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Kevin Love Finds Cavs' Underdog Label 'Funny'

May 28, 2017 12:52 AM

Kevin Love doesn't understand why the Cleveland Cavaliers are entering The Finals against the Golden State Warriors with the label of underdogs.

"The whole underdog thing is funny to me, because, yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title," Love said Saturday after the Cavs' first practice ahead of The Finals. "We're trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel, we will use it as motivation, but the idea of playing into it? It's tough for me to say that is the case. I don't feel like we're underdogs. We match up well with them, and I think they'd say the same about us."

BPI says the Warriors have a 93 percent chance of winning the series. 

Tyronn Lue said the idea that the Cavs need the underdog title as a linchpin to get ready for the Finals is off base.

"We're not going to use that as motivation," Lue said. "It's like, we're in the NBA Finals. That's enough motivation alone. Not worry about what it says in Vegas or what people are saying about underdogs. We're not using that as an excuse. We've got to come out and play. Our goals were set at the beginning of the season, and that's to win a championship. So that's what we're focused on."

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA Playoffs

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Durant, Curry Praise Culture Bob Myers Created With Warriors

May 28, 2017 12:45 AM

Like Steve Kerr, a big reason for the success of Bob Myers comes from his emotional intelligence. 

The culture Myers and Kerr created for the Golden State Warriors played a big role in attracting Kevin Durant in free agency.

“He doesn’t walk around like he’s the leader. We know he makes the big decisions but we work together, all of us, him and Steve especially. If you see Bob walking with a group of Warriors employees, you wouldn’t know he’s Bob Myers, the president of the team. He just fits in with everybody,” Durant said. “We talk so much about great leaders being just ahead of the pack most of the time but sometimes that doesn’t have to be your personality. It could be encouraging, working with others, learning and listening. All those traits he has, and I think that’s why he’s ahead of the pack.

“That’s what drew me here.”

“He understands how important it is for him to be aware of everything that’s going on, how everybody’s feeling,” Stephen Curry said. “It’s a tough job, for sure, to have to balance, manage, all these different personalities and the ups and downs of the season. He’s bridged the gap between upstairs and downstairs. All that responsibility, it all pays out when we all succeed, and a lot of that goes to what Bob does on a day-to-day basis. ... He finds a way to be personable, to be connected to every single person in our organization. And it’s very genuine. That goes a long way.”

Janie McCauley/Associated Press

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA

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Warriors Have Largest Regular Season Net Rating Edge In Finals History

May 26, 2017 12:54 PM

The Golden State Warriors enter The Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers with the biggest advantage in regular season Net Rating since 1980.

The Warriors had a Net Rating of +11.6 during the regular season compared to +3.3 for the Cavaliers, which is a difference of 8.3.

The next highest differential came in the lockout shortened 1999 season when the San Antonio Spurs had a +9.0 Net Rating compared to +1.2 for the New York Knicks. The Boston Celtics in 1986, Orlando Magic in 1995 and Celtics in 1981 had the next three biggest advantages. The Magic were swept 4-0 by the Houston Rockets in 1995. 

The Warriors/Cavaliers matchup also ranks as the sixth (2015) and ninth (2016) biggest discrepancies since 1980.

While the Cavaliers were on a different level in the regular season, they have been dominant in the playoffs in losing just one game with a Net Rating of 14.3. The Warriors enter The Finals undefeated with a Net Rating of 16.3.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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LeBron James: Golden State Has Been Best Team In NBA, Then Added An MVP

May 26, 2017 1:10 AM

 

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to The Finals for the third straight years as they defeated the Boston Celtics by a final score of 135-102 in Game 5.

James was asked if he's facing a particular challenge defending the Cavaliers' title against the Golden State Warriors.

"I'm going to be honest, I'm not in the right mind to even talk about Golden State," said James. "It's too stressful, and I'm not stressed right now. I'm very happy about our accomplishment. I have no discussion -- Golden State, they've been the best team in our league for the last three years, and then they added an MVP. That's all I can give you right now, because I'm happy and I don't want to be stressed. They cause a lot of stress, and I'll get to that point when we start to prepare for them."

