Warriors

Gameday: Intensity, fury rages as Warriors visit Cavaliers in rivalry's next chapter

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Gameday: Intensity, fury rages as Warriors visit Cavaliers in rivalry's next chapter

The Warriors will have their full squad available Monday when they wrap up their season series with the longtime rival Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

The teams have met in the last three NBA Finals, with the Warriors winning twice.

The Warriors (35-9) are coming off an impressive back-to-back road sweep, winning at Milwaukee on Friday and at Toronto on Saturday. Their regular starting lineup -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia and Draymond Green -- will be together for only the fourth time in the last six weeks.

The Cavaliers (26-16) have stumbled lately, losing seven of their last nine. Isaiah Thomas, acquired in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston in August, made his debut on Jan. 3 and will be playing his fourth game as a member of the Cavaliers.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 5.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: The top two forwards, and conceivably the two best players, in the game today. The Warriors are 5-2 against Cleveland since Durant was acquired to offset James. James is No. 3 in scoring (27.1 per game), Durant No. 5 (26.3). Both are efficient scoring machines. James is rebounding better (8.0-7.0), Durant blocking more shots (2.14-1.07). When these two clash, it’s hard to take your eyes off them. Durant asks to defend James and won the battle when the teams met on Christmas Day in Oakland.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Omri Casspi (low back soreness), F Andre Iguodala (hip flexor strain) and G Shaun Livingston (L shin contusion) have been upgraded to available.

Cavaliers: G Derrick Rose (L ankle sprain) and G Iman Shumpert (L knee surgery rehab) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Cavaliers: 3-7.

GAME OFFICIALS

Scott Foster (crew chief), Marat Kogut, Eric Lewis

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 99-92, on Christmas Day in Oakland. The teams split two meetings last season. The Warriors have won five of the last seven regular-season meetings and 11 of the last 14. They have won 11 of 18 NBA Finals games played in the last three years.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE POINT MEN: Neither Curry nor Thomas played on Christmas Day, so it’ll be intriguing to see them renew a battle that dates back to Thomas’ days in Sacramento. Curry generated dominated the matchup, though Thomas has since made the leap from good to great offensive player. One thing remains, though: Thomas remains among the league’s worst defenders.

INTENSITY LEVELS: Because of the history, the air crackles with fury when these teams meet. That won’t change anytime soon. But the Cavaliers, having beaten the Warriors only once in the last seven meetings, should be particularly fierce. This game means more to Cleveland than it does to the Warriors. Will the Warriors be able to match the intensity they’ll face inside the Q?

THE ARC: The 3-ball almost certainly will be crucial in this game. The Cavs are third in 3-pointers made (513), while the Warriors are fifth at 505. But the Warriors are more accurate, shooting at 38.9 percent to Cleveland’s 37.2. The Warriors are slightly better at defending the arc and, on the other end, can use ball movement to stress the Cavs’ relatively slow defenders.

Swaggy Champ tries to downplay 'Everybody needs to do cocaine' remark

Swaggy Champ tries to downplay 'Everybody needs to do cocaine' remark

Basking in the glow of winning his first NBA championship last week, Nick Young got himself into a bit of hot water on Tuesday night.

While coming out of a nightclub in Los Angeles, Young was approached by TMZ Sports for comments on Canada legalizing marijuana.

"I want people to pass cocaine. Everybody needs to do cocaine," Young said as he got into the passenger side of a car outside the club.

As you can imagine, that comment caused quite a stir.

More than five hours after TMZ Sports posted the video, Young went on Twitter and Instagram to try and put the fire out.

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Adam Silver talks competitive balance: 'Gotta give Golden State their due; on the other hand...'

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Adam Silver talks competitive balance: 'Gotta give Golden State their due; on the other hand...'

How dare the Warriors.

They have completely ruined the NBA by...

... executing a plan and winning three of the last four championships.

It's just rude.

On Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined the Golic and Wingo show on ESPN and the topic of competitive balance was discussed.

"I get it in terms of Kevin Durant going there. It was a bit of an aberration in our system; we had a spike in our cap, it enabled them to have additional cap room," Silver explained. "The Warriors will tell you they would have figured out a way to get it done anyway. I don't know.

"But even if Kevin Durant hadn't gone to Golden State -- and let's just say he had stayed at Oklahoma City, or let's say he had gone to another team, maybe in the East -- you clearly would have had a third team (in addition to the Cavs) that would have been much better; any team that has Kevin Durant will be -- but then you still have 27 other teams.

"So, you gotta give Golden State their due. I've said repeatedly, let's also celebrate excellence. Ownership, the job Bob Myers has done as a GM, Steve Kerr, of course, one of the great coaches in our league. Steph Curry, drafted; Klay Thompson, drafted; Draymond Green drafted 35th by Golden State.

"I don't think as a league we want to go about breaking up teams just to break them up -- just to force some sort of parity that is kind of unnatural."

In July 2016, Silver said that Durant joining the Warriors  was "not ideal from a league standpoint."

After all, he represents all 30 teams. And as a collective, the league wanted to "smooth the cap" over several years to prevent one giant spike -- which did provide the Warriors the ability to sign Durant.

"I can understand doing some things different in the system that may not have allowed a player like Kevin Durant to go to a team that was already so good.

"There's always a next collective bargaining agreement and over the years we've talked about a harder cap than we have now. The NFL has a much harder cap than we do; ours is somewhat soft. Obviously, it allows teams to go significantly above the cap and the tax level and that's the case with both Golden State and Cleveland. They are significantly above where our tax level is right now.

"So we'll continue to look at it. But in the meantime, hats off to Golden State and Cleveland for that matter. They are competing within the system. I'm still at the stage of celebrating the basketball we have right now.

"But I hear people. Listen, the 28 other teams, you know, they're the biggest complainers in terms of the fact that these two teams have met four times in a row."

Here's an idea -- stop complaining and keep trying to get better.

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