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Steve Kerr endorses idea Kevin Durant became restless because he didn’t get credit for besting LeBron James in 2017 Finals

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Kevin Durant dominated the 2017 NBA Finals. In Game 3, he made a go-ahead pull-up 3-pointer over LeBron James and called it “the best moment I ever had.” Durant led the Warriors to the championship and won Finals MVP.

Just two years later, Durant left Golden State for the Nets – an abrupt end to a tenure that rarely deviated from those incredible heights.

What went wrong between Durant and the Warriors?

Golden State coach Steve Kerr and Bill Simmons of The Ringer discussed on the “Book of Basketball 2.0” podcast.

Simmons:

My theory – I’m not sure if I’m right – but I think he thought when he won the title that first year, and he really outdueled LeBron, I think leaving that series, people were like, “Wow, that guy was just better than LeBron in a Finals.” And he thought that was going to be it. He never – them saying, “KD made the right move.” And instead people were like, “F— that guy. We’re still not giving it to you.” And I think I could feel it in him in the interviews, this kind of, “What else do I have to do? I just went toe-to-toe with LeBron James, and I won.”

Kerr:

I think you nailed it. You nailed it. It really came down to, the same reason we got Kevin in the first place was the reason we lost him. He was restless. Maybe he wanted to play a little different style. His first year with us, he was a sponge, and he would ask questions constantly. What about this situation? What do I do here? It was a very different style of play, and he was playing with different players. And so I think he embraced it and he enjoyed it. And that team was unstoppable between the ball movement and the off-ball movement of cutting players, guys who were setting screens for each other. With the isolation brilliance of Kevin, the team was unstoppable.

We were getting great shots every time down the floor, because they were – everybody was so unselfish. And they were so gifted. Klay had some monster games where everybody is concerned with Steph and KD, as they should be. And all of a sudden, Klay’s coming off a weakside pin. We had so many smart players, too – guys like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West, Zaza. Screeners, ball movers, guys who understood how to play.

So, to get back to Kevin, the following year, in 17-18, we lost some of that. And it started to drift. And I felt like Kevin started to drift. And my feeling was he started to get restless, like “This is all there is? We won the title last year. We’re rolling again this year. But whatever it is I’m searching for, I’m still not finding it.”

I definitely left the 2017 NBA Finals suspecting Durant had become the greatest player in the world. Though he had far more help, Durant significantly outplayed LeBron. Durant’s combination of talent, athleticism, basketball intelligence, role and hunger to win his first title intersected so beautifully at that point in his career.

That was always going to be difficult to recreate.

Maybe Durant’s concerns about his place in the game – especially relative to LeBron – further complicated the situation. Durant definitely didn’t receive much public credit for his championship. He was widely criticized for taking the easy route by leaving the Thunder for the already-elite Warriors.

By his second season in Golden State, Durant no longer appeared driven by a title pursuit. That goal almost seemed too easy. Most onlookers certainly treated a Warriors championship as a forgone conclusion. (Golden State did repeat in 2018.) Durant spent time experimenting with his individual game. Now with the Nets, he wants to work even more on his individual skills.

It’s almost as if people spent years judging players by championships then changed the rules on Durant when he took a drastic step to get himself a ring. Not only did he not get the usual acclaim, he got criticized for how he won a title. After that, it’s understandable he found a new focus.

I’m unsure how happy Durant ever was with the Warriors. His tenure started with sullenness and reached real bitterness.

Hopefully, he finds whatever he’s seeking in Brooklyn.

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

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Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

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DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.

 

Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.

Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms resemble Minneapolis Lakers

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The Minneapolis Lakers’ history belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s why the Los Angeles Lakers claim the five championships the franchise won in Minneapolis and have worn light-blue Minneapolis throwbacks.

But Minnesota’s current NBA team – the Timberwolves – appear to be borrowing from that legacy.

The Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms look awfully similar to the Minneapolis Lakers’ throwback:

Of course, the Timberwolves’ explanation contains no mention of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Timberwolves say the icy cool yet sky blue color … reflects the blue waters that are ubiquitous throughout the cities, namely the Mississippi River, which is outlined on the left side of the uniform.” It’s all about celebrating the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP).

The best part: These alternates are officially branded as “City Edition” uniforms. The Timberwolves called theirs “Cities Edition.”