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Draymond Green: Warriors’ confidence ‘still at the roof’ without Stephen Curry

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Draymond Green is going to tell it like it is, and he insists these Golden State Warriors have few issues when it comes to confidence.

Even playing without injured superstar Stephen Curry.

“We’re still very confident. If I sat here and told you our confidence level is the same without Steph, that’s a lie,” Green said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think our confidence level with Steph is through the roof. It’s beyond high. Without Steph, it’s still at the roof. We’re not losing much confidence. We still believe in ourselves. We still think it’s very possible for us to make a run. We’re going to hold it down `til he gets back.”

Sure, losing Curry for likely two weeks or more is a significant blow to the defending champions. It stings to see the NBA’s MVP go down in the middle of the playoffs after a record-setting regular season in which he became the first player to make 400 3-pointers.

“The great thing with Steph is I think he’s got perspective built in just from his family,” newly crowned NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr said. “He knows what’s important. His health is extremely important but in the grand scheme of things, he’s healthy, he’s happy, he’s got a great wife and kids and family. He’s probably going to be back playing basketball in a few weeks. It’s just a little bump in the road.”

An MRI exam on Curry’s injured right knee Monday showed a Grade 1 sprain of the MCL. Warriors general manager Bob Myers is estimating at least two weeks for the recovery period, but that’s merely a guess at this stage.

“His spirits are high. He’s good,” Green said of Curry. “It seems like he’s moving a little better than he was yesterday.”

Kerr reminded his team during film study Tuesday that “there’s no guarantee of anything,” using injuries to the Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as examples.

At a minimum, Golden State would likely be without Curry – and his 30.1 scoring average – for the initial four games of the second round if the Warriors advance. They play Game 5 of their best-of-seven series with Houston on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena leading 3-1.

“I just feel bad for Steph more than anything,” Kerr said. “He’s worked so hard and now all of a sudden after really several years of being injury-free, back-to-back injuries. But in a lot of ways, he’s lucky. He’s lucky it’s not worse and if we can take care of business while he’s getting better, there’s a chance he can come back and be part of this playoff run and help us go deep. We’ll try to hold down the fort while he’s out. … He’s obviously not playing any time soon.”

The Warriors won Sunday’s Game 4 at Houston after Curry injured his knee when he slipped awkwardly on the final play of the first half and his legs split apart. Golden State hit eight 3-pointers in the third quarter alone to turn a tie game into a 21-point lead on the way to a 121-94 victory.

“It was alarm,” center Marreese Speights said of his reaction. “All the guys saw how emotional Steph was. We’ve never seen that before. It was like, `There’s no way we’re losing this game. We’re going to go out and play the best we can play for him.”‘

Shaun Livingston already started in Curry’s place for Games 2 and 3, and will be called upon again to carry a bigger load until Curry can play again.

“That’s where it comes to me being assertive and aggressive, exposing mismatches, making them make adjustments. Then also, too, when I’m able to do that, and score and be aggressive, then it opens the floor up a little bit for our shooters and for other guys,” Livingston said. “We’re more locked into attention to detail.”

That moment seeing Curry go down shook Speights. He had never seen his superstar teammate emotionally break or come close to tears, so Curry’s display of dejection immediately after the knee injury Sunday was hard to see.

“It’s a feeling that everybody has in their heart, to see how emotional he was,” Speights said. “He’s a great guy. You never want to see a guy like that go down like that. … Things happen for a reason. He’s going to be all right. We’re going to be good, too.”

In fact, watching Curry go down fueled his teammates. They weren’t going to see him like that and not fight to win it in Curry’s honor.

And just as Golden State has shown all season when someone goes down, this group believes in depth as one of its biggest strengths.

“We feel good because we’ve had this experience before. We’ve had it during the regular season, we’ve had it in this series and in the second half of the last game,” small forward Harrison Barnes said. “We want to continue to build on that momentum and get off to a good start.”

Watch Jamal Murray hit insane hand-switching layup around LeBron

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Are. You. Kidding. Me.

You are not going to see a better layup these playoffs than this one by Denver’s Jamal Murray, going around LeBron James near the end of the first half of Game 4.

