Warriors strong enough to outlast Anthony Davis and Pelicans in Game 1


Stephen Curry flexed on ’em.

Then, the Pelicans showed they won’t be pushed around – not that much, at least.

Curry, who entered the league with SIGNIFICANT questions about his strength, got hacked by Anthony Davis on a second-quarter layup but still incredibly flipped the ball off the high glass and in. The Warriors guard jogged toward the New Orleans bench, raised his arms, extended his elbows and tucked in his fists.

Golden State spent most of a 106-99 Game 1 victory over New Orleans on Sunday looking matured and confident – essentially like the championship favorite it is.

But a late Pelicans run, fueled by 20 of Davis’ 35 points coming in the fourth quarter, leaves a sour taste in the Warriors’ mouth.

“This was a good test for us to start the playoffs when we haven’t had many experiences like this down the stretch like this this season,” Curry said. “So, we needed it.”

With Curry (34 points and five assists) playing like an MVP and Draymond Green defending Davis like a Defensive Player of the Year would, the Warriors led by as many as 25. They led by double digits most of the game.

Then Davis got aggressive, getting to the rim and drawing fouls.

Golden State, meanwhile, shot just 7-of-14 on free throws down the stretch. Credit Monty Williams for intentionally fouling Andre Iguodala (2-of-4 from the line in crunch time) to increase variance, but Klay Thompson (1-of-4), Curry (1-of-2) and even Green (1-of-2) just whiffed.

Those misses didn’t matter, though.

This was no scrimmage, but the Warriors have so much more margin for error.

The Pelicans competed, even after losing Tyreke Evans, who bruised his left knee in the second quarter. And maybe they learned how to get Davis more involved on both ends, which will be crucial to them stealing a game or two.

Still, New Orleans looked overwhelmed until getting down big. There’s still little evidence, last week’s win over a locked-into-the-top-seed Warriors included, the Pelicans can challenge a fully engaged Golden State.

They’ll have a chance to prove it Monday in Game 2, but there’s just as much reason to believe the Warriors can lift themselves even higher. If they need to rely more on Curry and less on Shaun Livingston, who was -21 in 13 minutes, they will.

The Warriors were far from perfect, but they didn’t need to be. It’s on Davis and New Orleans to push them for more than just the final few minutes.

Vince Carter wins NBA Sportsmanship Award

Hawks forward Vince Carter
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Vince Carter’s 22-year NBA career ended amid the chaos of coronavirus, preventing him from getting the deserved fanfare.

But fellow players will send Carter into retirement with the NBA Sportsmanship Award.

NBA release:

NBA players have selected Vince Carter as the recipient of the 2019-20 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the NBA announced today.

Carter, who spent the 2019-20 season with the Atlanta Hawks, announced his retirement from the NBA in June after playing a league-record 22 seasons.  He receives the Joe Dumars Trophy as the winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.  Dumars, a two-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, played 14 NBA seasons and won the inaugural Sportsmanship Award in the 1995-96 season.

Each NBA team nominated one of its players for the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which is designed to honor a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.  From the list of 30 team nominees, a panel of league executives selected one finalist from each of the NBA’s six divisions.  Current NBA players selected the winner from the list of six finalists, with more than 250 players submitting their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.

Full voting (with first-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place votes and voting points):

1. Vince Carter (Hawks): 143-70-34-13-4-2-2,520

2. Garrett Temple (Nets): 22-78-63-52-25-26-1,746

3. Steven Adams (Thunder): 34-57-41-52-58-24-1,632

4. Harrison Barnes (Kings): 24-25-75-48-35-59-1,418

5. Langston Galloway (Pistons): 23-22-29-60-79-53-1,244

7. Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): 20-14-24-41-65-102-1,016

What a nice honor for Carter, who gracefully aged from high-profile star to veteran mentor.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.


This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.


Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.