Kurt Helin

Atlanta Hawks v Sacramento Kings

Kings’ executive Vlade Divac: “DeMarcus is untradeable”

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Kings’ coach Goerge Karl has fueled the hopes and dreams of Celtics fans — and a lot of other fan bases — when he said that he’s never had a player that is untradeable.

Did that mean DeMarcus Cousins could be available? Trade rumors started to fly on Celtics message boards and across NBA fandom. Cousins is as good a traditional big man as there is in the game and is a franchise cornerstone kind of piece.

Which is why the Kings are not going to trade him.

Those aren’t my words, they are the words of Kings’ decision maker Vlade Divac on SiriusXM NBA Radio Tuesday night before the Draft Lottery (Divac was in New York to represent the Kings at the lottery).

“Well, I think, you know, Coach kind of step it up further than he should and, of course, everybody has their opinion but right now, if we’re talking about today, yeah, DeMarcus is untradeable.  He’s a guy who we’re going to try to build around and see where he’s going to take us.”

If you want to keep your trade dreams alive Boston, you can rightly note that no GM would say “this guy is on the trade block” even if he were. It’s about leverage.

That said, this isn’t the first time word has leaked out that the Kings planned to keep Cousins.

Kings’ ownership and Divac see Cousins for what he is, a cornerstone piece. If you’re going to move him, it’s going to take a lot more than the No. 16 pick and some prospects to get the job done — you’ll demand another young, foundational piece in return. And even then they might balk.

Cousins has three seasons left on his deal in Sacramento, the guy making the decisions wants to keep him, and frankly he can work well in Karl’s system — Cousins is exceptional when he runs the floor. It’s just getting him to do it consistently that’s the challenge (ask Coach K of Team USA).

 

Everything was falling for Stephen Curry on way to 34 points (VIDEO)

Stephen Curry, Dwight Howard
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You know you’re having a good night when your shot chart looks like this:

source:

Stephen Curry looked like an MVP as he put up 34 points on 22 shots to lead Golden State to a Game 1 win Tuesday night.

Everything was falling for him — he was 6-of-9 on contested shots. The bigger concern for the Rockets should be that Curry had 13 uncontested looks (hitting seven) — they can’t give him that many open looks, they’re lucky he didn’t put up more points.

Dwight Howard on Game 2: “Hopefully I can play”

Dwight Howard
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It happened almost exactly halfway through the first quarter: Josh Smith tried to post up Klay Thompson, spun to the middle, and put up and awkward shot as he fell — right into Dwight Howard’s knee.

Howard left the game and went back to the Rockets’ locker room, but returned by the end of the first quarter.

However, he was never the same — he didn’t move as well, and the Warriors took advantage. Because of Howard Houston led the points in the paint battle 20-6 after the first quarter. The last three quarters the Warriors won the points in the paint race 44-32. What’s more, the injury allowed the Warriors to play small, with Draymond Green at the five, which was the most effective lineup for Golden State. The Warriors went on to win 110-106 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Howard’s status for Game 2 Thursday is up in the air.

If he can’t play, it takes away one of the weapons Houston needs this series — they need him to own the paint on both ends of the floor.

What the Rockets actually need is the active, aggressive Howard from the Clippers series. If he plays but is a shell of himself, it’s another advantage for a Warriors team already loaded with them.

Too much Stephen Curry helps Warriors overcome slow start, Rockets for Game 1 win

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Stephen Curry looked every bit the MVP.

Before the series both sides tried to play down the Curry vs. James Harden angle — the top two MVP vote getters would not guard each other — yet Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals felt like a showdown between them at times.

A showdown Curry won. He had 34 points on 22 shots, hit six threes, and had 21 of those points in the second half — including what ended up being a contested dagger three in transition — and that was enough. Despite James Harden’s 28 points and big game.

Golden State beat Houston 110-106 to take Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Game 2 is Thursday night.

Houston took the lead early as the Warriors looked more rusty than rested after nearly a week off. The Rockets raced out to 9-2 lead and while that lead ebbed and flowed the Rockets got the shots they wanted. Houston shot 59.1 percent, got 20 points in the paint, and got a dozen points from their bench to lead 31-24 after 12 minutes. The Warriors shot just 36 percent in the quarter.

However, what may have been the key play in the game also happened late in the first. Dwight Howard left the game after Josh Smith fell into his knee following a running shot across the lane. Howard went to the locker room for a while but returned to the game before the first quarter ended. However, he never moved the same the rest of the night. He wasn’t the same defensively — after having a big impact early — and didn’t score in the second half. Compared to the Howard the Clippers faced it was a world of difference. Howard played his usual third quarter shift, came back in for :52 seconds of the fourth quarter, then sat the rest of the game with what the team called a bruised knee.

The Warriors had success against the hobbled Howard and Houston when they went small with Draymond Green at the five. The Rockets had pushed their second quarter lead as high as 17 when Green and Curry sat, but once the Warriors went small with Draymond Greed as their center they went on a 25-6 run. The Warriors led 58-55 at the half after a vintage Curry step-back two.

“With our small lineup we can spread the floor pretty well,” Kerr said after the game. “Put Draymond (Green) in the middle as the screener for Steph (Curry), then find shooters on the perimeter. It really stretches people out.”

Golden State also got help off its bench — the first 21 Warriors points of the second quarter from guys off the bench. Shaun Livingston finished the game with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting to lead that Warriors bench group.

“He was terrific,  kind of kept us in the game in the second quarter when we were really struggling,” Kerr said. “Getting to the line, hitting a little midrange, his defense was good. That’s what I like about our team, we tend to find somebody.”

Golden State made some plays in the third quarter and the start of the fourth, but never pulled away thanks to Harden, who had 21 points on 13 shots in the second half.  The Rockets caught up behind Harden and tied the game 97-97 in the fourth.

That’s when Golden state went on 6-0 run, exposing the limited Rockets help defense. As a team, they lost Curry and other Warriors on baseline cuts and off the ball picks all night.

But if you have watched these Rockets, you knew they wouldn’t go away. Houston cut the lead to 108-106 with 14.6 seconds left after a Trevor Ariza steal and three.

But Curry was the guy with the ball, he was fouled, and sank two free throws to ice the game.

The big questions going into Game 2 is can the Warriors play better — it wasn’t their best defensive effort of the postseason — and how effective will Dwight Howard be? Without him, the Warriors went on a 42-30 run on points in the paint that the Rockets simply cannot allow.

Kobe Bryant celebrates Lakers No. 2 pick with some bathroom humor

Kobe Bryant
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Laker nation was pumped up Tuesday night.

The franchise with the fourth-worst record in the NBA had a 17 percent chance of losing their first round pick (if it fell to six it went to the Sixers). Instead, the ping-pong balls favored them, and they jumped up to the No. 2 pick. Where they might get Karl Anthony Towns (the guy they want).

So Kobe was jovial.

And Kobe doesn’t care what you think of him or his sense of humor. So there you go.