Tag Archives: Curry

DubNation: Here Comes Revenge

I return this nightmare I will find you.

Sleepless, cloaked in despair, I’m behind you

Far too late for frail amends, now its time for Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge I’m Dreaming….I will end you

The snickers, the derisive tones, the 3-1 jokes will come to an end when these NBA Finals are over in a few weeks.

That is because the Golden State Warriors 2017 Seek and Destroy mission is only missing one thing……the decimation of Cleveland.

How does that happen and why I believe this thing will be over sooner rather than later ?

  1. Revenge Factor……these aren’t the Washington Generals that want a piece of LeBron and the Cavaliers. This is a team that has gone 207-39 over the last three years. And, despite what the talking heads want you to believe this team is driven by one sole purpose, BEATING CLEVELAND….PERIOD. The fire burns hot in the guts of these Warriors who were shocked, stunned and frankly embarrassed by their 2016 Finals meltdown. This entire season has built to this point. Don’t under-estimate the fire that burns below.
  2. Warriors are just better…….When healthy and at full strength (which they are) the Golden State Warriors are simply better than Cleveland. Their multi-faceted star-studded attack. Their trio of deadly three-point shooters and more importantly their ability to defend. The most-underrated aspect of the Dubs is their ability to defend as a team. Their help-side is some of the best in the league and Cleveland isn’t in their same league. WHEN Cleveland wants to, they can defend at an elite level in spurts. But, consistently you can get good to great shots against the Cavaliers. This will ultimately be their downfall.
  3. TRUST…..The only player I trust on Cleveland to play well in each and every game is LeBron James. To be fair the player the Warriors should most fear is Kyrie Irving. His clutch gene was on full display in the Cavaliers Finals comeback last season. Trust is one of the biggest reasons why the Warriors are so great. They trust each other. They believe in each other. They recommitted themselves to this organizational doctrine after last year’s Game 7 last 5-minute debacle when they went off script and quit trusting and quit sharing. I don’t see that this time around. The Warriors have learned from the ills of last year and the weaponry is different. Their ability to play off of one another and not solely focus on going for “theirs” is what separates this team from 2016. If I’m Cleveland do I trust Kevin Love to make big shots down six with three minutes to go ? I wouldn’t…..
  4. Lest we forget…….Something strange happened on the way to the Warriors blowing that 3-1 lead and Cleveland capturing “The Land” their first basketball title. We forgot how God-awful Kevin Love was the entire series. We also forgot how terrible Kyrie Irving played in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena to give the Dubs a 3-1 series lead. Watch the game. I have, he was dismal. Now, Irving responded with three amazing and clutch games over the final three, but the margin for error for this Cleveland team is much smaller than Golden State’s. Irving needs to be great ALL THE TIME. Love needs to be great ALL THE TIME. If they aren’t, this thing won’t be competitive.
  5. IT’S TIME…….If Kevin Durant wants to cement his greatness he will perform and excel in this series. It’s pretty damn simple. He left OKC because he didn’t want to play with a ball-hogging selfish stat accumulator in Russell Westbrook and he wanted to win in a free-flowing selfless brand and style of basketball. He has helped bring the Warriors to the precipice of a championship and it is his time to shine. No, not by scoring 40 points a game but by helping Steph lead this group with the same selfless style that had them win 67 regular season and 12 straight playoff games. It’s Durant’s time to shine. If he tries to do it by himself, then that is when trouble could creep in. He must remember why he came here and trust that the guys he is in the fox-hole with will help him bring it home.
  6. NO KLAY….NO RING…….As confident as I am that the Warriors are going to win this thing, the only thing that would bring me trepidation is if the Warriors don’t feed Klay Thompson and try to get him going. You notice that I don’t think the Warriors MUST get Klay going, but they need to make the effort like they did in the San Antonio series. I saw Curry, Draymond and Durant all pass up numerous open shots and opportunities to try and get Klay going. He never did. That’s OK. I believe if the Warriors get Klay on track then it opens EVERYTHING up for the squad and it will be “all she wrote.”  Klay needs to find his shot. If its not there, then take the ball aggressively to the hole, back-cut get a lay-up, get to the line. He is too good a player to not be a threat. The Warriors know this.
  7. I LOVE CURRY……..Yes, I love yellow curry, green curry, and red curry. I also love that Steph Curry is being discounted in these Finals. The story-lines are all about LeBron chasing Michael and Durant’s legacy. I think Steph needs a great Finals to cement his. Cleveland is going to attack him at every turn, running him off of screens and making him work for all his looks. The problem for the Cavaliers is they will not be seeing the hampered Steph of 2016 or the deferring and dis-engaged Steph of December and January. This current Steph is engaged, in-sync, and playing spry and ruthlessly. I think Cleveland will have a very difficult time defending him with the Warriors dizzying ball movement. LeBron may need this, as does KD, but Steph needs this as well.

 

NBA FINALS: Warriors as national villains ??

 

Not only has the NBA Finals not gone according to plan but something almost unthinkable has also transpired. LeBron James and his merry band of complementary pieces have turned into sympathetic figures on the national stage. Think about that, LeBron James as a sympathetic, “woe is me” figure.

I am seeing story after story painting the Cavaliers has this little train that could and building up the story-line of this upstart little Cleveland team taking on the big, bad Warriors. What kind of alternate universe am I living in ? When the did the Warriors and their run-and-gun style turn into what’s wrong with basketball ?

The LeBron love is at an all-time high. The gushing in a lot of circles is over the top. I can also understand it. He is doing something that has never been done before. He is leading a band of role players toward a possible NBA Championship. He is inspiring ordinary and mediocre players to play spectacularly. He has them believing they are better than they really are. It is quite the story.

With that said, the Dubs have suddenly turned into the villains. The nation wants to see LeBron lead his band to an improbable title. Everyone wants to see it except for us long-suffering Bay Area basketball fans. The vitriol and even the hate towards the Warriors is quite alarming. I haven’t seen so many national media members and fans of the game denigrate the Warriors like this……EVER.

I hope the national media is lamenting this Warriors title. I hope when the Warriors win this championship there is frustration, angst and anxiety among national fan bases. I don’t care what they think or how they feel. This is our team. This is our quest. We are told to recognize LeBron’s greatness. I say recognize us, the DubNation.

Cleveland has had their fun. Reality sets in tonight.

Warriors in 6

NBA FINALS PREVIEW: Mental Toughness will win Championship

It’s hard to define mental toughness, but as sports fans, we know it when we see it. It’s that undying will of not being denied. Even though sometimes you are denied it is the unfailing desire to not only compete but win. The basketball team that shows the greatest amount of mental toughness will be the team that wins the 2015 NBA Championship.

The reason I believe mental toughness will be the key is that the only way the Cleveland Cavaliers can win this series is to muck it up and make it ugly. They know they can’t run with Golden State. But if they make the game a plodding half-court physical affair, they will be in the driver’s seat.

Everyone under the sun is asking the question, “how do the Warriors stop LeBron James?” My answer is they don’t. LeBron will do what he does and that is at times dominate the game the way the only the greatest of the great can do. He will not only dazzle with his ability to score, but his uncanny ability to get his mates involved and have them play at levels they didn’t even know they had.  It’s what makes him spectacular and special. The Warriors will not stop James. They will try Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala on him and it won’t work. The best they can hope for is he doesn’t get these vital players for the Dubs into too much foul trouble.

The given is that the Warriors can’t stop LeBron, but they must be able to stop JR Smith and Iman Shumpert. These two New York Knickerbocker cast-offs have been born-again in Cleveland. When LeBron’s creativity is on full display these are the two most likely candidates to deliver daggers. The Warriors team defense has been superb this year and their ability to defend and rotate off of doubles has been flawless at times. It will need to be special again with Smith and Shumpert playing at such a high level.

The Cavaliers cause a match-up issue with the emergence of Tristan Thompson. His Rodman-esque post-season has punctuated a great season for this free-agent to be. Thompson has no offensive game, but his relentless rebounding abilities makes this difficult for the Warriors to contend with in the half-court.

Matthew Dellavedova has been a revelation. His toughness brings an edge to the Cavaliers that has served them well. Can his toughness overcome his short-comings when facing superior athletes. So far it has, the question is whether the St. Mary’s product can shade and handle Steph Curry. I just don’t see it.

The Cavaliers are truly a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Many are pointing to their 12-2 run through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Some are dis-counting that run because of the perceived weakness in the East. Well, let me break something to you, it’s not a perception. The East is very weak. I don’t put much credence into their playoff trek.

When looking at the Warriors its pretty darn simple. They are the most offensive and defensive efficient team in the league. National media point out the Splash Brothers and their high-flying style. But, those of us that watched this team all year knows they can win a grind it out 85-80 game just as well as a 126-121 game. The Warriors play small, but they can play big. They play fast, but they can play slow. Their defense is always over-looked. They have tremendous individual and team defenders in Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors are not only athletic but they are long. This length I believe will be a huge factor in the series. Instead of a 6’2 guard challenging Smith’s perimeter jumpers, you will have a 6’7 Livingston or Iguodala. This will be a factor in the series.

