James’ Triple-Double Gives Cavaliers Game 2 in Overtime

By Matthew T.F. Harrington
Entering game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers had little cause for optimism. Already down one all-world player with Kevin Love sidelined, LeBron James and co. were dealt a devastating blow when all-star guard Kyrie Irving broke his knee in the game 1 overtime loss. Following game 2, the Cavaliers have found new life and a fresh start.
The Cavs bested the Golden State Warriors 95-93 in overtime at Oracle Arena Sunday, evening the NBA Finals at a win apiece. Despite missing the potential game-winner in regulation, LeBron James still dominated the contest. The Cavs superstar notched his 13th career playoff triple-double, scoring 39 points while pulling down 16 rebounds with 11 assists.
James might have had a case of déjà vu. With the score tied at 87 and 8 seconds left, the former Finals MVP had a chance at the game-winner. Just like in the waning moment of game 1, James came up empty, missing a lay-up at the rim to force OT.
In the extra session, the Cavs struck first, with Iman Shumpert hitting a trey. James then went to the line, sinking both free throw to put Cleveland up by 5 with 3:17 left. The Warriors scored the next six points, four on consecutive Draymond Green baskets and a pair of Stephen Curry free throw to take the 93-92 lead with 29 second left.
Following a timeout, James’ jumper was blocked by Green with Andre Iguodala picking up the rebound. Igoudala couldn’t maintain control of the ball though, turning the ball over while resetting the Cleveland shot clock with 18 seconds left. From there, Cleveland’s unlikely hero stepped up.
After another James jumper missed with 11 seconds left, St. Mary’s product Matthew Dellavedova reeled in the offensive rebound. He was then fouled by Harrison Barnes, hitting both free throws with 10 seconds left to put Cleveland up by one.
At the other end, Curry missed a jump shot that would have put the Warriors up. Barnes was then forced to foul James, who sunk one of two from the charity stripe to put Cleveland up 95-93 with four seconds left. The Warriors inbounded the ball quickly, but Curry turned the ball over to Shumpert to wrap up the loss for the home team.
Curry struggled throughout the night to find his scoring touch after being dogged by Irving’s replacement, the gritty Dellavedova. The current MVP scored only 19 points, going 5 for 23 from the field. Curry hit only 2 of 15 three-pointers on a night where the whole team went cold from downtown. Out of 35 attempts, only 8 treys went in for the Dubs.
Klay Thompson accounted for half the production from beyond the arc, hitting 4 of 12. The second half of the Splash Brothers had a breakout contest, scoring 34 points on 14-28 shooting over nearly 46 minutes of play. Harrison Barnes (11) and Draymong Green (10) were the only other Warriors to reach double-digit scoring. For the Cavs, Timofey Mozgov (17) and J.R. Smith (13) joined James in double-figure.
Despite being the shorthanded team, the Cavaliers looked to have the game well in hand. They led the NBA’s regular season wins leaders by 11 points with five minutes left. Led by Curry’s 7 points, the Warriors outpaced the Cavs down the stretch 19-8.
Golden State opened up the game on an 11-6 scoring run and built a quarter-high 8-point lead at 20-12 with 3:12 left in the 1st quarter, but the Cavs closed out the half on an 8-0 run to pull even. Again the Warriors built a 6-point lead in the 2nd, leading 31-25 halfway through the frame but Cleveland went on a 15-2 run to take a 40-33 edge. The Warriors clawed back, often finding themselves only two points back or even, but never led again until the 93-92 advantage in overtime.
The series now shifts to Cleveland for Tuesday night’s game 3. After already setting history as the first Finals to have games 1 and 2 go to overtime, who knows what these two teams will have in store at Quicken Loans Arena in two days.

Randolph, Gasol Bully Warriors to 2-1 Series Lead

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

For the first time all season the Golden State Warriors are staring true adversity in the face. Following a 99-89 loss Saturday night in Memphis, the Warriors now trail the Grizzlies 2-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals.

For the second consecutive contest, the offensive juggernaut that was the Warriors shrank in the face of the bullish Memphis front. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson improved slightly off a dismal 13-for-34 night in Monday’s 97-90 loss at Oracle, combining to score 43 points (Curry 23, Thompson 20).

Curry struggled from the field, hitting 8 of 21 shots. The Most Valuable Player went just 2-of-10 from three-point land. As a team, the Warriors were held to just 6 treys on 26 tries, an identical figure to Monday night.

Memphis center Marc Gasol produced a double-double, scoring 21 while pulling in 15 boards. Fellow Twin Tower Zach Randolph came a pair of rebounds short of his own double-double, dropping 22 points on Golden State. Guard Mike Conley produced only 11 points one game after his game two 22-point return from an orbital bone injury.

While Curry and Thompson produced a more successful performance than their last display, the bigs of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green struggled. The two came up with a pair of field goals, three free throws and a combined 8 points. Harrison Barnes played a Warriors-topping 40 minutes, scoring 16 in a breakthrough performance that can be viewed as a positive by Golden State fans.

The Warriors were up 15-10 early in the contest but were trailing 55-39 by the half after being outscored 32-19 in the second quarter. Golden State outscored the Grizzlies 50-44 over the final two quarters, but ran out of time to complete the comeback.

The Warriors now face unfamiliar territory heading into Monday night’s game four. It’s the first time on the campaign that the Warriors enter a road game on a two-game losing streak. Golden State lost two consecutive games four times, winning the next game at home all four times to go the entire season without a losing stretch of three games or more.

The Grizzlies pose a formidable threat at home at FedEx Forum where they won 31 games, tied for the fifth-most by a home team this season. Golden State earned the best road record at 28-13.

Curry Breaks Own Record, Warriors Clinch Best Record

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

Stephen Curry’s Most Valuable Player campaign received a massive boost Thursday night with the All-Star guard scoring 45 points in a 116-105 Golden State Warriors victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers. Curry also dished out 10 assists to pick up the double-double.

Curry hit 17 of 23 shots attempted, including an 8-for-13 night from behind the 3-point line. One of those eight treys helped Curry to set the new record for three’s in a season, eclipsing the previous mark of 272 in a campaign also set by Curry two seasons ago. He now sits at 276 on the year.

As a team, the Warriors (64-15) hit 48 of 90 field goals for a 53.3 shooting percentage. Klay Thompson supported Curry with 26 points, while Draymond Green picked up a double-double of his own with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

LaMarcus Aldrige topped the playoff-bound Blazers (51-28) with 27 points while Damian Lillard added 20 of his own.

With the win, Golden State has now clinched the best record in the NBA. It also ended a losing streak of two-straight games for the Warriors. The only downside is that the Warriors, considered one of the best defensive teams in the association, have now given up 100-plus points in six consecutive games.

Golden State can buck that trend when the Dubs host the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night. The T-Wolves currently only hold 16 wins on the season.

 

Barnes Buzzer Beater Gives Warriors 62nd Win

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

If Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr had to draw up one play to win a game, chances are he’d funnel the ball to potential Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry. Unfortunately for Kerr, Thursday night against at the Phoenix Suns the ball didn’t find Curry when the Dubs needed it to most. Instead, it came to an unlikely hero; Harrison Barnes.

With 4 seconds remaining and the Warriors trailing 106-105, Draymond Green’s inbound pass found Barnes cutting to the basket. After a few seconds, Barnes put up the game-winning lay-up with .4 ticks of the clock left. It was later ruled that time had expired, handing Golden State (62-13) their 62nd win (adding to the franchise record set this season) with a final score of 107-105.

The magic moment was almost for not in a frantic finish. In a mad scramble that started around the :30 mark of the fourth, the Warriors set up camp in the offensive zone. After three offensive rebounds and a steal, Klay Thompson fed Curry for a three to put Golden State ahead 105-104 with just 6 seconds left in regulation. The Suns answered back after an unguarded Eric Bledsoe drove to the hoop for the easy two points to hand Phoenix the one-point lead with just under 5 seconds left, setting up Barnes big moment.

Over 23 minutes, Barnes only collected four total points. Of course, Curry led the way offensively for the Warriors. The All-Star guard went 10-for-22 from the field, collecting a game-high 28 points to go with 8 boards and 5 assists. Thompson pitched in 16 points of his own. Bledsoe topped the Suns (38-38) with 18 points on 6 of 17 from the field.

Both teams shot around 46 percent on the night, with the Warriors winning the rebound battle 50-47. The Suns committed only 11 turnovers to Golden State’s 13 in an evenly-played contest.

The Warriors outscored Phoenix 55-44 in the first half, but were outpaced 62-52 over the second half to set up the tense final moments.

Next on the schedule for the Warriors is a tougher opponent than the .500 Suns. The Western Conference leaders will match-up with the 7th seed out West, the Dallas Mavericks. The two teams link up in a Saturday night showdown in the Lonestar State.

Warriors Match Single-Season Franchise Wins Mark

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

Stephen Curry continued his barnstorming campaign to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award Friday night, dropping 38 points on the Memphis Grizzlies to lead the Golden State Warriors to the 107-84 victory. The Western Conference leaders now have eighth-straight wins and have matched the franchise record for wins in a single season.

Curry went 12-for-22 from the field in 34 minutes of play, nailing 8 treys out of 12 attempted to push the Warriors passed the number two team in the conference handedly. The All-star guard also dished out 10 assists.

Klay Thomspon pitched in 28 points while Andrew Bogut matched Memphis’ Jeff Green with a game-high 8 rebounds. Green also topped the Grizzlies (50-21) with 16 points coming off the bench.

The Warriors (59-13) forced 19 Memphis turnovers while out-boarding one of the Association’s physical elite 43-40. Memphis did outshoot Golden State on its home court, shooting 44.7 percent to the Warriors’ 43.3.

The Warriors held a 7-point lead after the opening 12 minutes, putting up 31 points to Memphis’ 24. The Grizzlies cut into the Dubs lead with a 25-23 second quarter but a dominant third frame put Golden State up big. The Warriors scored 31 while limiting Memphis to 16 for an 85-65. The Dubs closed the game out with a 22-19 fourth for the 107-84 final score.

After the contest, the Warriors hopped on a flight for Milwaukee. They take on the Bucks in the second game of a back-to-back Saturday night, looking for win number nine in a row against a Bucks team hovering around the .500 mark.

Warriors Spoil Pelicans Playoff Push with 112-96 Triumph

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

Despite a poor shooting night from Stephen Curry, the Golden State handedly topped an Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans squad 112-96. Curry went just 4 of 17 from the field, finishing the night with just 16 points, but Harrison Barnes continued his run of torrid play to beat the playoff-hopeful Pelicans in front of the Oracle Arena crowd.

Barnes, getting the starting nod from coach Steve Kerr, finished the night with 9 made shots in 13 attempts for 22 points. He now has back-to-back 20-point games for the first time since his breakout 2013 playoff campaign .

The Pelicans saw 6 different players post double-digit scoring totals Friday headlined by Norris Cole’s 16 off the bench. Quincy Poindexter and Alexis Ajinca added 15.

Golden State hit half their shots, sinking 44 of 88 Friday while New Orleans to a 42.3 shooting percentage knocking down 33 of the 77 would-be baskets.

The Warriors built a slim 30-26 lead after the first quarter, but outscored the Pelicans 56-42 over the middle two frames for the 86-68 edge heading into the final 12 minutes. New Orleans (37-32), two games back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, outscored the Warriors 28-26 in the fourth. By then it was too late, as Golden State rolled to its 55th victory.

The Warriors (55-13) now sit just four games shy of matching a franchise record in wins. A win Saturday over the visiting Utah Jazz Saturday night could move them one step closer.

Warriors Improve to 3-0 Against Dallas This Season

By Matthew Harrington

The Golden State Warriors put a Texas-sized beatdown on the Dallas Mavericks Friday night, topping Dirk Nowitzki and company 104-89. Golden State (48-12) produced one of its best recent defensive performances to best the Mavs for a third-straight contest this season.

The Warriors, led by Andrew Bogut’s game-high 13 boards, out-rebounded the Mavs 51-34. Golden State’s defensive identity returned in spades at home Friday, with the Warriors holding the Dallas (40-24) to 36.8 percent shooting. Nowitzki, Rajon Rondo and Monte Ellis went a combined 13 for 45 from the field.
Stephen Curry again dropped a night’s-best 22 points on a 6-for-11 shooting night, including 5 of 8 on three-pointers while Draymond Green came a rebound shy of the double-double (18 pts, 9 rebounds). Reserve Shaun Livingston put up 10 points and pulled down 10 boards to accomplish the feat.
The Warriors took a 29-24 lead after the first quarter, then held Dallas to 16 points while adding 23 of their own for a 52-40 halftime edge. Golden State outscored the Mavericks 52-49 to close out the win.

The defensive showcase comes at a perfect time for the Warriors. They host the rival Los Angeles Clippers Sunday in a high-profile match-up.

Curry’s Health Not In Question After 32-Point Night Against Wizards

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

All it took was one game for Stephen Curry to alleviate Warriors fan’s concerns about a foot injury. After missing Golden State’s previous contest, the All-Star guard returned with authority Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards. On the road at the Verizon Center Curry collected a game-high 32 points over 33 minutes of play, leading the Warriors (44-10) to a 114-197 win over their Eastern Conference foe.

The dark horse candidate for Most Valuable Player hit 11 of 18 field goals, including 5 of 9 from three-point land to lead the Dubs. Curry also came a pair of assists shy of a double-double. Washington’s Marcin Gortat (16 points, 11 rebounds) and John Wall (16 points, 11 assists) each earned double-doubles, while Paul Pierce scored a team-high 25 points.

For the Warriors, David Lee pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds but Golden State lost the board battle 45-29. The Dubs hit exactly half the shots they took, connecting on 45 attempts, while the Wizards shot 53.2 percent from the field. The biggest difference came in turnovers, with the Warriors defense forcing 26 turnovers out of their opponent while coughing up the rock on a miscue just 9 times.

Washington scored the first nine consecutive points of the contest but Golden State outscored them 30-19 to close out the first half up 30-28. The Warriors wouldn’t trail for the rest of the first half, heading to the locker room up 54-51.

The Wizards scored 22 of the first 40 points of the second half to take their first 2nd half lead 73-72 with just over five minutes left in the third, but Golden State wound up back on top 86-83 heading into the final 12 minutes. From there, the Warriors outscored the Wizards 28-24 to hand Washington (33-24) its fourth straight loss.

Curry’s next test of the foot comes in a prime match-up against the league’s best super star. LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers host the Warriors Thursday night on national television, with the game being broadcast on TNT.

Warriors Stop Sixers Streak at 4

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

It wasn’t quite the romp one would expect, but the Golden State Warriors did prevail 89-84 against the 76ers in Philadelphia Monday night. Despite an off night from the Splash Brothers (if 33 combined points can be considered “off”), the Dubs ended the Sixers four-game win streak while handing the surefire lottery pick candidates a 41st loss on the season.
Former Sixers Andre Igoudala (13 points) and Marreese Speights (10) provided critical depth off the bench on a night when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson hit a combined 11 of 34 shots.

The Splash Brothers finished with only 4 three-pointers on 18 attempts, but Curry still managed a team-best 20 points. Thompson finished with 13. Leandro Barbosa provided the lift for the Warriors, with the reserve guard collecting 16 points in just under 20 minutes of work. The Sixers Robert Covington scored a game-best 21.

Philadelphia (12-41) led 24-20 after 12 minutes, but trailed by two 46-44 at the half. The Warriors opened up the final 24 minutes on an 8-2 run to build a lead they would all the way down to finish, leading by as much as ten points at one point.

The Warriors earned at least a .500 record during their four-game road trip with victories over the Sixers and Knicks. The capper would be a triumph over a struggling Minnesota Timberwolves squad Wednesday night to run the Warriors (41-9) record to 3-1 on the away set. The trip began with a 124-116 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Warriors Squeak Past Celtics Thanks to Thompson’s Encore

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

What would Klay Thompson do for an encore after dropping 37 points in a quarter Friday night? The All-star hopeful didn’t quite replicate the matching and drop 40 over 12 minutes, but he did produce a game-high 31 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 114-111 win over the Boston Celtics Sunday at Oracle Arena.

One game after setting the NBA points record in a quarter against the Sacramento Kings, Thompson hit 11 of 19 field goals (including three three-pointers) over 32 minutes to help the Dubs (36-6) extend their home winning streak to 19.
Thompson didn’t shoulder the burden alone. Fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry picked up his 15th double-double, scoring 22 while dishing out 11 assists. Andrew Bogut joined curry for a double double-double, scoring 13 while pulling down a game-best 13 rebounds.

The Celtics (15-27) rode a near double-double from Jared Sullinger to remain in contention against the NBA’s best. The former Ohio State Buckeye worked the Warriors defense for 26 points but came a rebound shy of double-digit totals. Guard Evan Turner produced an efficient shooting night, hitting 7 of 12 attempted shots from the floor for 19 points.

After taking a 3-2 lead, the Warriors never trailed in the first quarter, but couldn’t extend the lead more than seven points, ultimately settling for a 30-23 first quarter edge. The second quarter was more of the same with the tenacious Celtics hanging around to trail 56-49 at the half.

The Warriors appeared to be putting their potential draft lottery-pick bound opponents away, staking out as much as a twelve-point lead after an Andre Iguodala layup put the Warriors ahead 86-74, closing out the quarter ahead 89-77. The Celtics made the Warriors sweat it out though, scoring 34 fourth-quarter points to the Warriors 25, pulling one possession away from a chance to tie.

With a victory nearly stolen, the Warriors now face a tough test in the visiting Chicago Bulls. If the Warriors want to make it 20-straight at home, they’ll have to top the Central Division’s best Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.