LeBron to the Lakers This Summer? Not So Fast, According to a New Report

Folks around the NBA have murmured for more than a year now about LeBron James' purported interest in bolting to Los Angeles when he has the opportunity to opt out of his contract during the 2018 offseason. Would he really leave his hometown team twice in his career? That remains to be seen. But people around the league have suspected as much—and suspected that he's headed for Los Angeles—for a long time now.

LeBron owns two houses in L.A., and conquering the West would provide him with a new challenge—a new potential legacy boost, if you will. Also, the Lakers have a wealth of cap space, a promising young roster, and a storied history. If he could bring them back to prominence, well, it would do a ton for LeBron's place in the history books. Of the two L.A. franchises, it seemed way likelier that LeBron would desire a spot on the roster of the Lake Show.

According to a new report from two of the most plugged-in NBA reporters, however, the Lakers may pass on pursuing LeBron this offseason. As Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN report, the Lakers are focusing their efforts—and their cap space—on the free-agent class of 2019 rather than that of 2018. The 2019 class is indeed ripe with young talent; Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler could be among the players on the market.

In 2018, it's expected that LeBron, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins will be available. But LeBron, as great as he is, is 33, George seems very interested in sticking with the Thunder, and Cousins just suffered an absolutely debilitating Achilles injury.

This recalibration also reportedly stems from the Lakers' lack of belief that LeBron is actually interested in joining the team. Though L.A. has a bunch of gifted young players—including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma—there isn't a bona fide star on the roster. LBJ would be taking a big risk by signing with the yellow and purple.

A lot could change in the next few months, of course. The Lakers are still reportedly shopping Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. But with this latest report, it looks a lot less certain that LeBron will head to Hollywood this summer.

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LeBron James to the Warriors? Wild New Report Suggests It Could Happen This Summer

Does the idea of LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers to sign with the Warriors this summer sound laughable to you? You’re not alone. There are a lot of people scoffing at the idea at the moment.

But very early Thursday morning, just hours after LeBron and the Cavaliers closed out their dreadful January with a close win over the Heat, ESPN’s Chris Haynes set NBA Twitter on fire with an explosive report about how LeBron would apparently entertain the idea of signing with Golden State in July, if the Warriors are able to free up enough money to offer him a max contract.

According to league sources who spoke with Haynes, the Warriors could position themselves to secure a free agency meeting with LeBron “if [they] can create a max salary slot this offseason.” The report went on to say that the Warriors haven’t shown any real desire to actually do that. But it also mentioned that the sources who spoke with Haynes said LeBron wouldn’t rule out the possibility of playing alongside Steph Curry and Kevin Durant in California “if Golden State explored ways to clear the necessary cap space.”

In order to pull off the seemingly impossible, the Warriors would likely need to get creative. In Haynes’ report, he suggests they would probably have to entice the Cavaliers to agree to a sign-and-trade deal involving Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala in order to land LeBron. And that in and of itself seems like a long shot.

But regardless of how improbable the LeBron-to-the-Warriors rumor Haynes just started might sound, it definitely has people talking. There are some imagining what the Warriors could potentially look like with LeBron on the team.

There are others downplaying the report and saying it will never happen.

We tend to side with the second group of people here. LeBron leaving the Cavaliers for a second time and doing it to team up with the Warriors just sounds too crazy to believe.

But we should point out that, once upon a time, the idea of Durant leaving the Thunder to join the Warriors sounded just as crazy. In fact, we just went back and took a look at our very first post hinting at the possibility of KD one day joining the Warriors, which went up all the way back in July 2015. It was tied to a San Jose Mercury News story about how a source said Golden State would “love” to land KD in the summer of 2016. The very first comment on that post was “trash post with a shit source”—and look at how that eventually turned out.

In the end, we just can’t see LeBron playing with the Warriors next season. But who knows? With all of the crazy things that have happened in the NBA over the last few years, it’s hard to rule out anything anymore.

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Russell Westbrook Torches Wizards After Thinking LeBron James Picked Him Last in NBA All-Star Draft

On Thursday afternoon, LeBron James and Steph Curry took part in the first-ever NBA All-Star draft. They went through the long list of this season’s NBA All-Stars and chose who will play alongside each of them on their respective teams during the All-Star Game next month. And when the draft was over, LeBron shared the list of players who will be running with him.


