One: J.R. Smith should have been called for fouling Andre Iguodala on this 3-pointer 2-pointer:
Sending Iguodala for three two free throws while trailing by five with nine seconds remaining would have still left the Warriors in a tenuous situation. But they would have at least had more — i.e., some — hope.
However, Golden State wouldn’t have been even that close if the other incorrect call.
The NBA said David Lee set an illegal screen by grabbing Iman Shumpert’s leg before this Stephen Curry 3-pointer:
The Warriors came out ahead on missed calls in the Final two minutes, and they still lost. There isn’t much room for griping. Whatever exists, limit it to the first 46 minutes.
Steve Kerr says Draymond Green is getting treatment for back spasms, should be ready for Game 4
The Warriors have struggled to find their offense against the Cavaliers to this point of the NBA Finals, and the relative disappearance of Draymond Green has been a big reason why.
During the regular season, Green was a reliable safety valve that Golden State could count on to relieve the pressure from its shooters. Green could consistently convert shots inside and out, including from three-point distance.
He’s been dreadful in this series, however, and an ongoing back issue may be to blame for his recent round of troubles.
Draymond Green shared w/ me his back “is locked up at all times- pain w/ explosion, jumping & contact”. Hurt it Game 2, 3rd qtr after fall.
Green is shooting just 4-of-17 from the field over the last two games, both of which were Warriors losses. He’s also 1-of-5 from three-point distance over the same span, but more importantly, he’s not even looking for the ball behind the three-point line as he has all season long, which contributed to a critical late-game turnover as Stephen Curry threw the ball to where Green was supposed to be.
With the way the Cavaliers have tenaciously defended over these first three games, the Warriors need to find additional sources of offense. It’s why you saw much less Harrison Barnes in Game 3, and why David Lee finally found his way off of the end of the bench to score 11 points in just over 13 minutes.
But Green is there for his defense first, and since the Warriors can’t afford too much slippage on that end of the floor as they look for new ways to get the offense on track, if he’s healthy enough to go in Game 4, expect Green to play something resembling his normal allotment of minutes.
Stephen Curry, Warriors think they found something to build on in fourth quarter
Through three quarters Tuesday night, Stephen Curry just could not get shots to fall. Credit the Cavaliers defense, or say his shot was just off, the fact of the matter is he was 4-of-11 through 36 minutes of Game 3. But it was more than just Curry, the Cavaliers are being physical with Warriors players off the ball, and that is leading to some stagnation. The Cavaliers are getting back and taking away easy transition looks. They have taken the Warriors out of their comfort zone.
Add it all together the second straight game the Warriors were held to fewer than 60 points through three quarters — something that didn’t happen all season.
Then in the fourth quarter Curry woke up — he hit 5-of-8 from three, knocking down shots. Contested or not, no matter the degree of difficulty, the shots were falling.
“I think I found something when it comes to how I’m going to be able to attack their pick-and-rolls and even certain iso situations,” Curry said post game. “I’ll keep that in the memory bank going into Game 4, and hopefully it has a trickle over effect into the first quarter of the next game.”
But the Warriors said they found something to build on, something they can carry over to Game 4 Thursday night.
“We became the aggressors,” Curry said. “Just like the last three minutes of Game 2. For us to win this series, we have to play that way the whole game. We have the depth, we have the talent to do it, whether we’re at home or on the road.”
“You have to make every possession like it’s your last possession,” Andre Iguodala said. “I feel like that’s the energy Cleveland’s playing with.”
Players and coach often speak of energy more than tactics, but that fourth quarter feature something new — David Lee setting the picks for Curry. Lee is an offensive threat in a way the struggling Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut have not been this series. According to John Schuhmann of NBA.com (using SportsVU cameras), when Lee screened Curry the team scored 20 points on 13 possessions (1.54 per possession), compared to 25 points on 40 possessions when anyone else was the screener for Curry (0.63 points per possession).
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said you can count on seeing more of Lee in Game 4, but what he liked was that his team showed some passion.
“I mean, you want to show some fight,” Kerr said. “And I thought in the third quarter we were hanging our heads a little bit, and it was good to see us bring the fight to the game. And that’s how we have to play the whole way through. It’s not just making shots. Obviously, that helps, but it’s fighting and it’s competing, and we’ve got to do that for 48 minutes.”
Iguodala used a better word than fight — execution. That is what the Warriors have lacked in their offense. The Cavaliers have made it difficult at every step, but in the face of that the Warriors stopped executing.
“It’s up to us to do the things that we haven’t been able to do on both ends of the floor. Executing small things. Small things are really biting us in the ass a little bit,” Iguodala said. “So loose balls they’ve gotten to every one of them. Offensive boards, second chance points, they seem to have a knack for those things, and we’ve got to come up with them…
“When we don’t get enough passes, we seem to rush even more. So we’ve just got to take our time, settle in, make them work a little bit more defensively. I think we found something there with David Lee that’s working for us. So he’s going to get some more minutes, I would like to think, going forward, and then other guys will see how effective he is and they’ll do the same. So we’ll have a steady diet of something we found that can work throughout the rest of the series.”
The Warriors had better hope so — and they need to use it and be aggressive from the opening tip of Game 4. The Warriors will either head home with the series tied and feeling confident or down 3-1 in a hole that, like the one they were in Tuesday night, they probably can’t climb out of.
Cavaliers’ defend, hustle, hang on for Game 3 win, take control of NBA Finals
Stephen Curry found his shot in the fourth quarter — he had 17 points and was 5-of-8 in the final frame, and the Warriors as a team hung 36 up. Curry made it interesting down to the final minute. In the second half, he had 24 points on 14 shots. He finally started to look like the MVP.
But the Cavaliers defense had already put the Warriors in a hole so deep Curry could not shoot them out.
