Warriors

Why ref assignment could favor Raptors over Bucks in Game 5 of East finals

Why ref assignment could favor Raptors over Bucks in Game 5 of East finals

After the Milwaukee Bucks rushed out to a two-games-to-none series lead in the Eastern Conference finals, it looked like the Toronto Raptors were all but dead and the only thing that was left was the funeral. 

That wasn't the case, though. Kawhi Leonard willed the Raptors to a double-overtime win in Game 3, and his supporting cast caught fire in Game 4 to tie the series at two.

As the series shifts back to Milwaukee for a crucial Game 5 on Thursday night, the Bucks have more than momentum working against them.

Referees Marc Davis and Tony Brothers are assigned to officiate Game 5. The numbers say that's good news for the Raptors.

Tough luck for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co.

[RELATED: Why Raptors are better NBA Finals matchup for Warriors than Bucks]

Whichever team emerges victorious from this slugfest will have its hands full in the NBA Finals. 

After sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals, the Golden State Warriors will have nine days off before the title round begins.

The Bucks/Raptors winner will face a short-handed Warriors squad, though, at least to begin the series.

Kevin Durant (right calf strain) has yet to resume on-court activities and is "unlikely to play" at the beginning of the NBA Finals. As for DeMarcus Cousins, the center continues to rehab his torn left quad and the Warriors are hopeful he will be able to suit up at some point in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors are expected to have Andre Iguodala ready for their fifth consecutive Finals appearance. The veteran forward missed Game 4 vs. the Blazers with calf tightness.

The Raptors and Bucks have traded blows early in the series and appear destined to go the distance. But if the Raptors get a favorable whistle Thursday night, they could take the floor back home in Game 6 with a chance to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

The Warriors' roster turnover this summer has been well-documented, but Mychal Thompson things it will bring out the best in Steph Curry next season.

Curry will have to adjust to life without Kevin Durant next season, after the star signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. The two-time MVP also will miss Klay Thompson -- Mychal's son -- for much of the campaign as the Splash Brother recovers from a torn ACL. Because of that, the elder Thompson thinks Curry has the potential for a record-breaking season in 2019-20.

"Now, they're not going to be as good as they were last year -- and by the way, I predict Steph is going to have 500 3s this year without having to share the ball that much back in the backcourt with Klay," Mychal said Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "So he's going to come back to his MVP form we saw two years ago."

Curry set the NBA's single-season record with 402 made 3-pointers en route to the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2015-16. He did so leading a historic Warriors team that went 73-9, and Klay finished second on Golden State that season with 276 made 3-pointers. 

Klay made 241 -- and attempted 599 -- triples last year, while Curry made 354 and attempted 810. Assuming Thompson returns after the All-Star break, there could be enough touches for Curry to shatter his own record. However, summer acquisition D'Angelo Russell made just seven fewer 3-pointers than Thompson last season. He probably will take fewer shots as the No. 2 option behind Curry to start the season, but Russell's presence probably lowers Curry's record-setting ceiling. 

[RELATED: Steph comments on learning about KD's decision on plane]

Curry unquestionably will have to carry a bigger load for as long as Klay's out next season. But when his son returns, Mychal thinks the Warriors will find themselves on the same level as other Western Conference contenders. 

"[Draymond Green] is motivated to have a great year because his contract year is coming up," the elder Thompson continued.  "So I think [Curry and Green] -- and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell and the other role players that they've signed -- I think they'll be right in the mix. Somewhere between a five [or] six seed until Klay comes back 100 percent, and then they'll be ready to make their move." 

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Hazing happens in all walks of life, including the NBA.

Before Steph Curry became a two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA champion, he was a rookie.

While in Lake Tahoe for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament last week, he revealed the following story to Chris Simms of NBC Sports on "Unbuttoned":

"I had a vet when I was a rookie -- I had my phone, mind you I'm dating my now wife at the time and I'm going on a road trip so I need my phone obviously -- we had finished practice and we were headed to the airport, and he knew where my phone was.

"He knew I always put it in this little pocket in my backpack. So after practice, I go get in the shower and put my phone in there. I'm kind of late so I'm hustling. He knows after I get out the shower I'm probably not gonna grab my phone.

"Take my phone, locks it in his locker. I get all the way to the airport and realize I don't have my phone. I get off the plane in Oklahoma City, not only did he make me leave my phone at home so I had to go to the store to get another one, he sent me on basically a two-hour errand run to go get video games and snacks.

"This is before Uber or Lyft so I'm in the yellow cab and paying for everything. That's just a headache."

Who was the veteran -- Anthony Tolliver, Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, Mikki Moore or Vladimir Radmanovic? Perhaps it was Devean George?

Unfortunately, Curry did not disclose that information.

We also don't know if it was the Dubs' first or second game in Oklahoma City that season.

[RELATEDCurry comments on finding out about KD's decision on plane]

On Dec. 7, Curry registered 22 points, two assists, four steals and five turnovers in a 104-88 loss (Kevin Durant recorded 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and six turnovers).

On Jan. 31, Curry contributed 14 points, five assists and five turnovers in a 112-104 loss (KD racked up 45 points and 11 rebounds).

That likely will remain a mystery, but what we do know is that NBA stars are just like us - pranks and all.

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