Warriors

Cavs' role players go silent, outdone by Warriors' depth in Game 1

Cavs' role players go silent, outdone by Warriors' depth in Game 1

OAKLAND -- The Cavs trio of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love went from being a Big 3, to an only three Thursday evening at Oracle Arena. 
 
As Zaza Pachulia spun circus shots off the glass for buckets, Tristan Thompson went 0-for-3 from the field, finishing with with zero points and four rebounds. Klay Thompson had one of the worst shooting performances of his career and still managed to outscore J.R. Smith 6-3. 
 
With the Warriors getting contributions from almost every player that stepped on the floor, the Cavs secondary pieces stayed quiet in Game 1 of the Finals. 
 
When asked about the lack of support from the complimentary players, James sent a positive message to his teammates.
 
“Play with energy, play with effort, play with their mind and their bodies and understand what we’re trying to accomplish,” James told a packed room of media members following the game.
 
James stuffed the stat sheet for the reigning champs, dropping in 28 points, 15 rebounds and dishing eight assists. He also added a game-high eight turnovers for Cleveland, which doubled the Warriors entire team total for the game. 
 
Despite the turnovers, James’ numbers sound incredible. That is until you compare them to Kevin Durant’s 38-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist night, zero-turnover evening. 
 
When asked what stood out to him in the loss, James pointed directly towards Durant, who wasn’t a member of the Warriors last season when Cleveland erased a 3-1 deficit and took home the title.
 
“You take one of the best teams that we had ever assembled last year that we saw in the regular season and the postseason and then in the offseason you add a high-powered offensive talent like that, with a great basketball IQ like that, that’s what stands out,” James said. “There’s no if, ands or buts. It is what is what it is. We’ve got to figure out how to combat that which will be a tough challenge for us.”
 
While the Cavs rushed to guard the 3-point line in transition, Durant looked like he was all alone attacking the rim. The former MVP put on a highlight reel of dunks in the first half, most of which came without a single Cleveland player in the frame.
 
“We’ve got to make it much tougher on,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Can’t give a great scorer like Durant easy baskets like that, especially in transition, especially early. So we got to do a better job of taking that away.”
 
It was a gut punch for the Cavs. They were outclassed in almost every aspect of the game. Golden State outshot them 42.5 percent to 34.9 percent. They turned the ball over just four times as a team, compared to 20 for the Cavs. The Warriors dished out 31 assists to just 15 for Cleveland and Golden State held a 27-9 advantage in fast break points.
 
“There’s no time to be disappointed,” Irving said. “I think that just thinking about the next game, things that we can correct going forward. They capitalized on a lot of our mistakes, a lot of transition, easy baskets that we can’t allow going into Game 2.”
 
Irving was one of the few Cleveland players to have a solid game. He attacked the rim, scoring 24 points on 10-for-22 shooting, but like James, he was outdone by his counterpart. 
 
Stephen Curry knocked down 6-for-11 from behind the arc on his way to 28 points and 10 assists. He was electric in the third, scoring 14 points in the quarter as the Warriors ran away from the Cavs.
 
For every big performance, the Warriors had a counter and then some. 
 
Love struggled from the field, but still managed to post 15 points and 21 rebounds. No other player scored in double figures for Cleveland. 
 
Only Durant and Curry notched double figures for Golden State, but Pachulia, Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee all had moments where they effected the game in a positive way. All 13 players that entered the game finished with a positive plus/minus and each of them scored with the exception of Patrick McCaw, who played just three minutes.
 
“No other team has done this, right?” Lue asked. “So 13-0, and they’re constantly breaking records every year - last year being 73-9, this year starting the playoffs 13-0. So they’re playing good basketball. But we can play better.”
 
The Warriors have star power, just like the Cavs. They also have a group of hungry role players trying to forget about last season’s collapse. If Cleveland has any chance of making this a series, they’ll need someone other than their Big 3 to show up come Sunday. Even then, they are facing a team that cut through every other opponent like a buzzsaw. 

Andrew Bogut's agent had no idea center was talking to Warriors about return

Andrew Bogut's agent had no idea center was talking to Warriors about return

When rumors around Andrew Bogut's potential return to the Warriors began to circulate, many people were caught entirely off guard.

But it wasn't just fans and analysts who were surprised the 2005 No. 1 overall pick would be returning to help his former team capture another title. 

Bogut's agent apparently had no idea the veteran center and the Warriors had been discussing a return to the Bay Area.

“Funny enough, my agent didn’t even know,” Bogut told The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. “I told my agent, ‘Hey I’m talking to the Warriors,’ and he was like, ‘What the f***? Do they know I’m your agent? Why don’t they call me?’”

The 34-year-old last played for the Warriors during the 2015-16 season and has been out of the NBA since January of 2018.

[RELATED: Steph explains why final regular season games are very important to Warriors]

In the four games since his return to the two-time defending champions, Bogut is averaging 5.3 points and 6.2 rebounds while looking slimmer and more athletic, something he attributes to drinking more beer and having a less rigorous schedule while being back home in Australia. 

The unexpected reunion has been a success so far. Perhaps when Bogut officially hangs up his sneakers he can start a second career as an agent.

It's worked out so far.

Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury vs. Nets

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USATSI

Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury vs. Nets

Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a horrible, horrible injury during Monday night's game against the Nets.

If you watched it live or have watched a replay, you know how brutal it was. If you haven't watched the video, DON'T.

Just think Gordon Hayward, Kevin Ware, Paul George and Shaun Livingston.

It was that bad.

Shortly after midnight, the Blazers announced that Nurkic suffered a compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula, and that there is no timetable for his return.

Nurkic was having a monster game at the time of the injury, dropping in 32 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, and the Blazers beat the Nets in double overtime, but neither matters at this point.

Losing Nurkic is another huge blow for the Blazers, who currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. They are already playing without shooting guard CJ McCollum, who strained his popliteus muscle in his left knee.

Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins was among the current and former players to send their thoughts and prayers to Nurkic.