The Cavaliers lost to the Warriors in 2015 and then came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the title in 2016.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA Playoffs

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Steve Kerr Remains Physically Unable To Coach

May 25, 2017 4:10 PM

Steve Kerr remains physically unable to coach with The Finals one week from starting. Kerr hasn't coached since Game 2 of the first round with Mike Brown serving as interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

"Right now with Steve, he's doing everything," said Bob Myers. "You guys have seen him around in San Antonio. He's here right now. He's been in practices, he's been in coaches meetings. He's doing everything but coaching, but at this point, he's not able to coach. 

"I wish I could say that he was, I'm sure he wishes he could as well. That's where we are. If something changes and he feels better, I'll sit here, or better, he will sit here and tell you. Right now, I can't say that he's going to be coaching.

"I know there's a ton of hypotheticals. If he feels better, and we have to make those decisions, we will. Right now, we're not putting any deadlines on should he feel better, what we'll do."

Anthony Slater/San Jose Mercury News

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA

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Kevin Durant Didn't Want His Love Of The Game Stolen From Him

May 25, 2017 12:11 PM

With a full week off before the start of The Finals, Kevin Durant was reflective in an interview with The Vertical.

Durant was asked to describe what his first season with the Golden state Warriors has meant to him.

"It was definitely a different year. I mean, I never felt under a microscope this much," said Durant. "I never felt … how can I put it? I never felt this many people just waiting on me to [mess] up. Whether it’s on the court, off the court, waiting on something. But it’s fun, because it’s been cool proving a lot of people wrong, individually. I mean, obviously, we have a long way to go as a team. But I just feel like I’m still the same the person. I work extremely hard. I know a lot of people say I cheated my way … or I skipped steps, or cheated the game. I work hard, bro. I work hard. I really take my craft seriously. If I didn’t do that then I would understand. But I love the game, I love playing for my teammates. And I just enjoy playing the game. That’s one thing I didn’t want people to steal from me, from hearing all types of things about who I am, why I did this, why I did that, how I changed. I didn’t want to take joy away from what’s in between those lines. That’s what’s important. I think this year has taught me to stay focused on what’s really important, in basketball and life in general. It’s a major lesson that I learned. I didn’t think it would take for this to happen for me to realize that."

Durant was asked how the move to the Warriors has played out for his game as it seems like his points come easier now.

"Uh, yeah. Obviously, when you’ve got a better, when you’ve got a deeper team, you’ve got guys that can handle the ball, you’ve got shooters, you’ve got guys that can finish at the rim, it just opens it up for everybody. I think we just work well together. I scored a lot of points before I came here. I did a lot. This is not the first time I shot 50 percent from the field. It’s not the first year I averaged 25 points a game. And I’m not doing it because I’m here with these guys. I’ve done it before. It’s just the fact that when I get my shots – and it’s not as much as I got before – but I’m in position to be efficient. I may get in transition a lot more than I did before. I may get it in space more, so I’m allowed to catch and make a decision whether I want to shoot or drive. Simple stuff like that, that’s the difference. But I had some great years before I got here. It’s just a different way I’m getting my points now. It’s not much of a grind. But it’s still a challenge."

Durant was also what winning a ring would mean to him.

"It wouldn’t mean my life was complete. I’ve got a lot of life I want to lead and I’ve got a lot of [expletive] I want to achieve. So if I win a ring, it would be fun to experience that moment when the buzzer sounds and embracing my teammates in the locker room and all that stuff that comes with it, but after that, what’s next? That’s how I look at it. What’s next for me? But it’s that high. It’s that two-, three-week high, I can tell. You can tell when teams win a championship. I saw last year, the Cavs, they all went to Vegas, they all hung out in Vegas for a night. But that two-week high, I want to experience that, but it’s not going to complete me at all, as far as being a person or what life is all about. At the end of the day, it’s going to be another basketball milestone that I reach, if it happens. We’ll see. But if I don’t do it, I’m not going to ball up in my room and not come out. I’m going to work on my game and enjoy myself."

