Vince Carter taught Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes a bit of a lesson as the first half came to an end at Oracle Arena on Thursday, and we’re all a little better off because of it.
With the Mavericks playing for the last shot of the half as point guard Darren Collison dribbled down the clock at the top of the arc, Carter hung out in the corner, and appeared to be reaching down to check on an injury that may have occurred on a previous possession.
As it turned out, Carter was just fine.
Barnes checked on him a couple of times, but decided that Carter was indeed banged up and was going to sit this play out. So naturally, he went to help and double Elton Brand once he received the pass in the paint from Collison.
That’s when Carter made his move, cutting baseline and going up for the wide-open, two-handed slam dunk after receiving the perfect pass from Brand.
To be fair, Carter did appear to be in some pain, as evidenced by the fact that he made sure to come down gently from the rim before delivering his motorcycle-style celebration a little more softly than usual. But Barnes now knows that as long as a player remains on the court, he needs to be dealt with defensively — even if that player is acting like he’s too injured to participate.
The Thunder would be no pushovers, but Cleveland would have a better chance of winning. Even with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City just hasn’t played as well as Golden State over a long stretch.
This is obviously a discussion only for fun. The Cavs have no say in their Finals opponent. The Warriors and Thunder will decide that tonight.
Report: Lakers ‘aren’t that high’ on DeMar DeRozan
No, Golden State wasn’t at full strength. But Oklahoma City reached a level the Warriors hadn’t all season. Even if Golden State had hit peak performance, I’m not sure that would’ve been enough. The Thunder were that good.
Oklahoma City was awesome, handing the Warriors 28- and 24-point losses.
But Golden State rallied to force a Game 7 tonight. If the Warriors win, they’ll become just the eighth team in NBA history to lose multiple games by more than 20 in a series and still win it. The seven to do it:
Houston Rockets lost to Los Angeles Clippers by 25 and 33 in 2015 second round
Atlanta Hawks lost to Miami Heat by 29 and 26 in 2009 first round
Houston Rockets lost to Phoenix Suns by 22 and 24 in 1995 second round
Philadelphia 76ers lost to Boston Celtics by 40 and 29 in 1982 Eastern Conference finals
Denver Nuggets lost to Milwaukee Bucks by 31 and 28 in 1978 Western Conference semifinals
Los Angeles Lakers lost to Milwaukee Bucks by 21 and 26 in 1972 Western Conference finals
Minneapolis Lakers lost to St. Louis Hawks by 34 and 30 in 1959 Western Division finals
This is probably the right course. I don’t know whom the Raptors could get if they lets DeRozan walk, but if he signs elsewhere, they would have just about $19 million in cap space – less than a max salary. I doubt they could land a better replacement.
I’m not sold on DeRozan as a playoff player, though he legitimately took the next step this regular season. But I’d rather keep him, hope he learns to handle the challenges of the postseason and possibly use him in a trade down the road. It’ll cost a max salary if DeRozan isn’t willing to take a discount, but that beats the alternative of losing him for nothing but cap space.