Most people looked at the list and quickly realized LeBron had put the players on his team into alphabetical order. We’d guess he did this to avoid revealing who he had picked first as well as who he had picked last. In fact, we’d guess the NBA chose not to televise this portion of the All-Star process specifically to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. People on social media would have inevitably made a huge deal over whoever ended up going last in the draft.

But when Russell Westbrook first saw the list, he didn’t realize it was in alphabetical order. All he saw was his name at the bottom of it, and he mistakenly believed LeBron had taken him with the last pick in the draft. Furthermore, he believed LeBron had taken John Wall with the pick ahead of him.

By chance, Westbrook and the Thunder played Wall and the Wizards on Thursday night, and Westbrook—possibly because he had seen LeBron's list just prior to the game—went off during the contest. He scored 46 points and threw down this thunderous dunk during Oklahoma City’s 121-112 win over Washington.

And when the game ended, he spoke with reporters about his thoughts on LeBron picking him to play on his team in the All-Star Game. Westbrook said it was “cool,” but his teammate Carmelo Anthony yelled at him and told him to tell everyone “how you really feel.” Westbrook smiled before admitting he was a little miffed about being picked last.

“I see I was the last pick on the list,” he said. “I was just trying to figure out how…”

At that point, Westbrook was informed about the list being in alphabetical order, and a light bulb went off in his head. He responded by yelling back at Carmelo. “See, I told you, man!” Westbrook said. “Alphabetical order, man! Of course I was first!”

It was a funny, lighthearted moment in the end. But after Westbrook admitted he thought he went last in the draft, him dropping 46 points on Wall and Wizards suddenly made so much sense.

Draft misunderstanding aside, LeBron’s decision to select Westbrook in the All-Star draft will reunite him with his former teammate Kevin Durant. KD went first overall in the draft to LeBron’s team, and he had a pretty classic reaction to it on Thursday night. He put up the Players’ Tribune meme that everyone always uses against him on Instagram to announce how happy he is to be playing with LeBron’s team. He also put his Warriors teammate Curry on notice and said he’s gunning for him in the All-Star Game. Curry picked Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the draft but not Durant.

The All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 18. If all this buildup to it is any indication, it should be a pretty decent—and dare we say competitive?—game.

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Most Underrated Current NBA Players | Out Of Bounds

On today’s episode of #OutOfBounds, the crew gives their top picks for Most Underrated NBA players. Gil says everyone was so focused on Kevin Durant coming to the Warriors that they overlooked Klay Thompson, and J.J. Redick isn’t important enough to even be in the conversation. Mia argues that John Wall missing time helped elevate Bradley Beal to a breakout season and that Dame Lillard needs to leave the West in order to get the respect he deserves. We also throw in Victor Oladipo flashing with the Pacers, and how Devin Booker is not getting the shine he deserves. Did your pick make our list? 

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Watch Klay Thompson Do the Most Random Interview Ever While Walking Around NYC

After playing against the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday night, the Warriors had an off day on Monday. And that gave a couple of Golden State stars the opportunity to fulfill some media obligations in New York City.

Steph Curry stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday night, and during his appearance on the show, he spoke about everything from serving as a taste-tester for his wife Ayesha at home to having his own line of Under Armour sneakers. He also made a well-timed joke about Fallon’s decision to take up “smoking” as a hobby while he was on the show. You can check out Curry’s appearance on The Tonight Show (“smoking” joke at the 1:20 mark) below.

But that was far from the most newsworthy media appearance made by a member of the Warriors on Monday. Because while Curry was taping his Tonight Show segment, his teammate Klay Thompson was off taking part in a media appearance of his own, and it involved a very important topic: Scaffolding. Yes, scaffolding.

If you’ve ever walked around New York City, you know that scaffolding is literally everywhere. It’s hard to walk for more than a block without having to walk under it. And somehow, Fox 5 in NYC was lucky enough to land a man on the street interview with Thompson, who talked about his approach to scaffolding as he made his way around the Big Apple on Monday. You can check out a portion of the interview below.

“I usually observe if the piping and stuff is new,” Thompson, who was identified as “NBA Player” by Fox 5, said. “Sometimes, you know, if it’s something that looks like it’s been there awhile, I kind of try to avoid that.”


If this seems like the most random interview you’ve ever seen an NBA player do, you’re not alone. This clip of Thompson talking scaffolding has been making the rounds on social media, and it’s been getting quite a reaction out there.

