Hoops Prevail, Drama Subsides: Lakers top Warriors 124-121 in exhibition shootout

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Anthony Davis owned the first half, Jordan Poole claimed the third quarter, and little known Matt Ryan, with a grand total of five minutes of NBA experience, took it from there.

Tally it up, and the Lakers escaped Chase Center with a 124-121 exhibition win that entertained the fans, but left coach Steve Kerr needing to see much more ahead of the season opener on October 18.

“We’re turning the ball over way too much, and defensively we haven’t been great,” Kerr conceded.

Along with the 30 made threes, 17 of those astonishingly from the Lakers, the numerous healthy scratches signaled exhibition as opposed to the heightened, intensity of the regular season. LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverly and Dennis Schroeder did not dress for the Lakers. The Warriors played without Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala.

Green remains away from the team indefinitely due to the scuffle with Jordan Poole on Wednesday. There’s no indication that Green will be suspended by the Warriors and it’s likely he’ll be available for the season opener a week from Tuesday although that’s yet to be determined.

Little was said of Green on Sunday night, but Poole had a lot to say with the growth in his game, and the 18-point, third quarter explosion that gave the Warriors a 91-89 lead heading to the fourth.

Poole thrilled the crowd with his drive that started with an inside-out dribble move, finished with an around the back flourish and a flip shot for a bucket in the lane.

“We were debating on the bench if that was a travel, but they didn’t call it,” Kevon Looney joked.

Poole led the Warriors with 25 points, including three made threes and never appeared bothered by Wednesday’s incident or the speculation that he will sign a lucrative contract extension in the upcoming week.

Surprising, given all the uproar, and opinions regarding the incident? Not to Kerr and Poole’s teammates who know his focus and determination.

“He doesn’t really let stuff phase him,” Looney said. “If things (aren’t) going his way, he just puts his head down and keeps working.”

“There’s a reason Jordan is where he is right now, especially when you consider where he was coming out of Michigan as a late first-round pick struggling his first few months in the league,” Kerr said. “There’s a reason he’s in this position about to sign a big extension hopefully. Guy’s tough.”

Stephen Curry added 24 points, four assists in 24 minutes, two more minutes than Kerr insisted his star would play. Andrew Wiggins had 15 points, and James Wiseman put up 13 off the bench.

Davis returned to action after missing the two, previous Lakers’ exhibitions and looked like 2020/bubble AD with 28 points, 24 of those in the first half. The eight-time All-Star impressed with a dunk of a lob, and two made threes. Last season, Davis played in just 40 games and shot a career-worst 18 percent from distance.

Matt Ryan had his, singular NBA moment with 20 points–in 20 minutes–and six 3-pointers, the final one with 2:44 remaining that put the Lakers up 118-114. Ryan also cooly converted a pair of free throws with five seconds left that gave the Lakers their final margin of victory.

The 25-year old Ryan’s previous NBA experience? Five minutes as a Boston Celtic in their season finale in April. He scored three points.

“It’s good because you never know what can happen in a regular season game,” Davis said. “You might need Matt (Ryan) or you might need Scotty (Pippen Jr.), or Max (Christie). You just never know. And for them to get those type of reps in that type of situation, especially on the road, is good.”

The Lakers won for the first time in pre-season after three losses. The Warriors, who host Portland on Tuesday, lost for the first time after winning twice in Japan.

Headline Sports podcast with David Zizmor: Cavs sign Garland to 5 yr $231 M deal; Durant wants out of Brooklyn looking at Miami, Warriors sign Divincezo and Looney

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Darius Garland (10) is thrilled during an NBA play-in basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, April 15, 2022, in Cleveland. Garland has agreed to a five-year, $193 million contract extension with Cleveland and could be worth as much as $231 million, the deal is the largest in team history according Garland’s agent Rich Paul as announced on Fri Jul 1, 2022 (AP News file photo)

On the Headline podcast with David:

#1 Dave, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Darius Garland to a five year rookie extension contract for five years worth up to $231 million will the Cavaliers get their value out of the Garland signing?

#2 The Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant wants out from the Brooklyn Nets said as of Friday that he wants to play for the Miami Heat as long as Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry as his teammates.

#3 The Golden State Warriors are fortunate to keep Kevon Looney who agreed to a $25.5 million three year deal. The Warriors also signed Donte Di Vincenzo for a two year $9.3 million deal.

David Zizmor is the NBA analysist for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Kevin Durant signs four-year $164 million deal to play with the Brooklyn Nets

file photo from sfgate.com: Former Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant #35 gets help off the floor in his last hurrah for Golden State with the injured Achilles tendon in the first half of game 5 against the Toronto Raptors.

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The Golden State Warriors lost a key player to free agency on Sunday. Superstar forward Kevin Durant decided to leave the Warriors, a team that he won two championships with, to play for the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were active Sunday signing point guard Kyrie Irving and center DeAndre Jordan. They will have to wait a year for Durant to play for them as he will be recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that will sideline him for the entire 2019-2020 season.

The big question is, why did Durant decide to leave the Warriors. Golden State offered him a five-year deal worth $ 221 Million. The answer has to be that he was unhappy here with the Warriors. He had a massive dustup with Draymond Green early in the season. The two players didn’t speak for a while, and that may have been a factor even though Green apologized to Durant. Another factor may have been the injury that he sustained in Game Five of the NBA Finals with Toronto. Durant had suffered a calf injury in the series with the Houston Rockets. The team may have asked him to return to action before that injury was healed. No one knows what the Warriors’ doctors told him about the possibility that he might make it worse if he played.

The Warriors did agree to terms with a five -year $190 million contract with Klay Thompson. Klay will be out for at least nine months as he recovers from surgery to fix a torn ACL in his left knee. The Warriors want to re-sign Kevon Looney.  Looney is being courted by the Houston Rockets. Looney proved his worth as he played inspired basketball in the Finals after suffering an injury to his collarbone. The Warriors may try to get DeMarcus Cousins back. The most the can offer Cousins is about 6.3 million. Cousins could help fill the gap left by Durant’s departure. Cousins may stay to get a better deal a year from now. Shaun Livingston may retire, and that is another hole that the W’s will have to fill.

The Warriors should be competitive next year with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala still on the roster. Players such as Damian Jones, Jordan Bell, Alonzo McKinnie, and Quinn Cook will have to step up if the Warriors are to be successful next season. The fans are hoping the GM Bob Myers might have something rolled up in his sleeves to help make the team better. It will be a very different season for the Warriors as they start to play next year at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Hold off from pressing the panic button on the Warriors

bleacherreport.com photo: The Los Angeles Clippers routed Golden State Warriors, erasing a 31-point deficit in Game 2 at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Monday night. The series moves to Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 3 on Wednesday night. 

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors were riding high, leading the Los Angeles Clippers 73-50 at halftime.

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry led all scorers with 22 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting, 4-of-7 from three, and 6-for-6 from the foul line. But in the second half, Curry scored just seven points.

Then the roof caved in.

Golden State couldn’t hold on to its 31-point lead that they built up in the third quarter after starting the frame scoring 21 points on 9-for-9 shooting off eight assists, and saw the Los Angeles Clippers complete the largest postseason comeback in NBA history by shocking the Warriors, 135-131, to take Game 2 of their first-round series to even the best-of-7 series at one game apiece.

Rookie Landry Shamet hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds remaining to complete the Clippers’ historic comeback over the Warriors.

The Clippers outscored Golden State 85-58 in the second half. In the third quarter alone, Los Angeles outscored Golden State 44-35. The 44 points were the most in a postseason quarter for Los Angeles.

The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 this Thursday night from Staple Center.

Oh yeah, the Warriors lost center DeMarcus Cousins with what is being reported as a “significant” quad injury for an “extended period of time.”

Cousins injured his left quad muscle after diving to the floor following a steal in the first quarter. Cousins immediately grabbed his left side and limped off the floor and into the locker room.

An MRI for Cousins is scheduled for Tuesday, but it is feared that Cousins will miss the rest of the series if not, the remainder of the Warriors’ playoff run.

Before Warriors fans hit the panic button, let me put you at ease: the Warriors will still win this series. I know that’s not nothing new, but its just reassurance from me.

