Warriors keep coming back, just not far enough, fall to Clippers in Game 3

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Golden State fans will want to focus on the last shot — you’re not going to get many calls in that spot but Chris Paul did seem to clip Stephen Curry on the elbow on a final three (or at the very least didn’t give him room to come down). There was no call and the Clippers won 98-96.

But that’s not why the Warriors lost Game 3, that’s not why they trail 2-1 in this series.

The Warriors lost because they were 6-of-31 from three.

The Warriors lost because Blake Griffin led a 19-4 charge in the third quarter to destroy the Warriors — the Clippers were up by 18 at that point (Griffin had 32 on the night). The Warriors had to expend a lot of energy just to get back.

The Warriors did make a run late in the fourth quarter, then the Clippers responded with another 7-0 run, this one led by Chris Paul. The Warriors had to fight back on that one as well in the final seconds. And they couldn’t.

The Clippers won the match ups again and with that take a 2-1 lead in a series that started to show some of the feistiness we had all expected. Matt Barnes should get out his checkbook now for the fine that is coming thanks to his WWE body slam of Andre Iguodala. Green had his own flagrant on Griffin.

The Warriors fought back in this one, they just couldn’t get all the way back.

During the season Golden State lived by the three on offense — only the Rockets made more threes. The Warriors count on the three ball. However, during the regular season the Clippers held opponents to shooting 33.2 percent from three, the lowest percentage in the league. That strategy is working as evidenced by the 6-for-31 shooting in Game 3 by Golden State.

The Clippers continued with their “we’re not going to let Stephen Curry beat us” strategy, trapping and trying to force the ball out of his hands. Curry ended up with just 16 points — although he nailed a couple of late threes — but he did have 15 assist. Klay Thompson benefitted with 26 points on the night to lead Golden State.

DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and more importantly 22 rebounds, a Clippers franchise record. Jamal Crawford had 15 points off the bench, Chris Paul had 15 points and 10 assists, plus he sparked a fourth quarter 7-0 run.

The Clippers can expect to see more small ball lineups as Mark Jackson needs to find a way to get his shooters better looks. Then they need to knock them down.

Golden State needs the Splash Brothers back in full force for Game 4. If not, that could be the last game at Oracle this season

Hawks sign two-way Tyler Cavanaugh to standard contract

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ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who originally came to Atlanta on a two-way contract, has signed a multi-year deal with the Hawks.

Cavanaugh has averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games, including one start, since signing the two-way contract on Nov. 5.

Cavanaugh, from Syracuse, New York, played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to George Washington, where he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds last season. He was selected the National Invitation Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2016 after leading the Colonials to the NIT title.

 

Carlos Boozer announces retirement

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Carlos Boozer went from being known as a gritty second-rounder to an overpaid defensive liability.

In some ways, that’s the ultimate success story.

Now, after playing last season in China, he’s walking away.

Boozer on ESPN:

I’m officially retired.

The Cavaliers drafted Boozer with the No. 35 pick in the 2002. After he spent a couple productive seasons in Cleveland, the Cavs declined his cheap team option to make him a restricted free agent – with an agreement he’d re-sign at a reasonable rate if you ask them, with no handshake deal if you ask him.

Boozer bolted for the Jazz, who gave him a six-year, $68 million contract. He made a couple All-Star teams and helped Utah reach the conference finals.

Then, he went to Chicago on a five-year, $75 million contract after the Bulls struck out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010. The Derrick Rose-led Bulls never broke through, and Boozer was often the scapegoat.

Chicago amnestied him, and he spent his last NBA season with the Lakers three years ago.

Boozer was a pretty good player paid like a very good one, and that didn’t endear him. We mostly remember him for accidentally punching a referee below the belt:

Painting on hair:

And yelling “and one!” after nearly every shot.

For a while, it seemed the 36-year-old Boozer wanted to play another NBA season. But he finally could no longer find a front office eager to pay him.

It’s only fitting that he was denied that last “and one!”

Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis still not talking off court

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The Bulls are 5-0 since Nikola Mirotic returned from an injury suffered when Bobby Portis punched him in the face during a preseason practice. Mirotic and Portis are both excelling individually, and Chicago has outscored opponents by a whopping 34.3 points per 100 possessions when those two share the court.

Jack Maloney of CBSSports.com:

When asked if the two former combatants have spoken yet, Mirotic said, “We did on the floor. We’ve always spoken because we need to have good communication.” As for whether they’ve talked off the floor, however, Mirotic was succinct in his response: “No.”

I guess Mirotic hasn’t completely moved on, though he said he did. But that’s fine. How could someone get past a teammate punching him in the face?

Importantly, this is becoming just a regular NBA problem. The extent of that practice punch was practically unprecedented. But plenty of players have loathed teammates while making it work on the court. That happens more than people realize.

Mirotic and Portis can make this their status quo – at least the on-court cooperation. I’m not convinced Chicago will keep winning like this.

Watch Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ short film (video)

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Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in a letter called “Dear Basketball,” which was made into a short film.

Now, on the day the Lakers retire his Nos. 8 and 24, you can watch it. It’s quite beautiful: