Morning shootaround — Nov. 27


VIDEO: Warriors star Stephen Curry sits down with TNT’s Rachel Nichols

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Ambitious Warriors aiming for 33-0 | Kobe’s farewell tour bottoms out | Inside the Cavaliers’ players-only meeting

No. 1: Ambitious Warriors aiming for 33-0 — They’re not going to hide it. And that might be a good thing. The Golden State Warriors, as ambitious as any defending champion in recent memory, are on a historic pace right now. They’ve already taken care of the best record to start a season in NBA history (16-0 and counting heading into tonight’s game in Phoenix, 9:30 p.m. ET NBA TV). They want more. They want the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ record for the longest winning streak in NBA history, the sterling 33-0 mark that has stood for decades. No sense in being bashful when you’re already on pace. Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group has the details:

To Stephen Curry, the longest winning streak in NBA history — 33 games for the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers — is something different.

The 16-0 Warriors might not have known much about the record they broke for the most consecutive wins to start the season until recently when they started to get closer. But as they play at Phoenix on Friday, the Warriors are embracing their next chase of history.

“We talk about 33,” Curry said in a conference call with international reporters. “I think I’ve probably talked about it more than anybody else on the team, just because I know about the history and just really how hard it is.

“We’ve had like two 16-game winning streaks the last two years, and those are pretty special feats. For us to have to double that output, I mean we’re going to play hard and hopefully close in on that record, but it won’t be a disappointing effort if we don’t get there. Because there are so many talented teams in this league and for us to just be playing at a high level right now, that’s what we’re worried about. And if we close in and get to 29, 30 games, we’ll talk about it a little bit more.”

The Warriors have won 20 straight regular-season games dating to last season. The 33-game Lakers streak is both the single-season record and one including streaks that cover multiple seasons.

“Yeah, they could do it,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said of the Warriors being the team to win 33 straight. “Because they’re good enough.

“It’s a very young league, and so they’ve managed to put together a team of extremely intelligent players and extremely versatile players and great shooters. And so I see no reason why they couldn’t continue to extend it.”

Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton had expressed concern after the Warriors reached 16 wins on Tuesday with a victory against the Lakers that with their place in the record books, the players might have a different intensity level and see their level of play go down.

Still, there are other records to threaten.

“Thirty-three is a special number,” Curry said. “So there’s obviously still milestones that we can continue to go after, but you go after them by how you approach each day.”

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No. 2: Kobe’s farewell tour bottoms out — Much has been made of Kobe Bryant’s struggles this season in Los Angeles. Epic doesn’t do justice to the way he’s fallen off from the Hall of Fame standard he’s set earlier in his career. He was supposed to go out with a flurry in his 20th, and by all accounts his final season in the league. But something has gone terribly wrong, as Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com explains:

A thin line separates confidence and delusion, and Kobe Bryant is straddling it. It’s the only conclusion one could reach after judging theLos Angeles Lakers star’s comments Tuesday after he tied the worst shooting performance of his career in any game in which he attempted at least five shots.

In a humiliating 111-77 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, Bryant shot 1-of-14 from the field, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range, and scored four points. He also shot 1-of-14 in a loss last season to the San Antonio Spurs.

Bryant is the first player this season with four or fewer points on 14 or more field goal attempts.

Many of his shots hit the front of the rim. Some 3-point attempts were air-balls. He blew one layup that should have been a dunk — and probably would have been years ago, before all his injuries. And one shot, perhaps the cruelest of all, became lodged where the rim and backboard meet. An opposing player had to help pry it loose.

The performance was his worst so far this season, yet, frankly, it wasn’t too dissimilar from those that preceded it. In his 20th NBA season, the 37-year-old Bryant has looked his age. His body has performed as if it’s carrying a ton of NBA mileage and has endured three consecutive season-ending injuries, which it has.

But once again, Bryant said he’s fine, that his health is fine, that his shot is fine, and he diverted the conversation elsewhere, largely to his teammates and the team’s overall scheme.

“I’m not really worried about it, honestly,” Bryant said. “My shooting will be better. I could’ve scored 80 [Tuesday]. It wouldn’t have made a damn difference. We just have bigger problems. I could be out there averaging 35 points a game. We’d be what, 3-11? We’ve got to figure out how to play systematically in a position that’s going to keep us in ball games.”

Read the above quote again, or a few times, if necessary. Specifically, re-read the part about scoring 80 points in a game or averaging 35.

Those comments were made by a player who is averaging more field goal attempts per game (a team-high 16.4) than points (15.2); a player who is shooting a career-worst 31.1 percent from the floor; a player who has now had 12 consecutive games scoring fewer than 25 points while shooting worse than 50 percent, the longest such streak of his career.

