Author: Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder

Chris Paul’s MRI negative, is game time decision for Game 1

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Chris Paul had a career-defining game in Game 7 against the Spurs, playing through a strained hamstring — seemingly dragging that leg around at times — to put up 27 points including hitting the game winner to advance the Clippers past the Spurs.

Now the big question as they head into Game 1 of Round 2, Monday night in Houston, is how is his hamstring feels now that it has had a day to cool down and tighten up? Will he be able to go in Game 1 at all? The Clippers need him to play — the drop off from Paul to his backup Austin Rivers is like stepping off the rim of the Grand Canyon.

The good news for Clippers fans is there doesn’t appear to be anything more serious than a strain, reports Arash Markazi of ESPN.

Paul is getting around-the-clock treatment to get him right for Monday night.

Will CP3 suit up Monday? I think Kevin McHale summed it up best.

Watch John Wall attack as Wizards take Game 1 in Atlanta (VIDEO)

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks - Game One
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In the first half Sunday, it was the Hawks getting into the paint and finishing.

But in the second half it was John Wall and the Wizards making plays in the paint, and that led to them picking up the upset win.

After the game one win Wall said all the right things — the things you expect from a leader — about staying humble and hungry.

Ginobili, Duncan, Popovich dance around questions about Spurs’ future

Utah Jazz vs San Antonio Spurs
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As you might expect, it was Gregg Popovich who had the best answer about the future of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and the Spurs.

“People ask me about Tim and Manu and myself for the last five years, what we’re going to do. It’s all psychobabble. I have no clue,” Popovich said. “We’ll probably come back. Paycheck is pretty good (laughter). You think I’m lying?”

The fact is that two key parts of the core of the Spurs could decide enough is enough. Popovich is under contract and is enjoying the idea of transitioning this team to the future, he’ll be back. So will Tony Parker, who is under contract and, even if he’s slipping a little, is still an elite point guard. The Spurs will re-sign Kawhi Leonard.

But Duncan and Ginobili are question marks.

“I’m not making any statements,” Duncan said after the Spurs were eliminated, refusing to play the speculation game.

Which isn’t a surprise. You know when Duncan does retire it will come in the form of a press release that is emailed out to the media. And that’s it. No fanfare if Duncan can help it.

Yet Duncan at age 39 is incredibly productive. He averaged 17.9 points and 11.1 rebounds a game, plus he made key defensive stops. He battled Blake Griffin almost to a standstill. He has plenty of game left; the question is only does he want to keep playing. And he may not know the answer to that question yet.

Ginobili, on the other hand, is seeing his game deteriorate. He also said minutes after a painful loss was not the time to make a decision, but he sounded more like a guy willing to think about stepping away. Via Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

“It could happen,” Ginobili said (or walking away). “I still don’t know. I don’t want to make a decision after being a disappointment in a game like this. So I’ll have a lot of time. I will sit with my family and try to evaluate what happened during the season, how I feel and if I am ready to go at it again. I guess the Spurs are going to have to make a decision, too, and see what they want to do also.”

The Spurs are doing some big game hunting this offseason, reportedly targeting LaMarcus Aldridge — who is interested in them as well. But that can only happen if some big cap holds come off the books due to retirement or the Spurs cutting ties.

So the future of the Spurs is very much up in the air. And some key guys don’t know if they are coming back for one more run at it.

But they might. The paycheck is pretty good.

Watch Stephen Curry play like MVP, spark Warriors to Game 1 win (VIDEO)

Stephen Curry, Jeff Green
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Monday Stephen will be named the NBA’s MVP.

Sunday, he played like one.

Curry dropped a team-high 22 points and seven assists in the Warriors Game 1 win over the Grizzlies. But like his MVP campaign, it was more than the numbers and highlights, it was about his presence and gravity on the offensive end being the focal point for all that Golden State does well on that end.

Reports: Stephen Curry to be named MVP Monday

Stephen Curry
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It’s not official, but it’s also not a surprise.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry will be named the NBA’s MVP on Monday, reports Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry will be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, according to multiple league sources in recent days.

Official announcement will come this week, sources said, likely on Monday between Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference semifinals series between the Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Multiple others have confirmed that this announcement is coming. James Harden will be second in the voting, according to the report.

This had been the most wide-open MVP race in recent memory, with players such as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Chris Paul all having seasons that allowed supporters to make a good case for them. But as the season wound through it’s final weeks, it clearly became a Curry vs. Harden race for the top spot.

Curry was phenomenal from the very start of the season, leading the Warriors to a 67-win season. He averaged 23.8 points and 7.7 assists a game (both sixth in the NBA), shooting 44.3 percent from three, plus was fourth in the league with 2.04 steals a contest. He had a team-high 22 in the Warriors Game 1 playoff win over Memphis on Sunday.

Curry certainly got some media votes for being the best player on the best team, but his MVP case was much more nuanced than that old cliche. While what Harden did was amazing it was conventional — use the pick-and-roll to get into the lane, draw fouls and hit threes. What Curry did was anchor a far more modern offense. He put up more than his share of highlight plays, driving the lane or knocking down his three, but he meant more to that offense than just being a standard quarterback. Steve Kerr used the threat of Curry off the ball, his gravity to draw defenders — even off the ball you can’t give him an inch — to open up the shots that Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and others got.

It worked. Curry has transformed into one of the most dynamic and most entertaining players in the league, but he is efficient as well.

This is well deserved.