Josh Schrock

Klay Thompson explains love for Oregon, shares Michael Jordan memory

Klay Thompson explains love for Oregon, shares Michael Jordan memory

Despite facing the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals, Klay Thompson remains an Oregonian at heart.

The Warriors shooting guard grew up in Lake Oswego, Ore., before moving to California when he was 14. He went to college at Washington State University and is a Pacific Northwest guy through and through.

During his media availability Wednesday, Thompson went long on his appreciation for the nature in Oregon and his favorite swimming spots in The Beaver State.

Never change, Klay.

The three-time NBA champion also told a story of the time he met Michael Jordan while attending a Blazers game in 1998.

Rasheed Wallace isn't a bad pick for favorite Blazer. I personally would have gone with Bonzi Wells, but you can't go wrong with Sheed.

Klay will at least get two games in Oregon during the series when the Warriors and Blazers play Games 3 and 4 at the Moda Center on Saturday and Monday.

With the way the Warriors played during their Game 1 win, the series might not make it back to Portland for Game 6. So, Klay will have to wait until the summer to go enjoy the nature in the PNW.

Steph Curry pokes fun at parents for cheering for both Warriors, Blazers

Steph Curry pokes fun at parents for cheering for both Warriors, Blazers

When you're the "royal family" of the NBA, sometimes you are faced with hard choices. But you also don't always have to make the tough choice, sometimes you can toe the line.

Such was the case with Dell and Sonya Curry during Game 1 of the Western Conference finals matchup between the Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers, and, more importantly, the matchup between their sons, Steph and Seth Curry.

Dell and Sonya devised a plan to flip a coin before each game to decide which son each would cheer for that night. 

But it didn't really go according to the script during the Blazers loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night.

Dell and Sonya sported double-sided jerseys to Game 1, with mom rocking Seth on the front and Steph in the back. Even though she was supposed to be cheering for Portland in Game 1, Steph caught his mom standing up in her Blazers gear cheering for him after one of his 12 made field goals.

The two-time NBA MVP poked some fun at his parents after the Warriors' 116-94 win.

“I think I caught myself a couple times looking up in the stands at my parents, who did the whole coin flip thing, and they can’t help themselves,” Curry said at the podium. “So any time either one of us did something good, they both were clapping. So they got to fix themselves (laughter). I told my mom, ‘Who you with?’ When I made a shot, I saw her stand up and cheer and I saw her in all Portland gear. It’s just weird.”

Steph was unstoppable in Game 1.

The Blazers gave him far too much room coming off screens and Steph torched them for 36 points, including nine 3-pointers.

[RELATED: Warriors: “Hey Dell, we want to draft Steph here.” Dell: “Don’t.”]

Portland will need to make adjustments and fast, or else Dell and Sonya will be able to put the coin and double-sided jerseys away and prepare for the Warriors' fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.

Turkish TV won't air Blazers-Warriors due to Kanter's criticism of Erdogan

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Turkish TV won't air Blazers-Warriors due to Kanter's criticism of Erdogan

Basketball is a global sport.

Beginning Tuesday, millions of people around the world will gather to watch Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers try to dethrone the two-time defending champion Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Basketball fans in Turkey, however, won't be able to watch the Dame vs. Goliath showdown.

Blazers center Enes Kanter, who is from Turkey, has been critical of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and describes himself as a close ally of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen has been accused of being part of a failed coup attempt in 2016, something he denies having involvement in.

The Turkish government has charged Kanter with being part of a terrorist group and demanded he is extradited from the United States. Kanter has denied that he any involvement in a terrorist group and just advocates for a free and democratic Turkey.

As such, S Sport, who is the main broadcaster of NBA games in Turkey, has ignored Kanter's games since last season and will not be airing the Western Conference finals or the NBA Finals should the Blazers advance, according to Reuters.

Basketball fans in Turkey will still be able to watch the Eastern Conference finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. They also can watch the games through an NBA TV subscription and online.

Kanter responded to the news with an Instagram post Tuesday.

