How long did it take Joe Lacob to move on from Warriors' Game 7 loss?

How long did it take Joe Lacob to move on from Warriors' Game 7 loss?

SAN FRANCISCO – Warriors CEO Joe Lacob was sticking to his story, no matter what. The sentiment he expressed on a ballroom stage, before 500 spellbound witnesses, was reiterated 90 minutes later, as a hotel crew was clearing  the room.

Sixty minutes, he says. That’s how long for him to flush the NBA Finals loss last June.

“I was moving on an hour later,” he said Monday afternoon. “I don’t have time to think about the past.”

Understand: Lacob’s ambition is off the leash. It knows no bounds. Perhaps because he is steeped in the experience of beating the odds and winning, he attacks professional pursuits with calculated abandon, as if anything is doable. As if victory is presumed.

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Yet seeing his team become the first ever to blow a 3-1 NBA Finals lead didn’t deflate Lacob. It energized him. He took it as a vow of himself and his basketball people to do whatever was necessary to make the Warriors even more powerful than the squad that over two previous seasons went 140-24, winning a championship in 2015 before gulping down that devastating loss a year later.

The Warriors finished the regular season with a 73-9 record, the best in NBA history. That is etched in the record book. Yet the players and coaches still carry some sting from losing three consecutive games – two of them at Oracle Arena – to the Cavaliers, with Game 7 punctuated by Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving, who drained the decisive 3-point shot.

“I’m sure they will always remember,” Lacob said of the players and coaches. “They came so close, Game 7, we all did, within one minute of winning. If one shot goes in by Steph (Curry), or maybe Kyrie doesn’t make his, we win.

“Or if some guys who had bad shooting series makes 30 percent of his shots, instead of less.

“There are so many ways we could have, and perhaps should have, won. But we didn’t.”

OK. So Warriors fans aren’t the only folks lamenting the Finals performance of Harrison Barnes, who shot 51.3 percent in the first four games before going 5-of-32 (15.6 percent) over the final three.

Barnes is gone, leaving the Warriors in July to sign a $94.4 million contract with Dallas. The Warriors are happy for him. They are happier for themselves as they replaced Barnes with a fellow named Kevin Durant, who chose to join the Warriors two days before Barnes agreed with the Mavericks.

Durant not only delighted the Warriors but also relieved them. They almost certainly would have matched an offer sheet to re-sign Barnes – but at a salary that would have made him the highest-paid player on the team.

Such a situation would have been awkward, at best.

[POOLE: Warriors CEO Lacob's message to owners on Durant: 'Sorry, we got him']

Lacob, candid as always, went to great lengths to avoid the subject of what the Warriors would have done if Durant had signed elsewhere. My search for a response turned into a comedy routine.

Q: “What if Kevin does not come join you?”

A: “What do you mean? He’s a Warrior.”

Q: “What if he didn’t–?”

A: “I’m not sure what you’re asking. I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I don’t understand the question.”

A: “I don’t really know what you’re talking about. He’s a Warrior. I’m pretty sure he wants to be a Warrior for life.”

Lacob broke into laughter, ending the unscripted skit.

His point was made. The Warriors followed a historically great regular season with a disappointing NBA Finals. They then landed the most accomplished free agent on the market, thereby avoiding the likelihood of returning much of the same cast.

They lost.

But they also won.

“We had a fantastic year,” Lacob said. “I will always remember it. It was incredible. There may never be another year like that. We just . . . didn’t . . . finish it. It happens. It’s sports.

“I’m still very proud. We should all be proud of what we did. And, honestly, I don’t have any bad feelings about it. I don’t think about it like that. I think it was a great year. That’s how I remember it. And I plan on winning many more.”

Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays


Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays

OAKLAND -- When he returns to the Warriors, likely on Friday, Stephen Curry will alter nothing about his game despite coming off a four-month period during which his surgically repaired right ankle endured multiple aggravations.

He’ll be the same Curry that fans have come to know, diving into passing lanes on defense while firing up 3-pointers and darting in and out of paint traffic on offense.

It’s the only way he knows how to play, and he’s played long enough to accept that it comes with risk.

“When I wake up in the morning I’ll know the difference between my right (ankle) and my left,” Curry said Thursday after practice. “But that won’t stop me from being who I am on the floor and having confidence in myself when I get back out there.”

