NBA Finals

Witness claims Raptors exec Masai Ujiri didn't strike sheriff's deputy

ujiriusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Witness claims Raptors exec Masai Ujiri didn't strike sheriff's deputy

A Warriors season-ticket holder claimed to see Thursday night's encounter between Masai Ujiri and a sheriff's deputy at Oracle Arena, and said the Raptors president of basketball operations did not strike the deputy as the sheriff's office claimed.

Greg Wiener, 61, told The Associated Press on Friday that he stood next to the deputy during the waning moments of the Raptors' 114-110 win over the Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Wiener told The AP that the deputy first "put his hand on Ujiri's chest and pushed him," and that "Ujiri shoved him back before bystanders intervened."

“The thing about the cops saying the policeman asked for his credentials, that didn’t happen," Wiener said. "There was no conversation at all. This part about striking him in the face, yeah that didn’t happen.”

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office told NBC Bay Area on Thursday that it was conducting an investigation along with the Oakland Police Department into an incident in which "a man believed to be a Toronto Raptors executive" pushed and struck a sheriff's deputy in the face on the Oracle Arena court. Sgt. Ray Kelly later identified the executive as Ujiri to NBC Sports Washington on Friday morning, telling the outlet that a deputy blocked Ujiri from reaching the court because he didn't display the proper credentials.

NBC Bay Area obtained video showing a man standing in between Ujiri and the deputies with his arms outstretched. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry guided Ujiri through the crowd and on to the court to celebrate with the team.

Kelly said the deputies let Ujiri go once they realized who he was, but they are gathering evidence to submit to the district attorney. Deputies called the incident misdemeanor battery on an officer, according to NBC Bay Area. Ujiri has not yet been charged.

“The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities," a Raptors spokesperson said to NBC Sports Washington on Friday. "We look forward to resolving the situation."

Ujiri, 48, has been the Raptors president since 2013. The Washington Wizards are preparing to offer Ujiri the top job in their front office, and NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported the offer could be worth $10 million annually and include an ownership stake in the team.

Drake told by NBA to not attend Finals Game 6 in Oakland, father says

Drake told by NBA to not attend Finals Game 6 in Oakland, father says

As the time ticked away during Game 6 of the NBA Finals, a familiar face was nowhere to be seen.

Where was Drake?

It turns out it's because the NBA reached out to the rapper/actor and asked him to personally not travel to Oakland for any remainder of games that were to be played at Oracle Arena due to "security concerns," TMZ Sports reported Saturday morning.

"We're told the league expressed concern about potentially angry Warriors fans doing something stupid like taunting Drake or throwing stuff at him ... which wouldn't just put Drake at risk, but also other people sitting near him."

Drake's dad, Dennis Graham, spoke to TMZ and agreed it was better if he stayed away from the game that ultimately crowned the Toronto Raptors as NBA champions.

"When people see you in Toronto and you're making sideline things like that you have to be careful," Graham told TMZ. "With the rowdy fans, you can't take chances."

[RELATED: Drake, Steph share phone call after Game 6]

The back and forth between Drake and the Warriors created some drama and plenty of tension, so this was definitely a smart move on the NBA's part.

He ended up leading a Finals watch party at Jurrasic Park in Toronto and it appeared the Raptors' "global ambassador" had a great time celebrating accordingly. 

Shaun Livingston says Warriors 'were dying out there' in NBA Finals loss

Shaun Livingston says Warriors 'were dying out there' in NBA Finals loss

Looking back at the long list of injuries the Warriors dealt with in the 2019 NBA Finals can never be used as an excuse. That doesn't change the reality of the situation, though.

Warriors veteran guard Shaun Livingston perfectly summed up how big of a bite the injury bug took out of Golden State in their six games against Toronto. 

“We were dying out there, to be honest," Livingston said to The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. "It’s crazy. … Kevin. Klay. ‘Loon.’ Dray [Green]. No excuses. Give credit to Toronto. Toronto is a good team. But we respect ourselves. No question.”

Let's take a quick look at the Warriors' injuries. 

  • Kevin Durant strained his right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. He then missed over a month before returning to the Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. In the second quarter, he ruptured his right Achilles and will miss the 2019-2020 season.
  • Klay Thompson missed Game 3 of The Finals with a left hamstring strain. In Game 6, he suffered a left torn ACL with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter. He still scored a game-high 30 points. 
  • Kevon Looney suffered a right first costal cartilage non-displaced fracture in Game 2 of The Finals. He missed Game 3 but played through the pain in the final three contests. He will need six to eight weeks of recovery in the offseason.
  • DeMarcus Cousins missed 14 games after tearing his left quadriceps in Game 2 of the Warriors' first-round series. He returned for Game 1 of The Finals, though he clearly wasn't close to his full health. 
  • Andre Iguodala dealt with a lingering calf injury he suffered in the Western Conference finals. 
  • Steph Curry dislocated his finger in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. 

Going to five straight Finals has played a toll on the Warriors. They will likely look completely different next season, and two of the game's best players -- Durant and Thompson -- will be out for a long, long time. 

[RELATED: Why Warriors won't walk away from Klay, KD despite injuries]

There's risk with every reward, and the Warriors are now seeing the other side of always chasing a ring.