Posts Tagged ‘Sekou Smith’

Blogtable: Assessing Duncan’s meaning to Spurs?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: More surprising move: Durant’s or Wade’s? | Your lasting memory of Duncan? | Assessing Duncan’s meaning to Spurs?


> Has any NBA player meant more to a franchise than Duncan has to the Spurs? How about any pro athlete, in any sport?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comDuncan and the Spurs are inseparable, based on longevity – one player, one team, one coach over 19 years?! – but I’d go with Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics for everlasting impact on a franchise. Eleven titles in 13 seasons is hard to top. As far as opening this up to other sports, Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees set up the Evil Empire for decades to come. I’m not sure how the Spurs will do, post-Duncan, over the next 10 or 20 years.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comOne might almost think the blogmaster hails from San Antonio. There’s also Bill Russell to the Boston Celtics; Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls; Magic Johnson to the Los Angeles Lakers; Larry Bird to the Celtics; Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Derek Jeter to the New York Yankees; Sandy Koufax to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tom Brady to the New England Patriots. And don’t forget Joe Montana to the San Francisco 49ers, Bob Lilly to the Dallas Cowboys, Gordie Howe to the Detroit Red Wings and Wayne Gretzky to the Edmonton Oilers. Let’s just say Duncan belongs on the list.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Not in recent years in the NBA that I can think of. That would require not only finding someone even close to his level of franchise success, but also in a smaller market. That was part of the Duncan impact, after all. He was brilliant in a city where the team was the team, the one major-league organization in town and therefore part of the community. Duncan was a guy who made fans proud to root for the Spurs. He set the right example to teammates, took less money to make it easier for management to maneuver the salary cap and was the driving force on the court behind year after year of winning. Within the model franchise, he was the model player.

Shaun Powell, NBA.comWell, I’m not so sure he beats Babe Ruth and the Yankees, Cal Ripken Jr. and the Orioles, Joe Montana and the 49ers, because football and baseball are far more ingrained in the American sports landscape than basketball. But off the top of my head, only Magic Johnson and the Lakers beats Duncan and the Spurs, because Magic essentially made the Lakers into a now-billion-dollar brand.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Given the duration and infinite, championship-level excellence, I don’t think anyone in any sport can compare. No other all-time great superstar spent more time with one team and had said team competing at the level the Spurs did during Duncan’s tenure. Think about it: we’re talking about two decades of individual and team excellence. Had LeBron James stayed in Cleveland for his entire career and won title(s) in a Cavaliers uniform only, that might have come close to matching what Duncan has meant to the Spurs and San Antonio. But we’re talking about the entire culture of an organization and city resting on this man’s shoulders. It is truly unprecedented when you put his career in context. It’ll take another 19 or 20 years post-Duncan to truly appreciate what he’s meant to the franchise, its fans and the city of San Antonio … and to see if there any titles won after he’s exited the stage.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: We can’t say that he means more or less. What we can say definitely is that Duncan joins the exclusive NBA room that includes Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan. They occupy a larger building shared with the likes of Tom Brady, Dick Butkus, Jim Brown, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and on and on. There may be no higher praise.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Michael Jordan in Chicago is the first name that comes to mind. Or perhaps Bill Russell in Boston. Outside of the NBA, maybe Chipper Jones with the Atlanta Braves, although he only won one title. Derek Jeter with the Yankees. Tom Brady with the Patriots. No matter how you look at it, not many people have had that much success with one franchise.

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 241) Featuring Brett Brown

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — There’s no pressure on Brett Brown and Ben Simmons, all they have to do is oversee and inspire a basketball revival in a basketball-loving city.

No pressure. No pressure at all for the head coach and new face of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Well, there’s actually a ton of pressure on Brown and Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s NBA Draft. But they know that, each of them having signed on for hoops renaissance engineering duties in the City of Brotherly Love. Whatever plan was in place before under Sam Hinkie has changed with the Colangelo‘s (father and boss man Jerry and son and GM Bryan) at the controls now. But make no mistake, there is a plan.

An abundance of young talent (Simmons, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric in particular) has to be molded into a team capable of climbing out of the Eastern Conference basement. And it’s Brown’s responsibility to guide these youngsters through the ups and downs of this process.

Everyone involved knows it’ll be a bumpy ride early on and there’s no guarantee this young core will remain intact long enough to make it to their first training camp together. But there’s a glimmer of hope now that, quite frankly was not there before Simmons became a very real possibility with that No. 1 pick.

We dig deep with Brown on the young man from Down Under charged with leading the hoops renaissance in hoops-mad Philly and much more on Episode 241 of The Hang Time Podcast.

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com, Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

***

Thunder trade Ibaka to Magic in four-player deal

VIDEO: Proposed Thunder-Magic deal

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In something of a Draft-night stunner, the Oklahoma City Thunder will part ways with Serge Ibaka in a trade with the Orlando Magic that will send Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis, the 11th pick in Thursday night’s Draft.

