Kevin Durant Watch: How Warriors’ top competitors are looking

Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala (9) guards Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (35) in the second quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 26, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

#DurantWatch has officially begun and the early leaders appear to be the Warriors and Miami, though Kevin Durant can’t take meetings until Friday.

Still, the race is on to pry the former MVP away from the only NBA franchise he’s known in an effort to form some sort of superteam.

The Warriors’ chances were expertly broke down by our own Tim Kawakami this morning, which you can read here.

How about the other teams, you ask? Let’s check out what people are saying about each squad’s chances.

Miami Heat

Pat Riley looks to be working his usual magic in the Durant sweepstakes, called one of the two likeliest landing pads along with the Warriors. Obviously, Miami fans are going wild over the possibility — even ESPN’s Dan Le Batard.

Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC faithful are clinging to the thought that the Thunder’s near-defeat of Golden State will entice Durant. His meetings in New York, however, make it clear he’s considering all options.

Boston Celtics

Though they aren’t among the top two reported contenders, the Celtics appear to be the most optimistic outsiders. Boston can offer the youth movement, cap space and overall tradition to lure Durant.

L.A. Clippers

They were late arrivals to the rumor mill, but the Clippers may be the likeliest to work out a sign-and-trade with Oklahoma City, considering they could send home native son Blake Griffin. As is often noted, L.A. is also an ideal destination for anyone looking to boost their promotional income.

San Antonio Spurs

After pulling off a free-agent coup by signing LaMarcus Aldridge last summer, San Antonio might be back in business by trying to reel in Durant. “Hey, it’s just a short seven-hour drive back to Oklahoma!”

New York Knicks

Not among his six meetings but still on his radar, reportedly, the Knicks are a dark horse for Durant. But since New York is no longer the epicenter of hoops, that may be a reach, even with Carmelo Anthony in his ear and Derrick Rose now on the roster.


NBA Unveils “Big Logo” Sleeved Jerseys for Christmas Day Games

BIG Logo_Harrison Barnes


The NBA unveiled the special jerseys to be worn by the ten teams playing on Christmas Day.  They are short-sleeved and feature an enlarged team logo on the front.

Yes, the Warriors’ are yellow.

Despite the bad reviews from last year, which no doubt promoted the switch to the white sleeved jerseys this year, adidas put the Warriors back in yellow. But they won’t be alone.

“They’re cool,” point guard Stephen Curry said. “It’s nice to be playing on Christmas Day to showcase them off. Like I’ve said, as long as we shoot well and get the win, they look good.”

The Clippers, Lakers, Bulls, Heat, Thunder, Knicks, Nets, Rockets and Spurs will also join the sleeved-jersey gang.

Here are looks at the rest of them, plus the commercial featuring Stephen Curry (I like Brooklyn’s the most, hands down.)

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry Listed in the Starting Lineup

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (sprained left ankle) was listed in the starting lineup. Coach Mark Jackson said before the game he’d be “shocked” if Curry didn’t play.

Curry, who rolled his left ankle in the fourth quarter of Game 3 on Friday, was officially listed as a game-time decision. He has received ’round-the-clock treatment on his left ankle, which he initially sprained in Game 2 of the first round series against Denver on April 23.

“If he’s on the court, he’s pretty much the ball handler and the guy running show,” Jackson said.

Before tipoff, Curry jumped roped in the hallway outside the locker room and did other movement tests. He then took to the court where he ran lines and did some defensive sliding movements to further test his ankle.
Jackson said he spent time with Curry on Saturday. He said Curry was the same as usual, laughing and joking. He made multiple trips to the facility on Saturday for treatment.

Curry said after Saturday’s practice, which he sat out, that he expected to play. But everything was on hold until he saw how his ankle responded overnight. Jackson said Curry can play, he won’t be limited.


Stephen Curry Ankle Update: X-Rays Negative; Early Game A Factor in His Chances of Playing

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is a game-time decision with a sprained left ankle.
X-rays were negative, a team official said, and no MRI was scheduled. Curry is getting ‘round-the-clock treatment. Officially he’s a game-time decision. But his chances of playing are made dicey by the earlier start. Sunday’s game tips off at 12:30, giving Curry about 36 hours of rest and rehabilitation.
MARK JACKSON: “Again, as usual, just staying true to the process. He’ll get treatment all day long. I’ll stay in constant contact with him. We’ll see how he feels and make a decision whether he plays or not tomorrow.”
At the 4:40 mark of the fourth quarter in Game 3, Curry, dribbling at the top, rolled his left ankle. He immediately began limping and gave up the ball. The Warriors eventually fouled to stop play, but he stayed in the game, waving off the substation.
It’s not his surgically repaired right ankle, which has given him problems the previous two seasons. It was the same ankle Curry sprained in Game 2 at Denver. It hadn’t been a problem since he got his second anti-inflammatory injection just before Game 4 at Oracle. Golden State had three days off before the Spurs series.
Curry has been the heart and soul of the Warriors (already without All-Star forward David Lee) and without him, their chances at upsetting No. 2 San Antonio appear suspect.
KLAY THOMPSON: “He’ll play. No question about it. He will play through anything. He’s got heart.”


