Erika Goldring/Getty Images for GQ

Warriors sure notice the nightlife difference in playing Jazz rather than Clippers

2 Comments

The Warriors awaited their second-round opponent until yesterday, when the Jazz beat the Clippers. That means Golden State will spend Saturday night in Utah, where Game 3 starts at 6:30 p.m. locally and the rest of the night is free. Safe to say, there’s a difference between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, where the Warriors would’ve been if the Clippers won.

Draymond Green, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s the playoff,” he said. “Nobody worried about nightlife during the playoffs.”

He might want to check with his teammates on that.

Matt Barnes, via Haynes:

“No comparison. There’s no such thing, man,” Warriors’ forward Matt Barnes told ESPN. “There’s no nightlife in Utah. Obviously as players, you want to be able to have a little bit of a nightlife, but the main focus is winning games. Me personally, I want to get out there because I want to beat the Clippers. That’s my former team and my kids are out there. But as far as nightlife, there’s no comparison to nightlife in Utah and L.A.”

Kevin Durant, via Haynes:

“I’m sure it’s probably clubs, but I’ve never been to one in Utah,” Kevin Durant told ESPN. “It’s a few restaurants close to the hotel, but you’re not scattered out. L.A. is just bigger. That’s the only difference. But preparation wise, my approach is the same as in any other city.”

Andre Iguodala:

“The problem with Utah is that you’re just sitting there and your mind is like dead, because in L.A., you still got energy for the game,” Andre Iguodala said. “Because you’re in L.A., you’re like, ‘Man, this is just the vibe in L.A.’ but in Utah, it can kind of lull you to sleep. And then you’ve slept too long or I’m bored out of my mind and now you got to try to pump yourself up for the game. You know you’re in the playoffs and you’re supposed to be pumped anyway, but the vibe is just like, ‘Man, let’s just get out of here.'”

I would love to know the exact question the players were asked. It might change how we view these answers. But Haynes is a responsible reporter, and he framed his article:

It’s safe to say that the Golden State Warriors were pulling for the LA Clippers to advance past the Utah Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Their rooting interest, however, had nothing to do with which team would present the stiffest challenge on the basketball court. Rather, it had everything to do with where they will spend their leisure hours when the second-round series shifts to Games 3 and 4.

The Warriors present an image of effortlessly cruising to wins, but they work very hard to prepare. They know when to buckle down and focus.

It’s interesting that two newcomers, Durant and Barnes, are the leading voices in this article. Iguodala also discussed the advantages of playing in low-key Salt Lake City. Durant and Barnes might have been attracted to Golden State to have it all – the partying and the winning – but a heightened commitment is necessary in the playoffs. I wonder whether their teammates will talk to them about that.

The Warriors can still run all over Utah, but there’s now a little more pressure to back it up after this talking.

James Dolan’s MSG threatens to sue Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers

1 Comment

This story requires a little background.

The Forum in Inglewood was best known for decades as being both fabulous and the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, back from the Jerry West era and through Magic’s “Showtime” teams. Then in 2001 the Lakers moved downtown to Staples Center, and after that the Forum went through some rough times. It was a number of things, including a mega church for a while, but mostly it was empty. Then several years ago the Madison Square Garden company (owned by Knicks owner James Dolan) bought the Forum, fixed it up, and started booking it again. Now the Forum is one of the hot major concert/event spaces in Los Angeles again, and it’s about to get a boost because it’s adjacent to where Stan Kroenke is building the new Los Angeles Rams stadium. Hello gentrification!

Now enter Steve Ballmer. The Clippers’ owner wants out of Staples Center and the Lakers’ shadow, so he has proposed to build his new arena in Inglewood in another space adjacent to the Rams stadium — land that MSG used to lease. As you might imagine, Dolan’s MSG is not thrilled — they are already battling with Staples to fill their space, now a state-of-the-art arena is moving in down the street.

In a proxy Knicks/Clippers battle, MSG may sue to Clippers and Inglewood in an attempt to block the new building. Here is what Dolan’s attorney in the case, Marvin Putnam, told the Daily Breeze in Los Angeles.

“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”

(Inglewood Mayor James) Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.

Right now the Clippers and Inglewood are in an exclusive negotiating agreement to come to terms on the sale and plans for the property. Putnam told the paper — and the Inglewood City Council — that if the deal goes forward they will sue to block it.

It’s impossible to say how this will turn out, although as a former government reporter I will say these cases tend to be decided in favor of the side about to spend a ton of money on a new building.

 

Jaylen Brown’s #drivebydunkchallenge video is awesome

3 Comments

I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.

But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
5 Comments

The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.