Warriors well-built for success over the long haul
UNTV News • June 14, 2017 • 13098
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
Paul George outgunned James Harden in a matchup of MVP candidates, and the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 26-point deficit to escape with a 117-112 win over the host Houston Rockets on Saturday.
George finished with a game-high 45 points plus 11 rebounds, torching the Houston defense with six 3-pointers plus 15-for-18 free throws.
Westbrook matched an NBA record set by Wilt Chamberlain with his ninth consecutive triple-double: 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. The Thunder posted a 53-39 edge on the glass.
Harden totaled 42 points, his 29th consecutive game with at least 30, but he missed a contested 3-pointer after Westbrook pushed the Thunder ahead.
Clippers 123, Celtics 112
Landry Shamet made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 17 points off the bench in his debut for Los Angeles, which rallied from a 28-point deficit to knock off host Boston.
It’s the third time in the past five games the Clippers have come from at least 20 points down to win, with the 28-point rally setting a franchise record. It was also the largest comeback by any NBA team in the last two seasons.
Montrezl Harrell led Los Angeles with 21 points off the bench, and Danilo Gallinari had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gordon Hayward scored 19 points off the bench to lead the Celtics, who lost leading scorer Kyrie Irving to a right knee sprain with about four minutes left in the first half.
Hornets 129, Hawks 120
Kemba Walker was 13-for-27 from the field and 9-for-17 on 3-pointers in reaching the 30-point mark for the fourth straight game, scoring 37 as Charlotte defeated host Atlanta.
It was the 40th time that Walker has topped 20 points and the 17th time he’s scored at least 30 this season. He added seven assists.
Charlotte’s Marvin Williams came back to haunt his former team with 27 points. Atlanta was led by John Collins with 21 points, and rookie Trae Young added 20 points and 11 assists.
Pacers 105, Cavaliers 90
Bojan Bogdanovic led a balanced offense with 23 points, the fifth time in his last six games he has topped 20 points, as host Indiana avenged a home loss in December to the Cavaliers.
Cory Joseph came off the bench to finish with 10 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. Domantas Sabonis did not score in the first half, but finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, also off the bench
Reserve Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points to lead Cleveland, which has lost four straight and 10 of its last 12.
Grizzlies 99, Pelicans 90
Joakim Noah had 19 points and 14 rebounds as host Memphis, playing its first home game since making two trades at Thursday’s deadline, defeated New Orleans.
Justin Holiday added 15 points, rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 14, newcomer CJ Miles had 13, Mike Conley 11 and Ivan Rabb 10. Miles and Delon Wright, who were part of the trade that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto, made their debuts, as did guard Avery Bradley, who was acquired in a separate deal with the Clippers.
Julius Randle led the Pelicans with 21 points, Jrue Holiday had 15, Anthony Davis had 14 points and 16 rebounds and rookie Kenrich Williams had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Wizards 134, Bulls 125
Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis made a triumphant return to Chicago, helping Washington win its second straight game.
The meeting was the first since Washington acquired Parker and Portis from Chicago at the trade deadline for Otto Porter Jr. All three played significant roles when their two new clubs won the front end of back-to-backs on Friday, with the Wizards beating Cleveland at home, while the Bulls surprised Brooklyn on the road.
Parker had 20 points, and Portis had a game-high 12 rebounds in Saturday’s win, during which the Wizards built a 15-point lead in the first half and kept the Bulls at arm’s length the rest of the way. Porter, who made a pair of 3-pointers, finished with 17 points for Chicago.
Raptors 104, Knicks 99
Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 22 points and hit a 3-pointer with 7:03 remaining that gave Toronto the lead for good in fending off host New York.
Serge Ibaka registered a double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds) for the Raptors, who have won four consecutive games. Marc Gasol, playing his first game for the Raptors since he was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday, scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds in 19 minutes as a reserve.
Kevin Knox scored 20 points, and DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who tied a franchise record by losing their 16th straight game.
Jazz 125, Spurs 105
Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points and Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead host Utah to its second straight win while sending San Antonio to its fourth straight loss in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Royce O’Neale matched his season-high with 17 points off the bench as the Jazz had six players score in double figures.
DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 to lead the Spurs.
Magic 103, Bucks 83
Orlando took advantage of the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, snapping host Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak.
