Warriors’ Curry: ‘We’re definitely proud of ourselves’

The Golden State Warriors had two chances to make the playoffs, and both times they came up short, including Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies as the Warriors fell in overtime 117-112 at Chase Center in the Play-In Tournament.

Golden State lost to the Lakers on Wednesday night in the Play-In Tournament 103-100 in Los Angeles.

Memphis now goes on to play the number one seed in the West, the Utah Jazz, while the Warriors go home. Golden State overcame many odds to get this point, including injuries to Klay Thompson and rookie James Wiseman, but the Warriors did not have enough to get over the hump and into the playoffs.

After the game, Warriors forward Draymond Green, who had a triple-double with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 15 assists against Memphis, reflected on the season.

‘We definitely had a lot of struggles trying to build with a young, new team,” Green said. “Had quite a few rough patches there along the way, but over the last 20 games or so, we started to figure it out and grow, and a lot of successes came from that. Steph Curry being in the MVP conversation, myself, being in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.”

Despite overcoming the obstacles and going 15-5 in the final 20 games to put themselves in a position to get to the playoffs, Green would not call this season a success for the Warriors.

“The reality is we came up a little short, so there are no moral victories here,” he said. “We’re still champions, and  that’s always the goal, so I’m not going to act like this year was some huge success because we didn’t win it, and that’s always the goal.”

While Green would not call the season a success, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr did.

“I think this season absolutely was a success; we would have loved to have gotten into the playoffs and tried to make a run,” Kerr said. “We were really a good team over the last 22 games, I guess… To watch Jordan (Poole), Juan (Toscano-Anderson), Mychal Mulder, these young guys grow and develop, that makes this a successful season because of what it sets up for next year.”

Curry, one of the three finalists for MVP, was proud of his team, but like Green, there are no moral victories for him.

“It’s okay to pat yourself on the back for doing something that really, nobody thought we could do,’ Curry, who had 39 points on Friday night, said. “I don’t think there is any moral victories. It’s weird because we’re not used to this, but we’re definitely proud of ourselves.”

The Warriors battled hard to get to this point, and it seemed the playoffs were going to happen for Golden State after they defeated the Grizzlies last Sunday to get that eighth seed, but they fell just short. Obviously, the Warriors can get back into contention, especially with Thompson and Wiseman coming back, so while they are disappointed now, next season will probably be a different story for Golden State.

Cavs’ Sexton: ‘I feel like we can make a push’

The Cleveland Cavaliers(20-35) had a full roster on Thursday night against the Warriors(28-28), and things started well for this team. Cleveland led by as much as 11 points in the first quarter and had a 31-26 lead after one. However, Golden State outscored the Cavs by 14 in the second quarter and took control of the game from there.

Golden State led by as much as 18 points in the second quarter and by as much as 15 points in the third quarter. Cleveland got the lead down to four in the third, but it wasn’t enough as they would fall to the Warriors 119-101 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Steph Curry had 20 of his 33 points in the second half, and Andrew Wiggins added 23 points. For Cleveland, Collin Sexton, who returned after missing two games due to a groin injury, had 30, and Darius Garland poured in 20 points. 

Cleveland played unselfish basketball in the first quarter and had nine assists on 13 made field goals, but they had only 12 assists over the final three quarters. 

After the game, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff discussed the lack of ball movement.

“The focus has to be on the ball movement,” he said. “That ball can’t get “sticky.” We gotta continue to move the ball; we gotta continue to cut, let our big guys play make… But we just can’t get stagnant; that’s where we gotta continue to improve.”

Despite the loss, Sexton is confident Cleveland can make a push for the playoffs.

“We’re going to be fine,” he said. “This last stretch, I feel like we can make a push. We gotta take it one day at a time.”

Cleveland now has five of their next six on the road, which starts Saturday night in a big game against the 10th-seeded Bulls, who the Cavs must catch to make it in the play-in tournament. Cleveland is currently 2.5 games behind Chicago.

According to reports, Chicago will be without their leading scorer Zach LaVibe(health and safety protocols), which gives Cleveland an advantage going into this contest. 

The time is now to make that playoff push, and we’ll see if the Cavs can seize the moment.

Pop on loss to Warriors: ‘If you shoot 4 for 33 from three, your defense better be pretty perfect’

The Spurs started slowly against the Warriors on Wednesday night and could not recover. San Antonio gave up 36 points and trailed by 12 after one quarter. The Spurs would fall behind by as many as 22 points in the first half and ultimately would lose on the road to Golden State 121-99.

San Antonio struggled with their shooting against the Warriors. They finished the game shooting 37% from the field, including 4/33 from three-point range. Conversely, their defense was not good. They allowed the Warriors to shoot 50% from the field and allowed Steph Curry to score 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half. 

“I thought we had a bad start,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “They jumped on us at the beginning of game for whatever reasons, and we never got back. If you shoot 4 for 33 from three, your defense better be pretty perfect, and it wasn’t, but it’s gonna happen, nobody is going to go undefeated. Hopefully, we learned some things tonight and just keep at it.”

Dejounte Murray, who led San Antonio with 22 points, agreed with Popovich; the Spurs were hit hard early and were not able to respond.

“We came out in the first half and just got punched in the face and didn’t know how to get back up as a whole—not making shots don’t make it better,” Murray said. “Halftime, we tried to come out and fight and fight. They’re the Warriors, and they kept fighting, kept fighting, and we just couldn’t get over that hump.”

After playing seven of their last nine game on the road, the Spurs will play nine of their next eleven at home, but with no fans allowed in the building, Popovich thinks home-court advantage is not the same. 