It's a shame that NBA fans in Turkey won't get to watch what promises to be an electrifying showdown between the Warriors and Blazers.

The two teams split their four-game series during the regular season, and with Kevin Durant missing Game 1 and likely Game 2 with a strained right calf, the Blazers have a puncher's chance of knocking off the kings of the NBA. 

[RELATED: Dame gets shot at one last "storybook moment" in Oracle, Oakland]

While KD's injury certainly levels the playing field a bit, the Blazers still face an uphill climb to their first NBA Finals berth since 1992. Steph Curry, who was mired in a horrible shooting slump in the second round of the NBA playoffs, snapped out of his funk last Friday, scoring 33 second-half points to eliminate the Houston Rockets in six games.

Golden State showed its championship heart in eliminating the Rockets without Durant, and now they'll face a confident Blazers team that believes they will be the ones to end the dynastic run in the Bay.

Hopefully, basketball fans in Turkey can find a way to watch what's sure to be an exciting series.

Damian Lillard gets final shot at "storybook moment' in Oracle in his hometown of Oakland

Damian Lillard gets final shot at "storybook moment' in Oracle in his hometown of Oakland

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you ask Damian Lillard where he's from the answer comes quick and with a sense of pride. 

"East Oakland," Lillard said with a smile Monday at his Western Conference finals media availability. "Brookfield."

So, it's fitting that the Warriors' last season in Oracle Arena -- a building Lillard grew up frequenting to watch a much-less exciting Dubs team -- the two-time defending champions will have to go through the Oakland native and the Portland Trail Blazers to make their fifth straight NBA Finals.  

Lillard and the Blazers punched their ticket to the franchise's first conference finals since 2000 on Sunday, when they outlasted the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their second-round NBA playoff series, 100-96. 

The three-time NBA All-Star is appreciative that he gets the opportunity to say goodbye to Oracle Arena on such a big stage. 

"I think it's a storybook moment," Lillard said. "For this being the last year playing in Oakland, me growing up here -- I had season tickets to watch the Warriors play. You know, it's a special ending. Hopefully, it will end the right way for us."

Lillard was aware of Oakland's rich basketball history growing up, and he's proud to be a part of that now.

"Growing up in Oakland, you know the history of Oakland because everybody is so proud," Lillard said, "Bill Russell, Gary Payton, Brian Shaw, Hook Mitchell, Jason Kidd, you just -- Antonio Davis -- you know everybody that comes from your area, across every sport. Ricky Henderson, Darrien Gordon, you know because Oakland is so proud. Like, 'That's my cousin on my mama's side,' you know? Like everybody is claiming them because they just so proud. You definitely aware of it, and I think now to be a part of that history is pretty cool."

Kidd has said if he were to pick a point guard from Oakland, he would pick Lillard over himself and Payton, so Lillard has undoubtedly carved out his own place in Oakland basketball lore.

[RELATED: Dame denies saying Warriors 'due,' but confident in Blazers

Lillard will have 15 of his closest family and friends in attendance for Game 1 and 2 of the Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena.

"I mean, I never looked this far ahead," Lillard said. "I think in my career -- seven years -- that I've accomplished so much. The goal was to just make it to the NBA. I never said I want to be Rookie of the Year or an All-Star. I never looked that far into it. 

"But I do remember going to a high school playoff game that was at Oracle. I was with my brother and my dad and we was walking out the arena and I told them the next time I'm going to be in this arena I'll be in the NBA. I said that to them."

Lillard's words proved prophetic and now he gets one last chance for a playoff moment in the building that symbolizes the place he calls home.

CJ McCollum not taking motivation from Kevin Durant's offseason dig

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CJ McCollum not taking motivation from Kevin Durant's offseason dig

SAN FRANCISCO -- Last summer, during an appearance on CJ McCollum's "Pull Up podcast," Kevin Durant told the Trail Blazers star guard that Portland "wasn't going to win a championship" and not to "worry about what goes on at the top of things."

McCollum told the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP that the Blazers would meet the Warriors at the top.

Here we are.

On Sunday, McCollum scored 37 points in the Blazers' Game 7 win over the Denver Nuggets to set up a date with the Dubs in the Western Conference finals.