The deal was first reported by The Vertical.

Ibaka was a core member of a Thunder team headlined by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Ibaka served as the defensive anchor for the Thunder early on in his career before ceding that role to Steven Adams in the past two seasons. Moving Ibaka comes at an odd time, with Durant set to become a free agent July 1.

Ibaka immediately joins Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon in a Orlando frontcourt that should be a team strength under new coach Frank Vogel.

Oladipo gives the Thunder another young wing player to add to their rotation, a shooting guard who can play both ends of the floor at a high level. Ilyasova is a veteran floor spacing forward and Sabonis, the son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, is a rugged big man who starred in college at Gonzaga.

 

Report: Bulls deal Rose to Knicks

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Derrick Rose era has come to an end in Chicago.

Rose is the centerpiece of a trade that would send him from his hometown to the New York Knicks, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune, where he would team up with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis under new coach Jeff Hornacek.

The Bulls would also send Justin Holiday and a 2017 second round Draft pick to the Knicks in exchange for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon.

This is the latest and boldest move from Knicks boss Phil Jackson, who is trying to push the Knicks back into the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference.

Rose was once ticketed as the star who would lead the Bulls back to championship glory, only to see his career derailed by knee injuries after he became the youngest MVP in league history. The Bulls missed the playoffs this season, Fred Holberg‘s first after replacing Tom Thibodeau as coach.

Rose, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 Draft, finishes his Bulls career having averaged 19.7 points, 6.2 assists and and 3.4 rebounds while starting in 405 of the 406 games he suited up for with Chicago.

Rose’s departure also seems to indicate the choice the organization has made in regards to who they will build around going forward, a choice between Rose and All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler.

 

Report: Teague, Hill, pick swapped in three-team deal

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks are all trying to solve their point guard issues on the eve of Thursday night’s Draft, engaging in a reported three-team deal that would send Hawks All-Star Jeff Teague home to the Pacers, Pacers veteran George Hill to Utah and the No. 12 pick the Jazz own to the Hawks.

The proposed deal, first reported by The Vertical, cannot be finalized until July, for salary cap purposes.

Teague’s departure would indicate the Hawks are ready to turn over their starting point guard spot to Dennis Schroder. The Pacers, under new coach Nate McMillan, would have a homegrown product (Teague starred at Pike High School in Indianapolis) to pair with All-NBA forward Paul George. Pacers boss Larry Bird decided the franchise needed a new leader after this season, replacing Frank Vogel with McMillan, and clearly wants a younger and more dynamic floor leader for his team.

The Jazz, who have struggled to find the right fit at the position, would turn things over to Hill, who helped the Pacers to back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference finals while playing for his hometown team, in hopes that the veteran can stabilize a position of need for the franchise as they continue to chase a playoff berth.

Teague’s departure has been rumored for months. His name came up repeatedly in the run up to February’s trade deadline but the Hawks never pulled the trigger on any deals. This allows him a chance to continue his career in a more familiar environment and with an organization he grew up watching and rooting for. It also removes him from a contentious situation, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer inherited Teague when he took over and Schroder was drafted on his watch.

Teague earned his All-Star nod during the 2014-15 season, when the Hawks won a franchise-record 60 games, reached the Eastern Conference finals for the first time and placed four players on the All-Star team; Teague, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Al Horford (an unrestricted free agent July 1).

 

The Finals Live Blog — Game 7

OAKLAND — Respect the game.

Respect the moment.

Respect the opponent.

But have no fear.

There isn’t much more to say before what is the ultimate game in this sport, the Game 7 showdown in The Finals between two championship-caliber teams who have circled and stalked each other over the course of the past 12 months.

The reigning champion Golden State Warriors, led by their two-time and unanimous (this season) MVP Stephen Curry against the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by four-time MVP and two-time champion LeBron James, playing for all the marbles on the final day of this NBA season is the ideal way to finish any NBA season.

This has only happened 18 times in the storied history of this league and the home team has the historical edge, owning a robust 15-3 record in said games, including six straight triumphs. The 19th playing of a Finals Game 7 brings us a player attempting to establish himself as one of the top two or three players to ever play the game in James, and another, in Curry, who is seeking to justify his place in that same conversation among the top current players in the game.

Sure, it’s more complicated than that. Kyrie Irving and Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevin Love and plenty of others will play their roles in this epic, winner-take-all saga. All eyes early on, however, will be on the battle inside the battle between Steph and LeBron.

Whose will is greater?

Whose nerves survive the moment?

Whose supporting cast comes to the rescue first?

We find out in the next 48 minutes (and possibly more) of action. The world is watching, from right here in the Bay Area and back to LeBron’s beloved Cleveland and northeast Ohio and beyond.

We can sort out the impact on the winner and loser later, whose legacy gets the boost and whose takes the hit. Right now, it’s about this one game, just one game for the right to be called champion.