“It’s pretty even-steven,” he said. “I think I mentioned that to you guys before. There’s not much of a home-court advantage, I don’t think.”

While home-court advantage may not be the same, getting home and not traveling can’t hurt, and based on the way they shot the ball on Wednesday night, maybe San Antonio could use some time off the road and could benefit from some home cooking.

Hawks acquire Jones, pick from Warriors in exchange for Spellman

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired center Damian Jones and a 2026 second round draft pick from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for forward/center Omari Spellman, it was announced today.

Jones has played in 49 career regular season games (22 starts) in three seasons with the Warriors, tallying 3.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 11.9 minutes (.643 FG%, .577 FT%). The seven-foot-tall Jones posted career-high averages in points (5.4), boards (3.1), assists (1.2), blocks (1.0) and minutes (17.1) this past season, earning 22 starting assignments in 24 appearances.

Jones, the 30th overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, attended Vanderbilt University and is a two-time NBA Champion, appearing in 12 career playoff contests (one start) with Golden State. He is a native of Baton Rouge, LA.

Spellman was selected by Atlanta with the 30th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Villanova University product appeared in 46 contests (11 starts) as a rookie, recording 5.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 17.5 minutes per game.

Report: DeMarcus Cousins to the Lakers

Free-agent C DeMarcus Cousins has signed with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

It is a one-year deal, according to the report.

The 28-year-old Cousins spent last season with the Golden State Warriors. In 30 regular season games, he averaged 16.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, and 3.6 apg.  The four-time All-Star will be reunited with his former teammate in New Orleans, Anthony Davis.

If he can stay healthy, Cousins can help the Lakers. Also, it would put him in line to get a big raise the following season.

Report: Warriors trade Andre Iguodala to Grizzlies

The Golden State will look a lot different next season. On Sunday afternoon, Kevin Durant made the announcement that he was headed to Brooklyn to join the Nets. Late Sunday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Warriors had acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Nets in a sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant. It’s a four-year, $117 million max contract for Russell, according to the report.

Finally, according to Wojnarowski, Golden State shipped Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies.

This is a lot to unpack, and there could be some more moving parts, but here is what you need to know for now; Durant to Brooklyn, Russell to Golden State, and Iguodala to Memphis.

What a day!

Are the 2019 Warriors turning into the 1989 Lakers?

In 1989, the Los Angeles Lakers were looking to be the first team to win three straight NBA titles since the Celtics did it in the 1960s. After having the best record in Western Conference, and working their way to the NBA Finals, Los Angeles seemed poised to three-peat, but for that to happen, the Lakers needed to beat the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons, a team Los Angeles beat in a tight, seven-game series in the 1988 NBA Finals.

However, on their way to trying to win three straight NBA titles, the 1988-89 Los Angeles Lakers ran into some problems. Before Game 1 of the 1989 NBA Finals, Byron Scott injured his hamstring in practice, which forced him to miss the series. Also, in Game 2, the regular season MVP, Magic Johnson would injure his hamstring, which caused him to miss the rest of the series. Those injuries were a big reason why the Pistons swept the Lakers in the 1989 NBA Finals.

Thirty years later, we could be seeing a similar script with the 2018-19 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are trying to three-peat, and after losing Game 3 123-109, the Raptors lead the NBA Finals 2-1.

Golden State is without Kevin Durant, who has not played in the NBA FInals and has been ruled out of Game 4 after injuring his calf in Western Conference semifinals against Houston, and they were without Klay Thompson in Game 3. Good thing for the Warriors, Thompson is expected to return in Game 4. How healthy Thompson will be is uncertain. Kevon Looney, who has contributed off the Warriors’ bench, could miss the rest of the series with a non-displaced first costal cartilage fracture. Also, star C DeMarcus Cousins recently returned from a quad injury,  and while he was effective in Game 2, he was not very good in Game 3 and looked very sluggish.

The Warriors are breaking down right in front of our eyes.

Golden State has played a lot of basketball in the last five seasons. The Warriors have been to the NBA Finals five straight years. Before the 1989 Finals, the Lakers had played in three out the last four NBA Finals. 1989 made it four out of five NBA Finals appearances for Los Angeles.

While the Lakers were able to make it back to the NBA Finals in 1991(lost to Bulls in five), the Lakers’ Dynasty was pretty much done after 1989.

Could the Warriors suffer a similar fate? Durant and Thompson can become free agents in the summer. Thompson is probably going to return, but Durant’s return is still up in the air at this point.

Anything can happen, but as the Finals continue on, it is becoming evident that the 2019 Warriors could end up like the 1989 Lakers.

 

Stephen A. Smith believes the Lakers could get blown out by Warriors on Christmas(VIDEO)

The NBA will announce the complete schedule of games for the upcoming 2018-19 season on Friday. Today, the league announced the national television schedule for the opening week of the season, Christmas Day games, and three Martin Luther King Jr. Day games on TNT.

On Christmas Day, LeBron James and the Lakers will travel to Oracle Arena to battle the world champion Golden State Warriors. For James, it will be a rematch of the NBA Finals, but for the rest of the Lakers, it will be an opportunity to show the Warriors and the rest of the NBA that they are for real.

While many are looking forward to the Lakers-Warriors, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has some concerns

“My concern here is the Lakers are going to get blown out the building,” Smith said on First Take today.

Listen below as Smith gives his take on Lakers-Warriors on Christmas Day:

So much can happen between now and Christmas Day. Therefore, I’ll let this one play itself out.