June 4, 2018, 12:42 am
Steve Kerr pushed all the right rotational buttons to get his team an early lead in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. When it came time to put the Cleveland Cavaliers away for good, though, it was the Golden State Warriors’ biggest star who answered the call. Steph Curry made a Finals record five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter on Sunday night, propelling the Warriors to a statement-making 122-101 victory over the Cavaliers and pulling them within two wins of a second consecutive title.
Golden State got several strong contributions from role players in Game 2. JaVale McGee, starting for the first time since the Warriors closed out the San Antonio Spurs, rewarded Kerr’s trust in him from the opening tip. He scored 12 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting, including five dunks. Shaun Livingston didn’t miss a shot for the second straight game, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds. Jordan Bell made several splash plays on both ends of the floor in 10 minutes off the bench, while David West, splitting time with McGee, Bell and Kevon Looney up front, had three rebounds, two assists and three blocks – and hit a corner three in the final seconds of the third quarter, pushing the Warriors’ lead to 90-80 heading into the final stanza.
Cleveland, believe it or not, actually won the third quarter. Kevin Love scored 13 of his 22 points in the period, and George Hill was crucial to the Cavaliers finding their stride offensively. After consecutive scores by Love and LeBron James, Cleveland was suddenly down just five with 2:55 remaining. But Golden State answered almost immediately, as Klay Thompson raced down the floor, set his feet, took a pitch ahead from Bell and launched, netting three of his 20 total points – a number made more impressive given the fact that he almost missed this game due to injury altogether.
Thompson’s quick-hitting triple, seconds after a made basket, was hardly an isolated incident. The Warriors pushed the ball at every opportunity in Game 2, and clearly stressed the importance of ball and player movement in the half court. They made their first seven shots and went 13-of-15 on two-pointers in the first quarter, living in the paint as the Cavaliers struggled to keep up.
For the first three quarters, though, Cleveland, despite James failing to duplicate his all-time Game 1 performance, was somehow still within striking distance of Golden State. Curry changed that quickly once the fourth quarter began. He had 33 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and set a second Finals record by draining nine 3-pointers in all. Curry’s eighth triple culiminated in a four-point play, but it was his seventh that will live in highlight-reel lore forever.
— NBA Spain (@NBAspain) June 4, 2018
Curry, who has yet to win Finals MVP despite owning two championship rings, made his last three with three minutes and 30 seconds left – after Ty Lue had already waved the white flag by pulling his starters. The circumstances that prompted that early surrender were hardly the fault of James, by the way. He scored 29 points, grabbed nine rebounds and doled out 13 assists in a game the Cavaliers shot 41.1 percent from the floor and 9-of-27 from three. James ended up making half of his 20 field goal attempts, but was met with far more resistance in the paint than he was in Game 1. Why? While Golden State’s increased physicality and engagement defensively played a factor, so did James’ discomfort with his jumper. He didn’t score from outside the paint in the first half, and didn’t even attempt his first 3-pointer until the opening minute of the third quarter.
When James has his outside shot going, he’s almost good enough to beat the Warriors by himself, as Game 1 and the controversies surrounding Cleveland’s loss made abundantly clear. But when he’s more playmaking battering ram than all-around offensive demigod, James, great as he was in Game 2, definitely needs more help.
He got some of it on Sunday night, but not nearly enough. Fortunately for the Cavaliers, they can count on shots falling at Quicken Loans Arena that didn’t over the first two games at Oracle. But defense travels more reliably, the thinking goes, and that’s a harsh reality for a Cleveland team that just allowed 57.3 percent shooting and a whopping 79 combined points to Curry, Kevin Durant (26 points, nine rebounds, seven assists on 10-of-14 FGs) and Thompson.
The Cavaliers have been here before, of course, but so have the Warriors – and never with Curry playing like he is right now. After two games, the bold line separating these teams seems darker than ever before. James has the powers to erase it, especially in Cleveland. But a far less shocking outcome, based on what transpired in Oakland, is that this series will be over before it has the chance to get back to the Bay.
August 17, 2019, 2:10 pmTyler DorseySG, International
Tyler Dorsey has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. of Israel.
Dorsey played 21 games for the Grizzlies last year after being acquired midseason from the Hawks via trade. He played well over that span with 9.8 points in 21.3 minutes but will take his talents overseas where, "He'll have a chance to showcase what great things he can do," according to his new head coach. Maccabi has signed several former NBA players this offseason as Dorsey will be joining Omri Casspi, Nate Wolters, Quincy Acy and Tarik Black.