It’s all on the line tonight, here at Oracle Arena, a championship for the taking … HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!!

***

He’s ready!

***

You know he’s ready …

***

Stephen Curry, pre-game.

A photo posted by John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) on

***

Dwayne Wade in the building. He’s handled his business in a Game 7 before …

***

This game is a kind of a big deal here in Oakland and the Bay Area.

***

They are cranked up back in Cleveland, too. Trying to end that title drought.

***

As I mentioned, there have been some memorable Game 7s before this one …

***

Akron’s got your back LeBron!

***

Hmmmm …

***

It is a “young man’s game.”

***

***

Time to get it in. Got your popcorn ready?

***

A great Game 7 is all anyone’s asking for. In a strange series marked by blowouts, give us one down to the wire.

***

***

***

Prime Time’s fearless prediction …

***

By Any Means Necessary approach from Steve Kerr tonight.

***

 

***

***

It’s early, relax peoples.

***

Yes he does!

***

***

***

LeBron turned the one over, too!

***

***

***

Sorry, need one more look.

***

His handle is wicked, too.

***

Kevin Love came to play!

***

Things change …

***

Rebounding remains the most glaring issue for the Warriors.

***

END OF FIRST QUARTER CAVALIERS 23, WARRIORS 22

***

***

Ask and you shall receive #giveusoneclosegame

***

He’s #CLEAN

***

Steph going to the cup for the hoop and the foul.

***

Draymond is 5-for-7 from the floor, a perfect 3-for-3 from deep and has 13 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.

***

***

***

Dave is down with the Warriors!

***

LeBron is just waiting on this one every time.

***

Great players make great plays non-stop in a wild Game 7 environment. #ShowUpShowOut

***

***

***

Steph picks up his third foul just before halftime on a questionable one …

***

***

***

***

HALFTIME WARRIORS 49, CAVALIERS 42

The Global Game!

***

***

***

Another look at Steph’s third foul … ?

***

Warriors lead vanishes in mere minutes. JR cooking. Kyrie cooking. And Barnes and Ezeli continue to struggle on both ends.

***

***

***

Steph on both ends, Warriors back up 59-54 … we seem to be getting that great game we’ve been looking for.

***

***

***

***

Warriors bigs are struggling something terrible, on both ends.

***

Kyrie taking control. Cavs put together a wicked 11-0 run to take a 65-59 lead. Warriors turning it over, missing shots and getting caught up in the moment?

***

***

***

It could wild in Cleveland tonight …

***

And then the Warriors tied the game on a Livingston dunk. We’re back to even at 71 with 1:56 to play in the third.

(Draymond sank three free throws and then hit a three before that.)

***

END OF THIRD QUARTER WARRIORS 76, CAVALIERS 75 … Game 7 living up to the hype and then some.

***

The Internet wins tonight no matter what, due to things like this …

***

***

***

***

Back-to-back buckets from the Splash Brothers. Warriors take the lead 85-83 with 6:16 to play.

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

***

***

***

***

***

We’re tied at 89 with 2:50 to play … CRAZY!

***

***

***

LeBron with the eraser of a potential go-ahead layup from Iguodala. UNREAL!

***

***

Kyrie with the dagger from 3 with 53 seconds to play, Cavs up 92-89 and have the ball after a Steph heave that bounces wide.

***

LeBron makes the second of two free throws and Cleveland is 10.6 seconds away from ending the title drought. It’s officially his city if they finish this off.

CAVALIERS 93, WARRIORS 89 … from 3-1 down to dethrone the champs. LeBron finally lives his dream and brings a title to The Land!

The Warriors cannot finish their dream season. The title they thought was theirs was not.

***

***

***

***

We did it, Cleveland. #NBAChampions | #OneForTheLand

A photo posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

***

***

 

The Finals Live Blog — Game 6

CLEVELAND — The energy is different for do-or-die games.

The blood pumps harder than usual. The senses are heightened. Paying attention to every little detail, all of the minutiae, is paramount.

Lose your focus for a moment, a two or three minute stretch, and that’s the game.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will be locked in that pressure-packed chamber for at least 48 minutes here tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. Game 6 of The Finals, the same game it all ended a year ago between these two, with the Warriors turning the visitor’s locker room into the “Champagne Room.”

Draymond Green would love to see his return (from a one-game suspension) bring that feeling back for the Warriors, who despite a doomsday narrative since their Game 5 loss at home, still lead this series 3-2.

So what if the Cavaliers pushed for a two-game suspension for Draymond for his Game 4 swipe at LeBron James. And so what if all of Draymond’s Flagrant fouls in this postseason came after review from the league office instead of by the game officials. These things happen.

Again, the minutiae is what matters. The details.

Who scrambles for loose balls and wins?

Who does the basics, putting a body on a body when a ball goes up for the best box out position?

