Warriors

Dell, Sonya Curry have plan if Steph, Seth meet in Western Conference finals

Dell, Sonya Curry have plan if Steph, Seth meet in Western Conference finals

Dell and Sonya Curry could soon face an impossible choice that no parent wants to be faced with: Which kid do we cheer for?

After Steph Curry scored 33 second-half points to eliminate James Harden and the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the NBA playoff second-round series Friday night, the Warriors now will await the winner of Sunday's do-or-die Game 7 between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers. 

Of course, Dell and Sony will be at the Pepsi Center to cheer on Seth Curry and the Blazers, hoping their youngest son can help set up an all-Curry Western Conference finals.

Should Steph vs. Seth become a reality, how will Dell and Sonya choose which son to pull for? They have a simple plan.

Not a bad idea.

After losing Kevin Durant to a mild calf strain in Game 5 against the Rockets, many thought the Rockets would finally get the best of the Warriors, who appeared to be vulnerable for the first time since Durant's arrival. But Klay Thompson kept the Dubs afloat early in Game 6 before Steph came alive late to send the rival Rockets to summer vacation. 

[RELATED: Steph goes from ice cold to red hot, ends Houston's season]

As for Seth and the Blazers, they staved off elimination Thursday in Game 6 behind Damian Lillard's 32 points and CJ McCollum's 30.

Setting up an all-Curry conference finals won't be an easy task for the boys from Rip City. 

The Nuggets went 34-7 at home during the regular season, good for the best mark in the NBA. During the playoffs, Denver has lost two games at the Pepsi Center. Game 1 of their first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs and Game 2 against the Blazers.

Lillard and McCollum will need to get help from Curry, Rodney Hood and the rest of the Blazers' role players in order to beat the "sassy" Nuggets in the pressure cooker that is the Mile High City.

Should the 'Zers escape Denver with a win and their first Western Conference finals berth since 2000, they'll face the battered two-time defending champions, and Dell and Sonya will face a tough question: Heads or tails?

Mike Brown's joke made Jordan Bell laugh out loud after he missed dunk

Mike Brown's joke made Jordan Bell laugh out loud after he missed dunk

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Monday afternoon at 4:30, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

With about 5 minutes and 45 seconds left in the third quarter of Game 3 between the Warriors and Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard airballed a 3-pointer as he tried to draw a foul on Klay Thompson.

Draymond Green caught the miss and delivered a perfect outlet pass down the floor to a streaking Jordan Bell, who proceeded to miss a wide open dunk.

CJ McCollum got fouled seconds later and made the first free throw. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr called timeout with the Warriors down by nine points.

Did anybody say anything to Bell during the break? Yes, actually. Assistant coach Mike Brown -- who didn't take kindly to the second-year forward's hotel prank back in late March that resulted in a one-game suspension -- pushed the right button.

Ethan Strauss of The Athletic has the details:

He came up to the second-year player and accused him of persevering through far worse, at a different time in his life. The accusation prompted protestations, and then, roaring laughter from Bell. He was back, locked in and ready to help power the Warriors to a decisive second-half surge.  “So Jordan played against my son Elijah,” Brown explained. “My oldest son played at Mater Dei High School in Orange County and Jordan played at Long Beach. So they had a lot of games back in the day.

So I went up to him and he thought I was serious, because we took the time out. He’s about to walk out of the huddle and I walk up to him and say, ‘Jordan, listen, don’t worry about the dunk. I saw about three or four of them back in the Long Beach days and you bounced back.’ He fell out laughing. He said, ‘Ah, MB, I didn’t do that back then!’ I said, ‘Yea you did! It’s all good, though!’”  

“It was only one missed dunk,” Brown conceded.

It wouldn't have been surprising whatsoever if Bell was pulled from the game at that moment. But Kerr and the coaching staff stuck with Bell.

They were rewarded soon thereafter:

[RELATEDReport: Bell wants to re-sign with Warriors in free agency]

Bell ended up registering four points, two rebounds, two assists and a block in 9 minutes and 11 seconds in the third quarter.

The 24-year old played a combined 15 minutes over the Warriors' first 11 playoff games. He's now an integral part of the rotation.

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Warriors' defense on Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum has Blazers on brink

Warriors' defense on Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum has Blazers on brink

PORTLAND, Ore. -- As the Trail Blazers searched for a fourth-quarter spark Saturday night, CJ McCollum stepped to the free-throw line in an important spot.

The Blazers had just forced a turnover with 6:21 remaining in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, giving the career 83.9 percent free-throw shooter a chance to halt the Warriors’ second-half run and energize the Moda Center crowd.

After he was fouled on a 3-point attempt, McCollum made his first foul shot, but he missed the next two.

“I was locked in as could be, focused as I could be,” McCollum said after the Blazers’ 110-99 loss to the Warriors. “ … There’s no excuses. It’s on me.”

McCollum chased that second miss, and helped force a Warriors turnover. He found himself open in the right corner for a 3-pointer, but he missed that one, too. That shot could’ve cut Golden State’s lead to one. He missed all but one of five free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, and four of six shots from the field.

McCollum didn’t say he was fatigued postgame, but those misses arguably represented the culmination of the Warriors’ relentless defensive pressure on him and fellow Blazers star Damian Lillard.  

In all three games of the best-of-seven series, the Warriors have won by throwing wave after wave of defenders at Lillard and McCollum. They have blitzed both players on pick-and-rolls, and employed plenty of off-ball help when one of the two manages to get in isolation.

The result? Lillard and McCollum have shot a combined 35.2 percent from the field, and turned the ball over 22 times, and the Blazers now face elimination from the NBA playoffs.

“You know, you go up against a wall of defense, sometimes it’s three defenders,” Lillard said. “It’s tough because you’re not always going to get a quality look, and then when you do get a quality look and don’t make it, that just kind of makes it worse.”

Both Lillard (27.6 field-goal percentage) and McCollum (35.5 percent) have shot worse in the second half than the first over the course of the series. Lillard, who reportedly is playing through separated ribs, admitted that this series is “definitely tiring” even though he has felt “fine enough” to play 40 minutes a night.

After a grueling seven-game NBA playoff second-round series with the Denver Nuggets, Lillard and McCollum each have averaged more than 38 minutes per game against the Warriors. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are playing heavy minutes on the other side, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Golden State has made it a point to throw “fresh bodies in there” against the Blazers duo defensively.

Twelve Warriors saw the floor Saturday night, and Golden State won the war of attrition.

“We just want to try to wear guys down over the course of 48 minutes,” Green said. “It’s not necessarily that he’s going to start the game gassed, but if you can just wear him down over the course of 48 minutes, that makes those shots as the game goes on a little bit tougher.”

[RELATED: Draymond believes locked-in Steph taking Dubs to 'different level']

The Warriors have contained Lillard and McCollum so far, and they are one win away from their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. Still, Golden State knows it can't afford to relent against the duo. Kerr noted the Warriors fouled the two on a few 3-point attempts, and Green said Lillard is liable to get hot at any time.

In other words, that pressure isn’t going away. The Blazers will have to solve it if they’re going to make this a series, let alone make history and come back to advance to the Finals.

“That’s what elite defenses do,” McCollum said. “They make it difficult on you and try to get the other guys to beat you.”