Michael Lee/The Vertical

Tags: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, NBA

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Hawks Hire Travis Schlenk As GM, Head Of Basketball Operations

May 25, 2017 11:25 AM

The Atlanta Hawks today announced the hiring of Travis Schlenk as General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations. He will start leading Hawks basketball operations on June 1.

Schlenk, a veteran of more than 16 years in the NBA, joins the Hawks after 12 seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including the last five as Assistant General Manager, where he assisted 2015 NBA Executive of the Year Bob Myers in the management of all day-to-day basketball operations activities. He was previously the Warriors’ Director of Player Personnel for two years after five seasons as an assistant coach and video scout.

During Schlenk’s time as part of Golden State’s basketball leadership, the Warriors hired 2016 NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr as head coach, drafted two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, two-time All-NBA selection Klay Thompson, two-time All-Defensive First Team pick Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes; acquired 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut via trade; and signed 2014 MVP Kevin Durant and Shaun Livingston.

“After meeting with Travis, our search committee and I knew that he was the right choice to become the new general manager and head of basketball operations for the Atlanta Hawks. In addition to his significant experience with two organizations that have built championship cultures, he is ready to lead our basketball operations at a critical time for making big decisions as we prepare for the 2017-2018 season and beyond. We conducted a very thorough search process and believe Travis shares our vision for the team and the ability to implement it as we continue working hard to reach our commitment to bring a championship to Atlanta,” said Principal Owner Tony Ressler. “We appreciate the willingness of Joe Lacob and Bob Myers of Golden State for allowing Travis and his family to join the Hawks.”

“I am humbled by the opportunity to join the Hawks and thankful to Tony Ressler and his ownership team for trusting me with this responsibility,” Schlenk said. “The passion of the ownership team was evident throughout the process, and the team’s high standard aligns with organizations I’ve been part of and plan to emulate in Atlanta. I am excited to get started and look forward to collaborating with the team to build a first-class, championship-level franchise with a goal of sustained success. I would also like to thank Joe Lacob, Bob Myers, Steve Kerr, Larry Riley and Jerry West for being great mentors, strong advocates and friends during my time with Golden State, and for helping me prepare to serve in this role.”

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Travis Schlenk, Hawks Discussing Contract To Become GM

May 24, 2017 10:47 AM

Travis Schlenk has emerged as the choice for the Atlanta Hawks' general manager position. The two sides have entered contract talks.

Schlenk is currently assistant GM of the Golden State Warriors.

While the Hawks have been denied permission to interview Neil Olshey and David Griffin, they have interviewed Chauncey Billups, Tommy Shepherd and others.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Joe Lacob Hopes Warriors Resolve 'Unfinished Business' Against Cavs

May 23, 2017 2:07 PM

The Golden State Warriors have returned to The Finals for the third straight season. Following their Game 4 win over the Spurs, Joe Lacob was asked how much redemption is on his mind.

“A lot. I kind of honestly feel that we’re on a mission," said Lacob. We’re not done. We got to go back and get some of what kind of feels taken from us last year. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Lacob admitted he hopes the Warriors get the opportunity to play the Cleveland Cavaliers again.

Honestly, I don’t really care who we play (shoots a sly grin). Ok, maybe a slight preference for Cleveland. Only because I feel we have some unfinished business from last season.”

The Warriors famously blew a 3-1 lead last year against the Cavs.

"We were the better team but they did win. We need a chance to go in there and prove that," said Lacob.

Lacob was also asked if he thinks the 16-17 Warriors are better than the 73-win 15-16 Warriors.

“I think it is. Honestly. I think we’re better. It’s hard not to be better when you have a guy as good as Kevin Durant on your team. We were awful good last year. The one difference is Steph was hurt, as we all know. How much we can debate. But he was not what you see out there now. Then of course we had some other issues in the Finals. With Kevin, this is a very, very good team. The opposition is going to be good in the Finals. So not taking anything for granted.”

Anthony Slater/San Jose Mercury News

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA

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Mike Brown Encouraging Steve Kerr To Play More 'Mismatch Basketball'

May 23, 2017 10:26 AM

The Golden State Warriors' pick and roll combo of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have perhaps more potential than any other duo in the NBA.