Whose will is stronger?

It's GAME DAY!

A video posted by NBA (@nba) on

LeBron has been great in these situations, historically speaking. He’s been known to rise to the magnitude of the moment, the way he and Kyrie Irving did in Game 5, becoming the first pair of teammates to score 40-plus in the same game in The Finals.

Historically speaking, of course, applies to basically everything these Warriors have done this season. The 24-0 start, the 73-9 record, the 402 makes from deep from Stephen Curry and on and on …

The fear that this could very well be the final game of this NBA season cranks the anxiety level up to code red for all involved. That’s why having the great Craig Sager working the sideline on the ESPN broadcast makes this night even sweeter.

#SagerStrong

We are very excited to have Craig Sager joining our broadcast team for Game 6 of the #NBAFinals.

A photo posted by NBA on ESPN (@nbaonespn) on

***

***

Whose stars will shine brightest tonight?

Draymond already said there is no need for him to try to be “He-Man” out there. And LeBron and Kyrie have already done their Batman and Robin routine.

The unanimous KIA MVP is certainly capable of donning his cape tonight and you can be sure Klay Thompson will have his cannon loaded. And might we even get a Kevin Love sighting?

But I think back to this time a year ago, when Draymond finished with a triple-double in the clinching game and wonder, does he have another one in him tonight?

Oh, the energy and anxiety in do-or-die games … I can’t wait!

Dubs at work. #NBAFinals

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

Anything is possible tonight! Watch Game 6 pregame w/ me @imisiahthomas @realgranthill @matt_winer. @NBATV @ 7p!

A photo posted by Steve Smith (@steve21smith) on

***

The clowning has already started with #Game6WardrobeWatch! #BeetleDraymond

***

SchoolBoy Steph!

***

Where is the Love?

***

Pregame coach speak from Tyronn Lue

.. and Steve Kerr

***

J.R. Smith‘s daughter didn’t hold back when talking about her pops …

***

2008 Finals MVP Paul Pierce showing off that bling!

***

Stager’s suit game on blast, as always!

Craig Sager will work his first #NBAFinals game tonight! #SagerStrong

A photo posted by NBA (@nba) on

***

Point guard show game for Game 6 …

Craig Sager will work his first #NBAFinals game tonight! #SagerStrong

A photo posted by NBA (@nba) on

***

Andre Iguodala gets the starting nod tonight for the Warriors, Lineup of Death on deck …

***

Good question ???

***

***

They are ready up in here! Quicken Loans Arena …

***

Save some for the game LeBron!

***

***

Get in formation!

***

Harrison Barnes is being left open on purpose and he’s not making the Cavaliers pay for it. 6-0 Cavs start.

***

It’s a continuation of Game 5 early on, Cavaliers up 13-5 thanks to stuff like this …

***

And this …

***

***

Cleveland is rolling up 26-9 …

 

***

It’s already that kind of night, and we’re not through the first quarter yet.

***

END FIRST Q: CAVALIERS 31, WARRIORS 11 … the end?

***

Finals MVP … just playing with you. But he’s in BEAST MODE!

***

***

***

***

Warriors fans have to be really worried now.

***

Of this we are all certain!

***

***

Warriors finally settle down and start making shots and they are still down 39-24 with 8:54 to play.

***

Warriors, unbelievably, are back in this thing. Down 46-38 with 4:40 to play. Crowd has quieted down.

***

***

Warriors need look no further for the source of their struggles ….

***

This debate never ends!

***

T. Lue pushing all the right buttons so far …

***

HALFTIME CAVALIERS 59, WARRIORS 43 … crazy first half, to say the least.

***

***

***

Well, that didn’t go as planned Steve Kerr.

***

***

🛫🛫🛫

A video posted by NBA (@nba) on

***

***

So it’s not just on Steph tonight, huh?

***

Grand Rapids stand up! #GRDrive

***

***

***

***

***

***

That’s one way to settle this thing … hmm!

***

More Barnes and Love Tom Foolery …

***

***

A motliest of crews. T-Mac, Mike Miller and the great Bill Russell?

***

Lost mojo, lost bodies (Iguodala is in the bak getting looked at right now), lost everything at the moment!

***

The Cavaliers don’t look anything like the team we saw in Games 1 and 2 of this series. #SWAG

***

Iguodala update!

***

END OF THIRD CAVALIERS 80, WARRIORS 71 … this thing is far from over. DO NOT GO TO BED JUST YET!

Warriors ended the quarter on a Klay Thompson powered 10-run and once again this crowd is nervous.

***

***

Steph with the hoop and the harm on ABC. #NBAFinals #StrengthInNumbers #DubNation

A video posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

***

***

***

My man Ronnie2K dropping dimes on Lil’ Kev … cold!

***

***

Steph picks up his fifth for after a clean pick of Kyrie with 9:46 to play. Tough call. Bad call?

