Warriors

NBA rumors: LeBron James to have minutes restriction rest of season

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USATSI

NBA rumors: LeBron James to have minutes restriction rest of season

The Lakers are 6.5 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference standings, and they appear to be throwing in the towel on the 2019 season.

LeBron James will enter into a "cool-down" period over the remaining 17 games of the season, Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported Thursday.

What does that mean, exactly?

"Now that the Lakers are almost out of playoff contention," Haynes said on The Spin, "There was a conversation between LeBron James' trainer and the front office, and they came to the conclusion that, moving forward, LeBron James will play with a minutes restriction of 28 to 32 minutes. And possibly, on back-to-backs, depending on how LeBron James feels, that he might sit out one of those back-to-backs."

LeBron has played in the last eight NBA Finals, but this year, barring a miracle, he won't even play in the postseason.

With the games meaning nothing, the Lakers will want to limit the miles on LeBron’s body. The 34-year-old has three years left on his contract with the Lakers.

"I won't necessarily be a shutdown for LeBron, but a cool-down for LeBron," Haynes said.

[RELATED: Bob Myers explains why DeMarcus Cousins has 'taken too much criticism']

The Lakers have one game remaining with both the Warriors and the Kings. The game against the Warriors comes on the front end of a back-to-back with the Clippers on April 4 and April 5, so LeBron could sit out one of those games.

It's a disappointing end to the season for LeBron. He was supposed to return the Lakers to their glory days. Instead, he will most likely watch the postseason from home.

Why Warriors have Pacific Ocean to thank for Klay Thompson's hot Game 4

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AP

Why Warriors have Pacific Ocean to thank for Klay Thompson's hot Game 4

LOS ANGELES -- Klay Thompson was even quieter than usual through three games of this first-round series against the Clippers. He didn’t say much because he rarely does. And while he played commendable defense, his offense barely whispered.

Which means his personal timer was ticking hard and fast toward detonation.

It came on Sunday afternoon. With Stephen Curry struggling to generate offense, Thompson filled the breach and pushed the Warriors within one win of advancing to the second round by delivering a game loud enough to rattle the walls of Staples Center.

The Warriors’ 113-105 victory in Game 4, giving them a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, was manufactured with two parts ferocious late defense -- Draymond Green will be sore on Monday -- two parts Kevin Durant’s terrific all-around game and two parts Thompson coming in from the cold to shoot holes through the Los Angeles defense.

Averaging 13.7 points on 44.4-percent shooting over the first three games, Thompson made his first seven shots and went on to score 27 points in the first half and 32 on 60.0 percent (12-of-20) shooting over 40 minutes.

What changed? We’ll allow Thompson, in his own unique way, attempt an explanation.

“I didn’t think I had bad games,” he began. “But I didn’t have any big games. I told Jonas (Jerebko) yesterday when we went to the beach to play some volleyball, like, ‘Yo, I’m just going to jump in the ocean. I know that will reset my mind.’ And it worked.”

If Thompson wants to give the Pacific Ocean credit for finding his shot, he’s allowed.

“The Pacific Ocean is undefeated,” said Curry, who finished with 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting.

More likely, though, the law of averages led to Thompson’s production. Because he was coming off three low-voltage scoring performances, there was the sense that a breakout game was coming, and soon. That has been the pattern for much of his eight-year career, riding with his teammates for a spell and then suddenly jumping over and grabbing the wheel.

That happened in the first quarter on Sunday, when Thompson scored 17 points in the first 11 minutes. His coaches and teammates knew what was coming because they’ve seen it before.

“When Klay gets going like that, it fuels the whole bench,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You can see everybody jumping around. Everybody gets happy. We all love when Klay gets hot. It fuels our momentum. It didn't surprise me at all. He kind of had a quiet first few games of the series, so it was only a matter of time until he broke out.”

Said Thompson: “I definitely feel it, and I've been in that position, too, on the bench. When you see Steph or KD go off, it's the same thing. But it feels good to get your teammates up. That's what you play for. You do it together, and I can definitely feel it when I've got it going.”

[RELATED: Watch Klay's hilarious interview after Warriors' Game 4 win]

For as great a shooter as Curry is -- probably the best ever -- his best moments are no more incredible than Thompson’s insane hot streaks. That’s why he holds records for most points in a quarter (37), and most 3-pointers in a game (14). It’s why he’s the only player in the shot-clock era, which began in 1954, to score 60 points in fewer than 30 minutes.

The 11 triples Thompson drained in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals also is a record.

Thompson made 10-of-12 shots from the field, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, in the first half before cooling in the second half when Durant, who scored a game-high 33 points, carried the Warriors home.

“They both had big nights shooting the ball and both were very engaged defensively as well,” Kerr said. “Both of them were fantastic.”

Between the Thompson/Durant scoring duo and the defense the Warriors played down the stretch -- holding LA to one field goal during a stretch of six minutes and 20 seconds in the fourth quarter -- the Warriors left town in position to close out the series Wednesday at Oracle Arena.

Somebody had to get it started, though, and that was Thompson and his beachside partner.

“The Pacific Ocean is undefeated,” Curry said. “He got his feet wet yesterday, walked in the hotel with a wet t-shirt, with his shades on. A typical Klay type of vibe. I just had a smile on my face when I saw him because I knew what that meant."

Draymond Green sports wrist wrap after Warriors' Game 4 win, insists he's fine

Draymond Green sports wrist wrap after Warriors' Game 4 win, insists he's fine

Draymond Green was all over the place in Game 4.

The Warriors forward finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks in Golden State's 113-105 win over the LA Clippers on Sunday. He also came away with a brace on his right hand, though he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock that he's fine.

No word on what the injury is, but Green has two days to receive treatment before the Warriors and Clippers meet Wednesday night in Game 5. Golden State would claim the best-of-seven NBA playoff series with a win in Oakland.

"You gotta know that they are going to come out and play hard, " Green told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke after the game. "This is a team, their backs have been against the wall all year, and they put their head down and continued to work. So, we got to come out and withstand that first punch, and if we withstand that, we'll put ourselves in a good position."