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.”

Report: Wizards signing Donald Sloan

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The Wizards look like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Tim Frazier.

But they also looked like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Trey Burke and then Brandon Jennings last year – and look how that turned out.

So, even after trading for Frazier, Washington is still trying to increase stability behind John Wall.
CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The Wizards added some depth to their backcourt on Thursday by signing veteran guard Donald Sloan to a one-year deal, CSN’s Chris Miller confirmed on Thursday night.

The 29-year-old Sloan has played for the Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, Cavaliers, Pacers and Nets in a five-year NBA career. He spent last season in China.

Sloan isn’t much of a scorer, and he’s only a decent distributor. But he makes up for it with all-around adequacy, highlighted by his rebounding for his position.

The veteran will compete with second-year Sheldon Mac, whose salary is just $50,000 guaranteed, to be Washington’s third point guard.

Report: Knicks sign Nigel Hayes to partially guaranteed deal

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Nigel Hayes became a cult hero at Wisconsin for bringing a “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE ANYTHING HELPS” sign to GameDay and soliciting Venmo donations, challenging the stenographer in a press conference and “accidentally” calling a stenographer beautiful in front of a hot mic.

After going undrafted, Hayes and his colorful personality are headed to New York, where Knicks fans are starving for fun.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Could Hayes stick into the regular season? The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one more spot for a player on an standard contract. Chasson Randle has an unguaranteed salary that becomes partially guaranteed around the time training camp opens. The Knicks could also sign other players, though they’re down to just minimum exceptions.

Hayes – a 6-foot-8 forward – has a chance, but he’s most likely ticketed to New York’s minor-league affiliate after being waived by the parent club.

Who is betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year? Lonzo Ball? Ben Simmons? Depends.

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The Rookie of the Year race is wide open heading into next season.

It’s that way every year — if you had predicted Malcolm Brogdon was going to win a year ago, you would have been laughed out of the building — but this coming season has a lot of talent at the top of the board who could win. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum all have a real shot — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Who is the better favorite? Depends on where you do your betting.

The William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook (which works with a number of Las Vegas casinos, such as the SLS), has this (hat tip ESPN):

Lonzo Ball 9-5
Ben Simmons 5-2
Dennis Smith Jr. 4-1
Markelle Fultz 13-2
De'Aaron Fox 8-1
Jayson Tatum 8-1

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has Simmons as the betting line favorite at 9-4

The online betting site Bovda.lv has this line

Lonzo Ball 9-4
Dennis Smith 3-1
Ben Simmons 5-1
Jayson Tatum 5-1
Markelle Fultz 8-1

Traditionally, Rookie of the Year goes to a guy who has the ball in his hands, is aggressive, and puts up raw numbers. It celebrates scorers.

This year a whole lot of guys can fit that bill, more than are mentioned here. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Check out the first NBA 2K18 trailer (VIDEO)

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The NBA season is coming… and that means NBA 2K18 also coming.

To whet the appetite of you gamers out there, check out the first trailer for the upcoming game, with music by Mobb Deep.

You can pre-order the game now.