Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Curry’

Making a Top 10 list of the 2017 NBA Finals could be done with just one player: Kevin Durant.

The move from Oklahoma City to the Bay Area has been a knockout success for Durant and he was the star of these NBA Finals as the Golden Warriors dispatched the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games.

Durant topped 30 points in each contest and was named MVP of the finals. He averaged 35.2 points and shot 55.6 percent from the field.

The good thing for Durant is he no longer has to listen to any nonsense about not having a ring. Now his only issue is trying to win another one.

The Warriors and Cavaliers have met in each of the past three NBA Finals with Golden State winning two of the crowns. It looks highly possible that the two teams could meet against next June.

The only possible problem might be Cleveland GM LeBron James — we know who runs the franchise — messing things up with his latest teammate demands.

Here are 10 takeaways from the 2017 NBA Finals:

 

10. Just how mad is Russell Westbrook tonight after seeing Durant celebrating his NBA title?

9. Television announcer Mike Breen yelled “BANG!” after a 3-point basket … which I’m sure families who have had somebody shot to death always appreciate while watching a SPORTING EVENT.

8. Did Golden State’s David West and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson kiss when they had that little love scuffle? Who proposed to whom in that scenario?

7. Kind of funny to me that some people are just discovering how good Kyrie Irving is — do they not watch basketball until the Finals?

6. My back gets sore just looking at Warriors coach Steve Kerr. I can’t imagine how painful it must be to battle spinal fluid issues.

5. LeBron James has been in the NBA Finals seven straight seasons. Was about to think how tough that is to do until I see Cleveland benchwarmer James Jones (eight minutes played in the series) has achieved the same thing.

4. No more Doris Burke questions for five months. Thank God.

3. Draymond Green’s annoyance level is now higher than his talent level, a sad development when you consider what a great story it was for a second-round selection to become a big star.

2. Games feel disappointing when Stephen Curry doesn’t make at least one 60-footer in a game.

1. Some buffoons at an Oklahoma City newspaper once called Durant “Mr. Unreliable” in a headline. Hopefully the entire staff was fired.

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Well, I guess we can never dog LeBron James any more.

Was fun while it lasted.

Can’t do nothing but praise the man known as “King James” after the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals.

James and the Cavaliers won the city’s first major professional sports championship in 52 years with Sunday’s 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the rout-infested series.

James’ legacy had been questioned – particularly after Cleveland fell into the 3-1 hole – but a third world title in his career silences that debate.

If the Cavaliers had lost the series, James would’ve been 2-5 in seven NBA Finals appearances. And it would have been more than fair to question his ability to deliver a ring.

Remember, he won his first two titles with the Miami Heat when he had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as teammates. He was supposed to be part of a three-star circus in Cleveland too but Kevin Love has proven to be a terrible fit with James, leaving Kyrie Irving as the lone true other star on the squad.

James helped Cleveland stay alive with back-to-back 41-point performances and climaxed his strong series with the third Game 7 triple-double in NBA Finals’ history, joining Los Angeles Lakers icons’ Jerry West and James Worthy. James had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on Sunday.

He was the unanimous MVP of the series and I’m pretty sure he would have been named MVP even if Golden State had won.

Oh yeah, Golden State. Let’s discuss that team for a minute.

If Cleveland is the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, guess what that makes the Warriors?

Yep, the first team to blow a 3-1 series lead.

That takes a good amount of luster off their remarkable regular season in which they set a record with a 73-9 mark. But they lost the same number of games in the postseason and no longer possessed that look of a hard-to-beat team.

Golden State came close to not reaching the finals as the Oklahoma City Thunder held a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals before failing to close the deal.

Then the Warriors suffered three double-digit defeats to Cleveland before going scoreless over the final 4:38 in Game 7 and watching Irving drain the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 53 seconds left.

Draymond Green’s absence in Game 5 due to picking up too many flagrant fouls was a crusher. Then two-time MVP Stephen Curry suffered a Game 6 meltdown, displaying signs that the pressure was getting to him.

Talk about legacy? How the Warriors rebound next season will help determine a lot about how history looks at them.

Instead of being a two-time defending champion, Golden State will enter the next campaign with a ton of wins and just one banner.

As tough as the Western Conference is, it could be hard to get back. What if this band of Warriors win just one title?

“We understand, I think, when you look at the history of the league, how few teams repeated,” Curry said in the postgame press conference. “That was our goal, and we didn’t do it. It’s going to be a long three months over the summer thinking about it.

“But that doesn’t mean we can’t put this as another little unfortunate notch in the belt and move forward and come back stronger next year. That’s the mindset.”

Now that Cleveland has won a pro sports title — the 1964 Browns of the NFL were the most recent champions — guess what city has gone the current most seasons without winning a major pro sports championship?

San Diego!

