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Morning shootaround — March 9


VIDEO: Highlights from Tuesday’s games

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Curry happy with how Warriors are handling historic season | Durant denies Finals-or-free agency talk | Anthony all-in for 2016 Olympic Games

No. 1: Curry likes how Warriors are handling chase for 73 wins — The Golden State Warriors have just 20 games left in their regular-season campaign and need just 17 wins in that stretch to surpass the all-time, single-season wins mark held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. From a 24-0 start to today, the buzz has grown about whether or not the Warriors could pass that 73-win mark and Golden State’s coaches and players have done their best to address those questions without letting the chase for 73 overtake the season too much. Warriors star Stephen Curry talked on SportsCenter yesterday about how he is pleased with the team’s approach to chasing such a historic mark:

Stephen Curry likes how his team has handled the pressure that goes along with trying to catch Michael Jordan‘s 1995-96 Bulls team, which went 72-10 on its way to a championship.

“When you go 24-0 your imagination just kind of goes crazy after that — how many wins can we get? But I think we’ve done a very good job of — and this is very cliché obviously — but taking it one game at a time and that’s how we’ve gotten to this point,” Curry said Tuesday on SportsCenter. “Twenty-four and 0 was a crazy, remarkable start that set NBA history. The way we’ve played at home, not having dropped a game and just our overall level of play — we like where we are. We feel like we can get better; we haven’t really played our best of late and that’s a good challenge for us to find our A-plus game as we finish off this season.”

Entering Tuesday’s games, ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gave the Warriors a 35.6 percent chance of winning 73 games. Although they have to face the San Antonio Spurs three more times, the Warriors play 14 of their final 20 games at Oracle Arena, where they have gone 66-2 over the past two regular seasons, including an NBA-record 45 straight wins, set Monday against the Magic.

“Last year we were 67-15 and we played at a pretty high level all year. … Even if we didn’t get to 67 wins there was still the potential for us to have a better season and be a better team,” Curry said. “But right now with 20 games left we obviously know what’s at stake. We’ve just got to stay in the moment and enjoy it. This is a fun time and we’re chasing history so we’ve got to be confident in who we are.”


VIDEO: Warriors.com looks at what makes the ‘Splash Bros.’ so special

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No. 2:Durant shoots down Finals-or-free agency talk — On Monday via SiriusXM Radio, New Orleans Pelicans play-by-play man Joel Meyers said he had heard from sources that Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant would leave the team if it doesn’t reach the 2016 Finals. That report caused uproar and concern in Thunder circles, especially since Durant has made it a point all season long to not discuss what his plans are regarding his looming free agency. At practice yesterday, Durant shot down the report as nothing more than rumors, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

On Tuesday, Durant was asked about the report after the Thunder’s practice. Here is a quick transcript of his response:

There’s a report out there that you have a Finals or bust ultimatum for the Thunder free agency wise. Is that the case?

Kevin Durant: “If it didn’t come from me or anyone I know, like I said in the summer time, I don’t know where it came from. Everybody makes up rumors around this time of year and everyone wants clicks for their stories, so that’s a part of it. I have nothing to do with that. I can’t control it. I’m just focused on playing better each and every day.”

With no context (of what will happen) or ability to read the future, would an ultimatum that you have to get here, or I’m leaving, do and I’m not, would that even make sense?

Kevin Durant: “To me, it doesn’t. You put too much pressure on everybody if you say something like that. Especially my teammates and this organization, they don’t deserve that. So I never said that, I never thought about that. But like I said, I can’t control rumors from people who sit behind their desk every day and think of stuff to say. I’m worrying about coming out here every day and staying healthy and trying to battle against the best players in the world while rumors are getting written up about whatever and I have no control over it. That’s their job and my job is to play. I never said that.”

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No. 3: Anthony looking forward to playing in 2016 Olympics — Indiana Pacers star Paul George has been iffy at best about his commitment to Team USA for the 2016 Olympic Games. The same can be said for Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. But to New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, the only question is when the planes leave for Brazil this summer. Al Iannazzone  of Newsday reports that Anthony is fully committed to the 2016 Games in Rio:

Carmelo Anthony has visions of winning an unprecedented third Olympic gold medal this summer in Brazil, and isn’t concerned that his knee will prevent him from playing.

Anthony, who has had soreness in his surgically repaired left knee this season, believes he will be fine and will be able to commit to playing in a record fourth Olympics for the men’s national team.

 “I want to go,” Anthony said. “I look forward to being a part of that.
“Not too many people can say they played in four Olympics and have a chance to win three gold medals. Not too many people can say that. To me, that’s the way I look at it and the way I approach the Olympics.”Anthony and LeBron James would be the first four-time Olympians for men’s basketball and would be the only men’s players to win three gold medals if Team USA pulls it off in Rio de Janeiro.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Dwight Howard may be interested in signing with the New York Knicks this summer … Cleveland Cavaliers big man Channing Frye is trying to remain patient with his new team … Mark Wahlberg to produce a movie about Caron Butler‘s lifeChandler Parsons is having a great post-All-Star break run and could be in line for a big payday

8 Comments

  1. Bob says:

    Melo always joins the Olympic team cause thats the only time he can be a champ

  2. MT says:

    Exactly what Lamarcus was saying last year before the leaving Portland. Durant is as good as gone but i dont think OKC will be able to rebuild around Westbrook like the Blazers have around Dame.

  3. Mike Logan says:

    If Durant goes anywhere my bet is it will be to the Blazers…where he should have gone in the first place! They have the money to pull it off and with the way Lillard and CJ are playing as well as Portland’s bench it would be a great place to plant roots amongst a young talented team.

  4. Carmelo Anthony: Live by the sword, die by the sword. If you chose New York, then you chose to be a Knickerbonker, and all that goes with it, including losing. Stop complaining.

  5. Tom says:

    When will Stephen A Smith be fired or largely ignored by the public? One of these two things needs to happen, I know I’m not doing my part by mentioning him.. But we all need to ignore his stories built on lies and his sources that he makes up.

  6. michael says:

    I do hope KD leave for a a change. Staying around WB eventually get OKC no where. WB might be an explosive player but if you notice he can not close out games. Too arrogant and too selfish, without KD he’ll never take OKC to playoff!

  7. SG says:

    What is the music in the Warrios video above? can hear it clearly towards the end. Doe anyone recognize?

  8. Lovins says:

    I really hope all this Durant-to-the-Warriors talk is legit. Not just for my own enjoyment but for KD…he ain’t winning a title in OKC, sadly. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em😉


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