NBA Finals

GOAT? Who knows... but there's never been another team like the Warriors

GOAT? Who knows... but there's never been another team like the Warriors

You can talk all day and all night about the greatest teams of all time. And you really can't come to any conclusions. Differing eras makes it too difficult.

But there has never been another team like this version of the Golden State Warriors.

Folks, time changes. And it has changed basketball in a very big way. You know that, of course, but it may be a bigger change than you think.

Yes, the Warriors shoot the three-point shot like nobody else -- in volume and accuracy. In Game 3, they made 16 of their 33 threes while Cleveland was hitting just 12 of 44. That's a huge edge.

And I must say, Steph Curry is just as unique as his team. I know Kevin Durant is getting most of the headlines from Wednesday's game -- as he should -- but we're already taking Curry for granted because he's been doing his amazing thing for a few years now.

It wasn't just that Curry made five of his nine three-point shots. It's that he made shots -- and continues to make shots -- from spots where other players don't dare shoot them. And he gets them off quickly, too. Curry's edge over most every other player in the NBA is that he's accumulating points three at a time on shots that nobody else makes with consistency. If he gets a glimmer of daylight from about 25 feet and in, he can be deadly. I don't remember any other player in the history of the game as proficient as he is at shooting in volume from distance.

And above that, he's a perpetual motion machine. He had 13 rebounds Wednesday because he's so active. He gets to the ball, whether in the air or on the floor. In his own way, he's as difficult to defend as any of the game's legendary players.

And yes, the Warriors also have other shooters. Klay Thompson and Durant are terrific. But what makes these guys special is that they move the ball and move bodies. They play an unselfish, equal-opportunity offense that doesn't allow the defense to lock in on anybody. In contrast to the Cavaliers.

Cleveland plays too much one-on-one. It's really not sustainable -- even as good as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are at it -- over the long haul against a team moving the ball the way the Warriors do.

Wednesday, 72.5 percent of Golden State's made field goals were assisted. For Cleveland, it was just 42.5. EVERY SINGLE SHOT by Thompson, Draymond Green, David West and Shaun Livingston came off an assist. That's crazy.

And of course, when a lot of people are evaluating this series at some point, they're going to point fingers at the Cavaliers' "supporting cast" and conclude Cleveland didn't get enough production out of it. I think it's easy to say that, but my observation over many years of watching this game is that when one or two players are as ball dominant as James and Irving are, other players simply don't get a good feel for the game. What you end up with is players who are so eager to actually get a shot they burp up a bad one (J.R. Smith) or become more reluctant to shoot (Kevin Love). It's a natural response when you aren't getting consistent touches.

Basketball is changing at warp speed and the Warriors are leading the way. Shooting from distance is of paramount importance these days. You simply cannot afford to get outscored by a big number from behind the three-point line. It's so difficult to overcome that. And you've got to move the ball and play unselfishly to get open three-point shots.

And to beat the Warriors, you're going to need a great team. And there is only one great team out there right now and it's the Warriors. And they are so much different than any of the other great teams in history that it's hard to say where they fit.

A few other thoughts about Game 3:

  • I'm still not understanding why James didn't get out past the three-point line on Durant on that critical shot late in the game. That shot was too important to allow it to be wide open.
  • I'm also bewildered as to why the NBA allows these games to degenerate into a wrestling match. So many obvious fouls are being ignored that if you actually get called for a foul -- or a travel or a double dribble -- you're just flat-out unlucky. It's a joke.
  • People are saying that Green isn't playing his best during this series but he does so many things for his team. Wednesday night he led all players in contested shots with 15, had the best plus/minus of anybody with 14 and had a team-high seven assists to go with a team-high five screen-assists. That doesn't sound like a bad game to me.
  • The only team capable of beating the Warriors is the Warriors. If they don't move, or move the ball, or take a night off on defense, they can be had. But that's the only way.

 

 

Cavs down 0-2, will the NBA decide games need to be officiated differently?

Cavs down 0-2, will the NBA decide games need to be officiated differently?

Last season, with the Golden State Warriors on the verge of a second consecutive NBA Finals win, the officiating of the series suddenly changed. Cleveland began holding and bumping Steph Curry as he attempted to move without the ball. The game got more ugly.

And not a lot of fouls were called.

I've seen this kind of thing before and it's about time to start bringing out the usual NBA Conspiracy Theories.

In the old days, the story was often told that David Stern would just send an officiating team of "fixers" out to manipulate the outcome of games in order to ensure a longer Finals (more games = more money for the league).  And, it was often said, the league had a desire for the large-market teams to win. And I have to admit I actually suspected some hanky-panky in those days regarding certain games.