Can we request more clips of Thompson talking to local news people in every city he visits? The Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Wednesday night. Good luck topping this, OKC.

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Draymond Green’s 15 Most Savage Trash-Talking Moments

With all due respect to players like Chris Paul, Joel Embiid, and Patrick Beverley, Draymond Green is, without a doubt, the best trash-talker in the NBA today. He takes trash-talking very seriously, and during an interview with ESPN back in April, he spoke about how he’s spent years crafting his ability to do it.

“I absolutely love it,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for a very long time. There’s an art to trash-talking.”

All of his hard work has definitely paid off. Green is so good at talking trash at this point that, while we’ve traditionally waited until the end of an NBA player’s career before compiling a list of their best trash-talking moments—we’ve run trash talk features on Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Kobe Bryant in the past—we don’t see much sense in waiting around for another 10 years before paying homage to the Warriors’ enforcer. He has already proven himself to be one of the best trash-talkers in NBA history, and it’s time to recognize that now. Here are Draymond Green’s 15 Most Savage Trash-Talking Moments.

15. “You’ll Never Dunk on Me”


Victim: Dennis Smith Jr.

This is obviously the most recent moment, seeing as how it just happened this week, but we think it provides a pretty good illustration of what Green’s trash-talking is really all about. He took what could have been a relatively routine play—a ticky-tack foul on a missed dunk attempt—and turned into a teachable moment for an NBA rookie. Green yelled, “You’ll never dunk on me” at Smith Jr. and then continued to go after him following the game while speaking with reporters.

“That shit ain’t happening,” Green said, referring to the idea of a rookie getting the better of him at the rim. “This ain’t Summer League, bro. Not just gonna dunk on anybody. Better luck next time. It ain’t happening. C’mon, dude.”

Smith Jr. seemed confused by Green’s trash talk, since it’s not like Green rejected him clearly. But if he’s going to last in this league, he’s going to have to get used to Green going off on him on the court.

14. “You Didn’t Say That”

Victim: Lakers fan

Green’s trash talk extends beyond just the basketball court. He’s also known to talk plenty of trash on social media, and back in October 2014, he took it upon himself to call out a Lakers fan who apparently lied about what he told Green when he met him. The fan took to Twitter to reveal that he told Green the Warriors were “gonna get ran by my Lakers this year.” But Green disputed the fan’s version of the meeting and said the fan didn’t say that at all. It got quite a response from some of Green’s fellow NBA players.

If Green routinely talks trash to some of the toughest players in the NBA, what makes you think he won’t do it to you, too?

13. “I Laughed in His Face”

Victim: Kevin Durant

Back in 2015, Green revealed that KD is actually a decent trash-talker himself. He said KD’s trash talk “makes you feel bad about yourself.” But that hasn’t stopped him from going after KD—even though the two are teammates now.

In September, Green was asked how he reacted when he heard that KD got caught using burner social media accounts to defend himself. Green alluded to his own social media struggles, but he also said that he showed no mercy when he heard about what happened to KD.

“I reached out to him, I talked to him through text the day of,” Green said. “And then the next day, I saw him in person and I laughed in his face.”

12. “He Suck!”

Victim: Kevin Hart

Green and Hart have developed a (somewhat) friendly rivalry on and off the basketball court. They once took part in a three-point contest against one another, and Hart has also heckled Green during Warriors games against his beloved 76ers. So when Green was asked his opinion on Hart’s basketball skills during an interview on Conan in September 2016, he didn’t hold back on ripping him to shreds.

“He suck!” Green said.

Green did give credit to Hart for believing in himself. “You know, the thing that make Kevin a great comedian is that he believes the stuff he say,” he said. “Once again, thinking he’s good at basketball, he believe it.”

But he stopped way short of giving him any credit for being good at basketball. “No!” he said, before referencing his three-point shootout with Hart. “I mean, he hit a couple spots where he shot well, and I was shocked. But no!”

11. “The Cavs Didn’t Stand a F*cking Chance”

Victim: The entire Cavaliers team (and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey)

During a recent interview with GQ, Green was asked about the Warriors’ dominance in recent seasons, and in particular, their dominance of the Cavaliers during the 2017 NBA Finals. He didn’t shy away from admitting that he was actually upset the Warriors were only able to beat the Cavs 4-1 in their series last June.

“They didn’t stand a fucking chance,” he said. “It pissed me off we didn’t sweep them.”

