Warriors hear your “they were up 3-1 last year” comments and shrug. Should they?

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OAKLAND — Golden State hears your “they blew a 3-1 lead last year in the Finals” talk.

And they shrug.

“Totally different situation. Different team. They’re a different team also,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re in a much better position this year. We’re healthy, we got Kevin Durant. That’s a good thing.”

“I haven’t really even thought about last year’s Finals, just because we try to live in the moment right now and enjoy this” Klay Thompson said.

“We won three games in a row in The Finals, 15 in a row overall in the Playoffs, you just think it’s going to happen,” Draymond Green said. “Then all of a sudden you get smacked in the face, and it’s like: Whoa. You remember what can be, what can happen. So it’s great for us to lock back in and come out with that same focus that we came out with earlier in the season.”

Closing out Cleveland will be far from easy. The Cavaliers play their best ball with their backs against the wall, and they are still in that spot — lose and it’s over. Cleveland played with force, physicality, and better ball movement in Game 4, and the Warriors didn’t handle it well. Now Golden State heads home, and there was a confidence around the team at practice, they think they could handle this.

But what if the Cavaliers find a way to win Game 5 on the road Monday night, do things start to snowball on the Warriors again?

“Snowballing? I wouldn’t think of it that way. Just me personally,” Andre Iguodala said. “You try to prepare and do your job at your highest ability to help the team complete that goal. For me, I just think differently. There’s no such thing as pressure. Or if it is pressure, you just embrace it.”

“I mean, you want to win and close the series out,” Green said. ”There’s no added pressure in doing that. That’s just what it is.”

Do the Cavaliers see pressure on the Warriors to win Game 5 lest this start to feel like last year?

“No, I feel like this is the game we got to get,” LeBron James said. “Or it’s over with. I think everybody’s feeling that way.”

The Warriors may be up 3-1 now, but they will remind you they were up 3-0 and no team in NBA history has come from that far back to win a series.

Golden State talked about playing better to start the game, about defending the three-point line better, about making things harder on Cleveland than they did in Game 4. LeBron and Kyrie Irving will hit shots, but can the Warriors get in the body of J.R. Smith early, and can they keep Tristan Thompson off the boards again? Oh, and it would help if Stephen Curry knocked down a few shots.

“Man, for me and I think for our team, we know what the situation we’re in,” Durant said. “We know that anything can happen in this league, and we know that champions just don’t lay down and die…. We can’t worry about the games that happened before, or we can’t worry about what will happen in the future. We just have to stay in the moment and help each other out each and every play, and we’ll see what happens.”

Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan fined $15,000 for criticizing referees

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The Raptors lost to the Warriors on Saturday, and DeMar DeRozan – despite his own brilliant performance – was irked.

The Toronto guard seemed particularly upset about a review of an out-of-bounds call in the final seconds. After initially giving the ball to the Raptors, officials said it touched DeRozan while he was out of bounds and granted Golden State possession:

The NBA’s replay guidelines say (emphasis mine): “Referees can only initiate a review on a called out-of-bounds play (for example, not one where an out-of-bounds might have occurred) and only those involving doubt as to which player caused the ball to go out (not those, for example, where a player stepped on the line).”

DeRozan

I mean, it’s frustrating being out there feeling like you playing 5-on-8. It’s just what it feel like, period. Some of them calls was terrible, period.

I thought you couldn’t even do that. I’m not even a referee, and I know that rule. So, somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

The NBA corrected him in the two-minute report, saying “After communicating with the Replay Center, the ruling on the floor of Raptors possession is overturned and the Warriors are awarded possession because the ball touches DeRozan’s (TOR) leg while his body is out of bounds before Curry (GSW) knocks the ball out. Referees were able to review two aspects of this out-of-bounds play since they were part of the same sequence.”

Then, the league fined him.

NBA release:

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has been fined $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The comments were made following the Raptors’ 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 13

Saying “5-on-8” seems to be a secret code word for getting fined. I’m not sure whether the rest of DeRozan’s comments would have gotten him fined, but that phrase almost certainly did him in.

Kyle Lowry on plan to meet Ben Simmons after ejections: ‘Put it this way, I was back there’

AP Photo/Rich Schultz
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As Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons were ejected late in the 76ers’ win over the Raptors yesterday, the players appeared to challenge each other to meet in back.

Lowry eagerly left the court and headed through the tunnel. Simmons appeared much more reluctant at that point.

Despite a report of a confrontation in the hallway, Simmons said nothing escalated, as he went to his locker room.

Michael Grange of Sportsnet

TKO.

Warriors complained of no hot water in showers in Cleveland

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers are clearly frustrated.

Did someone in Cleveland take out that frustration on the Warriors after they beat the Cavs last night?

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Players were complaining about there being no hot water in the visiting locker room showers. When they walked in, they could be heard screaming in discomfort. Most of the players emerged shivering from taking a quick wash-off.

“Man, they got to do something in ‘The Q.’ Somebody call Bron!” Kevin Durant yelled, referring to LeBron James.

No one seemed angry; the situation was more humorous.

That’s the right approach. Whenever the hot water is out in a visiting locker room, the finger is pointed at the home team for sabotage. Sometimes, heating systems just fail.

Giannis Antetokounmpo assists fastbreak dunk with football-style long snap (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is scoring more in the post, the basketball analogue of football’s trenches.

Apparently, he’s taking the comparison to the next level.

In the Bucks’ win over the Wizards yesterday, Antetokounmpo played the part of a long-snapping center to set up Khris Middleton in transition.

NBC Sports Washington: