Kurt Helin

Steve Kerr said Warriors “not really pushing” for 73 wins


Steve Kerr has not gone the full Popovich with resting members of the Golden State Warriors down the stretch — Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson are still out there every game. To many, that would constitute a push to get to 73 wins and break the 1996 Jordan Bulls record of 72 wins.

Kerr doesn’t see it that way.

Sam Amick did for the USA Today asked Kerr about it, and the coach denied this is a push for 73.

“We’re not really pushing for this,” Kerr, whose Warriors (69-8) must win four of their final five games to best the 72-10 mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls squad on which he played a pivotal part, told USA TODAY Sports after practice Monday. “All we’ve said is, ‘Yeah, it’d be nice to get. We’d like to get it.’

“But if I were pushing for it, I probably wouldn’t be resting (backup point guard) Shaun Livingston and (center Andrew) Bogut, and I’d be playing our starters more. We’re just playing it out. I don’t understand if people are going to say that we’re pushing for this. I don’t think that’s the right word to use. We’d like to get it, but we’re still resting people and trying to get us set up for the playoffs.”

Kerr has said before he has a deal with his players: He will not force them to sit out a game and they can go after the mark — which they want — but they must be honest with him about injuries or being tired and needing a night off. Kerr has admitted that going after the record and the constant attention to it/questions about it has been somewhat mentally draining, but he thinks his team can handle it.

What would be interesting is if the Warriors win their next three games and were 72-8 they would go to break the record next Sunday at San Antonio, where the Spurs have yet to lose a game this season.

The best story in Amick’s story — which you should read — comes with Kerr’s joking exchange with former fellow 1996 Bull Luc Longley.

“He had a great line,” said a smiling Kerr, whose Warriors host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday before facing the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies twice apiece in the final four games. “He said ‘You know, you haven’t thought this through obviously.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘Your coaching legacy is already established. You won a championship, so people are going to know down the road that you were a good coach. But as a player, you were mediocre at best. So if you break this record and you don’t have that record as a player, nobody’s ever going to remember you as a player, so what are you thinking?’ And I said, ‘Are you talking about you or me, Luc?’ He said, ‘both.’”

Arrest made in Cleanthony Early robbery, shooting

Associated Press

It’s been good to see the Knicks’ Cleanthony Early getting some run the last couple games, the first time he has gotten on the court for a length of time since he was shot in the leg back in December as part of a robbery.

Now an arrest has been made in that case.

The New York Daily News has the details.

The feds have arrested a Brooklyn man in connection with last year’s robbery and shooting of Knicks forward Cleanthony Early, the Daily News has learned.

Delvon Dowling, whose nickname is “Bam Bam,” was arraigned Saturday in Brooklyn Federal Court in the Dec. 30 stickup of Early, his girlfriend and their Uber car service driver outside the CityScapes Gentleman’s strip club in Maspeth, Queens….

Dowling was arrested Friday and admitted that he was part of the crew that had planned the robbery and waited outside the jiggle joint in three cars for the victims to come out. According to the complaint, Dowling claimed that he was in one of the getaway cars while his accomplices committed the robbery and that he was not the shooter.

According to the police report, this was a coordinated attack where the three cars blocked in the Uber car after following it from the club. Early turned over his wallet and valuables then was shot in the leg anyway, according to the report. Fortunately, the shot near the knee did not cause structural damage.

Obviously, there are more people involved than the man arrested. Hopefully, all of them can be brought to justice.

Report: Maryland freshman center Diamond Stone to declare for draft, hold off on agent


Diamond Stone is a perfect example of why the new NCAA guidelines on declaring for the draft are infinitely better than the old version.

That said, the Maryland freshman center will test the waters, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

A year ago Stone would be coming up on a hard-and-fast deadline — declare and you’re committed to the NBA draft. This year, Stone is declaring, but by not taking on an agent he can get evaluations from NBA teams on his draft stock then make an informed decision on staying in the draft or returning to college.

