Kevin Durant, Warriors stifle Cavaliers

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With the Warriors leading the Cavaliers by three points in the final minute of their Christmas showdown, LeBron James drove on Kevin Durant.

This is what the NBA dreams of for its premier regular-season date – the biggest stars on the best teams matched up in the biggest moments.

Durant stuck with LeBron and blocked his shot at the rim after some contact during the drive. Though a referee signaled Cleveland would keep the ball, which had gone out of bounds, Durant aggressively nodded, pounded his chest and pointed for possession to go the other way.

LeBron, still smarting about losing the ball out of bounds amid far more uncalled Durant contact on previous possession, briefly raised his arms incredulously. Then, he retreated back on to his defensive end as a review ultimately proved Durant correct.

The Cavs hope they’ll have another opportunity to challenge Golden State’s supremacy in a fourth straight NBA Finals meeting, but it didn’t happen today.

The Warriors bested Cleveland, 99-92, in the lowest scoring game between these teams in their eight matchups dating back to their Christmas classic last year.

Golden State held the Cavaliers to 13-of-52 shooting on 2-pointers (25%) behind an imposing frontline of Durant, Draymond Green and Jordan Bell. Led by Durant’s five, the Warriors blocked eight shots, keeping them near the all-time record. Golden State has blocked 8.65 shots per game, behind only the 1985-86 Washington Bullets’ 8.73.

Durant’s transformation has been key.

“He takes on every challenge,” Green said. “With LeBron driving to the hole, it’s hard for anyone to stop that play one-on-one. He was able to get us the ball back. That’s one of the things that makes our defense great, is, when Kevin is flying around active as he is, we’re hard to score on.”

Green – the reigning Defensive Player of the Year himself – had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Durant led the Warriors with 25 points, and Klay Thompson added 24 to make up for an injured Stephen Curry.

LeBron (20 points, six rebounds, six assists and seven turnovers) looked relatively pedestrian for his superstar standards. Kevin Love (31 points and 18 rebounds) came up big, and Cleveland hung around by sinking 3-pointers, crashing the glass and even defending energetically.

Still, the Warriors left the Cavs flustered once again.

These teams will play again Jan. 15 in Cleveland, and that game will draw significant attention. But it’s tough to escape that these regular-season games are merely a prelude to the main even in June.

“Ray Allen from long distance” with chip shot to save par at American Century Classic

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“Ray Allen from long distance, how many times have we said that?”

Ray Allen had a good weekend at the American Century Championships, the former NBA sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer finished third in the celebrity golf event. One of the reasons he was there, this chip shot on 13 Sunday.

Former Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo won the event, with former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder was second.

LeBron James sits courtside for Lakers’ Summer League win

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There are two, maybe three guys playing for the Lakers in Summer League likely to be sharing a locker room with LeBron James next season — Isaac Bonga and Josh Hart, with maybe Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and/or Alex Caruso. Only Hart could see the court much.

LeBron was still courtside on Sunday for a quarterfinal game at Summer League, showing his support and being a good teammate. He gave Hart a hug on the court. Brandon Ingram stopped by and talked with LeBron for a bit.

LeBron watched the Lakers continue their strong run through the Summer League, racking up a 101-78 win. LeBron was into it, when Mykhailiuk took a shot midway through the first quarter LeBron yelled, ‘cash only!”  The shot was nothing but net.

The Lakers are on to the Summer League semifinals. Los Angeles won the Vegas Summer League last year.

 

After losing to his father in golf, Stephen Curry leaps into Lake Tahoe

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Golf fanatic Stephen Curry was clearly enjoying himself on the links at the American Century Championship celebrity golf event in Lake Tahoe this past weekend.

But he couldn’t beat his father, Dell.

The price? Curry (and his caddy) had to jump in the lake. Check out the video above.

For the record, Tony Romo won the event.

 

Spurs’ pick Chimezie Metu to miss time with fractured wrist

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Chimezie Metu showed some promise in the Summer League games he played for San Antonio, scoring 12.5 points a game on 55 percent shooting in Las Vegas, and 10.7 per game on 54 percent shooting in Salt Lake City. The second round pick of the Spurs (No. 49 overall) is raw and needs a lot of development, but he can get buckets. The potential is there.

That development is going to be on hold a while, as what was thought to be a sprained wrist has turned out to be a fracture.

From Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

After an examination Saturday, the Spurs medical staff downgraded second-round pick Chimezie Metu’s left wrist injury from a sprain to a fracture, a league source said Saturday.

Metu was injured late in the Spurs’ 95-90 win over Washington on July 8 at the Las Vegas Summer League, when he landed awkwardly after leaping to catch a lob pass at the rim. The 6-foot-10 big man finished the game but was sidelined for the remainder of the schedule.

After undergoing X-rays at the Thomas & Mack Center, Metu was diagnosed with a sprain. But Spurs’ team doctors suspected a possible fracture, which was confirmed after Metu returned to San Antonio on Saturday.

Metu should be good to go by training camp. Metu is hoping his summer and training camp play will earn him a roster spot, although the Spurs tend not to sign second-round picks the year they were drafted (they tend to let them spend a year or two in the G-League or in Europe). A lot of his chances on making the roster depend on any other moves the Spurs make this summer and what their roster looks like come the fall.