Drawing NBA conclusions from day or two

The NBA is about two days old, so what better time than now to draw conclusions from as little information as possible. Here goes:

—Liking Ben Simmons early. Liking Ben Simmons a lot.

—Not sure what the Pelicans are going for with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Can’t see it working. … whole league going in another direction and for good reason. I tweeted that it’s like that scene in the Poisedin Adventure when the people headed for the deck didn’t realize the ship had capsized.

This one is a tough one to see having a happy ending.

—Warriors are going to be fine but the Rockets have some people who can spread the floor.

—So unfair that the Colangelos, the NBA’s golden boys, get to run the 76ers. They couldn’t have put together a team like that in their wildest dreams.

—Things are set up for Washington to emerge in the East. No reason the Wizards can’t wind up the No. 2 seed.

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Re-starting blog; Make-or-break for Raiders, maybe Del Rio

There’s that old saying about the band getting together. It ain’t that but I’m thinking of starting up the blog again. Not sure why and not sure completely what about but I think I’m going to start putting down some things I’m thinking. Here’s what’s crossing my mind now:

—Great sports night coming up. We’ve got Raiders game, baseball playoff game, Oklahoma City playing the Knicks and then the Lakers-Clippers game. I’m sure I forgot a game. Can’t remember.

The Raiders’ game is huge. They’re 2-4 and were supposed to contend for a Super Bowl. Instead, their offense has been horrible, and people are starting to point the finger at coach Jack Del Rio and offensive coordinator Todd Downing. If Raiders lose tonight against Kansas City, the path to the playoffs is maybe nothing less than a run-of-the-table.

Big night for Del Rio, who will be hard-pressed to downplay the significance of a loss … should it happen.

— I want Dodgers-Yankees.

—Still obsessing about the Colangelo’s getting to run the 76ers these days.











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Would Warriors rather play Clippers or Jazz? How slow could Utah make Golden State play? Iguodala playing like all-star, McCaw like veteran; being a part of Mount Long Answer-More

Went on with Joe, Lo and Dibs of 95.7-The Game and talked some Warriors. There were three main topics we hit on. Well, four, actually, but I’ll get to that. Here is a link to the eight-minute interview and below is some of what was said.


–Which team would the Warriors rather play — the Jazz or Clippers? I don’t think there’s any doubt at this point, with Blake Griffin done for the remainder of the playoffs, Golden State would rather face L.A. The Warriors have beaten the Clippers 10 straight regular-season games. Draymond Green usually does a pretty good job on Griffin. Nevertheless, Griffin does seem to sometimes gets numbers. They’ll miss those times.

The Jazz, currently up 3-2 in the series, is getting healthier, and Utah has the kind of deliberate offensive system, and sticky enough defense, that there’s certainly some intrigue here. There are legitimate concerns about whether the Jazz will be able to score enough to beat the Warriors — particularly because they can throw multiple long bodies on Utah’s best player: Gordon Hayward.

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A case for ‘hero ball’; Blazers can absolutely play better; Draymond Green in defensive league by himself

–If you want to know why teams don’t just “run their offense” in a game’s final moments or last couple of possessions, watch the end of the Clippers-Jazz Game 1. Both of the game’s biggest buckets — Chris Paul’s little jumper and Joe Johnson’s game-winner — were absolute instances of getting the ball in a guy’s hands and letting him go one-on-one.

This is often referred to as “hero ball,” a term I despise with the intensity of a thousand suns, yet that’s a topic for another time.

The reason it’s not as simple as “running your offense” down the stretch of a game is because when you run your offense you don’t know who’s going to have the ball at the critical juncture that a play needs to be made. You don’t want a non-shooter with the ball late in the shot clock … but that’s the obvious point.

If you run you’re offense, you’re not going to know who’s going to shoot the ball or when. You put the ball into your best player’s hands and allow him to make a decision, then you already know the answer to both of those questions.

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‘Warriors WrapUp’: Draymond Green spectacular in Game 1 victory over Blazers; JaVale McGee provides third-quarter lift; Lillard-McCollum keep Portland in game for four quarters

One of 16 is in the books.

It might not have been a thing of beauty, it might not have been their signature game and it may not even be the precise way the Warriors wanted to start the playoffs … but all that matters is they protected their home-court in Game 1 with a 121-109 win over the Blazers at Oracle.

The Warriors used a 15-2 start to the fourth quarter to finally give themselves some wiggle room against a Blazers’ team that got incredible performances from their backcourt twosome of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

The Warriors, who lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals a year ago, need 15 more wins to claim their second championship in three years. The Warriors didn’t play like champions all game, but they sure did in the fourth quarter, outscoring Portland 33-21.

LINK to “Warriors WrapUp,” the postgame show from Warriors’ 121-109 win over Blazers in Game 1 of the playoffs.

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Blazers vs. Warriors: Game 1; interviews with the Portland Tribune’s Kerry Eggers, Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps and Tim Roye, the voice of the Warriors

The Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers are set to start their first-round series Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena. For the Warriors, they’ll begin the process of trying to exorcise the demons of last year’s Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Here’s some good stuff to get you ready for Game 1:

Interview with Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune.

Interview with Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

Interview with Tim Roye, the voice of the Warriors.