Stone is projected as a late first-round pick; DraftExpress.com has him going 23rd. Players selected in the first round of the draft get guaranteed deals in the NBA for at least two seasons (and most times a third and fourth year are picked up by the team). However, if he were to slip to the second round (just eight spots) he would have no guarantee of an NBA roster spot or money.

PBT’s NBA Draft expert — and Rotoworld writer — Ed Isaacson had this breakdown of Stone’s game for PBT before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

As the season went on, Stone became a force in the middle for Maryland, giving them strong play on both ends of the floor. At 6’11” and 255 pounds, Stone can be an imposing figure in the post, and he showed impressive skill and footwork for his age. He uses his body well to make his way to the basket, and he has no problem getting physical when hitting the offensive boards. Stone built a good on-court rapport with point guard Melo Trimble, and the duo became very tough to stop in pick-and-roll situations, as well as Stone getting open space around the basket off of Trimble’s penetration. Defensively, other than what seemed like normal freshman lapses, Stone more than held his own in a conference with some quality big men.

That sounds like the kind of guy who has a game that fits in the NBA, the kind of player who climbs draft boards, not slides down them. But Stone will hear from the people doing the drafting, then get to make his call.

Report: Memphis will not bring Mike Conley back for end of season, playoffs

Associated Press
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This was ultimately both feared and expected, but Memphis was holding out hope that things would be different.

When point guard Mike Conley went out with Achilles tendonitis in early March is was reported he would be out three to four weeks, which would have him back for the playoffs. However, the team was going to be cautious — they already lost Mario Chalmers to a ruptured Achilles this season and didn’t want to put a star point guard heading into free agency at risk.

Now comes word from Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal that Conley is done for the season and playoffs.

The Commercial Appeal independently confirmed that Conley was re-evaluated last week by team doctors. It was determined that it is in Conley’s best interest to not return to action until the 2016-17 season.

Barring a miraculous recovery by the time the postseason begins, Conley still walks with a limp, experiences soreness in the Achilles and requires a walking boot. The franchise and Conley, who will be a free agent this summer, are taking a cautious approach to his long-term future.

As they should.

This is not going to diminish Conley’s value on the free agent market this summer. He has said it would be hard to leave Memphis — he worked hard to recruit Marc Gasol to stay last summer — and Memphis can offer the most money if they max him out. However, the New York Knicks among others are known to be interested and will make a run at Conley come July 1.

Stephen Curry: Allen Iverson inspired me to defy basketball odds


Allen Iverson is a Hall of Famer.

Deservedly so. Nobody pushed their abilities to the edge, nobody defied the conventional basketball wisdom — on and off the court — like Allen Iverson. That made him a hero to a generation.

And it inspired Stephen Curry, the Warriors’ guard told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“He was a guy I loved watching, just his entertainment value and knowing his story,” Curry recently told CSNPhilly.com. “It was inspiring just to know that you can defy a lot of odds and be yourself while you’re out there on the court playing and changing the game. Everybody used to imitate his crossover moves, obviously starting with the one on [Michael] Jordan and every other one that he did in his career.”

Curry saw what Iverson can do up close. Back in 2001 Stephen’s father Dell Curry was on the Raptors team taking on Iverson’s Sixers in the second round — a series where Iverson averaged 33.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 3.1 steals a game, and the Sixers took it in seven.

“My dad was on that Toronto team so we went to the games, watched,” Curry, who was a teenager at the time, said. “You’d see him out on the floor and you just kind of didn’t think what he was doing was possible. His motor never stopped. His competitiveness and desire out there, he played with so much spirit and passion. You loved watching A.I. play because of what he brought to the table.”

By the way, this is a mutual admiration society — Iverson is a big Curry fan.

Part of what makes both Curry and Iverson special is they are relatable in a physical sense. It’s hard to relate to the physical specimen that is LeBron James, or Anthony Davis, or Kevin Durant — it’s not that they are not fun to watch, but we don’t know what it’s like to be 6’9″ and fast as a gazelle. But Iverson was 6-foot (officially, that may be in shoes) and Curry is 6’3″ and skinny. They are the size of guys you play pickup against on the playground. You can relate.

And they can inspire.