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No. 3: Inside the Cavaliers’ players-only meeting — The Cleveland Cavaliers are 11-4 and sit atop the Eastern Conference standings today, but you couldn’t tell by the way LeBron James has been acting lately. Calling out his teammates publicly, players-only meetings and pressing the issue constantly are just a few of the ways LeBron is acting out while his team continues to work without three regular starters. That players-only meeting after a loss in Toronto took on a life of its own, even before the details were revealed. Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com provides some insight into exactly what went on inside that meeting:

Before the media was granted postgame locker room access, the players addressed a lack of toughness, heart and defensive awareness displayed in the fourth quarter Wednesday. James and James Jones demanded more.

“It wasn’t a team meeting. It’s just another game,” Mo Williams said of the postgame team chat. “When you lose games, we just discuss things we could have done better and we need to do going forward. That was basically it.”

The Cavaliers were neck and neck with the Raptors for three and a half quarters before Toronto went on a 9-0 run to eventually pull off the victory. Head coach David Blatt said he felt fatigue and their numerous injures played a factor in the loss.

“I thought that we got tired for obvious reason,” he said. “We are very shorthanded. I thought our guys played hard. I thought we ran out of gas.”

James was later asked about fatigue and he said, “No, it’s not an excuse.” Well, what about the injuries? He quickly responded, “It’s not an excuse. … We got to get better” and then voiced his disappointment and concern with the absence of physical play.

“It’s all a mindset,” James stated. “It comes from within. I’ve always had it. My upbringing had me like that, so it’s either you got it or don’t.”

After James addressed the media, he walked over to Jones, Kevin Love, Williams and J.R. Smith and began breaking down their defensive shortcomings very animatedly. He wasn’t quiet about it. He was trying to get a message across. Jones subsequently joined in agreement. It soon became a group discussion in the middle of the locker room.

Bismack Biyombo‘s name was mentioned. He came up with six boards and six points in the final quarter. He had two uncontested dunks in the final minute and a half that eliminated any chance of the Cavaliers making a comeback. Toronto had six “and-1s” in the quarter.

“We have to hold each other more accountable and we have to play better, and we will,” James said. “But I don’t think we improved tonight.”


VIDEO: LeBron James talks about his team’s struggles this season

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Jahlil Okafor is still searching for his first NBA win but has already encountered his first off-the-court drama in BostonA thorough examination of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s best small-ball lineup … The Los Angeles Clippers are finding that the recipe for success this season is much tougher to locate than expectedWho is the best point guard in the NBA, is it Steph Curry or Russell Westbrook? … John Wall says it’s up to him to move the Wizards off of their mediocre start to this season … It’s still early in the season, but it’s getting a little late for James Harden and the Houston Rockets to turn things around

 

26 Comments

  1. David Lopez says:

    Are the Spurs part of the nba? No love for those guys.

  2. paul murray says:

    I love how the NBA press ignore the Spurs. Of course, 14 and 3 is better than 13 and 4 but don’t tell the writers that because LeBron is GOD when it isn’t CURRY. We will see how small ball handles the defence of the Spurs. I suspect it will be a jolt for the Warriors. Mr. Leonard will have fun with Curry’s behind the back stuff.

  3. SMO says:

    I support the Warriors and will objectively predict that their winning streak will end with BKN Nets on the 6th or Pacers on the 8th! I don’t want that to happen as I could like them to break or get close to 33 Lakers record but it is going to be difficult!

  4. Matt says:

    They are not going to break the record. Once they start playing the good teams who are healthy, the losses will start coming. Thus far, they’ve not only had the easiest schedule in the NBA, but likely one of the easiest ever. I mean, the Kings? The Lakers? To play a team that is around .500 is actually a “tough” game for them. Look at the Clippers, they are struggling more than they should be, but both of their games came down to the end. Next to Curry, they have no stars. Most overrated team in sports currently, even more than the Carolina Panthers.

  5. dontbelievethehype says:

    There is only one team that can challenge the Warriors in a 7 game series, and that’s the Spurs. The Cavs are washed up and done and will continue their winless streak. Curry took out Lebron last season and the Spurs dismantled the more talented Heat two years ago. The power teams remain in the west and the team to beat for several years to come is the Warriors.

  6. danny says:

    The Kobe part was well written ,he is blaming his teammates for his terrible performances

  7. Jas says:

    Lets hope for a NBA Finals between Warriors and Cavs with Thompson and either of Iguodala/Green out due to freak injuries and we’ll see how many games the series will go!!!

  8. bob says:

    i really dislike the way the Kobe piece was written. yes, his shooting has been awful but thats what 20 years in the league will do to you. Kobe has dedicated his life to this game and he has done so much and this article has completely written him off.
    ps. im not a lakers fan or a kobe fan, just a basketball fan!