Source: Macabi Tel Aviv on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 12:57 pmRayjon TuckerPG, Milwaukee Bucks
Rayjon Tucker will be signing with the Bucks on a partially guaranteed deal.
Tucker is a little older than most rookies and will be 22 before the start of the season but he played well enough at Little Rock last year to deserve a look, scoring 20.3 points per game and knocking down 2.4 triples per game at a 41.1 percent clip. He rounds out the Bucks 20-man training camp roster but since they already have 15 guaranteed contracts and both two-way spots occupied, he is very unlikely to make the team and could very well end up in the G-League.
Source: Darren Wolfson on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 12:45 pmDe'Aaron FoxPG, Sacramento Kings
Per Chris Hayes of Yahoo, De'Aaron Fox will be withdrawing from the FIBA World Cup in order to focus on the upcoming season.
Fox follows the trend set by many other players that have withdrawn for the same reason. Maybe this is related to him only playing six minutes in the exhibition against Spain on Friday but either way, he should be in line to improve last year's huge leap in production and could even be in the All-Star conversation. Derrick White is much more likely to make the final roster now with Fox out.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 11:39 amKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Kemba Walker leads US in 90-81 victory over Spain on Friday.
Walker impressed in the exhibition with 11 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in 22 minutes with Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Khris Middleton also playing well as his co-stars. Four Celtics are expected to be on the final roster which will serve as a great opportunity for Walker to develop a good rapport with his new teammates ahead of training camp. Marc Gasol was the top scorer for Spain with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks while Ricky Rubio finished with 16 points, seven assists and five steals.
August 17, 2019, 9:05 amKhem BirchC, Orlando Magic
Khem Birch led all scorers with 18 points as Canada lost to Australia in the second game of their mini-series exhibition.
Birch also chipped in four rebounds, two steals and a block in 23 minutes. He recently signed a two-year extension with the Magic but he currently sits as their third string center so he is off the fantasy map for now. For Australia, captain Joe Ingles put up eight points on 2-of-10 shooting with six assists and three steals in 31 minutes while Jonah Bolden chipped in 12 points, five rebounds, a steal and two triples in 18 minutes off the bench.
August 17, 2019, 8:24 amJuancho HernangomezPF, Denver Nuggets
Juan Hernangomez was back in action on Friday after undergoing core surgery in May.
Hernangomez did not do much in his 20 minutes of action in Spain's exhibition against the US on Friday but at least he has recovered from his surgery. He is entering a contract year but it will be difficult for him to get much playing time with the Nuggets at full health. He played only 8.4 minutes per game over the last two months of last season.
Source: Nick Kosmider on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 8:03 amJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum's intent is to increase his scoring this season according to Keith Smith.
Tatum has been working on being stronger with the ball, drawing fouls and finishing through contact which should result in an increase in free throws, points and efficiency. He was already a top-60 player in only his second year in the league by providing a little bit of everything from a fantasy perspective and should only continue to grow going into his third season.
Source: Keith Smith on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 7:36 amDaulton HommesSF, San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have signed rookie Daulton Hommes.
This is likely a camp deal for Hommes as the Spurs already have 15 guaranteed contracts on their roster. The NABC Division II Player of the Year averaged 8.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.4 triples and 1.0 threes in in 17.7 minutes for the Bucks in summer league action. He is unlikely to play in the NBA this season.
Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter
August 17, 2019, 12:01 amMarcus SmartPG, Boston Celtics
In the NBATV broadcast on Friday night, Marcus Smart said he is "100% confident" that his health won't be an issue to start the World Cup.
With the news of PJ Tucker having to drop out due to an ankle injury, it's good to see Smart won't have to do the same. His presence will be a key factor on defense for Team USA.
Source: Jay King on Twitter
August 16, 2019, 9:31 pmPatty MillsPG, San Antonio Spurs
Patty Mills scored 20 points along with three rebounds, four assists and four treys in 24 minutes in Australia's 70-90 loss to Canada in Friday's World Cup exhibition game.
Mills lead Australia in scoring in their first World Cup exhibition game. With Dejounte Murray returning this coming season from injury and Derrick White's rise, Mills is only a deep-league player at best in 2019-20. Fellow countryman Joe Ingles scored 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.