So, how does McCollum feel about Durant's dig at the Blazers 10 months later?

"Past is the past man," McCollum said Monday at his Western Conference finals media availability. "I think it's funny. Obviously, you don't think that's going to be relevant at the time. You know, when it's summertime and you're in a hotel room joking around, and then it happens. It's a nice soundbite. I hope you're subscribing to my podcast. You know what I'm saying? If you're going to use the soundbite, I hope you actually subscribe to the Pull Up podcast. But hey, that's dumb. Don't nobody get no extra motivation for the Western Conference finals. If you need to listen to some stuff then you got some serious issues."

Durant (right calf strain) reportedly will miss Game 1 of the series and is "unlikely" to play in Game 2. If McCollum and the Blazers can get one of the first two games at Oracle Arena, it could force the Dubs to tense up and try and get Durant back sooner than expected. 

[RELATED: Get ready for fireworks in Warriors-Blazers West finals]

The Blazers went 2-2 against the Warriors this season, including a win at Oracle. Damian Lillard, McCollum and the Blazers won't be scared of the two-time defending champions, especially given the odds they've faced to get to their first conference finals in 19 seasons. 

McCollum said he would meet KD at the top and he did.

No matter what happens next, Durant's next appearance on the "Pull Up podcast" should be something. 

Damian Lillard denies saying Warriors "due" but confident in Blazers' chances

Damian Lillard denies saying Warriors "due" but confident in Blazers' chances

SAN FRANCISCO -- Eyebrows were raised Monday morning when a quote from Damian Lillard started circulating in which the Portland Trail Blazers star supposedly told a Denver Nuggets ball boy that the Warriors were "due" to be beaten in the playoffs.

Later Monday, Lillard adamantly denied saying that during his first media availability for the Western Conference finals bout with the Dubs. 

"I didn't say that, for one," Lillard said. "He was ear hustling on a conversation that I was having with someone and I wasn't even talking about the Warriors. That's unprofessional and I was disappointed by that just because you don't try to ear hustle and then quote me as saying something that I didn't say, especially when you're standing right next to me and you could have just asked me."

Just because he didn't say that doesn't mean he has doubts his team can compete with and dethrone the Warriors.

The Blazers split the season series with the Warriors this season, and are 4-3 against the two-time defending NBA champions in the past two seasons, including Lillard's game-winning shot at Oracle Arena in December.

Needless to say, Lillard likes the Blazers' chances in their first conference finals since 2000.

"I'm really confident," Lillard said. "Like Casey said, we split the season series with them. We've won on their floor and on our floor. So, I think that shows we know we are capable of winning. We know we are capable of beating them. We just have to go out there and do it. Put it on the floor." 

The Blazers will face an uphill battle starting Tuesday night in Game 1 at Oracle Arena. 

Without Jusuf Nurkic and potentially Rodney Hood, the Blazers will have to rely heavily on Lillard and fellow backcourt star CJ McCollum to carry the load against the Warriors.

While the chips might be stacked against the Blazers, Lillard isn't scared of the Warriors, who play a similar style to Portland. 

"Yeah, I think we match up pretty well with them," Lillard said. "Our last series was against guys like Paul Millsap and (Nikola) Jokic. Huge bodies in the paint. They gave us a lot of trouble on the glass. They threw it on the block and was just a handful. We had to double-team and put ourselves out of position to rebound the ball. So, they gave us a lot of trouble with their size.

"I think with Golden State they are much more of a perimeter-oriented team. They do a lot of screening and cutting and shooting a lot of threes and stuff like that. Not really throwing the ball to the block. So, I think it's a much better matchup for us." 

Entering the playoffs, few thought the Blazers could make it out of Round 1, but Lillard blowtorched Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in Round 1. A grueling seven-game series with the Nuggets ended Sunday when McCollum dropped 37 to book a date with the Warriors.

{RELATED: Expect fireworks in Dubs-Blazers matchup in West final]

Now, Lillard, an Oakland native, gets his shot at the NBA's king.

