Might the Warriors work out a contract extension with Curry?

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Among the guys up for an extension to their rookie contract, none may be a more interesting case than Stephen Curry of Golden State.

On one hand, he is clearly the guy the Warriors plan to build their backcourt around, having kept him at the point and moved Monta Ellis for a big man (Andrew Bogut). He is an unquestionably talented shooter who could be part of a dangerous backcourt.

On the other hand, for more than a year he has battled ankle issues — two surgeries, a boatload of missed games and more. In theory the operations, combined with rehab, new shoes, better braces and the like should solve the issue. Should. But are you willing to invest tens of millions of dollars over four years on that?

It has kind of been assumed that Curry would not get an extension and as a restricted free agent the market would set his price next summer (the deadline to sign an extension is Oct. 31 at midnight). But there may be more smoke around the extension talks fire, suggests Tim Kawakami at the San Jose Mercury News.

My guess: If Curry stays healthy through October, a deal will get done. He wants a deal, the Warriors want to give him a deal, and usually, when you have those factors, things get done.

It makes sense for both sides, as long as Curry isn’t asking for the moon (doubt he is) and the Warriors aren’t trying to nickel and dime him or are over-worried about the ankle (we’ll see about the ankle).

I’ll guess four years, $42M, with some injury protection in there, but not anything too limiting, announced Oct. 30, just as the Warriors are checking into their hotel for the opener the next night.

That money, starting close to $10 million a year, is about the going rate for someone of Curry’s skill set (and position in the franchise) if he is healthy. The reason for not getting anything done until late October is for the Warriors to see how the ankle plays out. (That and negotiations of any kind almost never really get going until there is a deadline looming.)

My guess is still that he goes to restricted free agency next summer, but there could be motivations on both sides to get a deal done — for Curry to secure the big payday, for the Warriors to get him at a fair price before he has a fantastic season and other teams bid on him. If Curry is healthy signing him now could look like the Celtics signing Rajon Rondo to an extension below market value.

But don’t expect more news on this until you are shopping for your Halloween candy.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

Associated Press
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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

Cavaliers cruise past Celtics in Game 3, change complexion of Eastern Conference finals

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The Cavaliers were heavy favorites over the Celtics entering the Eastern Conference finals. LeBron James has dominated the East for years, and Cleveland appeared to hit its stride in a sweep of the Raptors last round. Boston was shorthanded and inexperienced.

Were the Celtics’ two wins to open the series, as impressive as they were, really enough to override everything else we knew about these teams?

The Cavs walloped Boston in Game 3, 116-86, Saturday. Cleveland now has four of the NBA’s last five 30-point playoff wins – two against the Celtics last year, one over Toronto last round and tonight. (The Cavaliers lost the league’s only other 30-point game between, to the Pacers in the first round.)

Boston still leads the series 2-1, and teams up 2-1 in a best-of-seven series have won it 80% of the time.

But the team up 2-1 is usually the one seen as better entering the series. That isn’t the case here, not with LeBron on the other side. And the leading team usually isn’t so woeful on the road, which will remain a major storyline entering Game 4 Monday in Cleveland.

The Celtics bought themselves margin for error, but they blew a lot of it tonight.

It’d be an oversimplification to say the Cavs just played harder, but they did, and it went along way. They chased loose balls, tightened their defense and moved more off the ball offensively. Cleveland jumped to a 20-4 lead, led by double digits the rest of the way and spent most of the game up by at least 20.

LeBron (27 points, 12 assists, two blocks and two steals) dazzled as a passer and locked in as a defender. He received help from several players:

In a low-resistance effort, Boston didn’t goon up the game at all.

The Cavaliers still have plenty of work ahead to reach their fourth straight NBA Finals, but tonight, they showed a path to advancing. Climbing out of their early series deficit now looks far less intimidating.