***

Game 6 down to the wire, thanks to this guy.

***

LeBron saving the bacon right now for the Cavaliers. Possession by possession.

***

***

Folks do need appreciate his rare combination of size and skill and the fact that he’s met or exceeded all of the expectations that have dogged him since he was what, 14?

***

***

***

Turtles is watching, too.

***

Just so we’re clear on what’s going on here.

***

4:22 to play and Steph’s night ends with his sixth foul and a tech and a tossed mouthpiece and a long walk to the tunnel and the, well, you get the point.

***

***

Cavaliers not only stave off elimination for the second straight game, but do it in dominating fashion. They are physically whipping the smaller Warriors at every turn. Oh and LeBron is cooking, just for good measure …

***

All he did was drop 41 points in 42 minutes on 16-for-27 shooting, 3-for-6 from deep, 11 assists, 8 rebounds and a whole lot of flexing. Game 7 it is.

***

***

***

***

***

***

***

GAME 7!!!!!!

There will be a Game 7. #NBAFinals

A photo posted by @nbatv on

***

 

 

 

The Finals Live Blog — Game 5

Two words [Game] #READY WATCH Me in B [READY] featuring @e40

A video posted by Draymond Green (@money23green) on

OAKLAND — I feel your pain Draymond Green.

For a player who serves as the vocal and emotional leader for the reigning and defending NBA champions to have to sit out a Game 5 of The Finals at home, with a chance to clinch back-to-back titles, it has to tear your heart out.

Sure, plenty of folks insist that you did this to yourself, that you knew one more Flagrant foul point would result in a one-game suspension.

It’s true, we all knew. Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s VP of Basketball Operations, was left with no choice but to discipline Green, what with all of the hoopla surrounding his kicking and swinging exploits during this postseason.

But I still didn’t think his response to being stepped over by LeBron James late in the Warriors’ Game 4 win deserved anything more than the double fouls the officials usually call in an instance where players exchange tough words but don’t dive into any sort of physical exchange.

If the Warriors take care of their business while you watch next door from the A’s stadium (according to NBA rules Green cannot be in the building from two hours prior to tip off until after the game has ended), you won’t have far to go to join in on the championship celebration.

The fact that you won’t be able to participate in what serves as potentially the biggest game in the Warriors’ historic season is what stinks.

As much as this season has been about two-time KIA MVP Stephen Curry and fellow All-Star and Splash Brother Klay Thompson and their otherworldly shooting exploits, as much as it’s been about the Warriors’ Strength In Numbers mantra and campaign, it’s also been about the continued evolution of the game of Green, a hybrid point/power forward capable of performing at another level on both ends of the floor.

This game without any of the principal figures — James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love included — for whatever reason, is something of a letdown. You always want to see the best of the best, at full strength, go at it with everything on the line.

But not this time.

The game must go on …

And something tells me one of these guys will have to play a significant role tonight for the Warriors to win

2 hours… #StrengthInNumbers

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

***

Welp, the “high road” …

***

Spoken by a man who knows …

***

***

As important as Draymond is to the Warrior, and no one is disputing that, this guy might be more important!

***

On this date in history: MJ went 5-for-5 in The Finals .. just saying!

OTD in 1997 Michael Jordan won his 5th @NBA Championship and #NBAFinals  MVP.

A photo posted by @nbatv on

***

Game 5!!!

***

Love them or hate them, these are two real ones.

***

***

Kyrie going with the grunge look tonight?

#Cavshion presentation 💯 | #ALLin216

A video posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

***

Who plays Steve Kerr tonight for his team?

***

A moment of silence for all those affected by the terror in Orlando over the weekend.

***

Cavs will probably need each and every single point he can provide tonight.

***

It’s gonna be a wild night!

***

Desperate times call for desperate measures … sleeves?

***

Dre Day after all?

***

No reason to wait …

***

***

***

***

Steph with a 3 and Kyrie tries to get some “get back” and, of course, turns it over …

***

It’s early, but he’s right. No flow on offense.

***

You knew that wouldn’t take long. #FreeDraymond

***

Again, it’s early …

***

Mighty clever. #SPLASH

***

Speechless. Just speechless.

***

Just a good ol’ fashioned playoff foul!

***

Cavs battling the elements, the crowd, the nerves and the Warriors  and hanging tough.

***

Where’s Draymond? Follow the sign …

***

They can’t stop, won’t stop …

***

***

LOL

***

Where is Draymond? With Beast Mode!

***

WARRIORS 32, CAVALIERS 29 at end of 1st quarter. LeBron is clicking (4-for-7 for 12 points, 2-for-2 from deep), Kyrie and JR, too (17 between them) and the Cavs are still down. Warriors are 5-for-13 from deep, Curry has 10 and Klay 8). Iguodala with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and the early lead for Finals MVP.

***

Strength In Numbers?

