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Warriors GM Bob Myers has little time to ponder finals loss

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — After the heartbreak of a Game 7 defeat and a championship that somehow got away, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers went home late Sunday and had a rare glass of whiskey with his wife and ate a grilled cheese sandwich.

He knew there wouldn’t be any more quiet moments in the near future after the grind of another extended NBA season. The Warriors lost in the deciding game of the NBA Finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the first team to squander a 3-1 finals lead. But Myers has to get right back to work. The draft is Thursday night and then the start of free agency July 1.

“One marathon ended, got a drink of water and now we’re moving on,” Myers said Tuesday, later noting, “Even if we were sitting here right now with a parade, it doesn’t change who we draft and it actually shouldn’t change a ton of other things either, but it’s hard not to get swept up in that current. Because in this society, you win or you’re everybody else, and right now we’re everybody else. So you have to be strong enough and disciplined enough to not overreact to making decisions.”

Myers made one thing clear Tuesday: Amid all the speculation about their futures, free agents-to-be Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli will be evaluated by more than just their poor performances in the postseason and finals.

“At this point it’s about what do you do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again?” forward Draymond Green said of the finals collapse. “I’m not the GM of this team, so I don’t make any decisions or make any changes to our roster. That’s not up to me. I do what I do, that’s play the game. Everything else will take care of itself, whether that’s the same 15 guys, whether that’s 10 of the 15 guys, whether that’s 12 of the 15 guys.”

With eight free agents in all, Myers insists he is in no position to start guessing who could return at this early stage. A year ago after capturing the first championship for the franchise in 40 years, Golden State kept its roster together for another special season that included a record 73 wins to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ mark after a record 24-0 start.

“A lot of decisions that have to made,” MVP Stephen Curry said. “We’ve got a great roster that’s accomplished a lot.”

These days, Myers said the Warriors have built a desirable culture that players want to be a part of under the leadership of NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr. Owner Joe Lacob “is aggressive when he wakes up in the morning, he’s aggressive when he goes to bed,” Myers said of continuing to build and improve.

As Golden State looks to build the roster for next season, Myers said he would measure the value of continuity against the players available on the market. The status of rookie forward Kevon Looney is still a question mark. Golden State’s top draft pick last year out of UCLA is recovering from left hip surgery and won’t participate in summer league. The hope is he will be healthy for training camp or at the latest near the start of the regular season.

“We’re always going to try and be better, but sometimes like last summer we won a championship I didn’t do anything really,” Myers said. “We brought back the same team. Some people have said that was something we shouldn’t have done. … The team actually in some ways was better. Didn’t win a championship so maybe we weren’t. But as far as making the right decisions in the offseason, we made sound decisions without being what some people would call aggressive. They probably would have called it passive. It doesn’t mean you’re not looking aggressively.”

Myers completed exit interviews with the players Monday before everyone went their separate ways for the summer.

For most, the sting of being oh so close was still fresh and difficult to comprehend, one day after a 93-89 defeat to the Cavs decided in the final minute on the Warriors’ home floor in Oracle Arena.

“I was wondering how our players would react or process losing in Game 7 after the season we had, but what I saw and what I heard was really encouraging, from a maturity standpoint, from a learning capacity, from a processing,” Myers said. “Shaun Livingston, it was really poignant, he said, `How am I supposed to feel?’ And I said, `Not good.’ It’s not supposed to feel good to lose like we did. It’s supposed hurt, and that’s what drives you.”

Gordon Hayward reportedly feels good, hopes to return for Game 3

Gordon Hayward return
Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images
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After a frustrating come-from-ahead loss to Miami to go down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics need a boost.

Like the return of Gordon Hayward.

That is on track to happen in Game 3, although nothing is official, reports Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Hayward has been sidelined since he suffered a grade III ankle sprain in the first game of the playoffs against Philadelphia. He left the bubble for a time to get treatment, but has been back with the team, working out and going through a practice.

Gordon Hayward could be Boston’s X-factor in the conference finals — and his return may be the lift it needs. He gives the Celtics another versatile wing player — along with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — who can create his own shot and knock down open looks. Throw in Kemba Walker, and Hayward would be the fourth scoring option for Boston, making the Celtics deep and difficult to defend. Hayward also spent time guarding Butler during the regular-season matchups.

 

Celtics try to play down postgame yelling, things thrown in locker room

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“You’re not supposed to be happy when you’re down 0-2. Nothing out of the ordinary, just talking about the game.”

Jayson Tatum is right in his postgame comments, to a point. The Boston Celtics should be frustrated after blowing a 17-point lead and losing to the Miami Heat Thursday night, putting the Celtics in an 0-2 hole.

However, that part about “nothing out of the ordinary” and “just talking” in the locker room postgame? That’s not what went down, according to multiple reporters on the scene in the bubble.

After the game, the Celtics tried to play it all down. That started with coach Brad Stevens.

“Guys were emotional after a hard game, hard loss.”

Kemba Walker wouldn’t even discuss it.

“It was nothing. It was nothing. I’m not speaking about it.”

Enes Kanter took to Twitter to echo the comments of several Celtics, that they are still a family.

Boston may have just been venting postgame, but if they don’t bring the fire from the locker room out onto the court Saturday for Game 3, or this may be a very short series.

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Dates, times, matchups for all games

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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 now.

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. 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 (Miami leads series 2-0)
Game 3: Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4: Sept. 23, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
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: Sept. 18, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3: Sept. 22, 9 p.m. (TNT)
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

Boston zoned out in second half, Miami comes back to take 2-0 series lead

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The Miami Heat love bubble playoff games — the Heat are 10-1 in the NBA’s self-created, concentrated basketball environment (and the one loss was by three in overtime to Milwaukee).

Miami also loves its zone defense, something it broke out regularly during the regular season but sat on and didn’t show in the first two rounds of the playoffs (literally zero zone defensive possessions against the Pacers and Bucks, according to Synergy Sports). In Game 2, they went to it for 36 possessions, most in the second half.

The Boston Celtics were thrown off by the zone, scoring 17 points in the third quarter, shooting 4-of-14 from three in the second half, and watching Jimmy Butler make plays like this.

And this, reading a Brad Stevens pet out of bounds lob play to seal the win.

Miami came from 17 down to beat Boston 106-101, giving the Heat a 2-0 series lead. Game 3 is Saturday.

After the game, there was reported yelling by Marcus Smart and throwing of things in the Boston locker room.

“Guys were emotional… after a hard loss,” Boston coach Brad Stevens delicately put it.

The Boston coach also wasn’t buying into talk of the Miami zone defense being the story of the night.

“This isn’t about zones and defenses or offenses. We just need to be better,” Stevens said.

Boston did do better in the first half. After getting outscored by 22 in the paint in Game 1, the Celtics came out in Game 2 and attacked the rim, brought Enes Kanter and his inside scoring off the bench early, shot 10-of-13 at the rim, and won the points in the paint battle 32-18 in the first half.

Then in the second half, with the Heat often in a zone, the Celtics just tried to shoot over the top of it rather than get into the middle of it.

Miami just kept making shots and making plays. Goran Dragic led all Heat players with 25, Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Duncan Robinson had 18 going 6-of-12 from three (and keeping Miami close in the first quarter).

Boston had 23 from Kemba Walker, who bounced back with a strong offensive game after a rough first game of this series. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each had 21.

The Celtics are by no means out of this series, but right now they are not executing their game plan with the grit and intensity the Heat bring.

Boston needs to bring the fire they showed in the locker room postgame to the court in Game 3, or the Celtics will find themselves in a hole they cannot get out of.