Warriors to face Spurs in Western Conference Finals

Warriors to face Spurs in Western Conference Finals


After acknowledging for several years that they aspire to be Spurs 2.0, the Warriors will come face to face with the real thing in the next round of the playoffs.

San Antonio’s 114-75 annihilation of Houston in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals Thursday night sends the Spurs into the conference finals against the Warriors.

Game 1 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 12:30 at Oracle Arena, with Game 2 set for Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

The Warriors in the regular season posted a 67-15 record to earn the No. 1 overall seed, while the Spurs (61-21) nabbed the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

The series will feature several subplots, most notably among the coaches. Though Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is expected to miss the series, both he and acting head coach Mike Brown have San Antonio ties and are disciples of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

There also will be at least one key question, that being the status of Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, who sustained a sprained right ankle in Game 5 and did not play in Game 6.

The Warriors and Spurs met three times in the regular season, with the Warriors losing the first two.

Oct. 25 in Oakland: The Spurs spoiled opening night for the Warriors, as well as Kevin Durant’s debut with his new team, rolling to a 129-100 rout at Oracle Arena. San Antonio clobbered the Warriors on the glass (55-35). Draymond Green referred to the drubbing as being “punched in the mouth,” while Kerr said he felt everyone was “embarrassed” by it.

March 11 in San Antonio: The Warriors, arriving in the wee hours after playing the previous night in Minnesota, chose to rest his key players in San Antonio. With Durant injured, Kerr sat Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Green. The result was a national dialogue about uninjured NBA players resting and a 107-85 runaway by the Spurs, who were without LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker and Leonard.

March 29 at San Antonio: Once again on the second night of a back-to-back set, this time after winning at Houston, the Warriors fell behind 15-0 in little more than four minutes and 33-17 after one quarter. They then pulled off a miraculous recovery, outscored the Spurs 93-65 the rest of the way to take a 110-98 victory, with Curry and Thompson combining for 52 points, while David West and Iguodala combined for 29 off the bench. Though Leonard, Aldridge and Parker were back in the lineup for San Antonio, the Warriors still were without Durant.

This is the first postseason meeting between the teams since 2013, when the Spurs ousted the Warriors in six games in the conference semifinals.

The schedule for the series can be seen below. 

GAME             DAY, DATE                     TIME (PDT)          LOCATION    

GAME 1          Sunday, May 14              12:30 p.m.               Oracle Arena              

GAME 2          Tuesday, May 16            6:00 p.m.                 Oracle Arena             

GAME 3           Saturday, May 20            6:00 p.m.                 AT&T Center               

GAME 4           Monday, May 22             6:00 p.m.                 AT&T Center               

GAME 5*        Wednesday, May 24      6:00 p.m.                 Oracle Arena              

GAME 6*         Friday, May 26                6:00 p.m.                 AT&T Center                

GAME 7*        Sunday, May 28              6:00 p.m.                 Oracle Arena              

Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'


Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'

So here's a story for you:

At 9:25pm on April 16, 2017, The Vertical's Shams Charania sent out the following tweet:

This angered Jordan Bell, who soon thereafter tweeted twice:

So what actually went down? It turns out that former agent Christian Dawkins -- who is a key figure in the FBI's investigation into corruption in college basketball -- may have been responsible.

Bell explained everything to Logan Murdock on the Planet Dubs Podcast.

"I was mad ... I know exactly what happened. One of the agents I met with -- the one who got in trouble. What's his name? Dawkins or whatever. Something like that. When I met with him, he was throwing me shade -- he acted like he didn't know who I was. 

"We had dinner and he's on his phone like not really paying me attention. I'm like, 'Why am I meeting with you?  You're wasting my time.' ... I kid you not, he didn't read over his (research). It had all of the top power forwards, big guys in the draft. And he was like, 'Let's just look at this.'

"And he's looking at it, and he was like, 'Oh! You're Top 3 in everything!' And he started getting excited and I was like, 'I'm cool. I'm done with this meeting.'"

Bell then explained how one of his coaches at Oregon tried to teach Bell a lesson.

The coach wanted Bell to "be a man" and contact all of the agents that he was for sure not going to sign with to let them know.

Bell didn't want to do that because he wanted to announce he was declaring for the draft on his own terms, without any information potentially leaking to the media.

But the Warriors rookie took the coach's advice and texted Dawkins to say he was going in a different direction.

"And I kid you not, like an hour later, I get an (alert) -- I'm upstairs at my coach's house -- 'I hear Jordan Bell declares for (the draft)' and I just started screaming...

"... I feel like I have to go (to the NBA) now ... when that happened, I was like, 'I really want to go back now just to prove him wrong, just to make him lose all credibility."

Bell quickly came to his senses, and at 10am on April 18, 2017, he retweeted the following message:

Interestingly -- the last line of The Vertical's story that broke the news regarding Bell reads:

Bell is projected to be the No. 38 overall pick in The Vertical’s latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

The Warriors paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to Bell at... No. 38 overall.

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

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.