Tag: Stephen Curry

Draymond Green, James Jones

Draymond Green at center strikes again


Steve Kerr waited and waited and waited. Then, the Warriors coach finally played his trump card:

Draymond Green at center.

The lethal lineup didn’t appear until the final possessions of regulation, but it outscored the Cavaliers 8-2 in overtime of Golden State’s Game 1 win.

The Warriors have now played 367 minutes with Green at center and four wings/guards – a combination of Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Justin Holiday and Brandon Rush – behind him. The results:

  • Offensive rating: 119.0
  • Defensive rating: 93.2
  • Net rating: +25.8

Thursday, Green was flanked by Curry, Thompson, Iguodala and Barnes the entire time.

The Warriors first used the lineup on the final two possessions of regulation.

With five shooters on the court for its final shot, Golden State spread the floor and cleared the lane of any defenders. Curry drove for what appeared to be an open layup, but Kyrie Irving made an incredible block at the rim.

The Warriors stuck with the small group to defend Cleveland’s final possession, which was essentially a one-on-one battle between LeBron James and Iguodala.

The unit reappeared in overtime, and that’s when Golden State went on a run to pull away.

Green drives it all.

Watch how he fortifies the paint defensively and gets the ball going the other direction quickly:

This lineup thrives because Green strong enough defensively to allow the Warriors to play four skilled and fast players behind him. Plus, Green is comfortable running with the rest.

Initially, the Cavaliers had Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson in the game against this group, but they couldn’t capitalize on their size advantage. David Blatt tried to match up by going smaller, inserting James Jones for Mozgov, but that played into Golden State’s hands. That’s a major talent drop for the Cavaliers, and Jones isn’t quick enough to keep up, anyway.

Unlike many small lineups, the Warriors don’t sacrifice defense for offense. The Cavaliers’ only overtime points came on this LeBron pity bucket:


Kevin Pelton of ESPN argues the game didn’t swing because of Golden State’s small lineup, but because of Irving’s injury costing the Cavaliers during a crucial defensive possession.

On the most pivotal play during small ball – Harrison Barnes’ corner 3 (starts 40 seconds into the Green highlight video above) – the Warriors were playing 5-on-4 because Irving couldn’t move. Pelton argues Cleveland, with a foul to give, should have hacked the Warriors to stop the game and get out Irving. Barnes’ open triple was due more to that numbers advantage than a size mismatch.

And that’s true.

But why didn’t the Cavaliers make the correct call to foul?

I’d argue they were too busy scrambling to keep up with Golden State’s up-tempo attack to realize they should have fouled. They just got matched up defensively and had a moment to catch their breaths when Barnes hit the shot.

With Green at center, the Warriors go quickly and pressure opponents into quick decisions.

The Cavaliers, already in a bad spot due to their injury misfortune, couldn’t handle it. Maybe they would have fared better against small ball without that possession. Or maybe they would have fouled if Golden State weren’t pushing the pace.

But the Warriors weren’t waiting to find out.

They’re going to play Green at center and show no mercy.

Was Riley Curry cuter pregame or postgame? (videos)

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Here’s Stephen Curry, and his daughter, Riley, getting pumped up before Game 1 of the NBA Finals:

And here’s Riley celebrating the Warriors’ win with a few dance moves:

Which was cuter? I’m going with pregame, but that might just be because everything is better in slow motion.

Both are freakin adorable.

Kyrie Irving re-injures knee; status for Game 2 (and series) up in air

Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson

OAKLAND — For four quarters Kyrie Irving was looking like he could be the difference in the NBA Finals.

He may end up being, but not in the way he intended.

Irving re-injured his left knee and had to leave the game midway through the overtime of Game 1, a Cavaliers loss. He limped back to the locker room, then after the game badly limped out of the locker room with ice packs on his knee.

There is no diagnosis yet — there will be an MRI on Friday — but Irving left the locker room on crutches. He told the media to “listen to the tone of his voice,” noting that he sounded worried. He said this injury felt different than the tendonitis he had been battling.

“He’s with the doctors right now being evaluated,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said after the game. “I can’t give you any specifics yet. We just don’t know.”

“It was very tough to see, I’ve seen how hard he worked the past eight days to get back to the level he was playing at tonight,” LeBron James said. “It was hard to see him leave the locker room on crutches.”

If Irving is going to miss games, or be limited, the Cavaliers’ chances in this series drop off severely.

During regulation, Irving was showing few effects of the knee tendonitis that had kept him out of two games the last round and limited him when he was on the court these playoffs. Irving had 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, he was 10-of-22 shooting, he even hit 7-of-14 on contested looks. Then late in the fourth quarter had a game-saving block on what looked like a wide-open Stephen Curry layup.

Then at 2:22 in the fourth and the Cavaliers down four and needing a bucket, Irving drove to his right putting his shoulder into Klay Thompson, then by the elbow tried to stop up for what may have been a pull-up jumper, but his feet seemed to come out from under him. Irving fell to the ground.

He got up, tried to run to the other end on defense but just limped. He was quickly taken out of the game and went straight to the locker room.

“It’s something I hate to see,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.  “I never like to see anybody get injured on either team.  I want everybody healthy.  And I hope he can play.  I mean that.  You probably don’t believe me, but I mean that.  You want everybody healthy.  You want everybody playing.  This is the dream of every player, to come to the NBA Finals and perform and compete.  So I hope he’s okay.”

The Cavaliers already felt like they let a game they could have won get away Thursday night. Combine that with this Irving injury and the mountain the Cavaliers must climb suddenly looks like Everest.

NBA Finals: Warriors take overtime Game 1 win over Cavaliers


LeBron James was fantastic to open the NBA Finals, and Stephen Curry hit shots worthy of his MVP recognition.

But in the end, free throws in overtime decided the first game of the championship round more than anything else, and Golden State came way with the 108-100 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

James did all he could for his Cavaliers, finishing with 44 points, eight rebounds and six assists. But Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 47 points, and Andre Iguodala was huge off the bench with 15 points on eight shots, and the Warriors pulled away for the win in the overtime session.

This was a critical opportunity for Cleveland to steal home court advantage, but the Cavaliers ultimately couldn’t take control. Kyrie Irving’s knee was a concern heading into the series, but he largely played as though it wasn’t an issue, until he aggravated the injury and was forced to sub out with only a couple of minutes to play in the contest.

Irving played well until that point, and finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in almost 44 minutes of action. His status is uncertain for the remainder of the series.

The Cavaliers had a chance to steal this one in regulation. After Irving blocked a layup attempt from Stephen Curry, LeBron missed a long jumper on the ensuing possession, and Iman Shumpert missed a chance at a follow. Cleveland failed to score in overtime until James drove for a layup with only nine second left, when the game had already been decided.

Kyrie Irving blocks Stephen Curry’s layup to save game, force overtime (VIDEO)

2015 NBA Finals - Game One

Game 1 of the Finals between the Cavs and Warriors went to overtime, in large part because of this block by Kyrie Irving on Stephen Curry to prevent the Warriors from taking the lead:

It was easily the biggest defensive play of the game, and of Irving’s career.