Elsewhere in the GQ piece, Green touched on some comments made by Morey, who said the Warriors are “not unbeatable” during an interview over the summer. Morey also suggested, “We have something up our sleeve,” which really set Green off.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” he said. “They are really trying to rethink their whole strategy, because teams know they don’t have a fucking clue.”

10. “Ain’t No Man Gonna Touch My Head”

Victim: O.J. Mayo

Green and Mayo were nearly involved in a physical confrontation after a Warriors/Bucks game in December 2015. Green made some comments about Mayo’s then-teammate Michael Carter-Williams that Mayo didn’t like, and he responded by getting in his face following the contest. He also put his hand on Green’s head, at which point Green shoved him and then almost got into it with Mayo's teammate Khris Middleton. It’s unclear what exactly was said between the two, but Green explained why he pushed Mayo after the game.

“I’m not going to really talk about what guys talk about or say,” Green said. “What you think he said, he may not have said or may have said. But ain’t no man gonna touch my head. I’m a grown man.”

9. “You Can’t Mention ‘Bron in Every Song You Do”


Victim: Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj has gotten into the habit of name-dropping LeBron James on many of her songs—and it’s something that doesn’t sit real well with Green. After she mentioned LeBron on her song, “No Frauds,” in March 2017, Green took to his Dray Day podcast to blast Nicki for repeatedly working LeBron’s name into her verses.

“Is Nicki gonna mention ‘Bron in every song?” he asked. “Every song she’s released since June 2016, there’s something about LeBron in it. I mean, damn, like, LeBron is great, but Jesus Christ, at some point it just becomes… too repetitive. Jesus Christ, you can’t mention ‘Bron in every song you do.”

“Every song” might be a slight exaggeration on Green’s part, but this clearly touched a nerve with him.

8. “I’m the Modern-Day Draymond Green”

Victim: Charles Barkley

Green has been a very vocal critic of Barkley over the last few years. The two are often compared to one another, and during an interview in May 2017, Green said that he is not with the comparisons. He went as far as to say that he flatly rejects the idea that he and Barkley are anything alike when it was suggested that he is the modern-day Barkley.

“Hell no,” he said. “I’m the modern-day Draymond Green. Fuck no.”

Green also slammed Barkley on his Dray Day podcast after LeBron took some shots at him.

“I’m all for destroying Barkley,” Green said. “You know, Barkley talk a lot. A whole lot for a guy who has not won a championship… When it comes to speaking about someone who has a championship, Barkley should be muted.”

7. “Cool Story, Glenn”

Victim: Doc Rivers

The Warriors and Clippers had one of the best rivalries in the NBA a couple seasons ago, and that rivalry was due in large part to moments like this. After a March 2015 game between the two teams, then-Clippers forward Dahntay Jones walked by Green while he was doing a live TV interview and bumped into him. Green responded by shooting him a look that made it seem like he might step to him right there on the court.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers offered up a sarcastic take on the situation and referred to Green as “that tough guy on Golden State” when he saw what happened.

“Wow, that was such a violent bump!” he said. “I’m telling you. It was amazing. I told Dahntay, ‘You’ve got to be careful. That was too hard.’ I guess that tough guy on Golden State, I mean, I think the bump was too hard for him, clearly, the way he reacted.”

And Green had an equally sarcastic response for Rivers. That response?

Glenn, for those who don’t know, is Rivers’ government name. So petty.

6. “Drake’s Boots Cost Them the Game”

Victim: Drake

Drake went all out for the third annual “Drake Night” at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto in November 2016. He held a press conference before the game. He showed up wearing a shirt with Doris Burke’s face on it. And he sat courtside and cheered for the Raptors as they played against the Warriors. But despite his best efforts, the Warriors won the game—and afterward, the Golden State players had a whole lot to say about Drake.

Kevin Durant said, “We don’t give a damn about no Drake Night!” Andre Iguodala said he had absolutely no plans to chill with Drake after the game. And Green went off on the boots Drake wore to the game and said they were to blame for the Raptors’ loss.

“Drake’s boots cost them the game,” Green said, interrupting Iguodala’s live post-game interview on the court.

Green later added: “The shirt was nice. But his boots were so bad. I was disappointed in his outfit overall. It’s Drake Night. You gotta bring better than that.”

Green has since gone on to rip Drake’s fashion choices on numerous other occasions since then.