***

Cavs showing their mettle. Quick burst for a 36-32 lead with 10:46 to play before halftime. They re not rattled by the moment.

***

Kerr has to be a master tonight, managing minutes and controlling the pace and tempo.

***

Draymond eating good at the A’s game.

***

Livingston goes boom!

***

Kyrie and Klay playing 1-on-1 for Game 5 …

***

Klay Thompson is not trying to go back to Cleveland anytime soon.

BEST NICKNAME EVER?

***

No resemblance. None!

***

***

Kyrie has 18 of his own and the Cavs are up 54-50 with 3:45 to play before halftime. This is the kind of game you wish we had every night in The Finals. Two heavyweights throwing blows.

***

***

You wonder who is going to blink first?

***

This is one of LeBron’s finest performances, given the magnitude of the moment.

***

Great first half both ways. Tied at 61 and yes, things are mighty different for both sides without Draymond out there.

***

B | B | Z Bronny, Bryce & Zhuri. #ThisIsWhyWePlay

A photo posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

***

***

Meet me at the rim! #NBAFinals

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

Everybody hates Kevin …

***

***

More #SHADE for Love …

***

Get your popcorn ready for this second half!

***

***

Hugs all around.

***

***

Solid observation …

***

Right on Ricky!

***

Bogut with a sweet block and a nasty knee injury on the same play. Huge loss for the Warriors at 10:07 of the third. They are without their two best rim protectors (Bogut and Green) for the remainder of this game.

No replays necessary!

***

Heavyweight slugfest!

***

Positionless basketball.

***

A little love for Tyronn Lue?

***

LeBron’s haters are silent tonight. He’s flat out ballin in this building tonight.

***

Pressure mounting on the home team. Warriors look a bit spent. No Draymond is crushing right now.

***

***

***

Cavs must continue to attack the rim if they want to hold on to this lead. Warriors have no resistance at the rim.

Meanhwhike across the way …

***

***

LeBron is in another world tonight. Step-back game and everything working like clockwork.

***

Cavs are making them work like crazy for even a decent look.

***

CAVS 93, WARRIORS 84 after 3. LeBron is refusing to go quietly into the offseason right now. Suffocating defensive effort from his team. And clutch shot-making from he and Kyrie. Warriors look fatigued and missing Draymond’s presence on both ends something terrible.

Great drama!

Warriors will have to rally to try and win this thing here at Oracle. And without Bogut or Draymond it’s looking tight. Hold on for what should be an unreal fourth quarter.

***

***

Cruel and unusual comparison.

***

Keep an eye on this stuff …

***

But he keeps hitting buckets, 34 and counting for Uncle Drew’s nephew, who is killing it tonight.

***

***

***

Just so we’re clear about what kind of night LeBron is having …

***

Me and my partner rollin’ like Batman and Robin …

***

Kyrie!

***

***

The Closer!

***

You don’t have to be a fan. If you have eyes and understand the goal is to put the ball in the hole …

***

***

Masterful performance indeed.

***

***

***

Identical twin uglies?

***

On the flip side …

***

I cannot say enough about the way LeBron and Kyrie approached this game. Total calm. Understood what was at stake and played like assassins. Unreal performance by two guys. Barely needed any scoring help from the rest of the Cavaliers.

That’s why I always pack for 7!

***

***

***

GAME SLEEVES, CAVS 112, WARRIORS 97 to stave off elimination and we shall see what both teams can muster in time for Thursday’s game in Cleveland.

***

***

***

***

***

He grabbed 3 …

***

See you Thursday night for Game 6!

 

The Finals Live Blog — Game 4

THE LAND — Your move Splash Brothers!

LeBron James and his crew answered the call in Game 3 of this series, bouncing back from a 30-point tail dragging in Game 2 to deliver a 30-point whipping of their own Wednesday night.

Now it’s time to see if two-time KIA MVP Stephen Curry and All-Star shooting assassin Klay Thompson will finally get going in The Finals and remind us why we’ve been talking about them being the best shooting backcourt in NBA history. Doing it on the Cavaliers’ home floor tonight in Game 4 would only serve to heighten the drama in this series (not that it needs much more, see Kevin Love and the concussion protocol, Draymond Green insisting that the Warriors got “bullied, punked” in Game 3, etc.)

I don’t know that the Warriors can finish this series the way they want to without Curry and Thompson getting back into the groove they were in during most of their record-setting regular season.

Asking Green and the rest of the Warriors to carry them to victory in two more games, even with at least two more possibly on their home floor, is asking a bit too much.

We know what LeBron will bring tonight. No one knows the magnitude of the moment like does, playing in his sixth straight Finals with legacy on the line each and every time he hits the floor.

It's GAME DAY at the #NBAFinals!

A video posted by NBA (@nba) on

So it comes down to this, to Game 4, on the road in a hostile environment against an opponent that is wide awake now, the moment of truth, if you will, for the Splash Brothers.

