After this week, we may know who is the best team in the Western Conference, and possibly the NBA. The Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors play two times this week, starting on Tuesday in Phoenix. The two teams will play again on Friday at Chase Center.
Currently, the Warriors(18-2), who have the best record in basketball, are on a seven-game winning streak, and during that streak, Golden State has outscored opponents, 112.0 to 97.6 points per game while the Suns(17-3), who have the second-best record in the NBA, are on a 16-game winning streak.
Tuesday’s game marks the first time in NBA history that two teams from the same division with winning percentages above .850 meet over 20 games into a season (sixth time in NBA history regardless of division or conference).
In addition, if Phoenix wins tonight, this would be their 17th-straight win, which would match the longest winning streak in franchise history (also did so during 2006-07 season).
This could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. According to Devin Booker, who was named Western Conference Player of the Week, the Western Conference champions want to win championships like Golden State.
“They’re battle-tested, they’re champions,” Booker said about Warriors on Monday. “They’ve done everything that I’m trying to get to… You have two talented teams that know how to play against each other. Now, it’s coming down to competing for the full 48 minutes…
“This is primetime basketball. This is what people pay to watch, people pay to see; I’m excited to be a part of it.”
With a win, the Suns would move to 18-3 on the season, matching the franchise record for best record through the first 21 games of a season.
Look, it’s early, and there is a lot of basketball left to be played. However, these two games should be a lot of fun. Both teams want to send a message, and this would be an excellent time to send that message.
Listen below as Booker talks big game against Golden State:
The Cavaliers were again without many of their key players on Thursday night against the Warriors. They were missing Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Cedi Osman, and Lamar Stevens. Also, they were playing the second half of a back-to-back after losing to Brooklyn on Wednesday night.
Cleveland took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter but was outscored 36-8 in the final period, and Golden State would defeat the Cavs 104-89 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Cavaliers(9-8) have now lost three straight while the Warriors(13-2) have won nine of 10.
Here is the Great, the Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Warriors.
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Cleveland had five players in double figures led by Darius Garland, who scored 18 of his team and season-high 25 points in the first half. In that first half, Garland was 7/12 from the field, including four threes.
-Kevin Love scored 11 of his 17 points in the third quarter off the bench. Love was on fire in third as he was 3/4 from the field, including 2/3 from downtown. This was his second straight solid performance after he missed eight games due to COVID.
-Dean Wade gave the Cavs 17 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists in 40 minutes of action. He also made three threes.
-Ed Davis got his second consecutive start on Thursday night, and he did a great job on the glass. Davis, who started at center, had seven points, grabbed 13 of his game-high 14 rebounds in the first half, and added two blocks. The 13 rebounds in a half is a career-high for Davis.
Third Quarter: Cleveland had another extraordinary third quarter. After outscoring the Nets 32-19 in the third on Wednesday night, the Cavs outscored the Warriors 27-17 in the quarter. Golden State shot only 41.2% from the field, including 2/8 from three-point range. Love scored 11 points, and the Cavaliers took a 13-point lead into the fourth(81-68). However, the fourth quarter was a different story.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland led 81-68 entering the fourth, but the Warriors, mainly Steph Curry, woke up. The two-time MVP scored 20 of his game-high 40 points in the quarter, including four threes. Golden State went on a 17-0 run to start the fourth to take the lead. Cleveland went almost six minutes without a point.
The Warriors outscored the Cavs 36-8 in the final period. Cleveland went cold as they shot 2/14 from the field, including 0-7 from downtown.
Turnovers: The Cavaliers did not take care of the ball against the Warriors, and they finished with 20 turnovers, including seven by Garland.
For 36 minutes, it appeared the Cavs could pull off the upset, but the Warriors are one of the best teams in the league for a reason, and it showed. Despite the loss, Cleveland can hold their heads high. They battled two of the best teams in basketball, with 80% percent of their opening-day starting lineup in street clothes. Now, they get three days off, which will give players time to get healthy.
“Stephen Curry is a hell of a basketball player,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The shots he was making weren’t easy.”
Cleveland will continue their four-game homestand on Monday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Best of the Rest:
-Curry was 9/14 from three-point range. Draymond Green had four points and 14 assists; Nemanja Bjelica scored 14 points off the bench, and Andrew Wiggins added 12 points.
-Ricky Rubio had 10 points and five assists; Isaac Okoro chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
Listen Below as Garland and Wade react to the loss to Warriors:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers, agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
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.
Memphis' new front office has been gathering up young assets and draft picks in past several months. https://t.co/XHbOFm722Y
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
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!
The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club has acquired a 2024 second-round draft pick and cash considerations from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for the 41st overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, it was announced today.
Entering the 2019 NBA Draft, the Hawks currently possess picks No. 8, 10 and 35.