Warriors

Warriors-Blazers won't air on Turkish network due to Enes Kanter's criticism

Warriors-Blazers won't air on Turkish network due to Enes Kanter's criticism

Basketball is a global sport.

Beginning Tuesday, millions of people around the world will gather to watch Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers try to dethrone the two-time defending champion Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Basketball fans in Turkey, however, won't be able to watch the Dame vs. Goliath showdown on S Sport, the main broadcaster on NBA games in Turkey.

Blazers center Enes Kanter, who is from Turkey, has been critical of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and describes himself as a close ally of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen has been accused of being part of a failed coup attempt in 2016, something he denies having involvement in.

The Turkish government has charged Kanter with being part of a terrorist group and demanded he is extradited from the United States. Kanter has denied that he has any involvement in a terrorist group and just advocates for a free and democratic Turkey.

As such, S Sport has ignored Kanter's games since last season and will not be airing the Western Conference finals or the NBA Finals should the Blazers advance, according to Reuters.

Basketball fans in Turkey will still be able to watch the Eastern Conference finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. They also can watch both the Western Conference finals and Eastern Conference finals with an NBA TV subscription and online via NBA League Pass.

Kanter responded to the news with an Instagram post Tuesday.

It's a shame that NBA fans in Turkey might not get to watch what promises to be an electrifying showdown between the Warriors and Blazers.

The two teams split their four-game series during the regular season, and with Kevin Durant missing Game 1 and likely Game 2 with a strained right calf, the Blazers have a puncher's chance of knocking off the kings of the NBA. 

[RELATED: Dame gets shot at one last "storybook moment" in Oracle, Oakland]

While KD's injury certainly levels the playing field a bit, the Blazers still face an uphill climb to their first NBA Finals berth since 1992. Steph Curry, who was mired in a horrible shooting slump in the second round of the NBA playoffs, snapped out of his funk last Friday, scoring 33 second-half points to eliminate the Houston Rockets in six games.

Golden State showed its championship heart in eliminating the Rockets without Durant, and now they'll face a confident Blazers team that believes they will be the ones to end the dynastic run in the Bay.

At least basketball fans in Tukey will be able to watch the exciting series on NBA TV and NBA League Pass.

Why Warriors are in power position with Alec Burks at NBA trade deadline

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USATSI

Why Warriors are in power position with Alec Burks at NBA trade deadline

Alec Burks has made it clear that even in this deeply afflicted season he enjoys being a Warrior and is interested in remaining beyond his one-year contract, to see what it’s like to play with the fully restored roster expected to grace the court next October.

And he’d be good to have around. He’s a versatile wing, a proven scorer, a mature presence and would be fabulous as part of a revamped second unit.

To understand why, consider the work he put in Monday night in Portland: 33 points (team-high) on 11-of-23 shooting, including 2-of-6 from deep and 9-of-9 from the line; eight assists, seven rebounds, two blocks and one steal in 39 minutes.

What contender wouldn’t want someone who can produce that on a $2.32-million salary?

Aside from Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who scored an astonishing 61 points to lead his team to a 129-124 overtime victory, Burks was the best player on the floor.

That performance also provides the kind of video that will raise his already solid stock on the trade market. It puts the Warriors, 17 days before the NBA trade deadline, in the flexible -- and enviable -- position of choice.

They can hold onto Burks and see if they can strike a deal to bring him back.

Or they can move him for future assets, which still seems most likely.

Several teams in recent weeks have expressed interest in Burks, according to league sources, and some have gone so far to scout him. That’s not likely to change. There is demand for veteran, low-maintenance wings unbothered by circumstances and capable of creating offense for both themselves and teammates.

The Warriors, for obvious reasons, continue to be very much involved in trade buzz around the league. The general belief is they’ll make at least one move and maybe two before the noon deadline on Feb. 6. 

Burks, with his ability to get buckets, remains their most valuable chip. Glenn Robinson III is a veteran wing, but he lacks the offensive dimension of Burks. Willie Cauley-Stein is a decent veteran center at a time when only exceptional centers are above being interchangeable.

With a 10-35 record and playoff teams Utah (Wednesday) and Indiana (Friday) coming to town, the Warriors likely will maintain their grip on the NBA’s worst record, a status they’ve held most of the season.

Moreover, with or without making a move, the Warriors are a virtual lock to post one of the three worst records in the league, thereby gaining advantageous position for the draft lottery.

