wish I could be more definitive.”

Raptors swept by Cavs

Most people predicted the Cavs would eliminate the Raptors in the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The only question is how quickly it was going to happen. With Toronto lacking the services of point guard Kyle Lowry for the last few games, it seemed likely to happen sooner than later. Today, the Cavs completed the four-game sweep. Here’s the Toronto Star reporting:

The defending NBA champions now move on to face either Boston or Washington for the conference title, while the Raptors go off into a summer full of difficult decisions for team president Masai Ujiri.

Free agents Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson, Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker have to either be re-signed or let go for nothing, and head coach Dwane Casey and his staff will be up for their annual review. Ujiri has seen his team fall far short of the necessary three-point shooting proficiency in the league today.

Down by as many as 16 points Sunday, Toronto scrapped and clawed its way back to take a one-point lead with about six minutes left.

Kelly Oubre suspended one game for slamming into Kelly Olynyk

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. has been suspended one game without pay for charging and making forceful and unwarranted contact with Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident, for which Oubre was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected, occurred with 9:12 remaining in the second quarter of the Wizards’ 116-89 win over the Celtics on May 4 at Verizon Center.

Oubre will serve his suspension on Sunday, May 7 when Washington hosts Boston in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

Tony Parker injured, out for playoffs

Tony Parker injured, out for playoffs

Spurs guard Tony Parker, who has been the team’s second leading scorer through eight games so far during the 2017 NBA Playoffs, underwent an MRI examination this morning in San Antonio. The exam revealed bad news: Parker has suffered a ruptured left quadriceps tendon.

The injury occurred at the 8:52 mark of the fourth quarter of last night’s Spurs-Rockets game.

Parker will miss the remainder of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

Parker had been averaging 15.9 points on 52.56% shooting in these playoffs, though he was only dishing 3.1 assists per outing. Guard Patty Mills now has a lot more pressure on his shoulders, as does forward LaMarcus Aldridge, whose output in the postseason so far has been quite modest.

Raptors face tough battle vs Cavs

Here’s the National Post reporting on the Raptors, down 0-1 in their series, and their quest to contain the Cavs, which mostly means trying to somehow contain LeBron James:

When the Raptors added Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline, it gave them extra bodies to throw at LeBron. Between the new guys and DeMarre Carroll, Patrick Patterson and the occasional defence of DeMar DeRozan, Toronto had a host of players with the size and speed to, at the least, get in James’ way.

They did precious little of that in last year’s playoff matchup, and coming into this series it seemed likely that Toronto would try to impede, annoy, frustrate and just generally bother James. Instead, LeBron scored what looked like an effortless 35 points in Game 1 and grabbed a beer from a courtside vendor. If you have ever seen a cat wound a mouse and then take an agonizingly long time to get around to finishing it off, that was LeBron on Monday night. (The Raptors were the mouse.) …

So, could the Raptors try to ugly it up in Game 2 on Wednesday? More traps on James, more double teams, more attention and some of it even legal?

“All that’s in play,” Casey said Tuesday. “We gotta get a little closer (to them). I don’t know if they felt us last night whatsoever. We were half a step off, respecting their speed a little too much. We gotta make them feel us a little bit better.”

New Utah Jazz NBA playoff shirts

After white-out conditions for the 2017 NBA Playoffs First Round at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Utah Jazz fans will be dressed in the team colors of navy, gold and green for the Western Conference Semifinals. The first two home games are set for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 and 7 p.m. on Monday, May 8 against the Golden State Warriors.

ArenaTshirtMockupThe tri-colored “Take Note” T-shirts, presented by Zions Bank and Key Bank respectively, will be placed on each chair at the 19,911-seat facility for fans to wear for the first two home playoff games. Related to the design of the tri-colored basketball at midcourt, each section in the lower and upper bowls of Vivint Smart Home Arena will have navy, gold or green T-shirts.

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