Thompson fires late surge as Warriors ground Rockets

admin   •   January 1, 2016   •   2168

Dec 31, 2015; Houston, TX, USA;Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) dribbles against the Houston Rockets in the second half at Toyota Center. The Warriors won 114 to 110. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 31, 2015; Houston, TX, USA;Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) dribbles against the Houston Rockets in the second half at Toyota Center. The Warriors won 114 to 110. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON (The Sports Xchange) – Klay Thompson scored a game-high 38 points and keyed a decisive surge late in the fourth quarter as the Golden State Warriors rebounded from their worst loss on the season with a 114-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Thompson drilled a pair of pull-up jumpers off penetration, the second capping an 8-0 run that gave the Warriors (30-2) a 113-102 lead at Toyota Center.

Warriors forward Draymond Green posted a triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 16 assists while forward Andre Iguodala added 20 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting.

Golden State lost at Dallas 114-91 on Wednesday night without four rotation players, including guard Stephen Curry, who was sidelined for a second consecutive game Thursday.

Golden State finished with 35 assists on 43 field goals.

Guard James Harden paced the Rockets (16-18) with 30 points, five rebounds and five assists while center Dwight Howard added 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Guard Patrick Beverley added 15 points.

Golden State turned a quick 10-0 run late in the third quarter, a spurt that featured 3s from Thompson and Iguodala, into a working margin.

Houston cut the deficit to three points on a Harden step-back jumper with just under five minutes remaining for the Warriors hit their spurt.

The Warriors’ ball movement and execution was pristine in the first half, and Green orchestrated the show with extraordinary flair.

Golden State eviscerated the Rockets with an endless stream of weakside cuts to the basket in the first quarter, repeatedly exposing the Rockets’ defense.

Thompson provided the early thrust by scoring 17 points in the opening period, including nine in succession for an 18-17 lead.

The Warriors added four layups before the quarter came to a close, and the Rockets needed a 3-pointer from reserve guard Marcus Thornton to slice the deficit to 33-30 entering the second period.

After recording 12 assists on 14 field goals in the first quarter, the Warriors went 8 for 8 in the second. Green closed the half with a dozen assists, matching the NBA mark for the most assists in a half this season.

Green had six of the Warriors’ eight assists in the second, and his 3 with 7:42 left in the half gave the Warriors a 47-43 lead. It required a second four-point play from Harden, this one with 37.4 seconds left, for the Rockets to pull even at 59-59.

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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Warriors well-built for success over the long haul

UNTV News   •   June 14, 2017

Golden State Warriors players and coaches celebrate with the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors made a strong case to be called one of the best teams in NBA history after a near-perfect run through the playoffs resulted in their second title in three years.

The scary part for the NBA’s 29 other teams? This may just be the beginning.

That is because the Warriors boast an intimidating starting lineup featuring four All-Stars in their 20s who are likely to be with the team for years to come.

Two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry is expected to sign the richest contract in NBA history this offseason as the league’s best three-point marksman will be eligible for a five-year deal worth an estimated $207 million.

“I’m just excited to do something special,” Curry said during the presentation of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy on Monday in Oakland after his team beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. “I’m ready to do it again.”

If so he will have help from shooting guard Klay Thompson and do-it-all power forward Draymond Green, who are already locked into long-term contracts with the Warriors.

And then there is Kevin Durant. The 7-foot (2.13 m) small forward and 2017 Finals MVP has said that after his controversial decision leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Warriors last offseason, he is not eager to move again.

Durant is so dedicated to winning multiple championships that he is reportedly considering taking less money from the team in order to free up space to re-sign key reserves like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala.

That all spells trouble for the rest of the league, who saw the Warriors capture a title in 2015, win a record-setting 73 games the next regular season before Durant moved to the Bay Area and the team became a juggernaut.

“They’re going to be around for a while,” Cavaliers forward LeBron James said after suffering his second Finals defeat in three years to a Warriors team that went 16-1 in the playoffs.

“Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.”

And the team’s coaching staff is equally formidable.

After being sidelined for part of last season and again during the 2017 playoffs with back pain, head coach Steve Kerr returned during the Finals and said he intends to coach “for a long time.”

General Manager Bob Myers, who helped assemble the Warriors lineup after the franchise spent years as the league’s laughing stock, and savvy owner Joe Lacob fill out the rest of the team.

The big question this offseason is what, if anything, will contenders like Cleveland, San Antonio and Boston do to counter the champion Warriors.