Guessing a lot of you got that one right. San Diego has a streak of 109 straight seasons without a title – 52 by the Chargers, 47 by the Padres and 10 from two former NBA teams (Clippers six, Rockets four).

Cleveland got rid of that dubious distinction primarily because of James, the guy who returned to the franchise and made it a goal to end the city’s title woes.

And well, I guess he has been motivated by those of us who didn’t mind pointing out the truth in the past. There were tears everywhere as he relished Sunday’s accomplishment.

“Those emotions came out of me, just leading 14 guys and understanding, like I said, what our city’s been through over the last 50-plus years since Jim Brown,” said James, referring to the legendary running back. “Then also people just counting me out.

“Throughout my 13-year career, I’ve done nothing but be true to the game, give everything I’ve got to the game, put my heart, my blood, sweat, tears into the game, and people still want to doubt what I’m capable of doing.”

OK, OK — we get it. You’re now 3-4 in the NBA Finals.

Maybe you might want to win the next one you’re in as well to get the mark to .500.

But ridicule LeBron James for not coming through when the stage is at its biggest?

Pretty sure that is no longer an option.

You see, he won a title in Cleveland.

Hooray for Blake Griffin! He punched out an equipment man half his size.

But apparently the face of Matias Testi is pretty tough. Griffin broke his right hand and will be sidelined four to six weeks.

That’s a pretty dumb maneuver by Griffin, as the Los Angeles Clippers’ star has already been sidelined since Dec. 26 due to a quadriceps injury.

Now the big deal will be learning what led up to these punches at a Toronto restaurant. Testi is said to be a friend of Griffin and all I can say to that is this: Who needs a friend that is going to punch them in the face multiple times?

That’s no friend, folks. That’s a dude with anger management issues.

Doesn’t sound like the Clippers find this incident as simple fun between friends either.

“This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team,” the Clippers said in a statement. “We are conducting a full investigation with assistance from the NBA. At the conclusion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken.”

Appropriate action will be taken?

In other words, Mr. Testi, you are no longer allowed to eat with the five-time NBA All-Star. The Clippers can’t afford to have Griffin break his other hand the next time he belts you.

Since details of the argument have yet to be leaked, here are three possible scenarios unearthed by the staff at MrSportsBlog.

VERSION ONE

Blake and Matias are sitting in a restaurant booth. Blake scans the eating area and sees a hockey game on the big screen.

BLAKE: These hockey nuts — love Canadiens.

MATIAS: Oh no, Blake. We’re in Toronto. They hate the Canadiens.

BLAKE: We’re in freaking Canada, Matias. These hockey nuts are Canadiens.

MATIAS: No, Blake. They are all about the Maple Leafs here.

Blake’s head begins to rise up and you can sense the steam pouring out of his ears as he cocks his fist and smacks Matias in the face.

A stunned Matias stumbles toward the door and yells “Maple Leafs” upon exiting. Blake rushes outside and delivers another ferocious punch. Seconds later, he notices his hand hurts.

VERSION TWO

Blake and Matias are sitting in a restaurant booth. Blake sees a big ‘O’ on a woman’s sweatshirt and this reminds him of his two seasons on the Oklahoma basketball team.

BLAKE: Oh, I miss my time at Oklahoma.

MATIAS: That football school you once went to?

BLAKE: It’s not a football school. We won 30 games my sophomore season.

MATIAS: And didn’t even reach the Final Four. LOL. C’mon Blake, everybody knows Oklahoma is a football school.

Blake cringes and his shoulders rise up and a very intense feeling comes over his body. “I’ll show you football school” yells Blake as he delivers a vicious punch to the face of Matias.

The equipment guy is momentarily stunned and heads outside. Blake arrives seconds later with another shot to the face. Seconds later, he notices his hand hurts.

VERSION THREE

Blake and Matias are sitting in a restaurant booth. Matias begins bragging about being a good free thrower and how he can make eight of 10 in his driveway. This irks Griffin, a career 66 percent free-throw shooter.

BLAKE: It is a little tougher during the game than shooting in your driveway.

MATIAS: Nobody is saying you shoot being able to shoot like Stephen Curry or J.J. Redick. But you’re closer to DeAndre Jordan range.

BLAKE: I’m significantly better than DeAndre. You don’t see teams going to the “Hack-A-Blake.”

MATIAS: Bragging about being better than DeAndre is like Derek Jeter bragging he’s classier than Donald Trump.

Blake pictures the time at practice when he missed four straight free throws and the entire team had to run. He recalled Matias grabbed a basketball and immediately swished seven in a row. And said ‘This is how it’s done, Blake.’

Blake snaps and throws a roundhouse right to Matias’ face and the equipment man tumbles out of the booth to the floor. He runs outside and Griffin is right behind him yelling “I’ll show you free throws” and delivers another punch in the face. Seconds later, he notices his hand hurts.