  9. embryoplant says:

    warriors streak ends tonight its always some stupid game and the kings have enough ingredients to pull it off if the occurrence is to happen

  10. Flex says:

    I can’t believe how bad everyone is talking about a legend in Kobe. I understadn the dude isn’t playing on a “Jordan” level but seriously as much as he has done for the game he deserves to take as may and miss as many shots as he wants. Exactly “80 point game” this due did that, so he could make a statement like that and get away with it…All good things come to and end look at America people…

  11. Raptor4Life says:

    Miran Chauhan, I’ll take your bet on that Rockets vs. Warriors series…. should your Rockets make the playoffs.
    However, I will *NOT* publish my home address on the internet – I’d prefer people at least have to dig a little to find that out!
    There is something extremely disfunctional going on with the Rockets and the self-proclaimed “best basketball player in the world” (as Harden referred to himself last year as part of the USA national team), and it has nothing to do with the scapegoated Kevin McHale….

    LaBrown knows he needs EVERY small advantage, which includes home court, to have a chance (slim as it may be) to win a playoff series with the Warriors. Times have changed and the NBA world no longer rotates around LaBrown as it did for years – referees now even call him for an occasional foul whereas in years past he was allowed to offensively foul his way to the rim unquestioned (Blake Griffin has been “guilty” of enjoying this non-call scenario too!). The new darlings of the NBA world, the Warriors, are stealing some of the limelight LaBrown has enjoyed his entire career…. and he knows the reality of his Cavalier’s situation.
    He should be worried about the Bulls before he “banks” on making it to the Finals, they are not just going to roll over and they do not appear to be intimidated by LaBrown.

    While it is great to see my Raptors get an early season win over the Cavs, this doesn’t really mean a lot…. I just pray they can stay healthy and focused enough to finally win a playoff series after the SHAME of last year’s dismal lack of performance….

  12. tonichi says:

    Even hitting below 33 wins without a loss is BETTER THAN THE MID-SEASON 33 straight wins by that great Lakers team. I’ll take a 29-0 wins over a “tainted with some defieats” 33 straight wins. I am giving this with a smile.

  13. Relax says:

    i dont understand why the Cavs are in panic mode, No one in the east can challenge them, for anyone that says the Raptors, plz get real. they barely beat a Cavs team thats missing THREE starters. All I can think of is they really want Home court through out the playoffs which seems to be getting out of reach already with the way GSWs is playing right now. Cavs should relax keep feeding Love and save Lebron for longgg playoff run

  14. michael says:

    the flippers and the houston sockets are a huge dsappointment this year…The warriors will run away with the best record in the leauge while breaking records along the way. There are only two teams that have a shot at beating the warriors. Cavs and Spurs if they are healthy.

  15. Fr3D says:

    Kobe’s shooting to will himself into believing he’s still got it. It is close to delusion indeed. Brutal to watch.

  16. js__ says:

    What about the other “amazing” streak that 76er’s are putting up? “76’ers remain winless #Until Warriors lose”?

  17. gledindini says:

    The Warriors are at 20 wins at the moment (16this season and 4 last season), and if they do keep winning, its gonna be a great story/game when that 33rd game comes up because its against Lebron and the Cavs.

  18. Miran Chauhan says:

    My Rockets will obliterate Warriors , who wants to place a bet with me I live in 15 Dunedin Dr Kleinburg ON

  19. Raps fan says:

    They should have lost to the raptors. NBA is rigged. Learn gematria

  20. I think the Flippers and the Houston Rockets are going to immediately trade as soon as they can. I also think Doc Rivers should be terminated, it’s about that time.

  21. CaVsfAn says:

    Enjoy this now while you can Warriors and Warrior fans… But were coming for you.. Beeeelieve that!

    All haters and non believers reply below….

    • RAPSFAN4LIFE says:

      After the raptors handed it to the cavs and exposed their sloppy D?? Nah the best team that has a chance to end the streak, are the raptors next week when the warriors come to town.

      • Just Saiyan says:

        Warriors should’ve lost to the Raptors too. That bogus call on Lowry was stupid. Just put your arm in someone who is trying to set a pick and to these stupid refs, it’s an automatic foul. Also, referees hardly call that anyway, especially in the final seconds of the game. Refs were looking for something…..anything to call foul, and they did.

    • couchdude says:

      😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

    • Michelle says:

      Hey CaVsfAn,
      You are a total turnoff, Work on your self esteem a bit….

    • mary renneke says:

      LBJ’s is in desperation mode…just a little..because he can’t let his team distance itself from (my) GSWardogs!