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Morning shootaround — May 6

VIDEO: Highlights from games played May 5


Warriors lose ‘poise’ in Game 2 | Thibodeau: Latest front office rumblings just ‘noise’ | Report: Thompson to start Game 2 | McHale blasts Rockets’ effort

No. 1: Warriors ‘poise’ fails them in Game 2 vs. Grizzlies — The scene at Oracle Arena last night was perfectly set for Golden State to snag a 2-0 series lead on the Memphis Grizzlies in their Western Conference semifinals. Warriors star Stephen Curry got his MVP from Commissioner Adam Silver before the game, Golden State was fresh off a Game 1 romp over Memphis and had every reason to believe it could win again Tuesday. But the Grizzlies — thanks to the inspired play of Mike Conley — claimed a 97-90 series-tying win. Afterward, writes Ethan Sherwood Strauss of, the Warriors said they were perhaps a little too pumped up for Game 2:

The last time the Golden State Warriors lost at home was back in January, against the Chicago Bulls. The last time they lost in regulation at Oracle was back in November, against the San Antonio Spurs. This 97-90 home loss in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Memphis Grizzlies just wasn’t part of the plan, certainly not on the day of Stephen Curry’s MVP presentation.

In pregame, as Curry took hold of his trophy, Tony Allen was on the other side of the court, pacing like a madman. He had his own plans. He was ready to dash everyone’s expectations with a dose of chaos.

It took some inspired defense from Allen, combined with an inspirational performance from Mike Conley, who played magnificently despite a fractured face and foggy mask. Conley hit his first four shots and the Grizzlies never looked back. After Memphis went ahead 5-4, they led the rest of the way. Golden State had runs here and there, but they were never sustained. The game was always just out of reach, and the Warriors never got organized enough to tug it back.

“I thought we lost our poise tonight,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr assessed. “That was the biggest issue.

“We were too emotional. We were too quick with our intention to score,” he said. “Instead of just moving the ball and setting good screens, everyone was trying to do everything frantically on their own.”

After the game, Curry preached calm, saying, “We’re not going to shoot 6-for-26 many times over this series, so we’re not going to overreact to one bad shooting night, as long as we get quality shots the next game.”

Draymond Green had a similar message, saying, “Nobody expects us to lose a game at home. Now the whole world has collapsed, the Bay Area’s just been hit by an earthquake. Everything’s going wrong.” He then downshifted into a reassuring tone, saying, “We’ll be just fine.”

That’s probably the right approach for the playoffs finally arriving at Oracle. The Warriors made it look so easy, for so long, that one could be deceived into thinking they could skate to a title sans stretches of doubt. It just isn’t happening that smoothly for a young team experiencing life as the favorite for the first time. Massive expectation doesn’t obviate pressure, it amplifies it.

VIDEO: Go inside the huddles with the Warriors and Grizzlies in Game 2


No. 2: Thibodeau, Bulls tune out talk of discord between coach and front office — In a story by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski early Monday morning, he wrote that the Chicago Bulls and their coach, Tom Thibodeau, are basically in the midst of their last stand together. This is hardly news, as reports of the damaged relationship between Thibodeau and the front office have been buzzing about for months (remember, there was this report in late January). Yet despite all this chatter, Chicago has a 1-0 lead in its Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. And is their wont, both Thibodeau and the Bulls’ players are ignorning this latest report, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Feel-good stories around the Bulls have a shelf life. Tuesday showed that shelf life was one game.

A day after the Bulls won the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, another national story emerged about the troubled relationship between coach Tom Thibodeau and the front office.

Yahoo Sports became the latest outlet to jump on the bandwagon, but Thibodeau didn’t flinch amid questions about the report.

‘‘Nope,’’ Thibodeau, whose contract runs through the 2016-17 season, said when he was asked if the report was bothersome. ‘‘I don’t pay any attention to it. It’s all noise.’’

It was basically the same reaction he had when he was asked about his relationship with management last week and the same reaction he has had for months.

If it’s nothing but ‘‘noise’’ for Thibodeau, it’s barely a whisper for his players.

‘‘For one, it’s a somewhat aloof group in terms of what’s going on around us, and that helps,’’ veteran forward Mike Dunleavy said when he was asked about the talk concerning Thibodeau’s job security.

Dunleavy said the players aren’t ignorant, but some have been dealing with reports of Thibodeau’s cold war with his bosses for years, so it doesn’t resonate in the locker room.

‘‘I mean, [that latest report] being told to me right now, I didn’t even know about that,’’ Dunleavy said. ‘‘And I think, for the most part, guys aren’t aware of a lot of this stuff, to be frank. I mean, you hear the noise; it’s out there. I think it’s just a group, though, that’s hardened by a lot of things we’ve gone through and a lot of adversity the last few years.

