Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 106-105 Game 5 win vs. Raptors

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Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 106-105 Game 5 win vs. Raptors

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TORONTO -- They’re taking it back to Oakland.

Knowing they would be without Kevin Durant over the final 34 minutes, the Warriors showed plenty of pluck Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and held on for a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 57 points, and the Warriors shot 20-of-42 from beyond the arc -- with a Thompson triple with 57.6 seconds remaining putting the Warriors ahead for good.

After Durant went down in the second quarter and Kevon Looney (aggravating his chest injury) joined him in the third quarter, the Warriors spent the rest of the evening trying to fight off the relentless Raptors. Toronto took a brief fourth-quarter lead before the Warriors closed it out.

Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors showed an abundance of grit:

The Return of Durant

Durant’s return to the lineup after a 32-day absence due to a strained right calf was going wonderfully -- until he re-injured his calf with the Warriors leading 39-34 and 9:46 remaining in the second quarter.

Guarded by Toronto big man Serge Ibaka on the perimeter, Durant made a move to his left, landing with a lot of force on his right foot and immediately limped away holding his calf area. He was assisted into the locker room and did not return.

Durant left the arena on crutches and in a walking boot. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI test on Tuesday in the Bay Area.

The crowd initially rejoiced at Durant’s misfortune before Ibaka (a former teammate in Oklahoma City) patted KD on the head and urged the crowd to tone it down, at which point they cheered Durant’s exit.

Durant’s presence changed the entire dynamic of the Warriors at both ends, but his offense was surprisingly sharp. He scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-3 from deep, and grabbed two rebounds. He played 12 minutes.

They overcame Curry's cool second half

Stephen Curry, clearly benefitting from Durant’s return, had a terrific first half, scoring 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep and 6-of-6 from the line. He looked energized and appeared to be headed for a big night.

Well, no. Curry never was able to find any lasting rhythm in the second half, scoring only eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-9 beyond the arc.

He, however, did produce eight assists and seven rebounds, playing 41 minutes and finishing minus-2.

Thompson’s 14 second-half points, including four 3-pointers helped offset Curry’s slide.

Boogie bounces back

After playing well in Game 2, DeMarcus Cousins struggled mightily in Games 3 and 4 in Oakland and was languishing on the bench when he entered the game to replace Andrew Bogut with 9:46 remaining in the second quarter.

The move, which corresponded with Durant’s exit, undoubtedly was made in an effort to provide some of the offense lost without KD.

[RELATED: Watch moment that KD's right calf popped during Game 5]

Cousins delivered, scoring nine points in six first-half minutes and also was solid in the second half.

The big man totaled 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, adding six rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. He was minus-4 over 20 minutes.

Nets GM Sean Marks denies wild Gregg Popovich 'Godfather offer' rumor

Nets GM Sean Marks denies wild Gregg Popovich 'Godfather offer' rumor

Could Kevin Durant and Gregg Popovich team up in Brooklyn?

As unlikely as the scenario is, there is a rumor floating around the NBA Twitterverse that the Nets are preparing to try to lure the legendary coach away from the San Antonio Spurs.

Stick with me here.

During a recent episode of the "Let's Get Technical" podcast, former NBA player Gerald Brown joined hosts Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, and guest Amin Elhassan. Brown said this:

"There's a story going around that the owner of the Brooklyn Nets is looking to make a 'Godfather offer' to Gregg Popovich, and when I say the 'Godfather [offer], it's something he can't refuse," Brown said. "Hearing this news, and it's probably going to circulate more in the days to come, I'm not really buying it at all."

Brown didn't cite a source on this rumor. But back in March, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith did mention Popovich's name as one of three candidates for the Nets' job (H/T The Spun), along with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson.

The Pop-to-Nets rumor had enough legs to make it all the way back to Brooklyn GM Sean Marks, who was asked during an interview on WFAN radio in New York about the idea of pursuing the longtime Spurs coach.

"Pop has a job," Marks told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Friday. "So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach, and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs, and He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there."

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

But would it make sense for the Warriors nemesis to leave San Antonio for Brooklyn?

The Nets need a permanent coach for the 2020-21 season. Brooklyn fired Kenny Atkinson in March, and interim coach Jacque Vaughn will guide the bare bones team through the NBA restart in Orlando, but he might not be the answer in the long run.

Durant and fellow NBA superstar Kyrie Irving are going to want a coach with experience and a proven plan. While Lue won an NBA title with the Cavs, and Jackson laid the foundation for the Warriors, they aren't the sexy picks.

Why would Popovich leave San Antonio, where he's coached for 24 seasons? The Spurs have been considered the gold standard for NBA teams for the last two decades, but they've fallen on hard times. Their streak of 22 straight NBA playoff appearances likely will come to an end this season, and they don't have a bonafide superstar to build around for the next few seasons.

So maybe it's time for Pop to chase a new challenge. Of course, he's 71 years old and has been coaching in the league since 1988, so maybe his next move is to hang up the clipboard.

But if Popovich wants one more chance to win a ring, bolting for Brooklyn might not be the worst idea, especially if the Nets are willing to make a "Godfather Offer" to him.

[RELATED: Durant all smiles on Dubs anniversary]

There would also be the strange twist of Durant teaming up with Warriors coach Steve Kerr's mentor.

If Pop really did make the move, the Warriors wouldn't have to deal with him in the Western Conference, but if they return to NBA title contention, they might be looking at Popovich, Durant and Irving across from them in the NBA Finals.

Now that's a juicy storyline. NBA Twitter might explode if that happened next summer.

Heat guard Tyler Herro studies Warriors' Klay Thompson to improve shot

Heat guard Tyler Herro studies Warriors' Klay Thompson to improve shot

Klay Thompson's shot is that of near perfection. Steph Curry might be regarded as the greatest shooter in NBA history, but his fellow Splash Brother's form is picturesque. 

Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro is taking note, too. The shooting guard has taken advantage of his time away from the court before the NBA's restart by watching film on Thompson and other greats.

"Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, CJ McCollum, Steve Nash and Bradley Beal are the guys that’s I’ve watched, just picking different things from each player," Herro recently told reporters, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman. 

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

Herro, 20, is averaging 12.9 points per game for the Heat while shooting an impressive 39.1 percent from 3-point range. As a rookie, Thompson shot 41.4 percent from deep and has a career 41.9 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. They don't make many like Klay. 

Miami's young sharpshooter is studying one specific part of Thompson's game, too.

"You know, Klay and Ray, they do the catch-and-shoot very well," Herro said. "So that's the thing that I pay attention to when I'm watching them. But every player that I watch, or the coaches have me watch, I can dissect something new or something different from their game to try to add it to mine."

[RELATED: Steph has funny prediction for Warriors-Cavs bubble rematch]

Herro and the Heat resume their season Aug. 1 against the Denver Nuggets in Orlando. In just his first season, he has helped the Heat become a contender as a feared outside shooter and will play a big role once the NBA returns. 

Rested, healthy and full of more knowledge from hours watching film, we'll soon be able to see what exactly Herro picked up from Thompson other great shooters.