***

***

It was more than just a dunk, LeBron’s epic Game 3 smash …

***

You do remember that free agency is just around the corner, right? That’s what friends are for Kevin Durant and James Harden

#JamesHarden#KevinDurant#atwork💯💯💯😙😚✌

A photo posted by @hilqueen23 on

***

Happy Birthday Jeff Teague, keep it classy bro!

Join us in wishing Jeff Teague a happy birthday!

A photo posted by @nbatv on

***

Where you at Klay T?

***

Careful Swish, the is the sort of thing that got the Thunder in trouble in the conference finals. #Respek

***

Team USA point guard ranks are thinning by the day!

***

Ownership importing some human noisemakers for the Warriors.

Thanks to Joe Lacob & Peter Guber, Dubs employees are on their way to Cleveland for Game 4! #StrengthInNumbers

A video posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

Stuff Curry is ready!

***

Something tells me getting beat by 30 is No. 1 …

***

Uncle Drew is locked in and ready to go …

***

Love appears to be ready to go. Still not sure if he is going to be in the starting lineup.

***

You said this last time Steph!

***

Hey man, we matter a little bit …

***

Love is A-C-T-I-V-E!

***

Gotta give it up to the fans here in Cleveland, the atmosphere around the arena is indeed off the charts.

***

***

Klay is sleeved up and ready to go!

***

David Aldridge gets a word or two with Steve Kerr

***

***

Spike Lee representing the Greatest Of All Times! Muhammad Ali!

***

***

This is just wrong!

***

Keep your t-shirts!

***

What Tommy said!

***

Give the political stuff a rest for one night.

***

***

Draymond drawing fouls like a modern day MJ … Jordan Rules?

***

In addition to his shooting struggles, Steph got lost on D big time here:

***

***

Who he play for?

***

Where you been big fella?

***

#SPLASH

***

WARRIORS 29, CAVALIERS 28 after the first 12 minutes …

***

***

Stop it. Please. Stop!

***

Steph heating up tonight!

***

Live by the 3 …

***

Not sure what Steph is watching on D, but he keeps losing his man.

***

Kyrie showing off his improved defensive prowess.

***

The story of the game for the Warriors. Getting waxed on the boards.

***

CAVALIERS 55, WARRIORS 50 at halftime … You wanted a close one, you got it!

***

***

***

***

***

SPLASH BROTHERS are SPLASHING

***

***

***

Not the kids!

***

***

Andy V getting it from the former home crowd for …

***

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

***

***

WARRIORS 79, CAVALIERS 77 at the end 3 … NO COMPLAINTS ABOUT A BLOWOUT TONIGHT!

***

***

***

***

***

Way too much. And the Warriors keep getting timely buckets (3s from all over). 93-84 Warriors with 5:56 to play. The crowd in here is nervous!

***

***

***

***

Brilliant player making clutch plays all over the floor.

***

Basically …

***

***

***

Draymond kept his cool there, double fouls and no techs or Flagrants.

***

This is what all the LeBron/Draymond fuss was about …

***

Freaky moment. Guy had Trump Sucks written on his chest and stomach. Republican National Convention is a month away.

***

Steph with a driving layup and dagger. No one questioning him right now.

***

***

***

***

SPLASH BROTHERS putting the game away at the line …

***

***

WARRIORS 108, CAVALIERS 97 — SPLASH BROTHERS REVENGE!

Warriors head home with a 3-1 lead and a chance to close the Cavaliers out before the home crowd at Oracle Monday night to win their second straight Larry O’Brien trophy. Don’t guess anyone will waste time questioning Steph (38 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds) or Klay (25 and 4 rebounds) tonight.

***

Dubs lead the series, 3-1. #StrengthInNumbers

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

***

The Finals Live Blog — Game 3

THE LAND — Perspective is everything this time of year.

The NBA season dictates that you treat each and every moment during the early days of June like the precious moments that they are and will be forever.

It’s that perspective that determines your fate, your future, especially in The Finals … previewed, above, by the Hang Time Podcast crew (with our main man John Schuhmann subbing for the injured Rick Fox) at the Pho Thang Cafe this afternoon.

LeBron James called it a “do-or-die” game for his Cleveland Cavaliers, for The Land, and for Kevin Love (who will miss tonight’s game after not being cleared of the NBA’s concussion protocol).

And Stephen Curry reminds us that the Warriors did nothing more than take care of home by winning Games 1 and 2 of this series by a combined 48 points.

The @warriors look to take commanding 3-0 #NBAFinals lead with a win tonight!

A video posted by NBA (@nba) on

Perspective, folks.

This series is not over.

Not yet.

There’s plenty of basketball to be played, at least eight or more quarters between now and Friday night’s Game 4.

We’ve written teams off before in this postseason (anyone remember that 3-1 hole the Warriors were in against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals?), only to see said team rise from the ashes and shock the world.

