The last contract Shaquille O’Neal signed was a five-year extension worth an even $100 million. He is one of the most dominant players to ever step onto an NBA court, he’s a four-time NBA champion, and he’s a lock for the Hall of Fame when he retires.
C.J. McCollum says the Warriors cross the line much more regularly.
“They set a lot of illegal screens,’’ Blazers guard CJ McCollum said Tuesday at the team’s shootaround at The Olympic Club. “They are moving and stuff. That’s the respect you get when you are champions, you get a lot more respect from the referees. You have to figure out a way to get around those screens and make it difficult.’’
One underappreciated element of the Warriors’ success is their excellent screening. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut are two of the NBA’s best. Even the diminutive Stephen Curry wreaks havoc with his screens, leveraging his shooting ability to befuddle defenders.
Do the Warriors sometimes set illegal screens? Yup. Do they do so more than other teams? Yup. Do they do so more than every other team? Anecdotally, probably, though I’d love to see numbers.
But that’s part of Golden State’s strategy. The Warriors screeners so often straddle the line, they move it. It’s a fine line between a good legal screen and an illegal one, and Golden State dares the refs to blow the whistle.
McCollum can campaign for that to change, and his statements might cause the league to instruct referees to watch Warrior screens more closely. But even if Golden State has to harness its movement and arm extensions on picks, the team is more than capable of setting quality clean screens.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State backup big man Anderson Varejao insists he didn’t deliberately trip Trail Blazers guard Gerald Henderson in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series.
Yet after watching the replay, he understands it sure looked like he did it on purpose – which is what Henderson thought. Varejao said it looked worse than it was.
“When I looked at the play, I was like, `Oh, it looked like I was trying to do that,”‘ he said. “How can I try to do something like that? I’m going down and my foot got stuck. That’s all.”
Portland coach Terry Stotts on Monday called it a “dirty play.” Then Tuesday, the NBA ruled it a Flagrant 1 foul on Varejao.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series was set for Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, and both players involved seemed to be ready to move forward.
The 33-year-old Varejao, a 12th-year NBA veteran from Brazil, said in response to Stotts that he isn’t a dirty player.
“It’s a playoff game, we all know it’s going to be like that. I don’t know exactly what he’s talking about. I just thought it was a physical play,” Varejao said after the morning shootaround. “Got hit in my back, I was going down, my feet got stuck somewhere and all of a sudden, someone else fell. I’m sorry that that happened. Do you think I’m looking for guys to take them out? No. I know how it is to be hurt. I’ve been hurt enough.
“I would never try to hurt anybody, I would never do that.”
He and Henderson were ejected late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game after receiving their second technical fouls. Both were hit with a technical at the 3:29 mark of the third when Varejao tripped Henderson after they collided. Henderson jumped up, pointing a finger at his opponent’s face. They kept jawing a few minutes later and were tossed with 15.1 seconds left in the period.
Stotts was still steamed about it a day later.
“Varejao made a dirty play. It was a leg-whip and I thought it was a dangerous play,” he said. “I thought Gerald’s reaction to being tripped like that was appropriate. Otherwise, no one would have seen it. It was unfortunate that he got tossed on the second, but you have to defend yourself – especially when somebody makes a dirty play.”
Henderson said after the game that he believed Varejao thought the Blazers guard ran into him on purpose.
“I hit him. I bumped him good. But I didn’t, I wasn’t trying to hit him,” Henderson said, calling it “a little excessive” to have Varejao go at his legs.
Varejao said Tuesday he was initially surprised Henderson came at him.
“But looking at the play, he had the right to do it. I understand why he came back at me the way he did, which is OK, guys. It’s a playoff game,” Varejao said. “It’s going to be physical. It’s fun when it gets like that.”
Raptors coach Dwane Casey got a taste of changing his starting lineup.
Now he can’t stop.
Matt Devlin of Raptors.com:
Norman Powell replaces Patrick Patterson (who replaced regular-season starter Luis Scola in the first round). This makes the Raptors smaller and increases their ability to switch among their three starting wings – Powell, DeMarre Carroll and DeMar DeRozan.
Luol Deng gave the Hornets plenty of trouble as a stretch four in the last round. Toronto countered that advantage before falling victim to it.
The key will be the Raptors holding their own in the paint, rebounding and defending, and maintaining a reserve advantage that boosted them all season.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Curry has won the Magic Johnson Award, given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to an NBA player who combines excellence on the court with cooperation with the public and media.
Curry led the NBA with 30.1 points per game and a record 402 3-pointers in leading the Golden State Warriors to a 73-9 record, best in league history.
The reigning MVP beat out teammate Draymond Green, Portland’s Damian Lillard, New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap on Tuesday in voting by the PBWA, made up of approximately 175 writers and editors who cover the league on a regular basis.
The award was created in 2001 and named for Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, whom the PWBA regards as “the ideal model for the award.”