The Warriors haven't used it with much frequency unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

"Steve (Kerr) isn't really into this much," Mike Brown said. "He's more about spacing and movement -- and that's fantastic. I love Steve, and wherever I might go, I'm going to incorporate a lot of stuff he does. But in the playoffs, sometimes you have to attack a mismatch. When I need a bucket, that's what I'm going to do."

Kerr says the two coaches have talked recently about playing mismatch basketball in the right doses. "Mike is right about me, but I also recognize the need to do it more as defenses get tougher," Kerr says. "It's about finding the right balance between isolating when we need to, and keeping the flow that makes us who we are."

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Steve Kerr Unsure If He'll Coach Finals
Steve Kerr was able to travel with the team to San Antonio but he's still in significant pain and discomfort.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Kevin Durant: I Made The 100 Percent Correct Decision Signing With Warriors
Kevin Durant confirmed he will re-sign with the Warriors.

Marc J. Spears/The Vertical

Travis Schlenk Emerges As Candidate For Hawks' GM Job
Travis Schlenk has been assistant general manager of the Warriors for the past five seasons.

Connor Letourneau/San Francisco Chronicle

Adam Silver Unconcerned With Playoff Dominance Of Warriors, Cavaliers
Adam Silver's time with the NBA has largely been marked by his pursuit of competitive balance.

RealGM Staff Report

Steve Kerr To Travel To San Antonio For Games 3, 4
Steve Kerr is not necessarily expected to coach in either game.

Connor Letourneau/San Francisco Chronicle

MRI Reveals Only Heel Contusion For Zaza Pachulia
Zaza Pachulia suffered the injury in Game 2 and was limited to seven minutes.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Salaries Of GMs On Contending Teams Increasing
Bob Myers and Masai Ujiri received contract extensions within the past season that pay more than $5 million per season.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Gregg Popovich Critical Of Zaza Pachulia Undercutting Leonard
Gregg Popovich likened Zaza Pachulia's play to manslaughter where intent doesn't matter.

Tim Cato/SB Nation

Andre Iguodala Has No Structural Damage To Left Knee
Andre Iguodala is listed as questionable for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Steve Kerr Addressed Warriors At Halftime Before Game 1 Comeback
Steve Kerr addressed the Warriors wearing a team sweatshirt and imploring his players to generate tempo by focusing on defensive stops.

Scott Cacciola/New York Times

Andre Iguodala To Undergo MRI On 'Sore Left Knee'
Andre Iguodala didn't participate much in court work leading to the start of the Western Conference Finals.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Steve Kerr Returns To Warriors' Practice
Steve Kerr hadn't attended a home practice since he took his leave of absence during the first round.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook Back On Speaking Terms
Kendrick Perkins added that Kevin Durant could eventually return to the Thunder.

ESPN

Steve Kerr Undergoes Spinal Cord Leak Procedure
Steve Kerr hopes having his spine drained will help alleviate the headaches and nausea he has suffered.

ESPN

Steve Kerr Won't Coach Games 3, 4 In Utah
Mike Brown will coach the Warriors for both Games 3 and 4 with Steve Kerr still out.

Connor Letourneau/San Francisco Chronicle

Stephen Curry 'Catered To Whole Theme Of Pleasing' This Season
Stephen Curry deferred to Kevin Durant on the floor and perhaps played his best basketball when Durant was injured.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss/ESPN

Warriors Preparing As If Steve Kerr Won't Return This Season
Steve Kerr has remained involved behind the scenes, communicating regularly with Mike Brown.

Ron Kroichick/San Francisco Chronicle

Draymond Green Rejects Comparisons To Charles Barkley
Draymond Green elaborated on why he doesn't see himself as similar to Charles Barkley.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Warriors Expect Steve Kerr To Return To Bench
Steve Kerr continues to suffer complications from two back surgeries.

NBA.com

Stephen Curry's Current Under Armour Shoe Not Selling At Expectations
Several retailers have been discounting the Curry 3 shoe.

Darren Rovell/ESPN