Rodney Hood

Rudy Gay, Rodney Hood, other NBA players revel in Warriors' dynasty ending

Rudy Gay, Rodney Hood, other NBA players revel in Warriors' dynasty ending

The Warriors' dynastic five-year run appears to have reached its culmination, and NBA players across the league couldn’t be happier.

Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher published a column Friday that included quotes from a multitude of competitors, all of which exemplify the jealousy and desire to avenge the five years of dominance forced upon the league by Golden State.

"Adding KD made it the cheat code," one unnamed Pacific Division player told Bucher. "We respect the Warriors and their previous accomplishments, but when they added KD, no one looked at them the same. Even KD knew it was unfair.

"I never saw him celebrate the same way. It added to those other guys' legacy more than his."

Other players, including San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay, don’t feel any sympathy for Draymond Green, who stands as the lone roster holdover from the Warriors’ championship run until Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return from injury.

"You think anybody in the league has any empathy for Draymond Green?" Gay says. "No, hell no. He's a good dude and everything, but everybody has their time and everybody has their day, and it's time for another team to step up. They took full advantage of their time at the top. And not just them—the fans, too. This is the real NBA, man. You don't have some of the best players in the league. You still have some great players, but those wins aren't going to come as easy no more."

Portland Trail Blazers forward Rodney Hood echoed Gay's sentiments.

"He definitely is not going to be out there by himself," Hood told Bucher. "I don't think he could take that. Not for a whole year."

Hood’s comments are interesting, considering his Blazers at full strength were just defeated soundly by the star-less Warriors in Golden State’s first regular-season win at Chase Center on Nov. 4.

"Obviously, they were good before KD, but once they got him, they took it to another level," Hood continued. "But I know for a fact—particularly Draymond, who I have the utmost respect for—when they were on top, they let everybody know they were on top, and you felt their presence. But everything comes to an end at some point. Guys were looking forward to getting at them without that 7-foot monster [Durant], so now everybody feels it's an even playing field. Everybody is excited about that."

Well, Hood’s definition of “getting at them” is a 1-for-8 night shooting in 36 minutes in the Blazers' loss to the Dubs on Monday. Not a great start for that "revenge tour."

Hood, in particular, had a rough go of it against the Warriors over the past few years, as he was swept out of the postseason in three straight seasons, on three different teams, by Golden State. Hood was with the Utah Jazz in 2016-17, Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18 and Trail Blazers in 2018-19, losing in the Western Conference semifinals, the NBA Finals and the Western Conference finals, respectively.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: Paschall's sudden rise, Chase Center atmosphere]

Players now can bask in the balance restored to the league by the Warriors' fall from grace, but it’s likely that few will experience the joy playing basketball that those Steve Kerr-coached teams had from 2015-2019.

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Kings' 10 best options to fill small forward opening in free agency

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AP

Kings' 10 best options to fill small forward opening in free agency

With Harrison Barnes opting out of the final year of his contract, the Kings have a massive hole at the wing. The team is confident he’ll return, but even if he does, they need more depth at the position.

The Kings have over $60 million in cap space to fill the void. They likely need both a starter and a reserve for the position. 

Here are 10 interesting options for general manager Vlade Divac and his staff as the June 30 free agency period approaches.

CLICK HERE FOR 10 SMALL FORWARD OPTIONS FOR THE KINGS

Warriors' blowout win in Game 1 wasn't all bad for Trail Blazers

Warriors' blowout win in Game 1 wasn't all bad for Trail Blazers

OAKLAND -- Billed as a battle of David vs. Goliath, Game 1 of the Western Conference finals went exactly how you would have expected. The veteran, experienced team got out ahead and held off their young challenger throughout the evening.

The Portland Trail Blazers pulled to within six to start the fourth quarter, but then it was all Warriors. Golden State pulled away for an easy 116-94 victory to take a 1-0 series lead.

It wasn’t all bad, but the Blazers have some glaring issues they need to work out before Game 2 on Thursday evening.

Here are two positives and two negatives that the Trail Blazers can take away from their loss in Game 1:

POSITIVES

Hood Plays

Rodney Hood came into Game 1 questionable with a hyperextended left knee. Not only did he play, but he made a very nice contribution.

The veteran wing finished the game with 17 points on 4-for-8 shooting off Portland’s bench. He knocked down two 3-pointers and shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are the straw that stirs the Blazers' drink, but in order to beat the Warriors, coach Terry Stotts needs major contributions from players like Hood, Moe Harkless, Seth Curry and Al-Farouq Aminu.

Hood needs to repeat this performance a few more times if Portland is going to have a shot.

Freebies

Portland was outshot from the field, outshot from behind the arc and lost the turnover battle 21-14. Somehow they still managed to stay in the game until a late fourth-quarter barrage by the two-time defending NBA champions.

One of the primary reasons was due to Portland’s ability to get to the foul line and make their freebies. They were the aggressors in the paint and the refs called the game accordingly.

Portland knocked down 27-of-31 from the line, outscoring the Warriors by 12 points at the charity stripe.

NEGATIVES

Kanter on the Perimeter

The acquisition of Enes Kanter worked out tremendously for the Trail Blazers in the second half of the season and into the postseason. But his limitations as a defender on the perimeter make him nearly unplayable against certain players.

Steph Curry called for and got the screen on multiple occasions and Kanter didn’t even try to show high against the greatest shooter the game has ever seen.

If Kanter can’t play outside, the team might be better served sitting the big man for long stretches and going with long, versatile defenders.

In addition to his defensive woes, the Blazers starting center posted just six points on 3-of-8 shooting in 32 minutes of play. He hit the boards hard, leading Portland with 16 rebounds, but he has to be more versatile.  

[RELATED: Stotts gets defensive about Blazers' Game 1 defense on Curry]

Draw and kick?

If Portland is going to compete, the Rod Strickland jump passes from Lillard have to stop. The All-Star guard turned the ball over a game-high seven times on the evening and a high percentage of those gaffes were completely forced.

Lillard tried to beat his man off the dribble, collapse the lane and kick to open shooters. It didn’t work against the length of the Warriors' defenders. He often got too deep and the Warriors collapsed on him in the key.

To compound matters, the Blazers leading scorer hit just 4-of-12 from the field to finish with 19 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Lillard is a huge reason Portland is still alive in the postseason. Whether it was Game 1 jitters, fatigue or playing at home, he wasn’t at his best. If the Trail Blazers are going to pull off the upset, Lillard has to star.