Kurt Helin

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Timofey Mozgov with monster rejection of Andre Iguodala (VIDEO)

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David Blatt stayed big with Timofey Mozgov in Game 6 and this is why.

The Warriors started the second quarter 1-of-10 shooting and Mozgov was a big reason why. He had three blocks in the second quarter, a few more shots altered. He was a key reason the Cavaliers cut Golden State’s 15-point lead down to five at one point in the second quarter.

Stephen Curry goes high — crazy high — off the glass for the layup

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six
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If you’re going to float the ball over Timofey Mozgov, you better get it close to orbit before it comes down.

Stephen Curry does that here.

The Warriors started 1of-4 for shooting, while Cavaliers got points in the paint, and the Cavs raced out to a 7-2 lead. That didn’t last long. The Warriors came back on a 9-1 run to take the lead back on a Curry corner three. Not long later this came. And the Warriors led by 13 by the end of the first quarter.

Finals MVP is three-man race, but is LeBron James the frontrunner?

Stephen Curry, LeBron James
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It is possible — I would suggest even likely — that the NBA Finals will end on Tuesday night in Cleveland. Which means the MVP trophy would be voted on by select members of the media, then handed out.

And for the first time since 1969 and “The Logo” Jerry West was putting up ridiculous numbers, a player on the losing side could win the award.

With only a game or two left in the NBA season, the Finals MVP is down to a three-man race. Maybe two with a dark horse is a better way to put it. And how the final games play out will have a factor in the voting — we all often value most what impressed most recently. It’s human nature.

Here are the three guys that can win it, in the order I think is most likely to happen.

1) Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. He is on top for this simple reason: Voters want to pick someone from the winning team. Some might even say the winner has to come from the winning team (I disagree, but the sentiment is out there). If he has another brilliant shooting night and owns Game 6 as the Warriors close it out, expect him to win.

And he deserves to be on this list. Curry has been the game-changer in this series, you could see in the fourth quarter of Game 3 he had finally figured out Matthew Dellavedova and the Cavaliers’ defense. In the fourth quarter of Game 5, he dropped 17, hit some signature baskets and put his stamp on the series. He has been the leading scorer and (arguably) best player on the best team. But I think he needs a big Game 6 to secure the MVP award.

2) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers. If you’re going to pick the single best player in the NBA Finals to win the MVP it’s not eve close, it goes to LeBron. What else could he do? Sell beer on the concourse during timeouts? His statistics are ridiculous: He has averaged 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game. Or look at it this way: on LeBron’s shots, assists, and the offensive rebounds off his shots the Cavaliers have an eFG% of 51.6 percent, on all other shots not created by LeBron it is 30.7 percent. He has largely controlled the tempo of the series. He has been their offense — and played well on defense. There is no question who the single best player in this series has been. But if the award for “most valuable” has to go to a guy on the winning team, then LeBron is out of luck.

LeBron doesn’t want it, by the way.

“I wouldn’t feel good about it at all,” James said. “At the end of the day I’m here to win a team prize, and that’s to win a championship, not an individual prize.”

3) Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors. We’ve already made the case for him as MVP. He has averaged 14.6 points per game on 54.9 percent shooting, he has it 40.7 percent from three, plus he has guarded LeBron most of the series and done a respectable job on him. The Warriors are not on the cusp of a title without him. If Curry doesn’t have a monster Game 6, Iguodala does, the Warriors win, and voters are looking for a Curry alternative, Iguodala is in the mix. Consider him a dark horse.

Golden State GM: Don’t worry Warriors fans, Draymond Green will be back

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 14:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors goes up against Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first half during Game Five of the 2015 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 14, 2015 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Draymond Green came in second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting in the NBA, and some casual fans shook their heads at the idea.

They don’t anymore. Not after these Finals. The versatility of Draymond Green to defend the center position allowed Steve Kerr to go small and put Andre Iguodala in as a starter and bench Andrew Bogut. His defense is a key reason the Warriors are on the brink of winning the NBA title.

Green is also a restricted free agent this summer.

But Warriors fans to expect Green back in the Bay Area, Golden State GM Bob Meyers told the San Jose Mercury News Tuesday.

“Tell the Warrior fans they shouldn’t worry,” Myers said Tuesday as the team held its shootaround session in preparation for Game 6 at the Quicken Loans Arena….

Asked if he could comment on whether the franchise is prepared to go to any lengths to keep Green, Myers said, “I can’t comment, per league rules, on that specific question. The only thing I can say is we really like our core. Obviously, they’ve achieved a great amount of success so far this season. Our hope is to keep them together.”

Because Green is restricted the Warriors have the right to match any offer he receives. And they will — Green is too central to the defensive switching and floor spacing that the Warriors rely on, and that has gotten them to the brink of a title. They’ll max him to keep ji

Giving Green a max or near max deal, on top of what was given Klay Thompson and a new max deal for Stephen Curry when he comes up, may mean the Warriors can’t keep someone like Harrison Barnes on the roster.

But that’s a problem for a couple years from now. In the short term, the Warriors are pretty happy with their 67-win roster. They want to keep it together. With good reason.

 

 

Report: Jerry West threatened to resign if Warriors traded Klay Thompson for Kevin Love

Jerry West
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Last summer, the Golden State Warriors were in the mix to get Kevin Love out of Minnesota, but Flip Saunders would not back off his asking price — Klay Thompson. A lot of people (myself admittedly included) thought they should pull the trigger.

They didn’t. It was the right move.

Thompson blossomed this season under Steve Kerr, who gave him added responsibilities. Meanwhile the Warriors found the versatile four they needed in Draymond Green.

Who was maybe the most vocal about keeping their shooting guard? Arguably the best shooting guard of all time — Jerry West. The part owner and consultant to the team was ready to walk if ownership pulled the trigger on the deal, reports Chris Ballard in a brilliant piece for Sports Illustrated (his work is almost always must read).

Perhaps West’s biggest contribution came last summer, though, when, along with Kerr, he adamantly opposed a trade centered around Thompson and Love. West argued that trading Thompson would be an enormous mistake. The Warriors were built on defense and Love, while a skilled offensive player, was a subpar defender. What’s more, West was certain Thompson would continue to improve, giving the Warriors a potential Hall of Fame backcourt for the next decade.

West felt so strongly that, according to one person close to the negotiations, he threatened to resign if the team made the trade. Chances are, West wouldn’t have actually done it—that’s just the way he talks—but when the most successful talent evaluator in league history feels that adamantly about something, it’s probably worth listening.

West tends to feel strongly about everything. And he’s right far more often than he’s wrong.

As it is with Steve Kerr and his coaching staff and players, the Warriors front office moves are a collaborative effort. It is not a top-down dictatorship. GM Bob Meyers, Kerr, owner Joe Lacob, West and a couple of assistant GMs (including Lacob’s son Kirk) all collaborate on team decisions. There are debates and disagreements, things are hashed out and a decision reached.

That doesn’t mean there is always a consensus, and there wasn’t on trading for West. But as a group they reached their decision. Thompson stayed.

And now the Warriors are within one win of an NBA title because of it. In part, because of West.