Associated Press

Nick Young eager to help champion Warriors in any role

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nick Young passed up a shot, and then another, uncharacteristic of the charismatic guard with a sweet stroke.

That’s when he heard from Andre Iguodala. And Steve Kerr.

Just shoot it.

Regardless of how large his role or his number of minutes on the loaded NBA champions, the Warriors want Young looking to score whenever he sees a chance he likes.

“We had to remind him, like, `Listen man, you’ve gotta shoot, be you,”‘ Iguodala said. “Shaun Livingston and myself are going to put him in a position where he won’t have to worry about where his shots are going to come from or if he’s going to be able to get as many attempts as he would like. We’re going to make life a lot easier for him and we’re going to make basketball fun for him, too.”

That’s already clear, given Young’s big grin and playful nature his first few days on the job.

Kerr took a turn getting on him, and Young is already used to a full-court press from the reigning NBA champions: His new coach, Finals MVP Kevin Durant and Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green all went to Los Angeles to take “Swaggy P” to lunch and recruit him to Northern California.

Young called their efforts “very persuasive,” and he’s still appreciative.

“They took me out on the town a little bit. I like to go out a little bit,” he said. “They just knew me. They just get me.”

Now, they all are eager for him to get comfortable – and fast. The Warriors open the preseason schedule at home Saturday against Denver before a trip to China to face the Timberwolves twice, Oct. 5 and 8.

“I’ve been saying the same thing to Nick, `Shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,”‘ Kerr said. “The whole thing for any of our new guys is to understand that we want the first good shot we can find. If we don’t have a good shot, try to get a great shot but let’s keep the ball moving but be aggressive and find that balance. I don’t want Nick out there thinking. He’s one of the best shooters in the league and he should let it fly every time he’s open. And then as he gets more comfortable with the guys he’ll understand where those opportunities will come, when to move the ball on and when to shoot it.”

Young played for former Warriors top assistant Luke Walton last season with the Lakers, so he got a bit of a glimpse at how Golden State might operate with its music-filled practices and focus on fun.

The 32-year-old Young in June declined the player option in his contract for this season with Los Angeles that would have paid him more than $5.6 million. He had said in April that it was “60/40” he would leave the Lakers in hopes of joining a playoff team.

Then a free agent, Young received a $5.2 million, one-year contract in July.

Hard to beat the star-studded defending champs featuring Durant and Stephen Curry – even if Young is finding his way initially.

“The more I get used to the plays, the more the shots will be open. I’m just in everybody’s way right now,” he said, then laughed while adding: “I was with Draymond and Steph a little bit today, I found myself passing a little bit more than normal. It felt good. I’m all about getting some assists.”

He averaged 13.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 60 games for the Lakers. He will provide the Warriors with the kind of depth Kerr loves to have as he regularly mixes and matches rotations.

Young is ready to do whatever is needed for the Warriors and Kerr, who rotates lineups often.

“Nick’s going to fit in great,” Iguodala said. “The thing with our team is that guys come in from different places and they don’t want to try to disrupt any of the flow. I saw it the first day. He didn’t want to disrupt the flow, but we encouraged him to shoot, we encouraged him to be aggressive, just have good intentions. I know Nick and JaVale (McGee) knows Nick and we know he’s a great person, he’s a funny guy. If you’re a good guy, a naturally good person, like to play basketball, you’ll fit in perfect.”

 

The Warriors’ championship rings have 31 diamonds in them (VIDEO)

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Tuesday night meant the return of NBA basketball, and of course what we all wanted to see: the Golden State Warriors.

In the second game of the evening, the Warriors squared off against the Houston Rockets. Before the teams tipped, the Warriors received their championship rings in front of their hometown crowd at Oracle Arena.

Wearing special Nike hoodies with the phrase “The Champions” on the back, the Warriors received their rings to a standing ovation.

Perhaps the best part of the ceremony was finding out the official gemstone count in the rings. According to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver, the rings have 31 diamonds in them.

Via Twitter:

Hmm. 31.

3-1.

3-1 lead.

Nope, doesn’t ring a bell.

Report: Cavaliers ditched Kyrie Irving tribute video idea vs. Celtics

AP
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It was the first game for Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving back in Cleveland against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night. Irving spent the first six years of his career in Cleveland before being traded to the Celtics over the summer.

Of course, there was no love lost between the two teams nor between Cavaliers fans and Irving. Boston won the opening tip which Irving gathered, prompting a round of boos from the audience at The Q.

Perhaps more interesting was that the Cavaliers had a tribute video lined up for Irving but decided not to run it.

According to multiple reports, the video was set to run during a floating point in the game, but the operations folks in Cleveland never found the right time.

Another report from Cleveland.com has said that the aforementioned video had set off a few Cavaliers players.