But Stern is gone and Adam Silver is now in charge.

So I'm just asking, can we look forward to some radical change in how the rest of the Finals games are going to be called? Will the Cavs be able to wrestle the Warriors into submission?

Well, I'd guess not. I'm not sure Cleveland is close enough to Golden State that officials could actually do much to help.

The Warriors are good. REAL good. I've seen a lot of teams come and go and I think this is certainly at least among the best. This team is in that conversation. And just like the Trail Blazers, the Cavs need help to beat them. I said from the start the only way Portland could beat the Warriors is to play its best game and have the Dubs play their worst.

And it's not much different with the Cavaliers.

Relive the glory of the 1977 championship tonight on CSN

Relive the glory of the 1977 championship tonight on CSN

 

On this day in 1977 the Portland Trail Blazers did the unthinkable: They defeated the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and won the team’s first, and to this day only NBA championship.

Tonight at 7:00 on CSNNW we will re-air the greatest game in the franchise’s history, giving Rip City a chance to relive the glory that was the 1977 championship.

As is usual here at CSN in the modern day, we write a game preview prior to every Trail Blazers game. So close your eyes for quick second, imagine it’s 1977, and enjoy this “preview” of Game 6 of the 1977 NBA Finals.

We know how the story ends, but that doesn’t make it any less sweet.

Tonight. You. CSN. Your television. See you at 7:00 PM! 

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GAME PREVIEW: Blazers can win it all with a victory tonight over the 76ers

The Portland Trail Blazers can bring home the team’s first NBA title with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

It was just over a week ago that the heavily favored 76ers held a 2-0 lead over the Trail Blazers, and looked dominate in a 107-89 victory in Game 2.

However, there was more than just a simple basketball game that night: In the closing minutes of the game tempers flared resulting in bench-clearing brawl that saw the ejection the Philadelphia’s Darryl Dawkins and Portland’s Maurice Lucas. The brawl has since ingnited the Trail Blazers.

With the fire still burning from Game 2, and the sixth man of the Rose City behind them, Portland throttled the 76ers in Games 3 and 4: 129-107 and 130-98 victories respectively. Some say it was the home cooking. Other say that Dawkins temper has sparked the Blazers. I say it is a little bit of both.

With the team riding high after tying the series 2-2, it was time to head back east for Game 5. Of course things would be more difficult on the road, but this was a much different team than the Philly faithful saw visit town the first two games. This Blazers squad scratched, clawed, and battled for the110-104 victory to get us where we are today: One victory away from crowning them champions.

Needless to say, it really looks like the 76ers may regret Dawkins firing up Lucas and Co. Since that moment we have seen an entirely different Trail Blazers team. A team now poised to do the unthinkable.

To continue the hot streak and end this series the Blazers will need to rely on their two-headed monster that is Lucas and Bill Walton. Through five games Lucas has averaged 20.6 points and 11.8 rebounds, while Walton has averaged 18.2 points and 18.2 rebounds. They have really set the pace for the Blazers, and are the main reason they are on the brink of a championship.

For the 76ers to keep this series alive not only do they need to shutdown Walton and Lucas, they will need a big game from Julius Erving and Doug Collins. Erving is averaging 28.4 points and 7.0 rebounds this series, while Collins is averaging 22.4 points and 4.4 rebounds. However, they haven’t seen much from the supporting cast which could end up being the difference here in Game 6.

Will the 76ers bounce back, force a Game 7, and send this series back to Philadelphia? Will the Blazers slam the door and start their championship party on their home court?

Tune into CSN tonight at 7:00 PM to find out (wink, wink).

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Game Details:

Where:  Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland OR (Well, it was there way back in 1977, don’t show up today planning on seeing a game).

Television: CSN, 7:00 pm

CSN Programming: A special '77 Championship edition of Talkin' Ball will air immediately following the game

Twitter: Follow us on Twitter @CSNNW for all the latest game updates and details

 

News flash: Golden State is a pretty good team

News flash: Golden State is a pretty good team

Reaction and overreaction to Game 1 of the Finals:

  • It stinks to be Kevin Love sometimes. I'm hearing people say that he wasn't very good Thursday night, but 15 points and 21 rebounds isn't exactly a bad night, is it?
  • The Warriors won with ease even though Klay Thompson and Draymond Green combined to go 6-28 from the field. That doesn't bode well for the Cavs.
  • Don't ever go overboard on Game 1 of a seven-game series. Cleveland will have a better game and the Warriors may have a worse one. It takes some adjusting when you play the Warriors.
  • There were some Trail Blazer fans who were upset with me when I told them they'd have to be patient until the Warriors' reign of terror abated in a few years. But I wasn't talking about just the Trail Blazers. The way it looks now, there's really nobody in the league who can look ahead and figure they have a shot at stopping Golden State next season. That team is too good.
  • Yeah, I know, people think it's just terrible that one or two teams can dominate the NBA like this. But welcome to pro basketball. It's been pretty much like this forever. The Celtics, the Lakers, the 76ers, the Spurs, the Heat -- they've all taken their turn. Golden State waited 40 years in between championships and is getting its run now. In a game where there are only five players in action at a time, it's pretty easy for one or two players to create a big advantage. It's one of basketball's historic problems.
  • I'm convinced that the Warriors are one of the best teams I've ever watched in the NBA. They move the ball like the 1977 Trail Blazers and defend like some good Spurs teams. They are so deep that when they go to their bench, players you've never heard of before they became Warriors look terrific.

Irving's Game 5 masterpiece leaves LeBron, Cavs in awe

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Irving's Game 5 masterpiece leaves LeBron, Cavs in awe

The Cavs locker room was nothing but smiles Monday night following their shocking 112-97 shellacking of the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Smiles, ice and more smiles.

While LeBron James stared down at his phone, half the team sat together looking like a group of kids in a middle school class, one of which who had just put a thumbtack on the teacher’s chair.

They were guilty. Guilty of walking into a hostile environment and shocking the NBA world. Guilty of making a couple of hundred reporters jump onto travel sites in hopes of landing an overpriced plane ticket back to Cleveland. Guilty of defying the odds and living to play another game.

Kyrie Irving was one of the players huddled together. He was joined by Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, but the latter three were an afterthought.

Irving had just had the game of his life. Maybe it was necessary or maybe he was just playing to the crowd, but the 24-year-old guard had his right hand wrapped in ice. Was it there to reduce swelling? That’s possible. It’s also possible he was still on fire from his shooting performance earlier in the evening and didn’t want to set the locker room ablaze.  

Report: NBA won’t force Draymond Green to miss celebration if Warriors win

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Report: NBA won’t force Draymond Green to miss celebration if Warriors win

Draymond Green is looking for a way to attend Game 5 tonight despite beingsuspended.

The NBA is seeking something similar.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

The relevant rule:

If a player, coach or assistant coach is suspended from a game or games, he shall not at any time before, during or after such game or games appear in any part of the arena or stands where his team is playing. A player, coach or assistant coach who is ejected may only remain in the dressing room of his team during the remainder of the game, or leave the building. A violation of this rule shall call for an automatic fine of $2000.

Other rules could come into play, though. 

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Klay Thompson on LeBron: “I guess his feelings just got hurt”; LeBron laughed

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Klay Thompson on LeBron: “I guess his feelings just got hurt”; LeBron laughed

OAKLAND — There’s been a lot of smack talked on the court between the Warriors and Cavaliers through the NBA Finals, a fair amount of it between the always chatteringDraymond Green and LeBron James. After Game 4, LeBron said that he felt some of what was said crossed a line.

“I’m all cool with the competition,” LeBron said after the loss. “I’m all fine with that, but some of the words that came out of his mouth was a little bit overboard, and being a guy with pride, a guy with three kids and a family, things of that nature, some things just go overboard and that’s where he took it, and that was it.”

In the wake of Green’s suspension for Game 5 (not for words but a low blow to LeBron), Klay Thompson commented on the smack talk and LeBron, voicing the feeling among the Warriors that the Cavaliers lobbied for the Green suspension.

“I don’t know how the man feels,” Thompson said of LeBron. “But obviously people have feelings and people’s feelings get hurt even if they’re called a bad word. I guess his feelings just got hurt. I mean, we’ve all been called plenty of bad words on the basketball court before. Some guys just react to it differently.”

When told of this, LeBron just laughed.

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Draymond paying full retail for misdemeanors of the past

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Draymond paying full retail for misdemeanors of the past

Draymond Green is paying full retail for the misdemeanors of the past, and I will let you argue this point any way you wish.

All I know is this: If he hasn’t figured out the distance between “Draymond being Draymond” and “Draymond Being An Accumulated Hindrance” now, he may never do so.

The NBA reviewed his latest brush with the third rail, a disrespect-meets-groin-meets-argument in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and will miss Game 5 because of his accumulated behavioral demerits.