Sure, the top-seeded Warriors were punched in the mouth by the eighth-seeded Clippers on Monday night behind a career-high 36 points and 11 assists from Lou Williams and 25 points from Montrezl Harrell, but it did take a herculean effort for Los Angeles to take down the two-time defending NBA champions in front of a frenzied, sold out Oracle Arena crowd.

Clippers starting point guard Patrick Beverley, who continues to be the team’s biggest mouthpiece, has clearly made life difficult for Kevin Durant in this series. Beverley has been irritating (in a good way) Durant at every point, and even gotten the two of them ejected from Game 1.

You expect Durant, who had 21 points, five rebound and five assists in Game 2 before fouling out, to bounce back in Game 3. Durant finished with more turnovers (9) than shot attempts (8), but shot 11-of-12 from the free throw line.

Klay Thompson scored 17 points and Draymond Green had 14 points with nine assists.

Golden State committed 21 turnovers in Game 1, then follow up with 22 more on Monday night. The Warriors have been flat out sloppy in protecting the basketball.

When the Warriors protect the basketball and limit the turnovers, they are nearly unbeatable. Golden State got away with that in Game 1, but got caught with their hand in the cookie jar in Game 2.

The Clippers made Golden State pay this time around.

Even in the defeat, one positive the Warriors can take from this loss was the game that backup center Kevon Looney had. After Cousins left the game, Looney played big, finishing with a career-high 19 points and making all six shot attempts.

Looney will most certainly start Game 3 in Cousins’ absence. Looney did make 24 starts this season for the Warriors and will look to build off his breakout performance.

Instead of the projected four-game sweep that everyone penciled for Golden State, the Warriors will end the series in five or six games.

The Clippers exasperated all their energy in securing Game 2 and after stealing a game that they had no business of winning, Los Angeles has gotten the Warriors’ full attention and are beaming with confidence.

That’s not a good thing.

Warriors’ signing of DeMarcus Cousins will be beneficial

Photo credit: @boogiecousins

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

After news broke that four-time NBA All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins had signed with the world champion Golden State Warriors agreed to the one-year veteran’s minimum of $5.3 million on Monday, it’s like the Warriors delivered a massive gut-punch to the rest of the NBA.

Golden State already have four All-Stars in back-to-back Finals: MVP Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson; so adding a player like Cousins was the rich getting richer.

Sure there are some risks involved when you do bring Cousins into your locker room, such as his reputation of being a malcontent, unhappy, a bully and destructive, mainly from his time in Sacramento when things didn’t go right and the losses started to mount up.

The Kings missed the playoffs every year after selecting Cousins with the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft after one season at Kentucky.

Also, the torn Achilles tendon that Cousins is currently rehabbing. Cousins himself said that he is targeting being ready for full basketball activities by training camp. Most people are expecting Cousins to be on the court by end of December or early January.

Before the injury, Cousins was having a monster season for New Orleans, averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in 48 games for the Pelicans.

For most teams, that timetable for a star player’s return is almost catastrophic, but not for Golden State. The Warriors, who lost fan-favorite in center JaVale McGee to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, can plug in four-year man Kevon Looney, who agreed to return to Golden State on a one-year minimum deal on Tuesday to fill the void in the middle. Looney’s ability to defend guards along with bigs was key for Golden State in the playoffs.

ESPN was the first to report the news on Looney’s contract. The Warriors are also hoping that third-year center Damian Jones makes the leap and contribute on a nightly basis. The 7’0″, 245-pound Jones showed some flashes last season in limited action.

Once healthy, Cousins will play with the ultimate chip on his shoulder after not receiving an offer from any team during the early stages of free agency as most teams had major concerns regarding Cousins’ injury. Cousins’ former team, the Pelicans, didn’t offer him a contract, and according to those in the know around the Pelicans, didn’t want Cousins to return.

So if you’re Cousins, the opportunity to play on the Warriors with the benefits of competing for a championship and having fun while rehabbing is just too much to pass up right? Also if Cousins plays well for Golden State, especially come playoff time when he would be greatly useful for scoring easy baskets inside, then a team will be willing to pony-up a hefty contract for “Boogie.”

For Golden State, Cousins potentially solves the one position that has been a glaring weakness during a four-year run that has produced three titles (first coming in 2015), and back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.

With the strong bond and the accountability that the Warriors’ locker room prides itself on, Cousins should be a model citizen.