5. “Cavaliers? Nope”

Victim: The entire Cavaliers team

During the Warriors’ NBA title parade in June 2015, Green celebrated by remixing E-40’s hit song, “Choices (Yup),” on the fly in the middle of a live TV interview. Golden State was just a few days removed from knocking off the Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals, and while standing next to Klay Thompson, he let it be known who the better team was.

“Klay Thompson? Yup,” he said. “Splash Brothers? Yup. Cavaliers? Nope. We won? Yup. They suck? Yup. We here? Yup. They not? Nope.”

Green clearly got caught up in the moment, but we imagine most Cavs fans weren’t too happy to hear this in the immediate aftermath of their team’s loss.

4. “We Rocking With Floyd, Bro, Not You”


We rocking with Floyd bro not you… take that off bruh @thenotoriousmma

A post shared by Draymond Green (@money23green) on Jul 23, 2017 at 1:22am PDT

Victim: Conor McGregor

Right before fighting Floyd Mayweather in August 2016, Conor McGregor was spotted wearing a No. 23 Warriors jersey. Green responded to it by posting a photo of McGregor in the jersey on Instagram along with a caption that let him know that the Warriors weren’t going to be pulling for him in his fight.

“We rocking with Floyd bro not you,” Green wrote. “Take that off bruh.”

What made this moment great, though, was that McGregor didn’t back down from Green. In one of the few instances in which Green met his match, McGregor fired back on him with a vicious clapback of his own.

“That’s C.J. Watson, mate,” he wrote. “I don’t know who the fuck you are. No disrespect tho, kid, keep hustling and stay in school. Now ask yourself why I’m rocking C.J. when I don’t know or give a fuck about basketball. I dribble heads off the floor. Not a ball. This is no game here, kid.”

The jersey turned out to be a total troll move on McGregor’s part, and Green just got caught in the crossfire.

3. “Bro, You’re Not Scaring Anyone”


Victim: Kevin Garnett

KG earned a reputation for saying some pretty off-the-wall things to his opponents during his NBA career. Few players talked trash quite like him. But that didn’t stop Green from going directly at him when he first came into the league.

During an interview with Grantland in April 2015, Green admitted that he admired KG growing up, but he also said that didn’t stop him from talking trash to him the first time they played against one another.

KG just talks junk to try and scare people,” he said. “He won’t say nothing directly to you. He just says stuff about you out loud, like talking to himself. So I called him out: ‘Bro, you’re not scaring anyone. Just stop with the antics.’ We got into it, but I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

There aren’t many people who could get away with saying, “Stop with the antics,” to KG, but Green is obviously one of them.

2. “You Ain’t Kobe”


Victim: Paul Pierce

Green took some shots at Paul Pierce for criticizing Kevin Durant at the beginning of last season. And when the Warriors and Clippers played back in February 2017, he continued sending shots in Pierce’s direction. While Blake Griffin was in the middle of shooting free throws, Green badgered Pierce about the fact that he didn’t get the same kind of farewell tour that Kobe Bryant got right before he retired.

“You can’t get no farewell tour,” he said, “they don’t love you like that. You ain’t got that type of love. You thought you was Kobe? You ain’t Kobe.”

Green later said he didn’t have “nothing personal” against Pierce on his podcast. But he added: “If you gonna talk junk, I don’t hold anything back when I’m talking junk. If I’ma talk junk, I’ma talk. And I’ma take it where it needs to go.”

1. “B*tch” (or Was It “F*ckboy”?)


Victim: LeBron James

Green and LeBron got tied up at the end of Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals—and it led to Green serving a one-game suspension that really turned the tide of the series and led to the Warriors blowing a 3-1 series lead. LeBron was noticeably upset during the confrontation, and it led many people to wonder what in the world Green said to get LeBron so angry.

An initial report suggested that Green called LeBron a “bitch”—twice—during the trash-talking that the two players did. That report indicated that Green called LeBron a bitch once before LeBron pointed out that he’s “the father of three kids and a man” and that Green responded to that by saying, “You’re still a bitch.”

But Green’s trash talk actually may have been even worse than that. While speaking with Jimmy Butler on The Bill Simmons Podcast a few days later, Bill Simmons revealed that he heard Green went above and beyond while trash-talking with LeBron. According to him, Green a called LeBron a “fuckboy,” not a bitch.

