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NBA upholds flagrant foul call on Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard before Game 5

HOUSTON — Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will not be suspended for Game 5 of the Western Conference finals after the NBA announced Tuesday it would not reclassify his foul of the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut to a flagrant foul 2.

“Howard was trying to extricate himself from Bogut and recklessly hit him in the face with an open hand,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said in a statement. “The contact was unnecessary but was not deemed excessive by the officials working the game with the aid of the replay center. And we don’t see a reason to modify that call.”

Howard was assessed a flagrant foul 1 after his left arm struck Bogut in the head in Game 4 on Monday. Upgrading the foul upon a league review could have led to a fine and/or suspension.

Asked if he wanted Howard suspended, Warriors coach Steve Kerr laughed and said, “I’m not answering that.”

Rockets coach Kevin McHale indicated that he felt Bogut fouled Howard first, and that didn’t get called.

“Bogut grabbed him, and as always, the second foul gets called,” McHale said.

“He swiped his arm back because he felt Bogut grabbed him…The one thing we learn is we should be the first to grab.”

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Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams, Rockets star James Harden are close friends now trying to figure each other out

HOUSTON – To James Harden, Ron Adams is more than merely a Warriors assistant coach trying to figure out a way on defense to stop the Rockets star.

“That’s one of my closest friends,” Harden said of Adams on Saturday. “He was one of my mentors when I got in the league. Just to compete against him, I know he has something up his sleeve over there as far as trying to defend me.”

Adams, 67, served as an assistant for Oklahoma City when he saw the Thunder rookie Harden as a future standout. These days, Harden has had scoring performances of 28 and 38 points in Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Warriors.

“It’s a little bit irritating to me,” Adams said. “That’s how I think. I don’t want anyone scoring on us.

“I like James a lot up until that clock starts ticking and the game starts.”

After the previous game at the Toyota Center in January when the Warriors held Harden to 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting, he walked side by side with Adams while chatting on their way out of the arena. The two also spent time catching when the two teams met for a preseason game in Hidalgo, Texas.

Adams said he would like to think that his knowledge of Harden’s game would be a big factor in containing it.

“Defensively, he’s one of the best that we have in this league,” said Harden, who learned more man-to-man defense from Adams after playing zone for Arizona State.

“He’s a really smart guy over there.”

Recalled Adams: “James was a precocious guy, and we connected. I’m a left-hander. He’s a left-hander.”

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NBA fines Warriors’ Stephen Curry $5,000 for flopping

OAKLAND – Warriors guard Stephen Curry was fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules in the Western Conference finals Game 1 win against Houston.

The NBA ruled that Curry flopped as he hit a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 106-97 fourth-quarter lead and fell to the floor as the Rockets’ Terrence Jones contested the shot. No foul was called.

Curry finished the game with 34 points, going 6 for 11 from 3-point range and 2 for 3 from the free throw line.

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Charles Barkley: Warriors have ‘little rinky-dink frontline’ that doesn’t stack up with NBA’s best all-time

TNT analyst Charles Barkley continues to have reservations about the Warriors despite them having advanced to the Western Conference finals.

When it was suggested on the Dan Le Batard Show on Tuesday the Warriors could be one of the best teams of all-time, Barkley disagreed.

“You think (Larry) Bird, (Kevin) McHale and (Robert) Parrish, if they saw that little rinky-dink frontline wouldn’t foam at the mouth? You think Magic’s Lakers, you think Michael’s Bulls…

“They done changed the rules where you can’t touch anybody. Every time a guy makes a move, you breathe on him, they’re shooting free throws.

“Listen, they’re a really good jump-shooting team. They play a little small ball well. But let’s don’t get carried away.”

“Golden State is a really good team. Don’t get me wrong.”

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Warriors practicing crazy shots is part of the routine for Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Warriors in the Steve Kerr era are a loose bunch, and it starts with the coach.

After shootarounds, he can be found on the court attempting to drop-kick balls into the basket. From what media members have seen, he has never made one of those shots on camera.

“Every day, we’ve got music going,” Kerr said. “Guys are firing fullcourt shots. We’re warming up, and all I can think of is, if (Kerr’s college coach) Lute Olson could see our team warm up, he would think, ‘What are you doing?’ Like, there’s no discipline here.”

This is the kind of environment that enables a Stephen Curry to hit a shot from 62 feet away, a dagger that was the key to the Warriors closing out the Western Conference semifinals in Game 6 at Memphis.

Curry said he practices that shot daily. So do his teammates.

“You see balls just flying everywhere just because everyone’s throwing up crazy kind of just having fun, letting loose,” Curry said.

Said David Lee: “Every time we are doing warm-ups we are always throwing three-quarter shots and halfcourt shots and messing around during our stretching.”

Curry is accustomed to seeing them go in, and so is Marreese Speights, who’s proficient at hitting them too. Call it crazy, but that’s the Warriors. At times, they even get public relations officials and trainers involved in the fun.

“It was kind of only fitting that those shots paid off for a change,” Andre Iguodala said.

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Grizzlies’ Tony Allen will miss game 5 of Western Conference semifinals against Warriors

OAKLAND – Memphis guard Tony Allen will not play in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Warriors on Wednesday due to a sore left hamstring.

“It’s been an ongoing thing for him since the end of the season,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “It’s not going to get healed and healthy until the offseason.

“It definitely has an impact on Klay Thompson and who we have chasing him around.”

Allen tweaked the hamstring in Game 3 of the series after missing the Grizzlies’ last nine games of the regular season due to a left hamstring strain, according to Joerger. That stretch of games included a loss to the Warriors on April 13 when Thompson scored 37 in the first half on his way to a 42-point performance.

Jorger noted that Thompson hasn’t had a huge game in the series thanks to Allen. The Warriors over four games in the series have shot 9 for 29 from the field when guarded by Allen, who has averaged three steals per game.

For the Warriors, Marreese Speights (right calf strain) was ruled out from returning to action in the series by coach Steve Kerr.