Through three quarters the feisty Cavaliers held the Warriors to 35 percent shooting and 5-of-20 from three, led by 20 at one point in the third quarter, and had seemed to get in the Warriors’ heads.
Combine that with 40 points from LeBron James and 20 from Matthew Dellavedova and you have enough for Cleveland to hang on for a 96-91 win. The Cavaliers now lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 in their building on Thursday.
“I don’t think our guys gave in, and I don’t think that they let up. Golden State made some plays, made some shots, which they are capable of doing,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said of the Warriors’ fourth quarter. “I thought we let down a little bit on the offensive end and that put us in a back up kind of mode. We weren’t as aggressive as we were.”
While the fourth quarter made it interesting, the Cavaliers won the game in the third quarter. That’s when they cranked up the defense, and the wheels seemed to come off the Warriors. Golden State had just 18 points on 8-of-21 shooting. Meanwhile on the other end the Warriors’ defense, which had been solid all series, started to show some crack. Cleveland got 13 points from LeBron in the third, and their lead stretched out to 20 points at one point. At the end of the quarter, it was 72-55 Cleveland, and they had taken control of the game. And it felt like maybe the series.
“You want to show some fight and I thought in the third quarter we were hanging our head a little bit,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It was good to see us bring some fight to the game. That’s how we have to play the whole way through.”
However, Golden State opened the fourth on an 8-0 run, and things got interesting as the Warriors started to just hit shots throughout the quarter. The lead fell all the way to one, 81-80, after a Curry three.
After the Dellavedova shot, Curry turned the ball over on a behind-the-back pass — he expected Green to pop after a pick, but Green has stopped thinking about threes he’s been so cold.
Then LeBron hit a three, and it felt like the dagger. Even some more big Curry shots were just not going to be enough.
The fourth quarter was the polar opposite of the first half, which had been exactly the kind of half Cavaliers wanted — defensive, grinding, holding the Warriors to 3-of-16 from three and their starters to 6-of-27 shooting. It was 44-37 Cavaliers at the half. Curry was 1-of-6.
Cavaliers get off to a 12-5 lead to start, but the key was all 12 points came in the paint. They attacked while the Warriors were still running a lot of one-pass, easy to defend offense. LeBron was clearly emotional to start the game — a Finals game back at home — and he carried the offensive load, but was 6-of-17 shooting for 13 points in the first half.
It was the role players for the Cavs again early: LeBron and Dellavedova shot 5-of-17 to start the game, Every other Cavalier was 6-of-6. Tristan Thompson was fantastic again in the first quarter with six points and seven rebounds.
The Warriors got a little roll player help as well — Andre Iguodala had 15 points and was Golden State’s best player with 15, David Lee came in and found a chemistry with Curry on the pick-and-roll, and Lee had 11 points.
“I think what helped (Curry in the fourth quarter) was David Lee as the roll man,” Kerr said. “Steph was able to find David and that softened them up a little bit, David was terrific.”
In the end, Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 13 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 10 points. They pitched in a little.
But it is LeBron carrying this Cavaliers team — not efficiently, but with their defense he hasn’t had to be. He just has to get up points.
The Cavaliers did that again Tuesday night and now are in control of the series. However, the fourth quarter showed they still have a lot of work to do — the Warriors will not go quietly.
Report: Harrison Barnes and the Warriors both want to get a contract extension done this summer
The Warriors, on the brink of winning their first NBA title in 40 years, will have some roster decisions to make this summer. Chief among them is re-signing restricted free agent Draymond Green, and they’ll also have to decide whether or not David Lee is part of their long-term future as he enters the final year of his contract (hint: probably not). But flying slightly under the radar is the future of Harrison Barnes. Coming off his third year in the NBA, Barnes is eligible for an extension to his rookie contract, a pay raise that would kick in after the 2015-16 season. If he doesn’t sign an extension by October 31, he will become a restricted free agent next summer.
Much of the Warriors-related contract talk this season has been focused on Draymond Green and how much the free agent-to-be will get. But he isn’t the only starting forward who should get a new deal this offseason.
Harrison Barnes, who once again has shined in the postseason, is due for a contract extension this offseason. And the Warriors should be diligent about making sure he gets it.
According to multiple sources, Barnes indeed wants an extension and the Warriors want to give him one. The only question is how much will he get.
Barnes has proven his worth this year after a disappointing second season in 2013-14. Steve Kerr moved him into the starting lineup upon taking over as head coach, which completely restored his confidence, and he’s proven himself to be a versatile scorer and defender. He mostly plays small forward, but he’s been effective in the frontcourt in smaller lineups with Green at center. It absolutely makes sense for the Warriors to keep him around, and they should. He’s been an important player in this title run.
The question of how much Barnes will get with a new contract is going to be a fascinating one. In 2016-17, the first year of his hypothetical new deal, the Warriors will be faced with the impending contract years of Stephen Curry ($12.1 million), Andre Iguodala ($11.1 million) and Andrew Bogut ($11 million), as well as Klay Thompson’s long-term deal that will pay him $16.6 million that season, per Basketball Insiders. It’s a pretty safe assumption that Green will also get maxed out this summer, meaning he’ll make similar money to Thompson.
The salary cap is going to jump significantly next summer thanks to the influx of revenue from the NBA’s new television deal, so if Barnes agreed to a deal worth, say, $10 million per year, that would look like an outright steal by the time the extension actually kicks in. Even if he asks for $12 or 13 million annually, that’s still a fair price considering his age (23), versatility and the impending cap spike. If they need to clear cap space to go after a major free agent, a contract like that for Barnes will still be very moveable.
It sounds like both sides want to get a deal done now and not worry about free agency in a year. What they can come up with between July and October will tell us a lot about the Warriors’ future plans.