May 27, 2018, 12:02 am
So much for the Golden State Warriors going out with a whimper. The defending champions used an utterly dominant second half to overcome a disastrous start, beating the Houston Rockets 115-86 on Saturday night to force a do-or-die Game 7.
Klay Thompson led the charge, scoring a game-high 35 points while shooting 9-of-14 from beyond the arc. He also had four steals, shouldering the primary assignment of James Harden, absorbing an early barrage and forcing the future MVP into a tough shooting night. Steph Curry followed suit, scoring 29 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing six assists and blocking three shots. Like Thompson, he also had a whopping 14 3-point attempts, making five. Kevin Durant, meanwhile, shot just 6-of-17 from the field, but made up for it at the free throw line, connecting on 10-of-14 en route to 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
But it was Draymond Green who was the Warriors’ best player with the season on the line. He had four points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, four steals and five blocks, nearly pulling off the heralded five-by-five for the second time in his career. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year was especially effective at the rim, routinely forcing misses with vertical contests and active hands. Just as important was Green’s ability to get a stop, corral the defensive rebound and push the ball up the floor, at which point he’d find open shooters or initiate the type of quick-hitting passing sequences that have the come to define the Warriors under Steve Kerr.
Of course, he was wreaking havoc defensively elsewhere the floor, too.
— NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2018
For awhile, it seemed as if Green’s defensive heroics wouldn’t be enough to dig Golden State out of its early hole. The home team fell behind 39-22 after the first quarter, crumbling under a deluge of Rockets 3-pointers and unforced errors on both sides of the ball. The Warriors miscommunicated on several ball screens in the opening minutes, and compounded those issues by being careless with the ball in the halfcourt and transition. If either team was feeling the pressure of an elimination game, it was certainly Golden State.
True to longtime form, though, that wasn’t the case immediately following intermission. Less than three minutes into the third quarter, the Warriors’ 10-point halftime deficit had turned into a one-point lead, on a corner three by Curry following a quick dribble hand-off from Kevon Looney. That was the first of Curry’s three triples in the third quarter; Thompson had four, as the Splash Brothers accounted for all seven of their team’s 3-pointers in the third quarter, which Golden State won 33-16. The fourth quarter was even more lopsided. The Warriors outscored the Rockets 31-9 in the final stanza, pulling away for good after Green found Curry for another triple with 8:35 left, making the score 94-79.
“We just didn’t want to go out like that,” Thompson said.
With Chris Paul in the game, perhaps Houston might have had a puncher’s chance to stage a late-game comeback. But Harden, after a brilliant first quarter, was exhausted by the fourth, and the early-game fireworks provided by Eric Gordon proved fleeting. The isolations that led to so much success in the first half proved far less fruitful later, as the Warriors’ defensive intensity and the Rockets’ lack of ancillary playmaking combined to rear its ugly head. Harden finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and nine assists on 10-of-24 from the field, stellar numbers, but also had nine of Houston’s 21 turnovers – six of which came in that decisive third quarter, and all of which led to 23 Golden State points.
On Thursday, moments after a second consecutive loss in another winnable game, Green expressed extreme confidence about the Warriors’ ability to extend the Western Conference Finals to a final game.
“We’ll be back here for a Game,” he said from Toyota Center. “You’d be a fool not to believe me.”
And if Paul’s healthy, you’d be a fool to think you know who’s winning Game 7 on Monday.
August 22, 2019, 3:27 pmKemba WalkerPG, Boston Celtics
Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.
Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.
August 22, 2019, 12:25 pmIsaiah CanaanPG, International
Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.
Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter
August 22, 2019, 11:58 amPatty MillsPG, San Antonio Spurs
Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.
The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.
August 22, 2019, 11:54 amMyles TurnerC, Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.
Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.
August 21, 2019, 6:26 pmTrevon BluiettPF, Utah Jazz
Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.
Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.
Source: Tony Jones on Twitter
August 21, 2019, 5:25 pmZach CollinsC, Portland Trail Blazers
Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.
Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.
Source: The Athletic
August 21, 2019, 10:34 amCory JosephPG, Sacramento Kings
Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.
Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.
Source: John Casey on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 10:33 pmTyronn LuePG, Los Angeles Clippers
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.
The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 10:28 pmPJ TuckerSF, Houston Rockets
P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.
The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.
Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 6:11 pmJaylen AdamsPG, Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks officially announced the signings of guards Jaylen Adams and Rayjon Tucker on Tuesday.
Adams and Tucker have their work cut out for them in their bid to claim a roster with the big club, as the Bucks have a reasonably deep guard rotation. Adams and Tucker are more than likely competing to get playing time in the G-League this season and can be ignored in fantasy.