Warriors

Rivers no longer running front office: 'Cool general managing, Glenn'

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USATI

Rivers no longer running front office: 'Cool general managing, Glenn'

You’re tempted, petty little tyrant that you are, to say, “Cool general managing, Glenn.”

You’ll see that Doc Rivers has lost his team-building responsibilities with the Los Angeles Clippers to focus solely on coaching them, and you'll hearken back to Draymond Green’s enduring putdown of the coach when he was complaining about Dahntay Jones’ fine for bumping Green during a postgame interview.

And then you’ll think that the Golden State Warriors and Clippers still have some sort of rivalry. And that’s where you’ll be wrong.

The Clippers and Warriors are two ships that passed in the night, and their relationship is that of planetary co-inhabitors rather than death-feud enthusiasts. Those days are now three years' past and never coming back. Indeed, the Warriors have no such rivals at all now that the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the process of going full cicada and disappearing for the next 17 years or so.

That could, of course, change if the Warriors have a catastrophic injury year or a series of other calamities befall them, but that’s not the way to bet right now. Indeed, without Chris Paul, the Clippers look like a sixth- or seventh- place team right now, a Denver Nuggets or Utah Jazz-level contender.

As they sort of were last year, and the year before. Cool second-round exits, Glenn.

But worse for the Clips is the fact that Rivers is still sort of the face of the franchise, and that’s never a good thing. Indeed, the worst thing is when your owner or top management executive is the face of the franchise (Michael Jordan in Charlotte, or until he was fired, Phil Jackson in New York), followed by the coach (say, Rivers, or Stan Van Gundy in Detroit), then followed by one player (Lonzo Ball in Los Angeles, even though it’s awfully early for that sort of thing).

The ideal setup is when several players are the face of your franchise because that means they are all worth notice. Like, well, you know.

But not everyone can be, well, you know. Almost all teams aren’t, so their faces aren’t as good. So say “cool general managing, Glenn” if you must. Rivers helped repair the nightmare of the Clippers, he gave the team their window of opportunity, and now it is closing. It’s a tale like many others, so yeah, maybe it is a “cool story.” Just not one he would enjoy hearing.
 

Warriors will feel Iguodala's absence Tuesday vs Rockets, perhaps beyond

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AP

Warriors will feel Iguodala's absence Tuesday vs Rockets, perhaps beyond

OAKLAND -- We don’t know how severe Andre Iguodala’s back strain is, only that it is serious enough to force the veteran forward to the sideline for the season opener.

For a game he definitely wanted to play.

“It doesn’t make sense to play him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday, two hours before tipoff of the opening-night game against the Houston Rockets.

Iguodala’s absence will hurt the Warriors not only against the Rockets but also anybody else, for as long as he is unable to take the floor. Back problems have a way of choosing when they go away. Until then, Iguodala is at its mercy.

Losing Iguodala for this game means, first and foremost, that Klay Thompson will be mostly alone in chasing James Harden. It’s an important defensive assignment typically shared by Thompson and Iguodala.

Furthermore, the Rockets’ fast-paced offense is designed to generate constant pressure. They led the NBA last season in 3-point shots, made and attempted, and they stretch the floor as well as any team in the league, including the Warriors.

Iguodala’s intellect, defensive instincts and superior anticipation are most valuable against such teams as Houston. Draymond Green and Iguodala can wrecking offenses as well as any two players in the league, their quick hands causing havoc that is one of the keys to the Warriors playing championship-level defense.

“Andre is as smart a defensive player as I’ve ever seen,” Kerr said. “Draymond is incredibly smart, too. Scottie Pippen (Kerr’s former teammate with the Bulls) was so brilliant. Andre reminds me a lot of Scottie in terms of quarterbacking the defense and disrupting plays before they happen, anticipating where people are going to be, where the ball is going to be.

“So Andre is critical to our defense. “

For at least one night, and maybe more, Green will have to turn to another sidekick when Kerr unleashes the “Death Lineup” without Iguodala.

Shaun Livingston and Nick Young can deliver some of what Iguodala provides on offense.

Thompson can compensate for some of the lost offense, but he’ll have his hands full with Harden. Though Kerr said Pat McCaw would fill some of the minutes lost with Iguodala, the coach can’t reasonably expect McCaw to physically cope with Harden, a crafty veteran who also is 40 pounds heavier.

So let’s see what happens when the Rockets come down the floor with three or four players, all capable of launching from deep, scattering to get to their spots.

“It’ll be a challenge for us to play without (Iguodala) tonight against one of the best offensive teams in the league,” Kerr said.

The coach believes Iguodala will be ready for the next game, Friday in New Orleans. The Warriors, for the sake of their defense, can only hope so.

Gordon Hayward's first game with Celtics ends with gruesome fractured ankle

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USATSI

Gordon Hayward's first game with Celtics ends with gruesome fractured ankle

CLEVELAND -- Boston star forward Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome injury, breaking his left ankle just five minutes into his debut with the Celtics.

Hayward, who signed a four-year, $128 million free agent contract this summer, went up for an alley-oop pass and collided with LeBron James midway through the first quarter. He got his leg twisted underneath him as came back to the floor. Hayward collapsed under the basket and looked in horror as his left foot was pointing outward.

He put his hands to his face and dropped back to the floor as a hush fell over the sellout crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena.

Hayward's new teammates huddled in prayer at their bench as a distressed James covered his mouth and several Cleveland players nearby looked away. Hayward had his leg placed in an air cast, and James came over and consoled him before the 27-year-old was pushed from the floor on a stretcher.

Cleveland's crowd gave Hayward a roaring ovation as he left.

The team later confirmed that Hawyard's ankle was broken. It's a devastating blow for the Celtics, who had hoped to close the gap on the Cavs in the Eastern Conference.

Now, they could be without Hayward for an extended period.

Hayward spent the past six seasons with the Utah Jazz before signing with Boston.

The injury overshadowed Kyrie Irving's return to Cleveland after the All-Star point guard was traded to Boston this summer.

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Warriors guard Shaun Livingston and Thunder forward Paul George, who have both suffered serious leg injuries, took to Twitter after seeing Hayward's injury.