Warriors owner sheds light on potential Kings move to Anaheim

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Golden State could be one of the winners if the Sacramento Kings head to Anaheim — they would be the only Northern California team. Sacramento baseball fans grow up rooting for the Giants. That could be the Warriors, they could grab future generation of NBA fans in California’s capitol.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob — in a wide ranging Q&A that Warriors fans should read — talked about the potential Kings move and its impacts to Sam Amick writing for CSN Bay Area:

You could argue that it’s a good thing if they left because we’d have all of Northern California, but you could also argue that it’s a bad thing because it sets a precedent for a team moving into another team’s market that they don’t want. The Lakers and Clippers don’t want them (a source says the Board of Governor’s vote for the extension of the March 1 relocation deadline was 27-2, with the Lakers and Clippers the only dissenting votes).

Lacob is specifically talking about San Jose. He doesn’t want a team there. But the idea of billionaire Larry Ellison buying, say, the Hornets and moving them to San Jose is not out of the question. Lacob doesn’t want that. (Lacob outbid Ellison for the Warriors, even though Ellison’s fortune dwarfs Lacob’s.)

Then there is the issue of who gets paid — league sources said that the Kings would not have to pay the Lakers and Clippers a territorial rights fee (something that could drive the cost of a Kings move up so high it would kill the deal). Lacob says it’s more complex than that.

There’s a 75-mile rule. That’s the fact, but it can be overturned (by a vote of the other owners) so you decide how you want to refer to that.

He’s saying he Kings should have to pay the Lakers and Clippers — unless the other owners waive that fee. Which they may well do (based on extension vote that gives the Kings owners, the Maloof brothers, until April 18 to make a decision and get a deal done).

Warriors fans, the Lacob Q&A also covers deadline trades that never came to be, and talks about the team’s use of advanced statistics. Check it out.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.

Video Breakdown: Rockets launch Eric Gordon from 3-point range against Thunder in Game 4

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The Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, 113-109, and now the series heads back to Texas with the Rockets in the lead, 3-1.

Houston and OKC played a weird game, with Nene scoring 28 points off the bench for the Rockets and serious mischief in the final moments. The end of the game included a purposely missed free throw by Steven Adams that allowed Russell Westbrook to grab a quick 3-pointer and a missed call when James Harden shoved Alex Abrines out of the way like an NFL tackle.

While the Rockets didn’t shoot a stellar percentage from 3-point range — just 31.5 percent — they still knocked down 11 buckets from deep. Part of that action was a play run for Sixth Man of the Year candidate Eric Gordon that included a little semi-Pistol action, and a stagger screen that allowed Gordon to work his way free.

I picked this play to go over this week because it exemplifies just how committed to the 3-point shot the Rockets are. Plus, Gordon ran around three screens just to get this one bucket, which is always fun to see.

Watch the full video breakdown above.

Jimmy Butler on Marcus Smart dustup: ‘He’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down’

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Marcus Smart and Jimmy Butler had to be separated during the Celtics’ Game 4 win over the Bulls after Smart pushed Butler, who was hounding him defensively in the backcourt.

Butler:

As far as the Marcus Smart situation goes, he’s a great actor. Acting tough, that’s what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that, and I’m the wrong guy to get in my face. So, he needs to take it somewhere else because I’m not the one for that.

Was that their first run-in? Butler:

That’s the first time. Last time, too. We’re not going to sit here and get in each other’s faces like that. Like I said, he’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down.

The Bulls, who’ve lost two straight to allow Boston to tie the series 2-2, is angling for any edge. Butler tried to intimidate Smart on the court, and the Chicago wing might actually rattle the too easily shakable Smart with his postgame comments.

The irony: Some might say Butler, who did come up hard, lost touch with his roots as he entered stardom. I don’t buy that, at least not majorly.

But even if both – or neither – are posturing to any degree, this will be a matchup to watch in Game 5.

Remembering former NBA official Jess Kersey, who passed away Saturday

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Jess Kersey, who officiated more than 2,200 NBA games, including being part of 19 NBA Finals, passed away over the weekend, losing his battle with cancer at age 76.

Kersey was a well-respected official who feared nothing. Maybe the most remembered image of Kersey is him trying to break up a fight between Mitch Kupchak and Hakeem Olajuwon, essentially trying to tackle Olajuwon with his head in Olajuwon’s chest and his arms wrapped around him. Kersey got in the middle of everything if that was what was required.

Our thoughts go out to the Kersey family for their loss.