I’m not making any predictions, that’s fool’s gold. I am only here to point out that you keep your mouth shut until someone wins four games. A little NBA History, from @NBAHistory, for you …

***

He’s got his hands full with the Warriors, Rex. Let the man concentrate.

***

Not entirely sure I would take it this far. But this is The Land, where every move LeBron makes seems like the earth moves with him.

***

Our main man Trey Kerby from The Starters gets the scoop from Benjamin Button … er, I mean Richard Jefferson.

***

This is one of the things that worries me where LeBron is concerned. Just how much fuel does he have left in his tank right now? This is, after all, his sixth straight trip to The Finals.

***

R.I.P Sean Rooks!

***

The kid’s got a better eye than some of those GM’s that passed on Curry in the Draft!

***

RJ starts at small forward with LeBron filling in at power forward for Love.

***

***

You knew this was going to come up a time or two … or three million!

***

One of the all-time great Cavs still believes in The Land!

***

#SPLASH

Splash Brother, pre-game.

A photo posted by John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) on

***

#Automatic

***

The HOFer and Bay Area icon Ronnie Lott speaks …

***

They are only averaging 10 free throws a game, so opportunities for tom foolery could be limited … just saying!

***

I gotta get on Snapchat

***

***

David Aldridge and Steve Kerr

***

I’m with Judge Judy!

***

Bow Wow sending messages?

***

Justin Beiber and Lewis Hamilton in the building

***

The Golden State Cavaliers?

***

Anything less than wild would be uncivilized.

***

By any means necessary …

***

***

***

Ideal start for the Cavaliers. Warriors go 0-for-4 and they make 4-of-5 for a quick 9-0 blitz. Crowd is indeed wild.

***

***

Their one fatal flaw! Down 21-8 on the opening blitz from the Cavaliers!

***

***

***

***

***

The Kyrie Irving Show tonight!

***

Game changer right there!

CAVALIERS 33, WARRIORS 16 after a wild first quarter that included Klay Thompson going to the locker room with a knee injury and Kyrie Irving smoking!

***

***

***

***

***

Klay is back, Warriors still struggling from deep (1-for-12) but only down 12 right now with 6:56 to play until halftime.

***

Klay finally gets the Splash Brothers on the board. Death lineup causing major problems for Cavaliers, who lead 40-31.

***

He’s finally into the series …

***

***

Uh, Klay Thompson is back and playing with bad intentions!

***

Tristan Thompson is all over the place.

***

CAVALIERS 51, WARRIORS 43 in a wild first half. The MVP has been a disaster but his teammates are battling like crazy. Feels like the Cavaliers should be up 20 but they couldn’t get right in the second quarter.

Warriors defense was stellar (see Draymond denying LeBron here):

***

***

At the half in Game 3 of the #NBAFinals!

A photo posted by NBA (@nba) on

***

***

JR SWISH!

***

APB out for the unanimous MVP tonight …

***

THE 2-ON-1 fast break for 3?

***

Cavaliers dishing out a little medicine of their own to the Warriors right now. JR with a pump-fake 3 on Klay. 67-48 Cavs.

***

Funny how one game changes seemingly everything.

***

***

Who needs a bench?

***

***

The Warriors’ Game 3 road disasters continue in this postseason …

***

@realtristan13 stays patient in the paint! #NBAFinals #phantomcam

A video posted by NBA (@nba) on

***

The old man’s still got hops!

***

***

One more look …

CAVALIERS 89, WARRIORS 69 at the end of 3rd Quarter … looks like we’re going back to Cali after all! (12 minutes to play still. Cavs and this crowd cannot let up!)

***

***

***

Absolutely!

***

So true!

***

***

***

Quite a few strange whistles tonight that went in both directions. #TruthHurts

***

All of the mismatches going the Cavaliers’ way tonight. They are pouring it on, LeBron in particular when he gets a mouse in the house!

***

Maybe it was the shoes …

👀 @kingjames' #NBAFinals #NBAKicks! 👀

A photo posted by NBA (@nba) on

***

***

Maybe Tyronn Lue knew what he was taking about after all …

***

Flip it and reverse it. #ALLin216

A video posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

***

Cold, hard, facts …

***

***

That “desperation” move, starting RJ, worked out for the Cavs.

Mood. [ @MeanGreen_Clean #MonsterPlay of the Game 💪🏾]

A photo posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

***

#SHADECITY

***

Sometimes a Big 2 is all you need.

***

“Cavs in six” chant breaks out with 51 seconds on the clock and the home team up 30. Be easy now, it’s just one game. It’s a final, Cavs 120, Dubs 90. Big games from Kyrie, LeBron and JR Smith showed up. No Love, of course.

***

***

***

@cavs win Game 3 behind a big night from @KyrieIrving and @KingJames. #NBAFinals

A photo posted by @nbatv on