Kurt Helin

Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry put on third quarter show (VIDEO)


The Splash Brothers were back in the third quarter, and that put the Warriors barely back in the lead.

For fans, the third felt like the Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving show. Above you can see some of Curry’s nastiness, saving the ball and then nailing the corner three.

Below, watch Kyrie put the nasty crossover on Curry, then later block his shot.

James Harden withdraws from Team USA for Rio Olympics

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The list keeps on growing.

Stephen Curry. Chris Paul. Russell Westbrook. John Wall.

And now you can add James Harden to the list of guards who has decided not to go to Brazil to play for Team USA this summer.

“As a result of many difficult conversations with my family, the Rockets, and trusted advisors, I’ve notified Jerry Colangelo and Team USA that I will not be competing in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil,” Harden said in a statement he released.

“This decision was a painstaking one I did not take lightly. As a member of the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medal Team, and team Captian for the 2014 FIBA Gold Medal team, it goes without saying that USA Basketball has provided me with some of the most meaningful personal and professional accomplishments of my life. I have been extremely blessed to wear the red, white, and blue and compete a the highest international level with the greatest players representing the greatest country in the world. I sincerely hope I’ll earn an opportunity to represent Team USA again in the future.”

Harden did not name a specific reason for the pull out. However, there are athletes in a number of Olympic sports who have started to withdraw from the games due to concerns over the Zika virus and malaria outbreaks in Brazil.

Harden also will want to spend this summer getting in a lot better shape if he’s going to run in Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

The USA will still have Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler at the two guard spot, and a lot of strong wings (Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, etc) to cover that slot.

Tristan Thompson was beasting — 8 points, 5 offensive boards — in first (VIDEO)


Tristan Thompson was paid big money last summer in part because he can combat small lineups on the offensive glass.

He did that in the first quarter of Game 4 — Golden State went small just more than four minutes into the game and Thompson made them pay with eight points and five offensive rebounds in the quarter. He was beasting.

Kevin Love to come off bench, Richard Jefferson will start for Cavaliers

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CLEVELAND — Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

Cleveland’s defense was dramatically better in Game 3 with Richard Jefferson starting in place of the concussed Kevin Love. Now Love is cleared to play in Game 4, but he will come off the bench and Jefferson will stay in the starting lineup.

This is the first time Love has come off the bench since his days in Minnesota.

Love played better defense in Games 1 and 2 than he got credit for, but he is slow of foot on the perimeter, and it limits the cross matching that the Cavaliers can do. Jefferson is more versatile: He, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and J.R. Smith can switch or pick up other players in transition and not miss a beat. It doesn’t work that way with Love.

That said, getting Love in when LeBron rests can provide an offensive boost and someone who can score in the post or from three to boost the bench (the Cavs bench had zero points through three quarters in Game 3, it was all the starters).

Steve Kerr is sticking with his regular starting five, with Andrew Bogut at center. We will see how long that lasts, the Cavs smaller lineup torched the Warriors starters last game and Kerr can’t let that happen again. Expect him to go small with the “death lineup” — meaning Draymond Green at center — early.

Sixers’ Colangelo on possible Okafor or Noel trade: “a lot of interest expressed” in players

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Jahlil Okafor can score inside and get a team boards, as a rookie he averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds a game. Nerlens Noel shows promise as a rim-protecting defensive force in the NBA.

When those two were on the court together last season, Philadelphia was outscored by 20 points per 100 possessions.

They can’t play together. Which is why new Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo is testing the market for both of them — with Joel Embiid coming in next season (*Colangelo knocks on wood) and Ben Simmons about to be drafted, one of the bigs has to go. Already there were rumors of Noel being part of a package to get Jeff Teague out of Atlanta.

Colangelo, in Italy for Adidas Eurocamp, of course, would not confirm any specifics to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, but he did say he is getting teams calling about his bigs.

“I don’t know that there’s a likelihood,” Colangelo said (of one of them getting traded). “I can’t put a number on it. I would just simply tell you that there’s been conversations and there’s been a lot of interest expressed in some of the players that we have, but nothing that’s made enough sense to pull the trigger on. We’ve talked about the five position in particular.”

Expect the Sixers to make a number of moves this off-season, likely starting around the draft. As Colangelo told NBC back on the night of the draft lottery, they want to accelerate the process and start winning more games sooner rather than later. One of those moves will be trading a big, the only question is which one — Okafor or Noel — gets him the best deal.

In the story on NBA.com, Colangelo also confirms:

• Joel Embiid is not going to play Summer League.

• They are not going to trade the No. 1 pick. Now, their picks at 24 and 26 are a different story.