Warriors

Euphoria reigns as Splash Bros take China

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AP

Euphoria reigns as Splash Bros take China

The “M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P” chants grew louder and louder in the third quarter and Stephen Curry rode the adulation all through the Shanghai night.

And he did so with Klay Thompson right at his side.

The two All-Star guards with massive followings in China sent countless waves of euphoria through the sellout crowd at Mercedes-Benz Arena on Sunday as the Warriors laid a 142-110 thrashing on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Plugging into video-game mode, Curry unleashed his full offensive arsenal, firing in 40 points Sunday to lead all scorers.

Thompson also lit up the arena, draining eight of his 10 3-point attempts on the way to 28 points. Kevin Durant put in 22 points, while Draymond Green tossed in 11. Rookie forward Jordan Bell, coming off the bench, also had 11.

Curry was the clear star of the night, however, delighting the audience as the Warriors posted their first win of the preseason while closing out a two-game set in China against Minnesota.

“Just to be out there on the floor and watch him take over games like that . . . when he gets hot, it’s special to watch,” Draymond Green told reporters in Shanghai. “It’s special to be a part of.”

Playing 31 minutes, Curry drove to the basket with abandon, dropping floaters with ease, and launched from beyond the arc with typical bravado, shooting 13-of-20 from the field, including 6-of-9 from deep.

The Warriors were trailing 55-47 when Curry entered with 6:58 left in the first half and proceeded to use his scoring and passing to account for 20 of the team’s next 22 points as they took a 76-72 lead into halftime.

Curry, who also rang up eight assists, continued to punish the Timberwolves in the third quarter as the Warriors took command, going up 114-95 after three. The two-time MVP clearly earned the right to watch the fourth quarter from the bench.

“Obviously, Steph was amazing,” Thompson said.

The Warriors, tired as they might be, may wish to start the season now. Curry is ready, and when Curry is ready and bringing along his talented teammates, well, there isn’t much any opponent can do.

 

Report: KD wants to own an NBA team

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USATSI

Report: KD wants to own an NBA team

Kevin Durant figures to have a good chunk of his career ahead of him, but he's already thinking of his next move.

Durant is only 29-years-old, but is already in the midst of his 11th NBA season. For his post-basketball life, the reigning Finals MVP has his sights set on NBA ownership.

Over his last 18 months as a member of the Golden State Warriors, Durant's increasingly yearned to own an NBA team, according to a report from ESPN's Chris Haynes. 

"[This] is a genuine goal of his after he retires, to add another African-American in the position of majority ownership," a league source told Haynes under the condition of anonymity. 

Currently, Michael Jordan is the only African-American majority owner in the league. Durant said he would also like to see more African-Americans in front office roles. 

"[Jordan] was the first big Nike athlete, the biggest star of his time, but if you don't have the trajectory, that path, that journey, it's going to be hard to do what he did," Durant told ESPN. "But you can still affect the NBA and the game of basketball in a different way. You don't have to be an owner.

"I think it should be more guys in the positions of power like general managers and scouts and coaches. Anything that involves the day-to-day operations of these franchises. I think more players and more experienced players should be in those positions."

Durant and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, have met with multiple tech executives and team owners in order to "learn the lay of the land," Haynes wrote. 

He's not the only former MVP on the Warriors with ownership aspirations, either. Stephen Curry tweeted last month he wanted in on Sean "Diddy" Combs' prospective bid for the Carolina Panthers, and Curry told ESPN last month he's "really serious" about the opportunity. 

Gameday: Intensity, fury rages as Warriors visit Cavaliers in rivalry's next chapter

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USATSI

Gameday: Intensity, fury rages as Warriors visit Cavaliers in rivalry's next chapter

The Warriors will have their full squad available Monday when they wrap up their season series with the longtime rival Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

The teams have met in the last three NBA Finals, with the Warriors winning twice.

The Warriors (35-9) are coming off an impressive back-to-back road sweep, winning at Milwaukee on Friday and at Toronto on Saturday. Their regular starting lineup -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia and Draymond Green -- will be together for only the fourth time in the last six weeks.

The Cavaliers (26-16) have stumbled lately, losing seven of their last nine. Isaiah Thomas, acquired in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston in August, made his debut on Jan. 3 and will be playing his fourth game as a member of the Cavaliers.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 5.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: The top two forwards, and conceivably the two best players, in the game today. The Warriors are 5-2 against Cleveland since Durant was acquired to offset James. James is No. 3 in scoring (27.1 per game), Durant No. 5 (26.3). Both are efficient scoring machines. James is rebounding better (8.0-7.0), Durant blocking more shots (2.14-1.07). When these two clash, it’s hard to take your eyes off them. Durant asks to defend James and won the battle when the teams met on Christmas Day in Oakland.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Omri Casspi (low back soreness), F Andre Iguodala (hip flexor strain) and G Shaun Livingston (L shin contusion) have been upgraded to available.

Cavaliers: G Derrick Rose (L ankle sprain) and G Iman Shumpert (L knee surgery rehab) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Cavaliers: 3-7.

GAME OFFICIALS

Scott Foster (crew chief), Marat Kogut, Eric Lewis

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 99-92, on Christmas Day in Oakland. The teams split two meetings last season. The Warriors have won five of the last seven regular-season meetings and 11 of the last 14. They have won 11 of 18 NBA Finals games played in the last three years.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE POINT MEN: Neither Curry nor Thomas played on Christmas Day, so it’ll be intriguing to see them renew a battle that dates back to Thomas’ days in Sacramento. Curry generated dominated the matchup, though Thomas has since made the leap from good to great offensive player. One thing remains, though: Thomas remains among the league’s worst defenders.

INTENSITY LEVELS: Because of the history, the air crackles with fury when these teams meet. That won’t change anytime soon. But the Cavaliers, having beaten the Warriors only once in the last seven meetings, should be particularly fierce. This game means more to Cleveland than it does to the Warriors. Will the Warriors be able to match the intensity they’ll face inside the Q?

THE ARC: The 3-ball almost certainly will be crucial in this game. The Cavs are third in 3-pointers made (513), while the Warriors are fifth at 505. But the Warriors are more accurate, shooting at 38.9 percent to Cleveland’s 37.2. The Warriors are slightly better at defending the arc and, on the other end, can use ball movement to stress the Cavs’ relatively slow defenders.