Some reports have suggested James, the best player on the planet, may head to California to join the Lakers or Clippers in 2018, likely bringing talented players along in an effort to topple the Warriors if the Cavaliers fall short again next year.

One thing is clear – if no one can assemble a truly special team, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy could very well reside in the Bay Area for years to come.

“After the parade, the narrative will shift to ‘So, what does the league plan to do about this?'” wrote Ray Ratto, a veteran Bay Area sports columnist.

“Right now, the only answer seems to be ‘not a damned thing.’ Because that’s the only answer that makes sense. This is Golden State’s era.” — By Rory Carroll | OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Warriors confident in ability to bounce back from Game 4 loss

UNTV News   •   June 12, 2017

Jun 9, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35), forward Draymond Green (23), center Zaza Pachulia (27) and guard Stephen Curry (30) during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the Finals for the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors’ potent offense went missing on Friday but they were not about to lose any sleep even as their bid for postseason perfection was snapped and championship celebrations were put on hold.

With a chance to close out the series with the Cleveland Cavaliers and celebrate their second NBA title in three seasons, two-times reigning league MVP Stephen Curry went cold.

Curry, of the best shooters in basketball history, had his worst game of the Finals, scoring a mere 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

“Just one of those games. Not going to overreact to one,” Curry told reporters. “Obviously I can play better and want to play better and will play better.”

Curry will get a chance to atone for his sub-par performance on Monday when the best-of-seven series shifts to Oakland with the Warriors still holding a commanding 3-1 lead.

The loss was the Warriors’ first in two months, dating back to the regular season, and puts them in familiar position having returned home last year with a 3-1 lead over Cleveland in the NBA Finals, which they went on to lose in seven games.

But the Warriors have added four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant since last year’s Finals meltdown and are not going to let past results shatter their confidence.

“Man, different team, man,” said Curry when asked if going home with an identical lead felt reminiscent of last year.

“Obviously we have haven’t felt this feeling walking off the court with a loss in a while, but we have done a good job of bouncing back and being resilient all year and obviously learning from all different experiences we have been through.”

Ultimately the Warriors were undone by a slow start on Friday as the Cavaliers, playing with their backs up against the wall, turned in their most physical and complete game of the NBA’s championship series.

The Cavaliers’ approach managed to open up the game in their favor and they used 24 three-pointers to pull away.

“They did a good job of attacking early and it opened up their three-point game,” said Durant, who had a team-high 35 points.

“That first quarter they came out and hit us with that amazing punch. 49 points in the first quarter is way too much. But you got to give them credit, they played extremely well tonight.” — By Frank Pingue | CLEVELAND

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

 Warriors Durant not simply along for Finals ride

UNTV News   •   June 9, 2017

 

Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates after making a three-point basket during the fourth quarter in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant faced plenty of backlash last year when he joined a ready-made title contender but has proven that he is not simply along for the ride as he closes in on a maiden NBA championship.

Durant’s sheer talent and uncanny ability to hit shots at key moments has been the difference maker for a Warriors team that have raced out to a 3-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

“We knew how good he was, but just how clutch he’s been, how many big shots he’s hit for us … it just looks like he

understands this is his moment, this is his time,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on Thursday.

“He’s earned it. He’s been in this league for a long time, and he’s, I think, at the top of his game at the biggest time.”

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, Durant will finally become an NBA champion in the coming days and likely be named Finals MVP, less than a year after ripping out the hearts of Oklahoma City fans by leaving the Thunder.

That move by the four-times scoring champion drew criticism as it came just weeks after the Warriors denied Durant and the Thunder a trip to last year’s Finals by storming back from a 3-1 series deficit.

Added to the fact that he joined a Warriors team that won the NBA title in 2015 and followed that up by winning a record 73 games last season before falling to Cleveland in seven games, Durant was considered a villain by many.

Durant’s current team mates, however, call him unselfish when it comes to understanding how he can impact the game each night.

“It took a while for it to kind of reveal itself consistently as the regular season went on,” said Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

“But once it clicked and the habits started to become second nature, it was kind of beautiful to watch and an amazing kind of style to play and watch unfold.”

Durant hit the game-winning three-pointer in the closing stages of Game Three on Wednesday and the former league MVP said he remains focused on just playing hard.

“That’s what we always talk about, we all just want to have some fun but play disciplined,” said Durant.

“And so that’s a battle I’m trying to go through more so than worrying about how I’m playing, how great I’m playing. I’m just trying to be solid for my team mates.” — By Frank Pingue | CLEVELAND

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Larry Fine)

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