THE AFTERMATH

Matias wails in pain on the pavement and feels his jaw and nose to make sure they’re not broken. Meanwhile, Blake begins shrieking. His hand is in excruciating pain and it is starting to sink in that he is injured.

BLAKE: My hand is freaking on fire. Damn, it hurts!

MATIAS: You’ve got to call a doc.

BLAKE: I’m not going to call Doc. He’ll ask how I hurt it.

MATIAS: I said call a doc, not Doc Rivers.

BLAKE: Don’t make me punch you again. OK, I’ll call Doc.

Rivers answers the phone and Griffin lets him know he hurt his hand. And the obvious question soon follows.

DOC: How did you hurt the hand?

BLAKE: Helping Matias carrying all that heavy equipment.

A few hours pass and the truth leaks out. Blake and Matias are sent back to Los Angeles – hopefully on separate planes – and the Clippers can start preparing excuses for why the 2015-16 season will end in disappointing fashion.

Years from now, Rivers will bemoan how another opportunity to make the Clippers relevant slipped past. And he’ll sum it up with just one sentence.

“We were going pretty well until Blake Griffin punched an equipment man half his size.”

 

Stephen Curry has emerged as a bona fide star over the past two seasons but now he has a chance to hit the megastar platform.

Being named regular-season MVP of the NBA boosted him up another level and now he is about to embark on the NBA Finals stage for the first time when the Golden State Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Take down the Cavs and a guy named LeBron James and Curry’s stock – on and off the court – goes skyrocketing to a new stratosphere.

It’s a good stage to be on for sure and more and more people have caught on that one of the faces of the NBA is a 6-foot-3 guard who was once passed over by all the major colleges and ended up being a major star at tiny Davidson College.

Of course, the slaps in the face continued on the night of the NBA Draft when the Minnesota Timberwolves picked some guy named Jonny Flynn – don’t Google him, not in the league – over Curry. That act of stupidly explains perfectly while the Timberwolves are indeed the Timberwolves.

So it has been a charming story to see Curry drain 3-pointers from all areas of the court and evolve into one of the top players in the NBA. His wife and daughter receive plenty of TV time as do his parents – father Dell played 16 seasons in the NBA – and the endorsement opportunities are rolling in.

His image is spotless.

Uh oh, did I say spotless?

Here is where the worrying begins: Are we seeing the real Stephen Curry or will he become the next athlete to combust at some point?

Too many times, we have been fooled by an athlete that appears to be an outstanding person and then we learn of some shady acts or despicable behavior.

Who saw the Tiger Woods sex harem scandal coming? A married man totally crafting his family image and Tiger was stripped down – pun intended – and exposed (yeah, also intended) and funny how his golf game also went into decline as his personal life did.

Who can forget Kobe Bryant being accused of rape in 2003? It was stunning a big-time star like him would even be in such a position and it has forever stained his legacy. Bryant didn’t serve jail time but he did apologize for his actions and he also settled a civil suit with the accuser, which is the athletes’ way of buying out of the crime.

And whatever was more stunning than the O.J. Simpson murder case? His ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ron Goldman were slaughtered by one of the all-time greatest running backs in football history. (Sorry, not using the word allegedly since he didn’t back up his boast that he would look for the real killers). I will never forget the surreal scene of a guy going from being totally beloved to being viewed as a totally despised monster in a matter of days. The White Bronco – not you Peyton Manning — lives on.

We could talk about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong for hours. He was always a jerk, always treated people rudely, lied through his teeth all the time about his juicing and really has no redeeming positive qualities. Think of that, he is such a rotten apple that he doesn’t even belong in a good athletes turn into buffoons discussion.

New faces pop on the scene each year. Ray Rice was hailed as a great guy in the community before he smacked his then-fiance in the elevator and dragged her out like a carcass of meat. And how about Adrian Peterson beating his young child with a switch? I shook hands with Peterson once and my hand was sore for two hours so I can’t even imagine somebody of his unbelievable strength brutally whipping their son like that.

So this is what we are asking of Curry – don’t turn into a buffoon someday. Don’t become a moron. Don’t be living a secret life where you are scoring out of wedlock and eventually one gets pregnant. Don’t punch anyone in your family. Don’t be a fraud.

Seems like easy stuff to achieve but too many athletes fail at it. Though I’m from San Diego and two of the biggest stars in the city’s sports history had no troubles being good citizens with impeccable reputations.

Guys named Tony Gwynn and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Curry is on the same path as those two legends and let’s see if he can keep it up. The image is spotless, his popularity is out-of-control high and he’s one of the top outside shooters the league has ever seen.

And now he has an NBA title to chase and we can all sit back and watch the Curry vs. LeBron show. Should be an entertaining NBA Finals.

And let’s hope we are still talking about this Stephen Curry being a real good guy a decade from now.