Via Cleveland.com:

According to team spokesman Tad Carper, multiple Cavs officials, including majority owner Dan Gilbert, chose not to show the video because “we were expecting to run it at a floating opportunity based on the right moment, and we felt that moment never presented itself.”

Carper said the decision to cancel the video was not “directly” tied to the gruesome ankle injury to Celtics guard Gordon Hayward with 6:50 left in the first quarter, either.

A source with direct knowledge of Cavs’ players thinking told cleveland.com that several inside the Cleveland locker room were upset Monday upon hearing that a video was planned.

The video would have upset some inside the Cleveland locker room? I wonder which ones.

Already a question, Celtics’ depth issues tested by Hayward injury

AP
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Tonight’s game story was probably always going to be about the Boston Celtics’ wing depth. It still is, I guess, but it reads a lot different now that Gordon Hayward is likely out for the season with a fractured tibia and dislocated left ankle.

Hayward, the biggest free agent prize this offseason, signed with the Celtics over the summer as the team moved in a new direction with Kylie Irving. In doing so, the Celtics leveraged a bit of their wing depth by sending Jae Crowder to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons.

Tuesday’s opening ceremony was supposed to give us a better idea of how the Celtics depth would fare against the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart are slated to be a big part of the Boston playoff hopes this year. So too is Marcus Morris once he returns from a knee injury. Of course, that was when we were sure that Hayward would be anchoring the small forward position.

Now, Hayward is out for an undetermined period of time after suffering a catastrophic injury on that fateful alley-oop attempt against LeBron James. With Hayward went Boston’s hopes of a win as the opening matchup of the series went to the Cavaliers, 102–90, albeit with a bit of late excitement as a Irving took the potential game-tying shot as time expired with James guarding him.

Via Twitter:

So here we are, where we originally anticipated to start but with one less star player accounted for. While the Celtics mounted an impressive third quarter comeback, we still don’t have answers to our questions on the Boston depth chart.

It’s true that we saw some impressive play on Tuesday from the guys that were expected to complement Hayward on the way. Brown led the team with 25 points on 11-of-23 shooting in 40 minutes. Likewise, Smart showed some flashes of defensive brilliance even as he went 0-of-4 from 3-point range. Tatum, always expected to contribute the least in his first season, scored 14 points while grabbing 10 rebounds, an impressive double-double in his opening NBA game.

But this still doesn’t account for the fact that the Celtics were outplayed on the wing. The combination of Crowder and JR Smith for Cleveland proved to be too much for Boston to handle when put on the same floor with James. That is to say nothing of Kevin Love‘s performance, which undoubtedly benefited from the defensive rotational differences for the Celtics with Hayward out.

The Cavaliers outflanked Boston on Tuesday despite starting guards Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade combining for 22 points on 24 shots. Crowder himself shot just 3-of-10 from the field, although his contributions elsewhere were obvious. The Cavaliers were able to punch out Boston even as they suffered from subpar performances from major players. No doubt with more time together both sides will solidify, but now without Hayward the young players on the Celtics will have to do much more.

It will be easier for the likes of Crowder, Wade, and Rose to mold around the best player in the NBA than it is for Boston to find a rotation that gets them into the playoffs. And while one game in October won’t tell the story of the season, we had to get a hint of what the Celtics’ young players would look like against top competition. We still got that, and if there is an upside here for Celtics fans it’s that the development of those young players appears to have sparked a flame that should grow all season.

Make no bones about it, the Celtics still have some good players that should be able to shield the younger ones — especially Tatum — from having to shoulder too much of the load. That’s the kind of thing that can stunt the growth of a player. But that doesn’t mean that Celtics fans can’t be disappointed. It was always going to be a stretch to topple the Cavaliers and LeBron in the East, and without Hayward it will be impossible.

From Kyrie Irving to Jae Crowder, no love lost between Celtics and Cavs

AP
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The first night of the NBA is here. Now you can stop pretending that you are going to win your NFL fantasy league and pay attention to something important.

Tuesday night’s opening matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics was of course one of intrigue for many reasons. The teams have new rosters after a trade involving Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder, just to name a few.

The NBA likes to open its seasons with matchups like this, and the crowd at The Q in Cleveland did not disappoint when they saw Irving once more.

There did not appear to be bad blood on the court between LeBron James and Irving, and the two exchanged a friendly fist bump as is customary before the tip.

Via Instagram:

Of course, Cavaliers fans did not hold back once the Celtics won the tip off and Kyrie handled the ball for the first time.

There was also myriad technical fouls, including one on Irving after a timeout and one on Al Horford for clapping at Crowder. The latter gave us this gem:

Is an absolute bummer that the Celtics will be without Gordon Hayward as he recovers from a broken left ankle. But, at least there will be some bad blood remaining between these teams to entertain us over the course of the regular season.