Steph Curry exploits space Blazers defense gives up in big Game 1 win

Steph Curry exploits space Blazers defense gives up in big Game 1 win

OAKLAND – Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum know a thing or three about using his scoring skills to exploit a defense, and he offered advice to his team after it was abused by Warriors star Stephen Curry in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night.

After Curry lit up the Blazers for 36 points on 12-of-23 shooting, including 9-of-15 from deep, McCollum was asked about Portland’s defense against the opposing point guard.

“Not good,” he said.

Asked what they have to do to better defend the pick-and-roll, which is how Curry piled up most of his points, McCollum was, um, more expansive.

“Anything but what we did tonight,” he said.

Tying his career postseason high in 3-balls, Curry provided most of the offensive power behind the Warriors’ 116-94 victory at Oracle Arena. He basically continued the incredible shooting – in a 33-point second half – that carried the Warriors to a Game 6 win that ousted the Houston Rockets in the second round of the NBA playoffs last Friday.

“It helped,” Curry said of the rhythm he found in Houston. “I know what I'm capable of on the floor, and the situation calls for me to be a little bit more aggressive, and hopefully that will continue.

“Obviously it's nice to see the ball go in. I didn't shoot the ball well for ... four-and-a-half-games in the last series, and I got on to a good start tonight. Want to maintain that.”

Curry has scored 69 points in the last six quarters, during which he shot 55.3 percent from the field, including 54.2 percent from beyond the arc. He was also 14-of-14 from the line during that span.

This is not an accident. When Kevin Durant limped off the court in the third quarter of Game 5 against the Rockets, Curry realized it was necessary that he produce more offense. After a scoreless first half in Houston, his best friend has been the bottom of the net.

“I think it had a huge impact,” Draymond Green said of Curry’s second-half binge against the Rockets. “You know, as a player, you want to keep that roll and you try to feed off the momentum from the last game and carry it over. YHe came out from the gate aggressive; also understanding that Kevin is out, and ... he's going to be even more important in our offense, and he came out with that mindset.”

Curry often took advantage of the space cleared by screens set by Warriors big men, whether it was Andrew Bogut or Kevon Looney or Green. Portland’s bigs, particularly heavy-footed Enes Kanter, either didn’t or couldn’t close out.

Damian Lillard, Portland’s long-range specialist, seemed almost envious of the space created for Curry.

“That was very poor execution, you know, defensively on our part,” he said. “Just having our bigs back that far; understanding the team we are playing against, they’re not going to shoot mid-range jumpers and try to attack the rim. If they see the opportunity to shoot a 3, they’re going to tell you. They shoot it at a high clip.

“We've got to bring our guys up and run them off the line, and tonight ... they were setting solid screens and coming off shooting practice shots. You know, that's the last thing we need if we want to have any chance to beat this team.”

[RELATED: Stotts gets defensive about Game 1 defense on Steph]

Curry anticipates changes in Game 2 on Thursday. Portland’s 3-point defense was, in general, atrocious, allowing the Warriors to shoot 51.5 percent (17-of-33) from deep.

“Every game is different,” he said. “You have to reestablish yourself, and that's my perspective no matter how I play.”

Warriors owner Joe Lacob regrets 'Light Years' comment, but doubles down

Warriors owner Joe Lacob regrets 'Light Years' comment, but doubles down

Warriors owner Joe Lacob is a very bold individual.

In a March 2016 profile in The New York Times, Lacob made a comment that will be attached to him for a long time:

“We’re light years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things. We’re going to be a handful for the rest of the N.B.A. to deal with for a long time.”

In a recent Time article, Lacob admitted that he regrets using "light years." But that doesn't mean he doesn't mean what he said.

“I mean, look, I’m a confident guy. I do believe in a lot of the things that we practice and do. I believe in the strategy that we have. I believe in our management team, which I think is the best in the business. I believe in the culture of our players which is built around Steph Curry — he’s a unique individual person, never mind basketball player.

And so you know I meant it in a bit of hyperbole. I didn’t mean it to put down other teams. So if you ask me the question do I believe it? Yes. But I say that not to put down other teams. I didn’t mean it to come out that way.”

Lacob does love playing blackjack and it certainly sounds like he's doubling down.

The Warriors won three of the last five titles and lost in the NBA Finals the other two seasons.

Golden State's CEO and the rest of the ownership group bought the Dubs for $450 million back in 2010. In February, Forbes valued the Warriors at $3.5 billion.

Pretty decent investment.

And to close the circle on the "light years" comment, Lacob added:

“By the way, all my friends in the business world, they were like, ‘Great article! Great story!’ And all the sports guys were like, ‘What an egomaniac.’

"So you learn from that.”

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NBA Draft: Best-ever No. 28 picks, where Warriors will select in 2019

NBA Draft: Best-ever No. 28 picks, where Warriors will select in 2019

The 2019 NBA Draft is upon us. 

On Thursday, teams will assemble to hopefully select players that will be integral parts of their franchise for years to come.

Draft night is an especially important time for Bob Myers and the Warriors.

After suffering a devastating NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors that saw both Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Klay Thompson (ACL) go down with severe injuries, the Dubs are in need of players who can provide depth next season, something they were lacking against the Raptors.

Golden State has the No. 28 overall pick Thursday night, which historically hasn't been a goldmine of talent, but there have been a few good players (and one likely Hall of Famer) to be taken at that position.

Here's a look at the three best players produced by that draft slot. 

Tony Parker, PG, Spurs, 2001

The best player ever taken with the No. 28 overall pick is a no-brainer.

During his surefire Hall of Fame career, Parker was a cornerstone of the Spurs' run from the early 2000s through the 2014 NBA Finals. Parker was a six-time All-Star, four-time NBA champion and was named the 2007 NBA Finals MVP.

For his career, the electric guard averaged 15.5 points and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and accumulating a PER of 18.2. He retired after this past season where he played for the Charlotte Hornets, his only non-Spurs season. If the Warriors can find a diamond in the rough like Parker, they won't be down on the mat for long.

Dan Roundfield, PF, Pacers, 1975

Dr. Rounds could straight up hoop. 

The 6-foot-8 power forward was a three-time All-Star and five-time All-Defense selection. He played six years with the Atlanta Hawks, when he was at his peak, averaging 13.5 points per game and 10.7 rebounds while in the ATL.

For his career, Roundfield averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 48.2 percent from the field.

Leandro Barbosa, G, Spurs, 2003

The rich history of great picks at No. 28 ends with Parker, but Barbosa was a solid role player during his NBA career, as Warriors fans know.

During his 15-year NBA career, Barbosa was a key piece of the six-seconds-or-less Suns and a major role player for the 2015 NBA champion Warriors.

For his career, Barbosa averaged 10.6 points on 45.6 percent shooting. He was named Sixth Man of the Year in the 2006-07 campaign. He's exactly the type of player the Warriors hope to find Thursday night.

Honorable mentions: Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs (2007); Greg Ostertag, C, Jazz (1995); Wayne Ellington, SG, Timberwolves (2009; Dan Dickau, PG, Kings (2002).

[RELATED: Best-ever No. 58 picks, where Dubs select in Round 2]

The Warriors are in need of depth and the draft is a good way to find it. But at No. 28 overall, the Warriors will have to do their homework on all their potential options.