LeBron James on how to slow Stephen Curry: “The same way you slow me down … You can’t.”


LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry.

The two most popular players in the NBA this season (with Kevin Durant out) go head-to-head on the NBA’s biggest stage. These are two guys who will get their points, and LeBron James attests to that in a quote given Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

The truth is more complex.

I’m not sure we’ll see a 40 point game from either this series — both teams have the defensive players and systems that can make things difficult for those stars. Draymond Green will draw LeBron, Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving will draw Curry. Make no mistake, LeBron and Curry will get their points, but don’t expect LeBron to go off for 42 like he did in the last meeting.

But if you commit resources to stopping the stars, other opportunities will open up. The Warriors depth and flexibility puts them in a better position to take advantage. That’s why they are the favorite.

PBT Extra with NBASavant.com: Cleveland may want to cover Curry in the left corner


Mike Conley did as good a job sticking with Stephen Curry as a coach could hope when the Memphis Grizzlies took on Golden State. The Houston Rockets’ defenders… not so much.

Curry got open looks — he was 7-of-7 against the Rockets from the left corner. But even when they covered him it didn’t help.

PBT has partnered with the fantastic NBASavant.com to break down the Sports VU Camera data and look more closely at the advanced stats of the NBA playoffs and what decided a series.

Cleveland’s defense has looked better in the playoffs than it has all season, but starting next Thursday it will get the biggest test it has had all season.

Cookin’ with the Currys, guest-starring Riley Curry (video)


Do you like watching Stephen Curry and his wife cooking?

Did you find Riley Curry adorable at her dad’s press conferences?

Then this is for you.

Warriors’ Klay Thompson officially diagnosed with concussion


According to his father (and NBA Champion) Mychael, Klay Thompson was throwing up and complained of dizziness after Game 5 on Tuesday — the one where Klay got kneed in the head by Trevor Ariza. I’m no doctor, but those are classic signs of a concussion.

Finally on Friday the Warriors admitted what everyone else seemed to know — Thompson has a concussion. Here is the official statement:

Following extensive examinations over the last two days, including Neurological tests earlier this morning — Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson has been diagnosed with a concussion. He will not return to the court until he is symptom-free and cleared under the NBA’s concussion protocol guidelines. He will be evaluated daily, and there is no timetable for his return.

This a day after his agent said Thompson did not have a concussion.

This has to be about Thompson’s best interests — there is no such thing as a “mild” concussion. Bruising your brain is serious. Fortunately, the NBA has a pretty extensive concussion protocol once there is an official diagnosis of a concussion.  Thompson will have to meet a neurological baseline on tests (established by tests he took when healthy) and do so during increasing levels of physical activity. This is all overseen by a league neurologist — it’s not the team doctors who will let him return to the court.

The good news for Thompson and the Warriors is the long break until Game 1 next Thursday. There is a reasonably good chance he will be cleared by then (based on the history of other players around the league).

The real question for the league going forward is the diagnosis of a concussion during games. Thompson never should have been cleared to return to the game in the first place, yet he was (and if he hadn’t had an ear laceration he likely would have been on the court). For one thing, concussion symptoms do not always manifest immediately, they can take time to show up. Also, this is diagnosed by team doctors — paid by the team — who are supposed to look out for the interest of the player but may not always see things through that prism (the NFL has had this issue).

The NBA needs to review this process going forward.

Klay Thompson should not have been cleared to return to Game 5 after concussion evaluation


Klay Thompson suffered a concussion after getting kneed in the head during Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, but there was some initial confusion.

The Warriors said after the game he showed concussion-like symptomsHis agent said Thompson did not have a concussion.

None of that matters.

Thompson should not have been cleared to return during the game.

After getting whacked by Trevor Ariza’s knee, Thompson left the court area. The Warriors said they evaluated him for a concussion, and he returned to Golden State’s bench still in uniform. It appeared he’d check back in, but he began bleeding from the ear. Once again, he left the court area. Thompson didn’t return to the game after that.

He never should have had a chance to return in the first place.

“If you are testing somebody for the potential of a concussion, that’s enough to say that they shouldn’t play,” said Dr. Ben Wedro, who writes the DocTalk blog on MDDirect.org. “Because if you’re concerned enough to take him to a concussion-testing situation, then you should take the time to do it right and let time help you make the diagnosis. And if that means a player has to miss a game, well so be it.

“If you’re worried enough about an injury to do some testing, then you should know that concussions can take hours for the symptoms to be evident.”

The Warriors seemed to have followed the NBA’s concussion protocols, which don’t allow players to return the day they’re diagnosed with a concussion. Because Thompson wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion, he could return.

But those rules aren’t good enough for the reason Wedro says – the threat of delayed symptoms.

Thompson was away from the court area for just a few minutes. That’s not enough time for a proper evaluation.

In fact, his dad said Thompson was vomiting and couldn’t drive home after the game.

This isn’t like toughing it out through a leg injury before adrenaline wears off and it really starts to hurt. The risk is high.

“The concern is something called second-impact syndrome,” Wedro said. “And that says that, if you have a brain that is concussed and has not healed, it may not be able to protect itself against a second injury as well, and you can get swelling of the brain that spins out of control and people die. This is a rare situation. Some people believe it does not exist. Other people do. But that’s the concern – that if you stack concussions, that disaster can happen.”

The NBA should ban players suspected by medical personnel of having a concussion from returning to play that day. It’s too dangerous.

There is a risk team doctors will shy from testing for concussions if this lower standard is enacted, but maybe it should be taken out of their hands. The NBA could appoint neutral doctors to evaluate at each game.

That might be an overreaction in a league where concussions are rare, but the severity of head injuries is too high to keep putting possibly concussed players in this dangerous situation just because their symptoms didn’t show minutes after the fact.