Associated Press

Jazz end Warriors’ 14-game win streak with 105-99 victory

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Joe Johnson added a key 3-pointer with 80 seconds remaining and the Utah Jazz beat Golden State 105-99 on Monday night to snap the Warriors’ 14-game winning streak.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr, his team already assured of the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, opted to rest most of his starters for the entire fourth quarter and the Jazz (50-31) took advantage to end a seven-game losing streak at Oracle Arena.

George Hill had 20 points and Johnson finished with 19, including five 3s, as Utah also kept alive its shot at moving past the Clippers for the No. 4 seed in the West.

Stephen Curry had 28 points in three quarters for the Warriors (66-15), while Kevin Durant added 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in his second game back from a knee injury.

Utah won despite being without Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and Raul Neto, all of whom have been nursing nagging injuries.

Golden State was also short-handed, as Kerr rested Klay Thompson.

With nothing at stake for the Warriors, the Jazz rode Gobert’s seven-point fourth quarter to their first win at Oracle Arena since April 7, 2013.

Gobert’s follow shot gave Utah an 83-82 lead with 7 minutes left. He later scored on an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Boris Diaw, then blocked a shot by Patrick McCaw to preserve the Jazz’s lead.

Durant, who missed more than a month while injured, showed no lingering effects at all. He brought the Oracle Arena crowd to its feet with a soaring one-handed dunk late in the third quarter when drove baseline for another one-handed stuff.

While much attention remained on Durant’s comeback, the game began as a shootout between Curry and Hill.

Hill was just as sharp and made four of his first five shots beyond the arc to help the Jazz build an early double-digit lead early in the second quarter before Curry helped bring the Warriors back.

The reigning two-time MVP had 15 points in the first quarter and made five 3s in the first half to put Golden State up at the half.

SPECIAL GUEST

The Warriors flew in a new ballboy for the game – 7-year-old Brody Stephens from Indiana. Stephens, who suffers from leukemia, attended the team’s shootaround earlier in the day as well as Kerr’s pregame press conference as guests. Stephens first met the Warriors when he was visited in the hospital by Curry last November when Golden State was in Indiana to play the Pacers.

TIP-INS

Jazz: Hayward (bruised left quad), Favors (left knee soreness), Hood (right knee soreness) and Neto (sprained left ankle) sat out after playing in Portland two nights earlier. . Dante Exum went down hard in the first quarter after getting blocked from behind by JaVale McGee while attempting a dunk.

Warriors: Draymond Green picked up his 14th technical foul of the season in the third quarter. . Matt Barnes (sprained right ankle) did not play and will sit out the season finale as well. “Hopefully we’ll get him back during the first round,” Kerr said.

 

Damon Jones says Lakers are in play for Kawhi Leonard

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I had heard from multiple sources going back to Summer League last year that the Lakers were not an option for Kawhi Leonard. He’s a guy who does not like a lot of drama and chaos around him, he just wants to play basketball, and being with LeBron James on the Lakers is to live in the spotlight with drama your constant companion.

Did the Anthony Davis trade change his thinking? Damon Jones, the former NBA player and assistant coach, said yes it did on ESPN’s Get Up show. He said a source that would know told him the Lakers are now in play.

Two thoughts here:

First, nobody knows what Kawhi Leonard is thinking. We can all play the “read the tea leafs” game — at the Raptors’ championship parade some fans started a “one more year” chant and Leonard’s close advisor Uncle Dennis (as he is commonly known) had one finger up and was chanting along, read what you want into that — but none of us really know which way Leonard leans. The “people close to Leonard” have sent mixed signals from the start, some have different agendas, and they are not Leonard. Stay in Toronto, come to the Clippers or Lakers? We don’t know.

Second, getting Leonard to the Lakers requires a semi-complicated salary cap move. After the Davis trade the Lakers have between $23 million and $27 million in salary cap space (depending on how much of Davis’ trade kicker he is going to take, if any) but that is not enough to sign Leonard to a max contract. And he’s not taking a discount. Los Angeles could create the room by delaying the Davis trade for a month. Follow along: Currently, the Davis trade can’t be executed until July 6. However, if the Lakers draft whoever the Pelicans want with the No. 4 pick, sign him, then wait a month and include that player and his salary in the trade (the CBA says a draft pick cannot be traded for 30 days after he signs his contract) then the Lakers could have $32.5 million in cap space, enough to sign Leonard (or Kemba Walker, or Jimmy Butler, or Kyrie Irving, or any free agent with 7-9 years of service and earning a max deal).

Except, the Pelicans want to get the trade done and, I was told, don’t have to agree to this delay. Would the Lakers have to throw in another second round pick or something to make this work? Maybe.

That all assumes Leonard wants to come to the Lakers. And nobody really knows that for sure.

Whatever happens, the board man gonna get paid.

 

 

Rumor: Patrick Beverley may meet with five teams before Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.

First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.

The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.

The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.

Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.

Pelicans reportedly pick up option year on coach Alvin Gentry

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David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).

Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.

This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style.  Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.

Report: Utah “frontrunner” to land Mike Conley Jr. if Memphis trades him this week

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Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.

Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.

Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.

The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.

What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.

While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.