Jonathan Isaac led the Magic in scoring for the first time this season with 17 points. Eric Bledoe led Milwaukee with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points. It was Milwaukee’s most lopsided loss and the fewest points they’ve scored all season.
Orlando has won four of its last five and is now 2 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Blake Griffin took advantage of the first opportunity to show his former fans what they’re missing, scoring 44 points on Saturday afternoon to lead the visiting Detroit Pistons to a 109-104 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Griffin was drafted No. 1 overall by the Clippers in 2009 and spent his first eight seasons with them, helping the team reach the playoffs in six straight years from 2012-17. He was traded to Detroit last January.
Detroit center Andre Drummond added 20 points and 21 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Reggie Bullock, another former first-round pick of the Clippers, scored 17 points for the Pistons, who had lost nine of 11.
The starting lineup for the Clippers included two players who came to Los Angeles in the Griffin trade; forward Tobias Harris and guard Avery Bradley. Harris finished with 11 points, 10 below his scoring average, and 10 rebounds. Bradley finished with three points.
Magic 105, Celtics 103
Jayson Tatum’s tying attempt at the buzzer missed, helping Orlando hold on late over visiting Boston and snapping a four-game losing streak.
Aaron Gordon had 11 points in the fourth quarter and led all scorers with 28 points along with 12 rebounds. Terrence Ross added 25 points off the bench, and Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Magic were coming off a disappointing road trip in which they went 1-5.
Kyrie Irving had 25 points, six assists and five rebounds, and Marcus Morris added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics. Boston has lost back-to-back games, including to Miami on Thursday to end a four-game winning streak.
Heat 112, Grizzlies 108
Justise Winslow produced a game-high 26 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists as Miami defeated visiting Memphis.
Winslow made 10 of 16 shots, including 4 of 4 3-pointers, as Miami improved to 10-4 in its past 14 games. The score was tied at 108 with 56 seconds left when Miami’s Bam Adebayo made 1 of 2 free throws. The Heat led the rest of the way.
Memphis was led by reserve JaMychal Green, who had a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes. The Grizzlies lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Timberwolves 110, Pelicans 106
Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 27 rebounds as host Minnesota held off New Orleans.
Andrew Wiggins added 18 points, Josh Okogie scored 17, Dario Saric and Tyus Jones had 14 each and Taj Gibson 10 for the Timberwolves.
Anthony Davis had 30 points and 14 rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 25 points, Julius Randle added 22 points and 11 rebounds and Elfrid Payton had 10 points to lead the Pelicans, who saw a three-game winning streak end in the opener of a five-game road trip.
Thunder 122, Spurs 112
Dennis Schroder scored all 19 of his points in the second half as Oklahoma City picked up a come-from-behind victory over visiting San Antonio.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul George finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Marco Belinelli had a season-high 24 points off the bench to lead San Antonio. DeMar DeRozan added 18 while LaMarcus Aldridge, coming off a 56-point performance in Thursday’s 154-147 double-overtime win over the Thunder in San Antonio, scored 17 points.
Suns 102, Nuggets 93
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Richaun Holmes combined for 40 points off the bench as Phoenix’s reserves dominated their Denver counterparts in a home win over the Western Conference’s top team.
The Suns, who have the worst record in the West at 11-33, used a 10-0 flurry late in the first quarter to take a lead they never relinquished en route to their first win over the Nuggets in three tries this season.
Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Denver, which at 28-13 retained a half-game lead over Golden State atop the West.
Jazz 110, Bulls 102
Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 34 points, and Utah rallied for a win over visiting Chicago.
Rudy Gobert flirted with a triple-double for the Jazz with 15 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists. Kyle Korver (16) and Joe Ingles (16) also scored in double digits for Utah, which outscored Chicago 29-20 in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Chicago lost its seventh game in a row. Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 21 points, while Lauri Markkanen had 16 and three others had 11.
Kings 104, Hornets 97
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 22 points, and Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox added 21 each as Sacramento fended off visiting Charlotte.
Bogdanovic hit four 3-pointers and Hield five as the Kings went 14 of 37 on treys overall. They also got 12 points and 12 rebounds from Willie Cauley-Stein and 11 points from Marvin Bagley III.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 31 points, although he left in the final minute because of an abdominal injury. The Hornets also got 13 points from Nicolas Batum, 11 from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and 10 from Malik Monk.