And yes, the incident itself is of little consequence. But this is about Green’s willingness to allow his anger to free-range, and the NBA’s unwillingness to wait for him to self-correct.

[RELATED: Warriors' Draymond Green suspended for Game 5 of NBA Finals]

Green is not a thug. He is not a cheater. He is not bad for the game. Anyone who engages in that is abandoning rationality and evidence in pursuit of either Cleveland fandom or just a need to be rhetorically frothy in search of a hot take.

But the NBA gets to decide how close he gets to run to the line because, well, the NBA is his employer, and it is not as though he hadn’t been told and told and told again that he needs an inner governor.

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Warriors: 'LeBron probably made the call' on Green suspension

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Warriors: 'LeBron probably made the call' on Green suspension

Draymond Green’s suspension for Game 5 of the NBA Finals Monday night is, the Warriors believe, a direct result of LeBron James having tremendous clout within the league.

A number of players expressed that sentiment in off-the-record comments said exclusively to CSN Bay Area after practice Sunday at the team’s downtown facility.

“LeBron probably made the call,” one Warrior said of the decision announced by the NBA office on Sunday.

Another asked, and then answered, his question: “What do you think would have happened if the players involved were reversed? I think we all know.”

[RELATED: Ayesha calls Lebron on 'high road,' stepping over Draymond]

A third Warrior implied that there have been several other instances of aggression that did not receive such scrutiny, with one specifically citing a swipe by Cleveland guard Matthew Dellavedova that landed on the crotch of Warriors forward Andre Iguodala in Game 1.

There was even speculation that the league would lean toward extending the series for the obvious financial benefits.

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Warriors off to most dominant start in NBA Finals history

Warriors off to most dominant start in NBA Finals history

LeBron James looked at his copy of the box score and succinctly evaluated the Cavaliers’ problems.

“We didn’t win anything,” LeBron said.

The Warriors are the 32nd team to go up 2-0 in the NBA Finals.

Nobody had done it in such a commanding fashion.

Golden State beat Cleveland 104-89 in Game 1 and 110-77 in Game 2 – a combined difference of 48 points. That’s the best start in Finals history.

Here’s each team to go up 2-0 sorted by scoring difference through two games, NBA champions in blue and runners up in wine:

Team Scoring difference through two games Won Finals?
2016: GSW vs. CLE 48 (104-89, 110-77) TBD
1951: ROC vs. NYK 42 (92-65, 99-84) Yes
1961: BOS vs. STL 42 (129-95, 116-108) Yes
1965: BOS vs. LAL 38 (142-110, 129-123) Yes
1967: PHI vs. SFW 37 (141-135, 126-95) Yes
2005: SAS vs. DET 36 (84-69, 97-76) Yes
1964: BOS vs. SFW 35 (108-96, 124-101) Yes
1986: BOS vs. HOU 34 (112-100, 117-95) Yes
1987: LAL vs. BOS 32 (126-113, 141-122) Yes
2009: LAL vs. ORL 30 (100-75, 101-96) Yes
1971: MIL vs. BAL 29 (98-88, 102-83) Yes
2002: LAL vs. NJN 28 (99-94, 106-83) Yes
1976: BOS vs. PHO 26 (98-87, 105-90) Yes
1999: SAS vs. NYK 25 (89-77, 80-67) Yes
2006: DAL vs. MIA 24 (90-80, 99-85) No
1947: PHW vs. CHS 24 (84-71, 85-74) Yes
1977: PHI vs. POR 24 (107-101, 107-89) No
2000: LAL vs. IND 24 (104-87, 111-104) Yes
1959: BOS vs. MNL 23 (118-115, 128-108) Yes
1996: CHI vs. SEA 21 (107-90, 92-88) Yes
2007: SAS vs. CLE 20 (85-76, 103-92) Yes
1949: MNL vs. WSC 18 (88-84, 76-62) Yes
2008: BOS vs. LAL 16 (98-88, 108-102) Yes
1983: PHI vs. LAL 16 (113-107, 103-93) Yes
1989: DET vs. LAL 15 (109-97, 108-105) Yes
1997: CHI vs. UTA 14 (84-82, 97-85) Yes
1995: HOU vs. ORL 13 (120-118, 117-106) Yes
1993: CHI vs. PHO 11 (100-92, 111-108) Yes
1963: BOS vs. LAL 10 (117-114, 113-106) Yes
1969: LAL vs. BOS 8 (120-118, 118-112) No
1955: SYR vs. FTW 7 (86-82, 87-84) Yes
1975: GSW vs. WSB 7 (101-95, 92-91) Yes

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