Murray went up thinking dunk, had to change his mind because of LeBron, brought it down, went around him, and spun it in off the glass. Insane. It had some people on Twitter referencing the legendary Michael Jordan hand-switching shot. Not sure I’m willing to compare this Murray shot to a layup that helped launch a dynasty, but it’s close.

Murray had 16 in the first half but the Nuggets trailed at the break 60-55 in a high scoring first half. Anthony Davis had 19 to lead the Lakers.

Former Louisville star Donovan Mitchell “sad, angry, disgusted” with Breonna Taylor decision

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NBA players — like large swaths of the United States — are shaking their heads at the decision not to prosecute the police sho shot Breonna Taylor in her home. That includes LeBron James, who said the walls of Taylor’s neighbors got more justice than she did.

Now former Louisville star Donovan Mitchell has spoken out on the issue.

The hate and racism in too many of the responses to that Instagram post highlight the injustice and additional hurdles Black people in America have to clear every day.

Louisville has faced a night of protests and backlash to the decision by the grand jury, which included the two police officers getting shot (they both survived).

 

Report: Bulls paying Billy Donovan $6 million-plus annual salary

New Bulls coach and former Thunder coach Billy Donovan
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf just spent the NBA hiatus – at least if you looked beyond “The Last Dance” itself – getting dragged for not spending enough to give Michael Jordan another year of title contention in Chicago.

Paying to hire Billy Donovan is a way for Reinsdorf and the Bulls to repair their reputations.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’d be surprised if all four years are fully guaranteed. Coaching contracts of this length usually contain a team option or two.

But that’s still a hefty salary. Especially in these times. Especially considering it was believed the Bulls would keep Jim Boylen for financial reasons.

Donovan left the Thunder despite them offering him a new contract. He likely knew he could get more elsewhere.

Credit Chicago for being the team to spend. The Bulls needed a solid coach after Boylen and Fred Hoiberg.

Donovan won’t solve all Chicago’s problems, but he should help on multiple fronts. This upgrade costs nothing but Reinsdorf’s money, which every Chicago fan is perfectly willing to spend.

NBA playoff schedule 2020: Date, time, matchup for every game

NBA playoff schedule 2020
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And there were four.

The NBA is down to the conference finals — and the bubble has provided us with upsets galore. There are some unexpected teams in the NBA’s Final Four, but of course LeBron James is still there. The Lakers are the heavy favorites at this point.

Here are a few notes on the NBA playoffs schedule 2020:

• The NBA is continuing to push the pace with games every other day — except in the East, when ESPN wants a break not to clash with the NFL, and to let the West catch up. The fast pace of games will return with the NBA Finals.
• Families for the players, and with the final four now the coaches, are in the bubble.
• The NBA has released an NBA Finals schedule to teams and their target is still a Sept. 30 Game 1. If either conference finals goes seven games that date will need to be pushed back.

Here is the NBA playoffs schedule 2020 (all times are Eastern):

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat

Game 1: Heat 117, Celtics 114, OT
Game 2: Heat 106, Celtics 101
Game 3: Celtics 117, Heat 106
Game 4: Heat 112, Celtics 109 (Miami leads series 3-1)
Game 5: Sept. 25, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 6: Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)*
Game 7: TBD (ESPN)*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets

Game 1: Lakers 126, Nuggets 114
Game 2: Lakers 105, Nuggets 103
Game 3: Nuggets 114, Lakers 106 (Lakers lead series 2-1)
Game 4: Sept. 24, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5: Sept. 26, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 6: Sept. 28, TBD (TNT)*
Game 7: Sept. 30, TBD (TNT)*
*If necessary

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Second Round results

Eastern Conference

No. 3 Boston beat No. 2 Toronto 4-3

No. 5 Miami beat No. 1 Milwaukee 4-1

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston 4-1

No. 3 Denver beat No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: First Round results

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 8 Portland 4-1

No. 2 L.A. Clippers beat No. 7 Dallas 4-2

No. 3 Denver beat No. 6 Utah 4-3

No. 4 Houston beat No. 5 Oklahoma City 4-3

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Milwaukee beat No. 8 Orlando 4-1

No. 2 Toronto beat No. 7 Brooklyn 4-0

No. 3 Boston beat No. 6 Philadelphia 4-0

No. 5 Miami beat No. 4 Indiana 4-0