DeMar DeRozan had 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Gregg Popovich continued his climb up the NBA’s career wins list as the visiting San Antonio Spurs defeated the Detroit Pistons 119-107 on Monday.
Popovich earned the 1,221st victory of his career, tying him with Jerry Sloan for third on the NBA’s all-time list among coaches. The 23rd-year Spurs coach trails only Don Nelson (1,335) and Lenny Wilkens (1,332).
San Antonio dominated the last three quarters after falling behind early. Just as they did against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, the Pistons got off to a good start, jumping out to a 21-9 lead with 4:55 remaining in the first quarter.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting for the Spurs, who have won five straight and six of their last seven. Blake Griffin had 34 points and eight assists, and Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds in defeat for the Pistons, who have lost five of six.
Rockets 125, Nuggets 113
James Harden produced another sparkling double-double but this time received plenty of help as Houston extended its home-court winning streak to 10 games with a victory over Western Conference-leading Denver.
Harden paired 32 points with 14 assists. The Rockets also received a career-high 31 points from center Clint Capela (plus nine rebounds) and 21 points apiece from P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green. The Rockets bounced back after having their six-game win streak end Saturday against the Trail Blazers.
Houston finished 22 of 47 from behind the arc to outflank the Nuggets, who had a five-game winning streak snapped and lost to the Rockets for the second time this season. Nikola Jokic paced Denver with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Celtics 116, Nets 95
Marcus Smart drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions in the first quarter to begin a game-changing run by host Boston, which went on to beat Brooklyn.
The Celtics have won three straight and four of five. The Nets, who were trying to reach .500 beyond the midway point of the season for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the fourth time in the last 16 games.
Kylie Irving, who returned after missing two games with a left eye injury, scored 17 points to lead a balanced Celtics attack. Seven other players scored in double figures for Boston. Rookie Rodions Kurucs scored 24 points and drained five 3-pointers for the Nets.
Bucks 114, Jazz 102
Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 30 points and 10 rebounds to help Milwaukee register a win over visiting Utah.
Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points for the Bucks, who won for the 10th time in their past 12 games. Brook Lopez contributed 15 points and eight rebounds, Thon Maker also scored 15 and Khris Middleton had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points for the Jazz but missed all five shots while going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Lakers 107, Mavericks 97
Los Angeles put together a dominant third quarter to rally from a 15-point deficit and win at Dallas.
Brandon Ingram scored a season-high 29 points, Lonzo Ball had 21 and Michael Beasley, with 13 points, was key contributor in a third quarter the Lakers won 32-13. Los Angeles earned just its second victory in seven games playing without injured star LeBron James.
Mavs rookie Luka Doncic finished with a team-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Pelicans 114, Grizzlies 95
Anthony Davis had 36 points and 13 rebounds as host New Orleans defeated Memphis. The Pelicans, who handed the Cavaliers their ninth consecutive loss on Saturday in Cleveland, gave the Grizzlies their sixth consecutive loss.
The Pelicans last won consecutive games during a three-game winning streak from Nov. 16-19. Memphis dropped to 3-13 since a 107-103 victory against the host Pelicans on Dec. 7.
Frank Jackson came off the bench to add 17 points for the Pelicans. Mike Conley led Memphis with 22 points and 10 assists, JaMychal Green came off the Grizzlies’ bench to score 16.
Kings 111, Magic 95
De’Aaron Fox led a balanced attack with 20 points as host Sacramento followed up a record-setting shooting performance with one of its best defensive efforts of the season in a victory over travel-weary Orlando.
The Kings limited the Magic to 36.8 percent shooting and the third-lowest scoring output for a Sacramento opponent this season en route to their second straight season-series sweep of Orlando.
Terrence Ross came off the bench to score 20 points for the Magic, who were playing their fifth straight on the road and second in two days, having lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
Trail Blazers 111, Knicks 101
Jusuf Nurkic scored 20 points to lead six Trail Blazers in double figures as Portland swept to a victory over visiting New York.
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard both added 17 points, and Lillard had nine assists for the Trail Blazers, who won for the ninth time in 13 games. Seth Curry scored 13 points, and Jake Layman and Evan Turner had 10 apiece for Portland.
Enes Kanter came off the bench for 18 points and 14 rebounds, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 17 points, and Noah Vonleh contributed 16 points and 14 boards for the Knicks, who have lost in 14 of their past 16 outings.
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