Did Rihanna yell “Brick!” as Kevin Durant shot a free throw, and did Durant stare her down after making a 3-pointer?
ESPN answered the first part of that question, one of the most compelling storylines from the Warriors’ Game 1 rout of the Cavaliers:
No. It was the woman next to Rihanna.
But whom did Durant think yelled at him? And whom did Durant stare down?
He’s not telling:
Someone leaked that Warriors coach Steve Kerr could return in the NBA Finals.
Now, the reports are getting more specific.
Ramona Shelburne and Chris Haynes of ESPN:
If Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr feels well over the next few days without any setbacks, there remains some optimism he could coach Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources told ESPN.
The Warriors obviously didn’t need Kerr in Game 1, routing Cleveland with Mike Brown in charge.
But it seems Kerr is on track to return. If he’s healthy, he should. Kerr helped Golden State get this far, he deserves a seat on the bench without over-the-top concerns about disruption.
Since LeBron James entered the NBA, teams that lost Game 1 on the road have won the series just 17% of the time.
LeBron’s teams have won in such situations 50% of the time – including, of course, last year’s NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers again face that deficit after dropping Game 1 of the Finals to the Warriors last night. Will LeBron again rally his team from a 1-0 hole without home-court advantage?
His history in such situations:
|2017 NBA Finals
|2016 NBA Finals
||Won in 7
|2015 NBA Finals
||Lost in 6
|2014 NBA Finals
||Lost in 5
|2014 conference finals
||Won in 6
|2012 NBA Finals
||Won in 5
|2011 conference finals
||Won in 5
|2008 second round
||Lost in 7
|2007 NBA Finals
||Lost in 4
|2007 conference finals
||Won in 6
|2006 second round
||Lost in 7
That’s an incredible record. LeBron has even overcome a Game 1 pounding similar to the 22-point beat-down Golden State laid on Cleveland yesterday, winning four straight over the Bulls after losing Game 1 by 21 in 2011. He also pushed the Pistons to seven games in 2006 after losing Game 1 by 27.
But this feels different.
LeBron was the best player in most of those series, and his teams’ turnarounds revolved around that fact. But Kevin Durant was the best player in Game 1, and the way the Warriors flustered LeBron offensively and exposed him defensively, Durant might remain the best player on the floor. Just three years removed from winning MVP, Durant sets a high bar.
In some of those series, LeBron’s team was superior but didn’t care enough about the regular season to secure home-court advantage. That’s not the case against the Kevin Durant-Stephen Curry–Draymond Green–Klay Thompson Warriors. The 51-win Cavs wouldn’t have caught 67-win Golden State if they tried.
But Warriors were probably superior to the Cavaliers last year, and LeBron still made it happen. So, maybe he can inspire another comeback this year.
He’ll have to play better. His teammates will have to play better. It’s asking a lot.
At least the past provides reason for confidence.
Russell Westbrook‘s former Thunder teammate and public nemesis Kevin Durant was playing (and excelling) in the NBA Finals last night.
Westbrook wants you to know he didn’t care.
The Oklahoma City guard posted a couple videos on Snapchat showing him singing along to “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit”:
This seems like LeBron James tweeting about other activities as he pretended he wasn’t watching the Warriors.
The Sister Acts are good movies, though.
The Spurs are reportedly serious about signing Chris Paul. The Clippers reportedly take the threat seriously.
And the third element to this saga – Paul himself – is also apparently serious about San Antonio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
All-Star point guard Chris Paul intends to give the San Antonio Spurs serious consideration in free agency this summer in the event he decides to leave the LA Clippers, according to league sources.
The Spurs, sources say, are increasingly considered a lock to at least secure a face-to-face meeting with Paul when free agency begins July 1
Why wouldn’t Paul want to join Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich? San Antonio can indulge Paul’s basketball intelligence and competitive ambitions like no other team.
But this remains unlikely for one reason: money.
Paul’s max with the Clippers projects to be $205 million over five years. His max elsewhere projects to be $152 million over four years.
The Spurs have no easy path to clearing max space. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker, they’d still need to dump two of those players.
Still, where there’s a will, there might be a way. If Paul and the Spurs set their minds on each other, they might work it out.