Warriors

Warriors get good news as Paul Pierce predicts Raptors win NBA Finals

Warriors get good news as Paul Pierce predicts Raptors win NBA Finals

The Toronto Raptors are fighting off the Drake curse, and now they have to worry about another jinx. 

The Warriors seemingly got good news Thursday when ESPN unveiled its analysts' picks for the NBA Finals, as former Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce picked the Raptors to win the series in six games. 

Pierce, a career 44.5 percent shooter from the field, hasn't been as accurate with his NBA playoffs predictions this postseason.

He said the Milwaukee Bucks' second-round series with the Boston Celtics was "over" after Game 1. The Bucks, who were the NBA's top seed after winning 60 games in the regular season, then won four straight games to advance to their first Eastern Conference finals since 2001. 

He said the Warriors would lose Game 6 of their second-round series with the Houston Rockets, sans Kevin Durant, "in blowout fashion." The Warriors, behind 33 second-half points from Steph Curry, advanced to their fifth straight Western Conference finals hours after Pierce's prediction. 

He jokingly tweeted "Bucks got this" after Milwaukee took a two-games-to-none lead in the conference finals on May 17. The Bucks would not win another game the remainder of the postseason and were eliminated in Game 6 of the conference finals.

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So, congratulations Warriors on the three-peat?

Of course, if the opposite of Pierce's predictions continue to come true, surely humanity can find a better use for him than picking basketball games. If the Warriors end up winning, perhaps we can get "The Truth" to predict that society won't solve the climate crisis.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr 'hopeful' Draymond Green will play vs. Jazz

Warriors coach Steve Kerr 'hopeful' Draymond Green will play vs. Jazz

Draymond Green's presence likely wouldn't have made a difference in the ultimate outcome of the Warriors' loss to the Mavericks on Wednesday, but it's hard to imagine them losing by 48 if he had played.

Now, as Golden State heads to Utah for the final game of its road trip, the Dubs have their fingers crossed that Green will be able to play against the Jazz on Friday.

"Hopefully we get Draymond back," coach Steve Kerr said on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" show Thursday evening. "We'll see. I talked to him today and he was feeling better, so I'm hopeful that he can play tomorrow."

Green sat out the loss to Dallas with right heel soreness. Whether or not he is able to face the Jazz, Kerr is of the belief that the Warriors will be far more competitive than they were the last time out.

"But I think the day off today will help, I think the embarrassment of last night will help, and we'll have a shootaround tomorrow and I think we'll be ready to play," he continued. "I know our guys were embarrassed last night. It was the first time all season where I really felt like we sort of lost our spirit and our energy, so I know we'll have that back tomorrow and I'm looking forward to playing."

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Utah (9-5) currently is tied for fifth in the Western Conference and boasts the league's best scoring defense. Against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Co., the Warriors can use all the help they can get, but at least if Green plays, the won't have to worry about the spirit and energy part.

Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett describes racism Bill Russell faced

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AP

Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett describes racism Bill Russell faced

Warriors color commentator Jim Barnett has seen a lot during his time following the NBA, but perhaps what sticks out most were his experiences with Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell and the racism the Hall of Famer had to endure. 

During an appearance on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast, Barnett -- who was drafted and played one season in Boston -- shared a story about the time Russell was given a key to the city just before a game the Celtics played in a Southern state.

Following the game, the black players on the team were denied entry into a hotel because of the color of their skin. In response, Russell returned the key to the town's mayor. 

The scenario was just one of many for the prominently black Celtics of the 1960s, according to Barnett. 

"They didn't sell out in the Boston Garden," Barnett said on the first episode of "Runnin' Plays". "They sold out in the Boston Garden for the hockey team - the Boston Bruins - every game was sold out. But not the Boston Celtics. It was a racist town."  

The face of the team was Russell, who became a civil rights leader in his own right. In 1961, he staged a boycott of a game in Lexington, Ky. after a city restaurant wouldn't serve his black teammates. In 1966, he became the first black coach in the history of professional sports.

By 1967, he -- along with basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown -- led a summit to support boxer Muhammad Ali after he refused to fight in the Vietnam War.  

However, the climate of the time affected how Russell interacted with fans. 

"I remember one time, this businessman asked for an autograph," Barnett said. "He said, 'if I weren't Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, I'd be just another N-word to him.' 

Barnett added that the NBA capped how many non-whites could be on an active roster. 

"There was a quota," Barnett said. "You couldn't have more than two or three blacks. I know that for a fact." 

[RELATED: Bowman has been Warriors' bright spot, looks like a keeper]

As for his interactions with Russell and his black teammates, Barnett -- a white man -- said he didn't have any quandaries working alongside his teammates. 

"We didn't have any problems," the guys I played with and against, they were there to make a living in the NBA just like I was and we were all the same."