Kawhi Leonard

Pascal Siakam jokes about using box-and-1 defense in NBA All-Star Game

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Pascal Siakam jokes about using box-and-1 defense in NBA All-Star Game

Pascal Siakam was ready to pull from the playbook his Toronto Raptors used to try to slow down Warriors guard Steph Curry ... in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game? 

Kawhi Leonard, Siakam's former Raptors teammate, channeled Curry at the United Center on Sunday. The 2019 NBA Finals MVP made eight 3-pointers Sunday, and a mic'd-up Siakam joked that the Nick Nurse-coached Team Giannis would turn to a strategy Nurse's Raptors briefly used against Curry last June: The box-and-1 defense. 

"No more 3s, bro!" Siakam joked. 

"Y'all gonna deny me?" Leonard laughed. 

"Box-and-1!" 

The Raptors used the strategy against Curry in Game 2 of the NBA Finals after Klay Thompson left with an injury. Kevin Durant hadn't returned at that point, either, leaving Curry as the Warriors' best -- and, arguably, only -- offensive option. 

Curry was held off the scoresheet in that fourth quarter, and the two-time MVP didn't attempt a single shot. He called the defense "janky" after the Warriors' win to even the series, but the Raptors again used the box-and-1 in a Game 4 win and kept Curry occupied with multiple defenders all series. The Warriors' depleted roster didn't help matters, but the Raptors' containment of Curry -- along with Leonard's MVP performance -- allowed Toronto to win its first NBA title. 

[RELATED: Dubs' Toscano-Anderson visits pivotal stop on NBA journey]

Siakam's joke didn't come to fruition Sunday, and it might not have worked anyway. Leonard led Team LeBron to a 157-155 All-Star Game win under the new format, scoring a game-high 30 points and winning the first-ever Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP. 

The fourth quarter got pretty competitive Sunday, with the All-Stars playing to a set score -- "first to 157," just as you did growing up -- rather than counting down the clock. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry even took multiple charges! We'll have to wait until (at least) next year to see if that competitiveness extends to truly employing a Steph-stopping defense. 

Warriors coach Steve Kerr offers solution for load management issues

Warriors coach Steve Kerr offers solution for load management issues

HOUSTON -- With the recent trend of star players resting causing controversy around the NBA, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has a solution that could have unintended consequences. 

"I always feel like the season could be 75 games instead of 82," Kerr said following Thursday's practice at the University of Houston. "It may not sound like much but seven fewer games during the season allow for more rest and more practice time." 

Kerr's comments come as the NBA and the Los Angeles Clippers are facing criticism for L.A. resting star forward Kawhi Leonard for a nationally-televised matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. The decision was in line with the Clippers' policy to rest Leonard during back-to-back sets. However, the arrangement goes against the NBA's policy for teams to rest star players for national games.

Nonetheless, the league backed the Clippers, saying "he is not a healthy player under the league's rest policy, and, as such, is listed as managing a knee injury in the LA Clippers injury report."

Following Wednesday's practice, Kerr -- who has rested players in the past to preserve health during championship runs -- sympathized with coaches tasked to maintain roster health.

"Over the previous few years-- and you do it when you know your player needs it -- whether it'd be a nagging injury or fatigue, long playoff runs, all kinds of stuff," Kerr said. "Every team and every roster is unique to itself. You have to make the best decisions you can as a coach within the rules that the league provides, being in compliance with the league."

Wednesday's controversy is just the latest in the league's quest to find a balance between keeping players healthy while adhering to the demands of fans, who help the league justify its $24 billion television deal, something Kerr said could play a part in the decision to cut games. 

[RELATED: How Warriors' Paschall learned a rookie lesson from Harden]

"It also means less revenue," he said. "Everybody would have to agree to that. It affects everybody's salaries, bottom line, all that stuff. So it's not as simple as just saying 'let's do this' but it does make sense. " 

"It's a difficult issue. Fans want to see guys every night and as a coach you want to make sure they're healthy when it really counts so it's a tough balance." 

Kawhi Leonard says Warriors are different, but too early to judge

Kawhi Leonard says Warriors are different, but too early to judge

The season opener didn't go as planned for the Warriors, as they fell 141-122 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night at Chase Center. It was a familiar sight for reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

After leaving the Toronto Raptors for the Clippers, he was asked after the game for his view on the team he beat in the NBA Finals last season. He said there was only one common theme from the previous Dubs.

"Steph Curry in charge of the team, how great he is, and that's really just what I've seen that is familiar or similar," Leonard told reporters after the game. "Obviously Draymond [Green], he ended up getting hurt so he was out a little bit, but you know, just Steph Curry is similar, but the team's different this year, you know what I mean -- losing [Andre] Iguodala ... they got a lot of young players coming off that bench."

The Warriors made plenty of moves in the offseason to prove Leonard's statements true. Andre Iguodala is gone, Kevin Durant is gone and Shaun Livingston retired. Although they re-signed Klay Thompson, he remains sidelined as he recovers from a torn ACL.  

[RELATED: Draymond roasted by Cris Carter after loss]

The team cleaned up well in the draft though, which brings even more new faces for the team such as Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall. Leonard acknowledged that fact, but still holds respect for the team.

"It's a different Warriors team right now," Leonard added. "I think they're still going to be a good team -- it's only the first game, you know what I mean? Can't judge them yet."

Respect.