“I heard he didn’t say the b-word,” Simmons said. “I heard it began with an F and ended with boy. That was what I heard. That’s why I think LeBron took it so personally. I’m sure LeBron has been called the b-word before. He really got upset. I don’t know if you saw. His feelings got hurt. It’s really hard to hurt LeBron’s feelings. He’s one of the strongest people in the United States.”

LeBron may be strong but even he was no match for Green and his incessant trash talk. Not that he should be ashamed about that. Green has proven time and time again that he’s simply on another level when it comes to running his mouth.

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Debate If Big Sean Is a Top 5 Rapper on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska run through the day of news, which includes a Klay Thompson look-a-like robbing a bank, Partynextdoor's new music, and 21 Savage serenading Amber Rose. Additionally, the crew breaks down whether it's fair of fans to judge artists on their debut projects for their entire career. They also debate if Big Sean is a top five rapper.

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Klay Thompson Gets Rejected by the Rim in One of the Worst Dunk Attempts You’ll Ever See

Life is good for the core members of the Golden State Warriors, who are fresh off winning their second NBA Finals in three seasons. Klay Thompson isn't the lead dog in Oakland, but his three-point shooting and excellent defense has been an undeniably huge part of their success.

Perhaps he should leave the dunking to other players on the team, however. Thompson's currently on a trip to China to help promote Anta sneakers, a Chinese brand he endorses, and he made an attempt to fire up the crowd with a 360 dunk. It did not go as planned.

Since there hasn't been a whole lot for Warriors haters to pounce on lately, Twitter didn't waste any time having a laugh at Thompson's expense. There's not much you can say to make fun of the team, but you can damn sure roast Thompson for getting brutally rejected by an inanimate object.

Thompson's own teammates alluded to the video without mentioning it outright, and you can bet they'll be making fun of him for this for months to come.

I'm generally in support of NBA players seeking buckets at any cost, but you have to live in reality like the rest of us, Klay. I don't pull up for 30-footers in a pick-up game because I know it's not in my wheelhouse, and perhaps this should be a sign you should get back in the lab before attempting another public 360.

On the bright side, this is free publicity for his sneaker tour, even if it's a form of promotion Thompson probably would have liked to avoid. So at least he's getting paid for taking the worst L he's had in a while. 

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The Cavs Gave Game 3 Away and Now We’re One Win Away From a Warriors Coronation

CLEVELAND — In the middle of his answer, Kyrie Irving sighed, still shivering from a post-game trip to the cold tub. What else could he do when he was asked why the Cavs blew their chance to make the NBA Finals an actual series?

Because for a few fleeting moments it looked like we had one. After two blowouts in Oakland, the Cavs and the Warriors treated basketball fans to a Game 3 that was a riveting, dramatic, and one the Cavs and their fans are going to lose a lot of sleep analyzing how they gave it away.

The Cavs should have won Wednesday after they got another big effort from LeBron James and Irving finally arrived on the big stage with a magical performance. Quicken Loans Arena was popping. The Cleveland faithful had watched their two superstars ball out to the tune of 77 combined points and looked like they were on the verge of earning a hard fought victory over the supremely talented Warriors. 

But the Cavs couldn’t execute offensively over the final few minutes, had mental lapses on defense, and watched the biggest difference maker in the series knock down a stone cold three to give the Warriors a one-point lead with 12.9 seconds to go. So instead of walking off winners and feeling like the NBA Finals was finally a competitive series, the defending NBA champions sulked off the court shell shocked, 118-113 losers, and now will have to play their hearts out just to prevent the Warriors from celebrating an NBA championship on their home floor Friday. 

“It definitely hurts. I'm human, as well as my teammates, and to lay it all on the line like that, you want to come out on the winning side,” said Irving. “But we gave a great effort, and the result just didn't turn out the way we wanted to.”

Now Game 4 is setting up to be a coronation for the greatest team in NBA postseason history. The Warriors improved to 15-0 in the playoffs because they had enough firepower to overcome James's 39 points and Irving's 38 and because the biggest difference maker of the series, Kevin Durant, hit that game-changing three that was a dagger through the hearts of the Cavs. 

“I just tried to stay disciplined in my shot, hold my follow through, and it went in,” Durant said. “But more importantly we got two stops after that.”

