Warriors-Cavs IV is real again after NBA trade deadline


Warriors-Cavs IV is real again after NBA trade deadline

OAKLAND -- The prospects of a fourth consecutive Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals, so dim only days ago, were brightened considerably Thursday by the desperate efforts of the front office in Cleveland.

Though the Warriors still have to do their part, which will be quite the challenge in itself, the Cavs utilized the trade deadline to remodel a sagging roster that had become an increasingly heavier burden for LeBron James to consistently bear.

Recognizing the roster was too old, too slow and practically unresponsive on defense, Cleveland general manager Koby Altman took hyper-aggressive actions in search of a remedy.

He did well. In shedding the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Channing Frye, Altman dumped nearly 50 years of NBA experience. That might hurt, but not nearly as much as watching those older (Wade, Frye) and traumatized (Thomas and Rose) legs try and fail to play playoff-caliber defense.

The Cavs also sacrificed to two of their best defenders, Jae Crowder and Iman Shumpert, because that’s the cost of doing business.

Oh, but the gains. The Cavs added four players who will slide right into the rotations of coach Tyronn Lue. Rodney Hood is a 6-foot-8 guard who can score and play reasonably good defense. Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., both 25 years old, are frisky and at least capable of playing quality defense. George Hill is the steady veteran point guard that, at his best, keeps the offense flowing while playing acceptable defense.

Voila, Cleveland suddenly is younger, quicker and more athletic -- better equipped to exploit James’ most visible assets.

The Cavs have the live bodies to turn good defense into transition offense, allowing James to run the floor better than any 33-year-old we’ve ever seen. The new Cavs can keep up with the guy who makes them a contender.

There is, however, a flashing yellow light. Remodeling a roster in the middle of a season comes with risks, which in this instance had to be taken.

The Cavs of last week weren’t going to get past the second round. They wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the Celtics and they were weakened to the point that the psychological advantages they’ve had on Toronto and Washington were vanishing. Something had to be done.

Bowing out early in the postseason would have given LeBron an express ticket out of Cleveland, and Altman wanted to at least show the resident superstar that the franchise was determined to do its part to keep him around.

Again, something bold and invigorating had to be done.

The biggest risk of all is the unknown of team chemistry. It’s incredibly difficult to swap out one-third of the roster and expect the new guys, no matter how talented and energetic, to immediately become a unified team.

The Cavaliers will have 27 games -- no point in counting those prior to the All-Star break -- to put it together before the playoffs.

If they succeed, look out. Cleveland would not be an automatic Eastern Conference champion, but it would be lot better off than if Altman, with the blessing team owner Dan Gilbert, had done nothing.

Which is what the Warriors did on the trade deadline. GM Bob Myers was active, but not hyperactive. He had wants, but probably not serious needs, aside from a reserve with a reliable 3-point shot.

Myers’ desire to deal was not nearly as acute as that of Altman in Cleveland.

So the Warriors, who hit the trade deadline with the best record in the NBA, will wait. But know that the roster on March 8 will be different than that of Feb. 8.

There are good players that will be bought out, and Myers will be standing before them, flashing championship rings and perhaps the best team culture in the NBA.

The Warriors will have to get past the Rockets and Thunder, both of whom have the goods to compete. They’ll have to rediscover the defense that has been their bedrock, the foundation of the offense that hogs the highlight packages.

But the possibility of Warriors-Cavs Part IV is real again. If that’s what you crave, your chances of getting are appreciably better than they were a few days ago.

Warriors vs. Pistons live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

NBC Sports Bay Area

Warriors vs. Pistons live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

After the worst home loss of the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors won't wait long to try to get back in the win column.

Golden State hosts the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, and will give former Warrior Zaza Pachulia his 2018-19 championship ring in his first visit back to Oracle Arena. Pachulia's Pistons are 1-2 on a current five-game road trip, and sit in the thick of a playoff race.

[RELATED: Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide]

Detroit is sixth in the Eastern Conference, but enters Sunday's matchup just 1.5 games up on the eighth-place Miami Heat. The Heat is off on Sunday, and a Pistons loss would cut that gap to just one game.

The Warriors, meanwhile, are 0.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets for the Western Conference's top seed after Saturday's loss to the lottery-bound Dallas Mavericks. The Nuggets are also in action Sunday, and the Warriors will need some help from the Indiana Pacers to regain the first seed.

[RELATED: Why KD thinks lopsided loss to Mavs wasn't 'odd at all']

Here's how you can watch Warriors vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming online:

When: Sunday, March 24, at 5:30 p.m. PT (pregame at 4:30 p.m.)
TV channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage


Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

OAKLAND -- Following Saturday's 126-91 beatdown courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors are set to welcome an old friend as the Pistons come to town Sunday evening. 

Pistons big man, Zaza Pachulia, who was a member of the Warriors' last two championship teams, will receive his ring Sunday. Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o'clock with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame Live at 4:30 and scheduled 5:40 pm tip-off.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Pistons live online on the MyTeams app]

Pachulia, who signed with the Pistons last summer, is a critical piece of the Warriors championship fabric. Signed in 2016, Pachulia was a mainstay in the frontcourt during the 2017 championship run, averaging 6.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists, starting every game. Last season, with coach Steve Kerr tinkering with lineups mid-season, Pachulia lost his starting spot following the All-Star break and played in just seven postseason games. However, his lasting impact in Golden State will be his professionalism and guidance to the team's young bigs like Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney. 

On Sunday, the Warriors will reward those qualities with his second championship ring.



F Kevin Durant 
F Draymond Green
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry


F Blake Griffin 
C Andre Drummond
G Reggie Jackson
G Wayne Ellington
G Bruce Brown


Warriors: Kevon Looney (Right Forearm Contusion) is questionable. DeMarcus Cousins (Load Management, Return from Achilles Injury), Andre Iguodala (Rest) and Damian Jones (Left Pectoral Surgery) are out.

Pistons: No injuries to report



After a one-game absence for rest, Curry is back in the lineup. Durant will hope to play better after a 9-of-25 performance Sunday.

With Cousins out, look for Bogut to get the start as Steve Kerr prefers to keep the rotation intact. 

Curry will look to get his shot back on track. In his last game, Thursday's win over Indiana, he made just 5-of-15 from the field. Over his last five games, he's shooting just 42.3 percent. 


Detroit, like Golden State, will be playing their second game of a back to back Sunday afternoon. 

Griffin has been fantastic this season, averaging 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, earning his sixth All-Star appearance. 

Joining Griffin on the Pistons imposing frontline is Drummond, who's averaging 15.4 rebounds this season and could provide a headache for the Warriors all night long. 

Officials: Josh Tiven (#58), Tyler Ford (#39), Ray Acosta (#54)