Predictions & Matchups: This Series Will Be Closer Than Many Think

Admittedly, I underestimated Stephen Curry in the Denver series. I also overestimated the Nuggets. But I picked Denver in six mostly because I figured Curry could get 30 points and the Warriors still lose. It’s happened before.

What I didn’t account for was the impact stars make in playoffs series, good and bad. Their ability to change games, seize momentum, do the prolific, it matters so much more in the postseason. It’s not that Curry can score, it’s that he impacts nearly every single aspect of the game: how the opposing defense responds, the amount of pressure on the opposing offense to score, the confidence of the supporting cast, the looks they get, the adrenaline and feel good that helps on the defensive end, the momentum they create.

That’s what stars do in the playoffs. And Denver didn’t have that.

Such is factored into my prediction for this series: Spurs in 7.

My first impulse was to say San Antonio in five games. But I can’t shake the feeling the Warriors will win one in San Antonio. Why? Because that’s the type of thing stars pull off. And if the Warriors win one in San Antonio, this isn’t the route many are expecting. In the first meeting here, on Jan. 18, the Warriors trailed by 4 inside of three minutes – without Curry (Spurs didn’t have Manu Ginobili). In the second matchup at San Antonio, March 20, Golden State trailed by 4 inside of four minutes left. So both games were close. It’s not like this Warriors’ team can’t win in San Antonio.

Golden State is 2-0 against San Antonio in Oakland. Andrew Bogut didn’t play in either game, and Oracle wasn’t the ridiculously raucous arena it has been for the playoffs. Still, San Antonio is good enough to get one in Oracle. Especially if the Warriors steal one of the first two in San Antonio and put the Spurs in must-win mode. But will their role players be as good in such an environment?

Even if the Warriors lose the first two in San Antonio, I can certainly see the Warriors going 2-0 at Oracle and heading back to San Antonio for a pivotal Game 5.

Another reason I think this series will be close: Manu Ginobili is not the same Ginobili. He’s good enough to torch the Warriors for a big game. But over a seven-game series, his injuries and age might get the best of him. I certainly see the Warriors being able to manage him. If so, who’s the third scorer for the Spurs. It could be one of five people. But if the Warriors stay home, not fall into trapping and doubling so much, those extra guys can be held in check. After Ginobili, they’re relying on Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Gary Neal for offense. So if Bogut can guard Tim Duncan and keep the Warriors’ defense honest, and Klay Thompson can hold his own against Tony Parker, the Warriors are not in bad position.

Here is an in-depth look at the match-ups:

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Warriors Make Return to Network TV Sunday

Warriors coach Mark Jackson told his players recently to make sure they keep their hair cut.

“Because when we continue to do what we’ve talked about doing,” Jackson said, “the media room will be filled, articles will be written and people will be talking about you.”

He was right. Golden State, coming off its upset of No. 3 seed Denver in the first round, is headed to network television.

Game 4 of the series against the San Antonio Spurs will be Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.

The last time the Warriors played on a major network was April 6, 2008, when ABC carried their game against New Orleans.

It’s a coveted slot usually reserved for the NBA’s showcase teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, and global stars such as Kevin Durant. On average, the NBA gets about double the viewers on ABC that it does on TNT or ESPN.

Game 3, Friday at Oracle Arena, is at 7:30 p.m. on TNT. All games at this point are on national television only.

Game 5, if necessary, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, in San Antonio. Game 6 would be Thursday, May 16, and Game 7 would be Sunday, May 19.


Warriors Survive and Advance, Finish off Nuggets 4-2

By Marcus Thompson II


OAKLAND — It might’ve taken all the defibrillators in the Bay Area to revive the nearly 20,000 fans at Oracle Arena whose hearts stopped Thursday.

Golden State nearly squandered an 18-point lead, and another star-like performance from point guard Stephen Curry — who changed the tide of the game with another big third quarter before his home crowd. But in the end, after a compilation of turnovers, guard Jarrett Jack made a pair of free throws in the final seconds to seal the 92-88 win over the Denver Nuggets, clinching the riveting first-round upset, 4-2.

The sixth-seeded Warriors advance to the second round against the No. 2 San Antonio Spurs. Game 1 is Monday in Texas.

“When we were down in the first half,” coach Mark Jackson said. “I pulled him aside and said, ‘There’s going to be a point in this game where you’re going to take over because you’re the best player on the floor. And what will happen is everybody else will follow you. And sure enough …”

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