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‘Warriors WrapUp’: Golden State closes out regular season with easy win over Lakers; playoffs start Sunday afternoon against Portland; Durant looks ready for postseason

The Warriors ended their regular season on Wednesday night with a 109-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Oracle Arena. It might as well have been the end of a long preseason.

Everyone knew the Warriors, coming off an NBA Finals appearance and acquiring Kevin Durant, were going to be a playoff team. And most figured they’d probably be the No. 1 seed in the West, too. And after finishing this season 67-15 that’s exactly what they are.

For the Warriors, the real season begins Sunday afternoon at 12:30, when they host the Portland Trail Blazers in Oakland. The Warriors would love to make short work of the Blazers, a team they’ve beaten 11 out of 12 times in the past three regular seasons. Last year, the Warriors eliminated Portland in five games.


The two big priorities when it came to Wednesday’s game was for the Warriors to stay healthy and for Kevin Durant to use the game as a final tune-up for the playoffs. Durant missed 19 games after injuring his left knee, but returned for the final three games of the regular season.


Durant looked like he was in peak form, scoring 29 points in 27 minutes on 11-for-16 shooting. Durant, who missed all nine of his 3-point attempts in his first two games back knocked down 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.

The only injury of note for the Warriors heading into the postseason is a sprained right ankle/foot for Matt Barnes. He is unlikely to be ready for Game 1 against the Blazers.

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One man’s (non) MVP ballot: Harden edges Westbrook

I don’t have a vote anymore for the NBA awards. But if I did, this would be my MVP ballot:

–James Harden, Houston Rockets: He earns the No. 1 vote by a sliver over Russell Westbrook. The reason: he’s turned the Rockets from a team you didn’t have to take seriously into a team you do. Houston certainly isn’t the favorite to win it all, but if the Rockets catch fire for a period of time, and Harden is doing his thing, they can beat any team in the league.

The Rockets have a shot at winning 55 games — in the Western Conference. That’s no joke … and we didn’t even get into Harden’s numbers, which, of course, are incredible.

–Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: If Westbrook wins the award, so be it. He deserves it every bit as much as Harden, it’s just that you have to pick one if you’re picking. The fact that Westbrook averaged a triple-double is incredible.

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‘Warriors WrapUp’: Jazz beat Warriors 105-99, snapping 14-game winning streak; Kerr keeps starters’ minutes down in loss

Winning didn’t seem to be the highest priority for the Warriors on Monday night. Instead, Warriors coach Steve Kerr focused on making sure not to overextend the minutes of his starters — and to that extent, he accomplished what he set out to do.

The game? Well, the Jazz beat the Warriors 105-99 at Oracle to snap Golden State’s 14-game winning streak. Other than that, this one didn’t have ramifications for the Warriors (66-15).

The Jazz, on the other hand, needed the win to keep alive their hopes to earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers.


Kevin Durant played 32 minutes, but none of his teammates reached 30 minutes as the Warriors had their eyes on their first-round matchup with Portland this weekend a little more than the immediate outcome against the Jazz.

Warriors forward Matt Barnes sprained his right ankle/foot during Saturday’s game against the Pelicans and didn’t play on Monday. The Warriors said he would also miss Wednesday’s season-finale against the Lakers but hoped he could return for the first round of the playoffs.

The Warriors played without Klay Thompson, who was given the game off to rest.

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‘Warriors WrapUp’: Kevin Durant solid in return from injury; Warriors blow out New Orleans 123-101 for 14th straight win; Portland looking like Golden State’s first-round opponent

Saturday night’s Warriors-New Orleans game was all about the return of Kevin Durant. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

And all in all, you’d have to consider it a success because after the final horn sounded, Durant was still healthy and feeling good — and not just because the Warriors beat the Pelicans 123-101 at Oracle Arena.

Durant returned after missing the past 19 games with a left knee injury –sustained in a February 30 game agains the Washington Wizards. Durant came back with a bang, scoring the team’s first bucket with a baseline drive that ended in a reverse dunk. He followed that up with a nice feed to Zaza Pachulia off a pick and roll.


Durant leveled off as the game went on, but he didn’t seem to show any ill effects from the injury. He looked very comfortable moving around, and the only thing that looked a little sketchy was his 3-point shooting.

Durant finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes. He went 6-for-15 from the field, but missed all four of his 3-point attempts.

It was nice that Durant came back for this particular game because it was devoid of a few stars. Warriors guard Stephen Curry sat out because of a left knee contusion, and the Pelicans were without DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.

It wasn’t quite a perfect night for the Warriors (66-14), who won their 14th consecutive game. Forward Matt Barnes sprained his right ankle/foot in the first half and did not return.

The Warriors, of course, have clinched the No. 1 seed in this year’s Western Conference playoffs, and now it looks like their opponent is coming into focus. The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz on Saturday to reduce their magic number to one to clinch the No. 8 spot. Should the Blazers hold on, the Warriors will open the first-round of the postseason against Portland at Oracle Arena either Saturday or Sunday.






He sustained the injury March 30 against the Washington Wizards, and he ended up coming back just about exactly when he was expected to: 6-ish weeks.



Kevin Durant didn’t just come back for the warriors on Saturday nigh

Durant missed 19 games with left knee injury.

Curry left knee contusion. No DeMarcus Cousins or Anthony Davis.

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