On night Warriors struggle from three they turn to defense to get Game 1 win over Jazz

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Stephen Curry was just 1-of-4 from three, while Andre Iguodala was 0-of-6, and the Warriors as a team shot just 7-of-29, or 24.1 percent, from beyond the arc. The Warriors biggest weapon was misfiring Tuesday night.

So Golden State relied on its defense.

The Warriors held Utah scoreless for more than the first four minutes of the game, and ultimately to an offensive rating of 100.8 points per 100 possessions, more than six points fewer than the Jazz’s regular season number. Utah shot just 31 percent from three. People seemed to forget that Golden State’s defense was 1.6 points per 100 better than Utah this season, but they won’t after Game 1.

That defense led to 29 transition points from the Warriors, which led to a fast start and eventually a comfortable 106-94 Warriors win over the Jazz Tuesday night. The Warriors now lead the series 1-0 with Game 2 on Thursday at Oracle.

It was a dominant performance from the Warriors, and the game posed a lot of questions for the Jazz they are not going to be able to answer. Utah defended the arc well, but Golden State pulled Rudy Gobert out on the perimeter and that left the paint open for backdoor cuts and more easy baskets for the Warriors. It also led to this.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points, while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson each had 17.

Gobert led the Jazz with 13, while Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood each had a dozen (although Hayward took 14.

It was a classic Warriors game in the sense that they played good defense most of the time, then relied on wild offensive runs to pull away. Utah did a good job trying to take away the three ball (again, the Warriors weren’t great from deep) but Golden State countered with backdoor cuts and other plays to get buckets inside. That plus the transition buckets was enough offense that the Warriors were putting up numbers despite a pace slower than they would have liked.

While the Golden State stars were good, when the team really took control of the game was runs at the start of the second and fourth quarters — when it was the Warriors’ bench in the game. It’s also when the Jazz sat Gobert and Hayward, leaving Utah struggling on both ends.

For Utah, there are things they can tighten up defensively for Game 2 — transition comes to mind — but if they don’t find a way to get some consistent offense this is going to be a short series. And the Warriors defense is not going to make getting buckets easy.

 

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

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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

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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’

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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)

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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.