Dan Feldman

J.R. Smith close first half of Game 5 with deep 3-pointer (video)


The Warriors blew Game 5 of the NBA Finals open with a 22-2 second-quarter run, but the Cavaliers salvaged the quarter by closing it on an 8-2 run – capped by this J.R. Smith 3-pointer.

Smith, who’s quite comfortable shooting to end quarters, even celebrated in style.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Can the Cavs ride that late momentum back from a 71-60 halftime deficit? It looks unlikely, but at least they’re still in the game.

LeBron James posterizes Kevin Durant with fastbreak dunk (video)

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We’ve already been spoiled with multiple great moments between LeBron James and Kevin Durant – two superstars in peak form – during these NBA Finals.

LeBron provided another with this great dunk on Durant in transition.

Warriors aim to finish off Cavaliers in Game 5


OAKLAND, Calif. — The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors find themselves in the same situation as last year as they prepare to tip off Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night.

The Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series to stun the defending champs in 2016, using a 112-97 win in Game 5 in Oakland as a catalyst.

The Cavs will be riding the momentum of a hot-shooting, 137-116 triumph in Game 4 at Cleveland on Friday when they attempt to complete another Finals comeback, this one from a 3-0 series hole. Golden State still holds a 3-1 series edge.

Cleveland burned the Warriors on 24-of-45 shooting from 3-point range on Friday. The Cavaliers outscored Golden State 72-33 from beyond the arc.

That was in stark contrast to the long-range dominance the Warriors had established in the first three games, when Golden State outscored Cleveland 138-93 on threes.

The team that has made more 3-pointers has won each of the first four games.

“This is who we are,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said in the wake of the Game 4 win. “No hanging heads. No one down.”

The Warriors dominated their two previous home games in the series, winning 113-91 and 132-113.

It was the first time in NBA Finals history that one team opened with consecutive wins by 19 or more points.

But like last year, when they not only lost Game 5 at home but also the winner-take-all Game 7, the Warriors promise to take the court Monday night taking nothing for granted.

“We’ll just come and play our game, continue to build on what we’ve been doing since Day 1 of training camp,” said Warriors star Kevin Durant, attempting to brush all distractions aside. “(We’re) looking forward to going out there and having some fun (Monday). That’s the only thing that matters.”

Warriors fans are hoping to share in the fun. No San Francisco Bay Area professional team has won a championship at home since the Oakland Athletics captured the 1974 World Series title next door to Oracle Arena, where Monday’s potential series-ender will be contested.

The Warriors captured the 2015 title in Cleveland with a 105-97 victory in Game 6.

The Cavaliers turned the tables in front of the Golden State fans in Game 7 last year, winning the decider 93-89.

While much of the attention in the “three-match” has been on Durant and Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, it was Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving who was the difference-maker last season, drilling a tiebreaking 3-pointer in the final minute.

Irving also was the driving force in keeping the Cavaliers alive on Friday, burying seven 3-pointers to account for a majority of his game-high 40 points.

Irving (7 of 12), Kevin Love (6 of 8) and J.R. Smith (5 of 9) were all hot from 3-point range in the stunning turnaround.

Meanwhile, Durant (2 of 9) and Stephen Curry (2 of 9) struggled for Golden State at the other end.

Game 6, if necessary, would be played Thursday in Cleveland, with the series potentially returning to Oakland for a second consecutive Game 7 on Sunday.

Report: Someone paid record $133,000 for two floor seats to Game 5 of NBA Finals


There was a lot of money to be made on the NBA Finals, and boy, is somebody making it.

Darren Rovell of ESPN:

Someone will be sitting in the most expensive seats in NBA history on Monday night in Oakland.

A person paid $133,000, including fees, for two floor seats to Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena to possibly see the Golden State Warriors win their second title in three years.

With Golden State’s success and all that Silicon Valley money, tickets for the Warriors’ new arena are going to be ridiculously expensive. The market can obviously bear it.

LaVar Ball: Lakers would be Lonzo Ball’s team, as they ‘really don’t have a leader’


Lonzo Ball declined a workout with the Celtics, who have the No. 1 pick. He hasn’t been shy about his desire to get drafted by the second-picking Lakers, because they play in his native Southern California.

Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball, expanded on how the Lakers are preferable for the UCLA guard.

via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

“Team-wise, the Lakers are a better fit,” LaVar Ball said on the CSN CelticsTalk Podcast with Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely. “They (Lakers) really don’t have a leader. Boston already went to the playoffs. They have a leader.”

“Now going straight to the Lakers, they’re super-young,” LaVar Ball said. “It’s Lonzo’s team; that’s my opinion of it. Everybody else might think about it differently or something. But I’m just being realistic and thinking about it. He would be a better fit with the Lakers instead of Boston because (the Celtics are) already established and on their way up.”

How do D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and every other Laker feel about it being Lonzo’s team?

If the Lakers draft Lonzo, his dad is setting him up to walk into a resentful locker room. And it’s not as if Lonzo is helping. His earlier comments on the Lakers – “They have a lot of good players. Obviously they need a leader, a point guard, and I feel like I can bring that to the team – could have been spun as more benign:

The Lakers need another leader. They need another point guard.

Lonzo wasn’t necessarily stepping so directly on Russell’s toes (though it mostly seemed he was). LaVar’s declarations make it harder to spin.

LaVar’s hunt for attention has also angered Lonzo’s future opponents, who are paying him special attention. Lonzo will have a target on his back next season.

Now, his own team might have more reason to begrudge him.

This won’t be the easiest path for a rookie to acclimate.