Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving explains mental process before hitting game-winning 3-pointer in Game 7 vs Warriors

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Kyrie Irving explains mental process before hitting game-winning 3-pointer in Game 7 vs Warriors

Remember when Kyrie Irving hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 53 seconds left in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals?

Perhaps you blocked that memory from your brain.

On Friday, Kyrie was a guest on The Bill Simmons Podcast, and the following exchange took place:

Simmons: "Game 7, Finals, coming out of the timeout. The shot's going to you. You know it's going to you. What are you thinking?"

[LISTEN: Subscribe to the Warriors Outsiders Podcast with Drew Shiller and Grant Liffmann]

Kyrie: "Make the shot (laughs) first and foremost."

Simmons: "What's the mental process? Because that's a pretty big spot...

Kyrie: "It was just calm. It was calm, man. It was calm. Either way -- make or miss -- I was gonna be cool with the result.

"It was just actaully just stepping up and taking it. I had taken the shot since I've been 16 years old. Kinda right, hesi (hesitation), stepback, going to my right hand, and it creates enough distance between me and the defender to get the shot off."

The defender ended up being Steph Curry -- who got switched onto Kyrie because JR Smith set a ball screen on Klay Thompson.

"It's a little fade to the right. But my angle to the rim was just perfect," Kyrie explained. "Just knock it in."

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

Gameday: Will Steph or Kyrie cook more in Oakland?

Gameday: Will Steph or Kyrie cook more in Oakland?

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Saturday will try to do something they haven’t done in three years: beat the Boston Celtics in Oakland.

Pregame coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area, which will have postgame coverage immediately after the game. Tipoff at Oracle Arena is scheduled for 5:35.

The game provides a preview of a potential NBA Finals matchup. The Warriors (39-10), who last beat Boston at Oracle on Jan. 25, 2015, enter with a four-game lead over Houston in the Western Conference, while Boston (35-14) is up two games on Toronto in the East. Cleveland is six games back.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 10.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving: Both point guards are All-Star perennials and in the MVP race. Each sets the temperature and tone for his team. Though neither played well when the teams met in November, Irving gained a slight edge because he had more assists and fewer turnovers. If Curry drains a couple 3-pointers early, the Celtics had better look out. The Warriors know to be wary of Irving if the game is close late and he has the ball. If offset each other, the Warriors should benefit.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L foot soreness) is listed as probable. G Pat McCaw (mid-back strain) is listed as out. F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Celtics: F/C Al Horford (head) is listed as probable. F Gordon Hayward (L ankle rehab) and G Marcus Smart (R hand laceration) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2.

Boston: 6-4.

GAME OFFICIALS

Derrick Stafford (crew chief), Nick Buchert, Dedric Taylor

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors lost the first meeting this season, 92-88, on Nov. 16 in Boston and have lost three of the last five meetings between the teams. The Warriors have lost the last two games at Oracle but are 4-3 against Boston in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

SECOND UNITS: Boston’s depth was hurt by Hayward’s injury and it’s starting to show, particularly on offense. The bench’s 101.3 offensive rating is 27th in the NBA. The true shooting percentage of 50.6 is last. When Irving is off the floor, Boston’s offensive rating is 97.2. It’s 86.4 for the month of January. The Celtics will have to defend like demons to offset that, and the offensive rating of the Warriors’ bench, 111.4, is tops in the league.

THE WARRIORS 1-4 PUNCH: This is the kind of game where the Warriors will try to seek out mismatches, which means they’re likely to utilize some high pick-and-roll action between Kevin Durant (the 4) and Curry (the 1). Though Warriors coach Steve Kerr doesn’t want to use it frequently, it’s a lethal tactic that puts even the smartest defenders in a quandary.

SMART’S ABSENCE: This is significant. Smart is Boston’s version of Andre Iguodala, except younger and with more brawn. At 6-4, 225 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan, he’s terrific on the ball and in the passing lanes. He at various times would have defended both Klay Thompson and Curry. Terry Rozier and Shane Larkin likely will inherit those minutes, but neither can approach Smart’s physicality or wingspan.

Report: Kyrie threatened to sit out the season if Cavs didn't trade him

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Report: Kyrie threatened to sit out the season if Cavs didn't trade him

It's the story that simply won't go away.

Back in early July, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from Cleveland.

If the Cavs didn't honor his ask, Kyrie threatened to have surgery on his knee and sit out the 2017-18 season, according to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com.

Remember when Kyrie broke his knee cap late in Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals?

Well, according to cleveland.com:

Irving needs minor knee surgery as a follow to the procedure he underwent during the 2015 Finals to repair his broken knee cap. It's not pressing -- Irving is averaging 24.5 points and shooting a career-high .477 from the field -- but the procedure would ease some of the swelling and day-to-day pain he feels.

Kyrie is averaging 24.5 points and 5.0 assists per game this season.

He's shooting just under 48 percent from the field and over 39 percent from deep.

The five-time All-Star leads the Celtics into Oracle Arena on Saturday night...

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