‘‘There’s just not a lot of stuff that fazes us. We know all that stuff has been going on for a while now, but it doesn’t change our approach at all.’’

One source indicated the players have witnessed several blowups between the sides during the last few seasons, including one that involved Thibodeau moving a training-camp practice to a different court when he thought vice president of basketball operations John Paxson was meddling. But the players seem to have grown immune to it.

VIDEO: Mike Dunleavy and the Bulls look forward to Game 2


No. 3: Report: Thompson to start Game 2 vs. Bulls — Not having regular power forward Kevin Love available for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals led Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt to put Mike Miller in the starting lineup. Miller was a non-factor in Game 1 vs. Chicago, scoring 3 points in 16 minutes as Blatt played power forward Tristan Thompson starters minutes (37) in the 99-92 loss. The Cavs want to avoid a 2-0 series deficit and according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Chris Haynes, Thompson will get the start in tonight’s Game 2:

In an attempt to split the series at home, Cavaliers coach David Blatt will start Tristan Thompson in Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, league sources informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Sources spoke on the condition of anonymity. Thompson will make his first postseason start at power forward, pairing up with LeBron James and Timofey Mozgov in the frontcourt, one source said.

Mike Miller, who started Game 1, will return to a reserve role.

With this lineup, Blatt is shifting from a floor spacing unit to a more traditional starting five, one that can match up with Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah without being at a disadvantage.

In five postseason games, Thompson is averaging 6.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks off the bench in 27.8 minutes. Thompson has often finished games of late. Blatt likes his ability to switch on screens and his interior post defense.

It’s clear with this decision that this series will be primarily about physical toughness more than anything else.

Cleveland’s starting lineup will consist of Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, James, Thompson and Mozgov.

VIDEO: David Blatt looks ahead to Game 2 of Cavs-Bulls


No. 4: McHale expecting more effort from Rockets in Game 2 — Mistakes and turnovers opened the door for the Los Angeles Clippers to stage their Game 1 comeback win in the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. That fact is something Rockets coach Kevin McHale hasn’t forgotten since Monday’s loss and wasn’t about to let it go after yesterday’s practice. Our Fran Blinebury was on the scene and has more from McHale about his displeasure with the Rockets’ play:

Observations are the same from looking at it on tape as looking at it live,” said coach Kevin McHale, the day after his team laid a 117-101 egg against a Clippers team playing without All-Star point guard Chris Paul. “We didn’t play very well. They played a lot harder than we did. They had second and third effort. They got after the ball. They shot better than we did. The game was there. We turned it over left and right, had I think six offensive rebounds with a million different misses. We didn’t play well enough to win.”

There had been so much talk about a lack of energy in the postgame locker room that one might have thought somebody pulled out a plug at Toyota Center.

But McHale, who spent a long stretch after Tuesday’s practice sitting and talking with team owner Leslie Alexander, was in no mood to speculate why a team that had nearly a full week of rest after eliminating Dallas in the first round would have less energy or less of anything in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.

Word is that McHale tore into his team following Game 1 more than any other time this season.

“I think our attitude and effort has to change,” he said. “We have to be ready to come out and go to work and be ready to be physical and be ready to play at whatever level it takes to win the game. That also includes taking care of the ball. That includes getting second shots, attacking the offensive board, attacking their defenders, putting them in compromising positions and then making the right play.”

I’m trying to get our guys to play. We did not play well. They did not have a lot of juice. They had vacant eyes. They just looked like they were running in mud. If I knew what (would) get them out of it, you don’t think I would have given them the elixir?

“That surely caught me by surprise after having time off, getting our rest. The rest had nothing to do with our play last night. We’ve had those things off and on. I did not expect it in the opening game of the second round when you worked hard all year long to get home-court advantage.”

VIDEO: Kevin McHale has harsh words in reviewing his team’s Game 1 effort



SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Digging deep into the stats from Game 2 of Hawks-Wizards … Remember Oklahoma City Thunder/Washington Wizards backup guard Eric Maynor? A Greek team is reportedly interested in him … Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul is ’50-50′ for Game 2 tonightPau Gasol continues to be a rock for the Chicago Bulls in the postseason … ICYMI, here’s the pregame MVP ceremony for Stephen Curry at Oracle last night … Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson wants to rebound like Dennis Rodman … Coach Gregg Popovich‘s salary is reportedly $11 million a season … The Brooklyn Nets may soon give GM Billy King an extension … Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti is confident the team can re-sign young frontcourt players Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler

ICYMI of the Night: Mike Conley was big all night in Game 2, but no shot was likely bigger than this late 3-pointer he nailed …  

VIDEO: Mike Conley salts away Game 2 win with a clutch 3-pointer


  1. harriethehawk says:

    Let’s Go Hawks!!

  2. jdub455 says:

    this won’t be a fine series for the warriors…. the grizz can win it all this season…