Warriors

Warriors' historic 2017 greatness punctuated by Game 2 Finals win vs. Cavs

Warriors' historic 2017 greatness punctuated by Game 2 Finals win vs. Cavs

Programming note: Relive Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals when NBC Sports Bay Area re-airs the Warriors' win over the Cavaliers on Saturday, March 28 at 8 p.m. PT.

Their mission began three months before they convened in Oakland for late-September training camp. Winning alone was not going to be enough, not for these Warriors, not for this season. They wanted to exact revenge for all the negative noise.

All the chatter surrounding Kevin Durant upon his July 4th decision to leave Oklahoma City to join the team that defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western ConferencefFinals five weeks earlier.

At the start of the 2017 playoffs, the Warriors turned punitive. The goal was to leave opponents face-down at midcourt, twitching from head to toe. They swept the first three rounds, psychologically dominating the Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Spurs before throttling them with offense and burying them with defense to stand with the greatest machines in sports history.

One series, The Finals, against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, remained between the Warriors and their second championship in three seasons -- and avenging the events of the 2016 Finals.

After Game 1, in which the Warriors rolled to a 113-91 blowout, Game 2 –- which NBC Sports Bay Area is re-airing Saturday night at 8 p.m. -- came with a subplot that lent curiosity.

Coach Steve Kerr was back.

Kerr had stepped away six weeks earlier, before Game 3 of the first round in Portland, to give his body a break from the pain and misery stalking him after two back surgeries in the summer of 2015. Lead assistant Mike Brown had stepped in as interim head coach and gone 10-0.

Kerr’s return, to a rousing ovation at Oracle Arena, was a new wrinkle for a streaking squad. Would it inspire? Would it disrupt? Well, the Warriors opened Game 2 in a slumber, trailing by five less than two minutes into the game.

“I heard when I got to the arena that he was doing his press conference,” Steph Curry said of Kerr’s return, which was announced less than two hours before tipoff.

The Warriors committed eight turnovers in the first quarter -- each starter gifted one within the first eight minutes -- but refocused and reeled off a 22-7 run, taking a 40-34 lead into the second quarter.

The Cavs, however, would not give up. Down as much as 12 early in the second quarter, they cut it to one before going into halftime trailing 67-64.

The Warriors then remembered their mission. To squash without remorse. Curry and Durant combined for 35 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 from distance, after intermission. Durant submitted game-highs in points (33) and rebounds (13) rebounds. Curry totaled 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to achieve the first postseason triple-double of his career in the Warriors' 132-113 win.

"It seemed like it's personal for both of them,” Draymond Green said of Curry and Durant. "And you’re talking about two of the greatest players that we got in this world locked in the way they are? That's why we're up 2-0."

No doubt it was. Curry surely remembered the final seconds of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, when his snug defense on Kyrie Irving could not prevent the Cavs guard from draining the game- and title-winning shot at Oracle, forcing the Warriors to live with being the only team to blow a 3-1 lead in The Finals in NBA history.

Durant was, for his part, acutely aware that this series was, in the eye of many, about he and James. The loser would face a long summer, the winner would own bragging rights while also punching a hole through the perception of the loser.

Going up 2-0, Curry and Durant were halfway to the sweep they so fervently desired.

“It's been a great run,” Kerr said, assessing the team’s 14th consecutive postseason win. “But none of that matters unless we can finish the job with this series. "Trust me, we know. It was 2-0 last year. We lost."

They didn’t lose this time. After winning Game 3 in Cleveland three days later, the Warriors fell 137-116 in Game 4 and returned home to take Game 5 and settle for the “gentleman’s sweep.”

[RELATED: The night Klay earned his reputation as a bonafide flamethrower]

They are the only team in NBA postseason history to finish with a 16-1 record (the 2001 Lakers went 15-1). Twelve of the wins were by double digits, five by at least 20 points.

“You cannot simulate what they bring to the table, no matter how many days you have to prepare,” said James, practically reaching for a white flag to raise. “I’ve seen a lot of great teams, and they rank right up there.”

The Game 2 victory eased minds of those concerned about whether Kerr’s return would be an issue. Moreover, it was one of 16 postseason messages sent by the Warriors to the rest of the NBA and all those who had been critical of KD and the franchise.

Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match'

Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match'

Sunday’s “The Match” featuring Bay Area native Tom Brady, former NFL MVP Peyton Manning and PGA stars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson seemed to be a smashing success for the sport of golf. Not only was $20 million raised for coronavirus relief in the United States, but sports fans were glued to their televisions to watch golf, something the sport forever has struggled with.

Warriors star Steph Curry tweeted during the event that he wanted to participate in the next iteration of the “The Match.” So we asked, who would Warriors fans like to see Steph team up with the next time this event is organized and got some interesting responses.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

John Daly no doubt would be an interesting partner for Curry, but the two aren’t likely to be a match made in heaven. Daly’s partying and off-the-course exploits were infamous during his days on the tour, something Curry never has gotten wrapped up in.

Another commenter mentioned Jordan Spieth, who is a fellow Under Armour athlete with Curry. These two likely have played together numerous times over the years, and Spieth has been known to provide a good sound byte.

[RELATED: Ranking 10 best duos in NBA history, including two Warriors pairs]

Another name to consider would be Justin Thomas, the No. 4 player in the world. Thomas joined the TNT telecast for Sunday’s event and was a great on-course reporter, including this somewhat-NSFW dig at Charles Barkley.

Thomas and Curry together would provide some incredible laughs.

Whoever it is, having Steph mic’d up for an entire 18 holes should make for some magnificent content.

Ex-Warrior Andrew Bogut not retiring yet but won't re-sign with Sydney

Ex-Warrior Andrew Bogut not retiring yet but won't re-sign with Sydney

Back in mid-April, former Warriors center Andrew Bogut said he would make a decision on his basketball future in May.

With a handful of days left in May, Bogut has made a decision.

Sort of.

The 35-year-old Australian tweeted a statement Sunday and said he won't re-sign with the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League right now, or any other professional basketball team for that matter.

Bogut made it clear that it wasn't a "retirement note." He said due to the uncertainty surrounding sports because of the global coronavirus pandemic, it was too difficult to make a decision right now.

He also did mention that he hopes to be back on a basketball in the "near future."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Bogut last appeared on an NBA court in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals when the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena.

Since then, he had been play with Sydney before the pandemic forced all sports leagues to pause their seasons. Bogut was averaging 8.2 points and 8.8 rebounds in 21.5 minutes over 25 games for Sydney.

For now, Bogut will let his body rest and spend time with his family.

[RELATED: Bogut likes two NBA draft prospects]

If the former No. 1 overall pick decides later not to play another professional basketball game, he leaves the sport with a decorated NBA career: Champion, an All-NBA Third Team selection, and an All-Defensive Second Team selection.