They might be underdogs, but they've got a chance.. That's all Lillard needs.

CJ McCollum's 'I'm Trying Jennifer' responds to Blazers' Game 7 win

CJ McCollum's 'I'm Trying Jennifer' responds to Blazers' Game 7 win

Last summer, NBA Twitter got a good chuckle out of a back-and-forth between Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum and a Twitter user named Jennifer.

After old quotes from McCollum about never joining superteam were unearthed, Jennifer came at him with the then-hard truth about the Blazers suffering first-round sweeps in back-to-back seasons. McCollum's response became one of NBA Twitter's favorite moments.

Following McCollum's 37-point explosion Sunday in the Blazers' 100-96 win over the Nuggets in Game 7 of their second-round NBA playoff series, Jennifer responded and was prepared for all the shade that was about to come her way ahead of Portland's Western Conference Finals battle with the Warriors.

Despite McCollum and the Blazers' impressive playoff run, Jennifer is still taking the Dubs.

Now, that's good Twitter.

After defeating the Rockets in Game 6 last Friday, the Warriors have had a few days of much-needed rest while they waited for the Blazers-Nuggets series to be decided. With the status of Kevin Durant (right calf strain) up in the air, the load with fall on Steph Curry to carry the Dubs past McCollum and Damian Lillard to their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.

Dell, Sonya Curry enjoying Warriors-Blazers moment with Steph, Seth

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Dell, Sonya Curry enjoying Warriors-Blazers moment with Steph, Seth

On Tuesday night, it'll be all business at Oracle Arena when the Blazers and Warriors meet in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

But in the two days leading up to the all-Curry Western Conference title bout, the family is just going to enjoy the moment as Steph and Seth prepare to vie for the right to go to the NBA Finals.

"It's a dream come true for both of us," Seth Curry said Sunday following Portland's 100-96 win in Game 7 over the Denver Nuggets, via ESPN. "Obviously, it's the first time it's been done. It's going to be a lot of fun for our families to be in the building. I'm looking forward to it."

Dell and Sonya Curry already have prepared a plan for which son they'll cheer for during each game. While the tension of the Steph vs. Seth matchup will be high, Sonya is choosing to look at the positive side of the matchup. 

"It's going to be so much fun," Sonya Curry told ESPN. "It is. From our end, to see both of our sons to compete at this level and for the goal to be a championship is such a blessing. We never could imagine this.

"One of them might go home. But we're going to the championship!"

Since it's Seth first time competing in the playoffs, Sonya is especially excited to watch the younger brother on this big of a stage.

"It's fun," she said. "It is really. I actually look forward to watching Seth and doing that. I want him to steal the ball and want him to shoot over Stephen and all that good stuff. I want him to have his moments too."

After going down three-games-to-two to the Nuggets, the Blazers rallied for wins in Game 6 and Game 7 to punch their ticket to their first conference finals berth since 2000, thanks in large part to CJ McCollum's 37-point bonanza in Game 7.

The Blazers now will face a Warriors team looking to head to its fifth straight NBA Finals. The last time the Blazers made the conference finals they faced another juggernaut: The 2000 Shaq-Kobe Lakers. 

[RELATED: Warriors vs. Blazers Western Conference finals schedule]

While the Blazers were battling the Nuggets in their grueling seven-game series, the Dubs had their hands full with James Harden and the Rockets. After Kevin Durant suffered a right calf strain in Game 5, it appeared the Rockets might finally be able to knock off the NBA's Goliath.

But Steph exploded for 33 second-half points in Game 6 on Friday night to send Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets on summer vacation. 

Durant's status for the Western Conference finals is still up in the air. If he remains out, the load will fall on Curry, the two-time NBA MVP, to carry the Warriors past his brother and the Blazers.

The brothers Curry now will meet a conference title on the line. Steph is 7-2 lifetime in head-to-head meetings with Seth, but both those losses came this season.

Portland might appear to be outgunned, but the Blazers have posted a 4-3 record against the Warriors over the past two seasons, so don't count Seth and Rip City out before the opening bell rings.