Warriors

If stomping the Cavs matters, the Warriors will defend fiercely Monday night

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AP

If stomping the Cavs matters, the Warriors will defend fiercely Monday night

The Golden State Warriors have taken their nostalgia tour to Cleveland for a regular season game given way too much import by those of us who don’t have the fortitude to wait for April. That’s what happens when you win – you become repetitive, and in our attention-spans-are-for-Grandpa culture, there are few things worse.

But one of them is allowing way too many points, and the Warriors – ONLY the Warriors – have found a way to give up points without giving up games. This seems unsustainable, and it certainly isn’t if you watch that vein in Steve Kerr’s forehead, but so far . . . well, you know.

The Warriors have allowed 120 points or more four times in the last 16 days, an unusually high number for a good team and a ridiculous one for a team that trumpets its overarching defensive value.

And it’s true. Golden State is a good defensive team with top-level shot contesters, shot-changers and shot-blockers. They could, if their put their minds to it, hold anyone below 90, and do it routinely.

But they aren’t, and while we could offers theories about injuries, tired legs, age or intermittent disinterest, we think this is just a diabolically clever homage to the 1990 Warriors under Don Nelson, an otherwise mediocre team that tied, if not out-and-out set an NBA record for breeze-bys by allowing five opponents 120-plus scores in seven days.

Now that was a bad team, and an epochally terrible defensive team, in part because Don Nelson believed that points for beats every other metric; hell, he didn’t know from metrics back then, because nobody did.

But in allowing 127 to the expansion Orlando Magic, then hitting the road to allow 144 to Indiana, 134 to Milwaukee, 132 to Chicago and 125 to Detroit, the Warriors established a record for screw-it that can not be bettered, given the fact that the rules didn’t permit more than five games in any seven-game period. The Warriors should have a patch commemorating this anniversary with a swinging gate next to the capital "R" on their scapulas.

And since no defense was mandated by this plucky unit (the 1988 team was even worse), that team was doing what it was told to do. This one is sixth in defensive rating and points allowed per 100 possessions, and yet is showing that defense can go through slumps, or at least can be turned on and off at will, to the consternation of every non-AAU coach who ever drew breath.

We’ll see tonight how much it matters, though. If stomping the Cavaliers matters as an ego exercise, the Warriors will defend fiercely – unless/until they get up by 20, in which case never mind. Because they really can turn it on and off, as maddening as that might seem.

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Do you remember what happened with about 35 seconds left in OT during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals?

In case you forgot:

The Warriors led by 11 points and with the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry attempted a driving layup and LeBron James blocked it.

LeBron proceeded to talk some trash to Curry and even used a little forearm to nudge him away when Curry said something in return.

On the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Curry shed some light on the exchange.

Simmons: "He blocked you and he talked sh*t to you. I thought you guys were gonna fight."

Curry: "It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment ... I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?' And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

Simmons: "I want more of it. I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Good. That is awesome.

A couple other takeaways from the podcast:

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

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

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AP

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

With the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Ricky Rubio.

With the sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Jonny Flynn.

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select... Stephen Curry.

And the rest is history.

As you all know, the man in charge of those selections -- David Kahn -- was fired in 2013 and no longer works in the NBA.

"My guy David Kahn. I don't know where he's at right now," Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I don't know if that ever came out -- there's a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf -- play it in my spare time and what not.

"I think the word on the street was that he didn't draft me because in Minnesota it's cold and I wouldn't be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable."

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: "Is that true?"

"I hope it's true because that's hilarious (laughter)," Curry said. "That's hilarious."

To which Simmons responded: "It was idiotic in the moment. I did a draft diary. I was going nuts. Because if you're gonna take two point guards, how are you not one of the two? And then if you're gonna go all-in on Rubio and you don't even know if he's gonna come over..."

Rubio didn't leave Spain for the NBA until the 2011-12 season, and a hip injury unfortunately ended Flynn's career after just two plus seasons.

There's no way we will ever find out if that golf story is true, but just like Steph... we certainly hope it is.

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