There will be many more games like Monday, with the Warriors in it late but fall short down the stretch. That’s the roster they have, and the shortcomings are particularly acute when Draymond Green is sidelined.

“A lot of mistakes down the stretch in the second quarter, and again down the stretch of the game, regulation and overtime,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at Moda Center. “I didn’t help the guys out much, I could have done some things better as well, so it was a group effort.

“But they’re competing, they’re playing together, they’re playing hard.”

That’s code for the desire to “build good habits,” an oft-used phrase this season. The goal, however, which went all caps once it was known Steph Curry would miss most of the season, is to audition the majority of the non-rookies on the roster. The only exemptions were known commodities Kevon Looney, who has missed 35 games, and Green, who has missed 13. They’re still exempt, for different reasons.

Everyone else, including D’Angelo Russell, is on trial and subject to discussion. The general belief is that D-Lo is almost certain to be moved but probably not during the season.

Which brings us back to Burks, who is both uncomplicated to deal and coveted. His contract is relatively simple to absorb.

[RELATED: Dubs' mistakes doom any chance of win in Dame's big night]

The Warriors have 17 days to make decisions that will impact next year and beyond much more than this year.

Though it would be nice to have Burks on the bench when Klay Thompson and Curry are healthy, the Warriors might feel he is even more valuable now than he might be then.

Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night

Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night

PORTLAND -- In the final minute of Monday's matchup against the Trail Blazers, Warriors guard Alec Burks hit two free throws to put the Warriors up three points and in position for their 11th victory.

But 10 seconds later, Blazers guard Damian Lillard made a 3-pointer  to tie the game. D'Angelo Russell then missed a contested 3-pointer, sending the game into an overtime in which the Warriors were outscored 16-11, prompting another loss for the NBA's worst team. 

For a unit with winning ambitions, they've become especially creative in fading in clutch moments. On a night Lillard needed a career-high and an extra session to beat the battered Warriors, Golden State sees the loss as a game botched by untimely mistakes. 

"It was a game that got away from us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following the 124-129 loss. 

Three hours before Kerr's declaration, a win seemed feasible. In the second quarter, the Warriors held the Blazers to just 27 percent from the field, taking a 12-point lead, despite playing with only eight players. As the Warriors succeeded, Alec Burks shined, scoring 33 points with seven rebounds and eight assists. Along the way, mistakes crippled chances to blow the game open. 

When the Warriors went up 44-35 with four minutes left in the half, Damion Lee fouled Lillard behind the 3-point line, prompting three free throws. Fifteen seconds later, Eric Paschall fouled Mario Hezonja, leading to two more free throws. By the end of the second quarter, a 10-point lead was cut to four.  

More troubling was Golden State's late-game execution. After taking a six-point lead in overtime, the Blazers ended the evening on a 14-3 run as Lillard swished in his 61st point with four seconds left. At night's end, the Blazers made 27 free throws, 16 of which came from Lillard, much to Kerr's chagrin. 

"The game was there for the taking," Kerr said. "You could feel it in the first half. That game was right there for us. You've got to be better. Our effort was good but our execution was not." 

Kerr's frustrations are legitimate and derive from a troubling trend. Of the team's last 11 losses, three have come despite the team leading in the fourth quarter. Dating back to last season, the Warriors have lost their last nine overtime games. 

Five days ago, the team lost to the Nuggets in overtime despite entering the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead. Over the final two quarters, Golden State was outscored 61-46. Six days before the loss to Denver, the Warriors were outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter by the Clippers, losing their seventh straight.

Following his team's latest demise, Kerr passed blame around the locker room. 

"A lot of mistakes down the stretch in the second quarter and again down the stretch -- a lot at the end of the game and regulation and overtime," he said. "And I didn't help the guys much, I could've helped the guys out as well. It was a group effort. They're competing, they're playing together, they're playing hard. It's just frustrating."

[RELATED: What names did Charles Barkley just call Steph and Klay?]

A silver lining in Golden State's troubles can be seen along its sidelines Friday evening. With franchise pillar Steph Curry in a suit and former All-Star Draymond Green on the end of the bench, the listless Warriors nearly pushed Portland to the brink. But, as Kerr and his team know well, success is measured by wins over development. 

"I think we played well," Warriors forward Marquese Chriss said. "There are little things that we can fix that might change the way that the game turned out. All we can do at this point is to learn from it and talk about it and try not to let it happen again."