Curry missed 11 games after spraining his ankle on Dec. 4 in New Orleans. He missed two games after tweaking it in shootaround on Jan 10. He missed no games after tweaking it March 2 in Atlanta. He has missed the last six games after tweaking it on March 8 against the Spurs.

“I’ve been very durable over the course of my career,” said Curry, who is listed as probable but fully expects to play Friday against Atlanta. “It’s just that I’ve had three untimely, freak accidents happen.”

Curry stepped on E’twaun Moore’s foot in New Orleans, on Zaza Pachulia’s foot in Atlanta and Dejounte Murray’s foot against the Spurs at Oracle Arena.

Not once in the previous five regular seasons did Curry miss significant time due to his tricky ankle. He missed a total of 16 games during that span, never more than four in a season, and six of those were for reasons of rest.

This season, however, has tested Curry’s patience like nothing since 2011-12, after which he had his second ankle surgery. He concedes that being in and out of the lineup has left him at times feeling “boredom, monotony and frustration.”

Though some of that can be attributed to the rehab process, there is no doubt part of that stems from watching the Warriors from the sideline.

With Curry out of the lineup this season, the Warriors are 13-8 (he missed one game with a hand bruise, another with a thigh bruise). That they are 40-10 when he’s in the lineup illustrates his importance.

It’s not just that he’s important. Curry is the catalyst for the offense and he can only be that if he is playing without regard for the possibility of injury. A hesitant Curry can’t be an effective Curry, so full throttle is the only way to go.

"If we’re trying to win a championship, I need to be out there,” he said. “That’s a given. We want every single guy out there, healthy and available, myself included. That’s the ideal situation.”

If he gets hurt along the way, so be it. As man of faith, he believes that anything that happens is influenced by a higher power.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting 3s or pullups are going into the lane or playing defense, that’s liable to happen any time,” Curry said. “Other than those instances, I haven’t had anything to worry about on the injury front. We are prisoners of the moment when it comes (playing the game). I don’t feel like I’m at a point where I have to change anything based on me being a durable player and being on the court consistently.

“Down the line, if you ask me about it in three of four years, there might be something I might need to change. But not right now.”

There is a segment of fans, worried about Curry’s health and realizing it is tied to the fate of the team, who would like him to dial back his aggression. Maybe avoid the paint and settle for more jump shots. He’s heard the advice and is not unwilling to launch a few more shots from deep.

But Curry is going to go where he sees daylight, and the best chance to make a positive play. He’ll take his chances because hesitation has no place in his mind or his game.


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'

Back in late October, the Warriors declined their $2.3 million team option on Kevon Looney for the 2018-19 season.

How did that make him feel?

"It was kind of a let down," Looney told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson on the Warriors Plus/Minus Podcast. "I knew it was up in the air. It was going back and forth, back and forth. When they didn't pick it up -- they told me why, I understood, I've been here for three years, I've seen a lot of players come and go; I know basketball is a business -- I was kind of let down.

"But I knew I was going to try and make the most of it. Now I'm playing for my contract for next year. I just wanted to go prove myself. I knew this summer there was a lot of doubts about what I could do. People were doubting if I would even be in the NBA still ... I knew what I was capable of."

Looney underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2015, and appeared in just five games during his rookie season.

He then had surgery on his left hip in April 2016, and appeared in 53 games (8.4 minutes per night) during the 2016-17 season.

This year, he's averaging career highs in points (3.5), rebounds (2.9), blocks (0.7) and minutes (12.0).

"This summer, I decided I just wanted to try go back to the way I played in college. It's been working for me," Looney explained. "I lost about 30 pounds this offseason and it's really made me a lot faster and a lot quicker. And I've been staying healthy."

How did he drop all that weight?

"A lot of broccoli and turkey and plain food. Food that wasn't that good but it's something that I had to get used to," Looney said. "Taco Bell, fried chicken, I was eating that on the regular ... coming off of injury, you can't eat like that. It's a different level of intensity in the NBA.

"I had to change my diet. Andre (Iguodala) was in my ear for two years about it. I finally listened to him and it paid off."

Looney will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Although the Warriors declined the option, the 22-year old could return to Golden State -- but the max amount the Warriors can offer him is $2.3 million.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller