Andre Iguodala

It wasn’t pretty but Warriors will gladly take win, force Game 7 with Clippers

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That was playoff basketball.

Two teams with high-flying explosive offenses get sucked into grinding it out, with neither team shooting better than 40 percent for the game. Guys fouled out (or in the case of Jermaine O’Neal got injured) and other guys stepped up (hello Marreese Speights). Stars struggled, role players found a way (Matt Barnes).

In the fourth quarter the Warriors had a little more — they shot 52 percent overall for the final 12 minutes, they had balance while the Clippers leaned on Jamal Crawford to create and score (he had 11 in the quarter) and with that the Warriors won 100-99.

That sets up a Game 7 showdown Saturday night in Los Angeles.

This game started out looking like Game 5, the Clippers were led defensively by DeAndre Jordan who was blocking shots, the Clippers getting points in transition and they raced out to a 16-7 lead early. The Warriors opened the game shooting 2-of-9 from the floor.

Then, in what would be a pattern for the rest of the night, the team that was behind made a run of their own and kept it close. In this case it was a more active Warriors defense (they aggressively doubled Blake Griffin when he caught the ball), it worked to the point that by a few minutes into the second quarter the Warriors were on top.

Then the Clippers made a run. And so it went all night.

It was not a good night for the stars of either side. Blake Griffin was 8-of-24 shooting for 17 points. Chris Paul was 3-of-10. Likely Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford was 5-of-13. Stephen Curry was 9-of-24 for 24 points. Klay Thompson 3-of-11.

Combine that with foul trouble — Griffin, Redick and David Lee all fouled out, plenty of others were in foul trouble — and you ended up with the kind of game where twice in a row in the fourth quarter Golden State’s offense was a Jordan Crawford isolation.

Where Golden State earned the win was the effort plays. For example, the Warriors had 14 offensive rebounds in the first half — they didn’t shoot well but they got a second shot opportunity on 40 percent of their misses that half. After the game Clippers coach Doc Rivers talked about the Warriors winning the 50/50 balls all night.

Doc also wasn’t getting enough out of Jordan and Blake to punish Golden State for going small, so he went small to match, employing a lot of three-guard lineups.

It almost worked. But in the end the Warriors hit a few more key threes while the Clippers struggled to get into an offensive set that got them good looks. Throw in an Andre Iguodala four-point play in the fourth and you get a one-point Warriors win.

The Clippers will play better at home Sunday night, they should be the favorites. However, any team with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can simply have nights where they go into video game mode and can’t miss, nights where they will win no matter what. Do that and Doc Rivers will have a lot of basketball questions to answer.

Spurs fans decide to vote for Gregg Popovich in presidential election

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Gregg Popovich had plenty of strong opinions leading up to and after the 2016 Presidential Election. Perhaps he would have been a good choice for the White House himself?

That’s what 25 people in Bexar County — where San Antonio is located — thought when they cast their vote for the 67-year-old San Antonio Spurs coach.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, rather than cast their vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, some folks thought the Air Force Academy graduate would suit them better as the Leader of the Free World.
From MySA.com:

They wrote-in Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Jesus and Mickey Mouse, among others, to be president. A few cast their vote for a Popovich-Duncan ticket, but despite their efforts, Trump and Mike Pence were elected president and vice president.

The write-in records, obtained from the Bexar County Elections Department, show 5,226 people cast a vote for someone, or something, other than the two major party candidates— Clinton and Trump.

Popovich has been putting his money where his mouth is, both in his criticism of the current political climate and in his community outreach.

The Spurs coach recently held a town hall with Cornel West and local disadvantaged San Antonio youth.

Craig Sager to be inducted to Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame

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TNT’s legendary sideline reporter Craig Sager is widely held to be one of the best dudes working in professional sports, and this December he will be honored by his peers for his years of hard work. The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame — an organization made up of members of almost every major American media company — will induct Sager to their ranks on Dec. 13.

While Sager is now known for his genial demeanor, wacky suits, and multiple unforunate bouts with cancer, he has been in the national public eye for more than two decades.
From the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame:

Sager’s presence has become synonymous with big-time NBA basketball (not to mention with unique style). As a sideline reporter for the NBA on TNT for nearly two decades, he has earned the respect of players, coaches, and viewers. He previously hosted Atlanta Hawks telecasts for TBS Superstation and was a reporter on TNT’s NFL pregame, halftime, and postgame from 1990 to ’97.

This is an excellent thing to happen to a generally excellent human being.

Congratulations to Sager.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle reveals hilarious strategy for unlimited timeouts

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Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t afraid to speak his mind or put his intelligence on display. The 2011 NBA Champion recently made comments amid a losing season that the NBA is better than digging ditches, where most of us would have to agree.

He’s also not afraid to game the game a little bit.

Via Twitter:

This feels like one of those moments where you realize that the answer to something simple is often right in front of you the entire time.

Carlisle is a basketball genius, and there’s nothing wrong if he’s technically playing within the rules — even if what he’s doing is asking for a penalty within those rules.

Don’t hate the player — or the coach — hate the game.

Wizards’ Tomas Satoransky says new role making adjustment to NBA hard

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26:  Tomas Satoransky #31 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball against the San Antonio Spurs at Verizon Center on November 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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There was a lot of preseason buzz about Wizards rookie Tomas Satoransky — he’s 6’7″, long, athletic, he’s got handles, and he made some impressive plays in preseason.

His regular season has been a disappointment. He’s playing more than 16 minutes a night, but is shooting just 40 percent from the field, is scoring 3.8 points with 2.4 assists per game, and he has a PER at 8 that suggests he could use some D-League run.

Why is he having trouble adjusting? He spoke to gigantes.com and said a lot of it is learning a new position (translation via Sportando).

“I’m not playing as a point guard, I’m playing mainly as 2 or 3 and that’s difficult for me,” Satoransky said. ‘When you played your entire career as point guard, it’s difficult to adapt to a new role, especially because you have to play defense against bigger guys. I know I have to do better to play in these roles”

With John Wall and Trey Burke on the Wizards, there isn’t a lot of room for run at the point for Satoransky. He also is adjusting to the NBA game — a third of his possessions come as the pick-and-roll ball handler (a big role for an NBA point guard) and he is shooting 34.8 percent on those, although he is passing well out of those situations (with passes the Wizards average almost a point per possession when he comes off the pick, stats via Synergy Sports). Satoransky also is getting a fair amount of spot-up looks but is shooting  28.6 percent on those.

There are a lot of things going wrong with the Wizards’ bench units, Satoransky is part of that but at least he’s a guy the Wizards want to take their time and develop. Scott Brooks is still figuring out how to make all this work at the same time. Which means Satoransky may have a good NBA future ahead of him, but there is a lot of work to come first, and this rookie season is going to be rough.