It didn’t have to be this way, of course. But the reasons the NBA Finals are basically over are obvious. The Cavaliers’ execution down the stretch was atrocious. James bore a heavy burden of the blame for not driving to the basket down the stretch despite the Cavs scoring 46 points in the paint. He too often deferred to teammates who hoisted bad shots or even crappier threes. Cleveland didn't score a point over the final 3:09. For the second straight game, the Cavs shot 27 percent from three. Overall, the Cleveland shot 44.4 percent from the field.

LeBron James Game 3 NBA Finals 2017 Post Game
Image via USA Today Sports/David Richard

“I gave everything I had tonight. So win, lose, or draw, you live with the results,” James said. “Like I said, they played a really good game as well, but they made shots, they made shot down the stretch. They got stops, which they have been doing. We shot in the low 40s again. They got stops and then they made play after play down the stretch.​”

Durant finished with 31 points and had 14 in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. Klay Thompson was the unsung hero for the Warriors going for 30 on 11-of-18 shooting including 6-of-11 from three. Steph Curry added 26 and was the Warriors leading rebounder with 13.” 

While the Warriors swear a perfect postseason has never been on their mind during this run, they changed their tune after Game 3. 

“It is now because we took care of tonight,” Curry said. “It's not in terms of like 16-0 really just of what that means historically, it's just that's what's in front of us. We obviously know how hard it is to win a championship, what all goes into it and how important each game is. And now that you can look ahead to Friday, all our focus is on that. And just we obviously—we want 16 wins; it doesn't matter how we get there.”

The off-season appears imminent for the Cavs, which is shocking because when your two best players play that well, you shouldn't lose games. You should extend series. Except when you're playing the greatest team in NBA postseason history. 

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Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry Speak on Scuffle That Broke Out Between Thunder and Warriors

The Warriors/Thunder game in Oklahoma City on Monday night wasn’t much of a game at all. Golden State knocked off OKC 111-95 behind 34 points from Klay Thompson and 23 points from Steph Curry to complete a season sweep of Russell Westbrook & Co. And the intensity inside of Chesapeake Energy Arena wasn’t nearly what it was in early February when Kevin Durant made his first return back to OKC since leaving the Thunder last summer to sign with the Warriors. KD didn’t play this time around due to the knee injury he suffered recently, so Thunder fans weren’t as excited to see Golden State come to town.



But there was one brief moment late in the second quarter that proved that these two teams still don’t like each other very much. With just 5 seconds remaining on the clock before the halftime, a jump ball was called and players from both teams lined up for it. As they did, Curry and Thunder guard Semaj Christon started jockeying for position and got a little bit too physical with one another. Westbrook saw what was happening and stepped in to stick up for his teammate. And that led to a bunch of pushing and shoving between the two teams, which prompted the game's referees to hand out technical fouls to Curry, Christon, Westbrook, and Draymond Green.

After the game, those who were in the middle of the action were asked about it, and they talked about why the tension between the teams was so high at that particular point in the game. Westbrook said that he was simply trying to protect his teammate.

“Protecting my teammates, that’s what’s going through my mind,” he said. “I think Curry tried to get into it with Semaj, tried to push him, and I stepped right in between. That’s it. Once I see something going down with my teammates, I’m hopping in.”

Curry saw things a little bit differently. While speaking with reporters, he suggested that Christon was the instigator and that he pushed him a couple times before he responded by pushing back. But he also downplayed the scuffle itself and said it wasn’t a big deal.

“Your normal jump ball kind of fight for position situation,” he said. “I was just trying to get in between Russ and—how do you pronounce his last name? Trying to get in between them two. I felt him push me. I kind of let that first one go. Then, I kept going, and there was another little push. And at that point, I just wanted to kind of hold my position. Much ado about nothing after that.”

Green also spoke on the scuffle and laughed when he was asked about getting a technical on the play. Even though he wasn’t directly involved in the shenanigans that started the shoving match, he ended up getting hit with a tech anyway, which didn't surprise him.

“I’m happy you think the same thing I think,” Green said when a reporter asked him about picking up a T on the play. “Jesus Christ. I don’t know. Nothing surprises me at this point when it comes to anything like that. I actually knew it was going to happen, to be honest with you. I didn’t do anything, but I knew it. If I’m anywhere in the area, it’s expected.”

The Warriors and Thunder won’t play again during the regular season. But there’s a chance they could meet in the playoffs. And if they do? Expect the intensity in that series to be through the roof. It might not be all that competitive—Golden State seems to have OKC’s number this season—but it will be fun to watch.


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