Steve Kerr will need to be on his “A” game  if the Warriors are to win this series. He will need to make adjustments. When to double and not double LeBron James is one of them. How to match-up the small line-up with Timofey Mozgov and Thompson is another. I see the Warriors having to counter the two Cavaliers bigs. Decisions here could very well determine the series.

As much as the Warriors don’t have any answers for LeBron, Cleveland has a major challenge in defending Steph Curry, or shall I say hiding Kyrie Irving. The Cavs could put Iman Shumpert on Curry and see if Irving can defend Klay Thompson, but that could be fatal. They could “see” if Irving can defend Curry, but I don’t think that will go well at all. They could see if JR Smith could defend Thompson in the Shumpert on Steph scenario but then you have Irving on Barnes. No answers for Cleveland. However you slice it, the talented but injured and defensively challenged Irving has to try to stop someone. I can see the Warriors feeding where-ever this mis-match is. Also, the Cavaliers will have to double Curry, when they double can their rotations be good enough to prevent the wide open looks the Warriors will get ? Can the Dubs knock them down ? While the Warriors dilemma is focused on LeBron, the Cavaliers have a multi-faceted defensive problem when trying to handle the Warriors. And, with the Warriors depth I believe the challenge will be too great, even with the magnificent LeBron James.

Back to mental toughness. There will come times in this series when the Warriors will have to dig down deep and stay composed. This is the biggest wildcard in the series. James is going to have his guys jump on his back because this isn’t his first rodeo. How will the Warriors respond to the first hard foul or the first shot at Curry or Thompson. This is the Finals. There will be no lay-ups without a challenge. The Warriors must not lose their heads. Yes, I am speaking to you Draymond Green. Green must keep his wits about him and stay on the floor. I fully expect the Cavaliers to take some cheapies on the Warriors when that running game gets going. The Warriors can not take a swing or respond in kind. They need to stay what I like to call, “aggressively composed.” Aggressive in mind-set but composed in performance. That is mental toughness. The Bad Boy Pistons of the 90’s relied on teams losing their wits when the game got physical. The Warriors have really yet to face a team that went after them and tried to beat them up. How they handle that will determine the series winner.

Cavalier fans have waited a lifetime. Warriors fans have waited 40 years. The time is here. The 2015 NBA FINALS.

MY PREDICTION: The Warriors have gone 79-19 this year when you include the regular season and post-season. They have gone an amazing 46-3 at home and an NBA best 33-15 on the road. I have watched them play all year-long. I just can’t see a team beating them 4-out-7. If LeBron can lead his team to a title this year against this Warriors team I think it will be his greatest professional achievement.

WARRIORS IN 6

 

 

Up 2-0 Warriors have reason for concern….

 

Usually fans and media types will tell you how great-a-shape teams are in when they are up two games to-nothing in a series. Not me.

With the Golden State Warriors thrilling, heart-stopping 99-98 Game 2 win over the Houston Rockets they are two wins away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 1975. But, if the Warriors are going to advance to the biggest of stages they have several facets in their game that need to be tightened up.

First, figure out how to get Klay Thompson more involved offensively. To be fair Thompson is having to expend so much energy in guarding James Harden, one can argue he hardly has enough gas in the tank to perform up to his standards on the offensive end. But, the Warriors need Thompson to be a threat and the Rockets, as porous as they have been defensively, are doing a great job in taking Klay out of the mix. Certainly you don’t want Klay forcing the issue, but the Warriors will need his contributions when they head to Texas. They don’t need a 30 point explosion but they need his offensive presence. When Klay is cooking it really opens things up for Steph Curry and his other partners in crime Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes.

The Warriors need to take care of the ball. I read a twitter comment that read, “the Dubs need to stop it with the swag passes.” I couldn’t have said it better. The Warriors found themselves too many times in Game 2 jumping in the air with nowhere to go and trying to make the impossible pass. Carelessness with the ball has been a problem all year for the Warriors. When it rears its ugly head in the Conference Finals it can cost you games. The Warriors built up a 49-32 lead in the 2nd quarter of Game 2, the lead should have been 25-to-30. Houston’s defense in the 18 minutes of the game bordered on pathetic, but the Warriors reticence to value the ball cost them when they were building that big lead and it could have cost them the game.

When the series shifts to Houston the Rockets will find a comfort zone at home. I fully expect the whistles to go their way as well. As good as the Warriors defense is, the Rockets will become more aggressive, especially with James Harden’s dribble attacks. He hasn’t taken a ton of free throws in this series and he will be bound and determined to change that in Game 3. If the Warriors attack him defensively too aggressively they will make it easy for the officiating crew to put Harden at the stripe. The Warriors will have to live with Harden going off in this series. The key will be in containing Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones and Josh Smith. Ariza and Smith combined for 37 points in Game 1 but only 17 in Game 2. Ariza struggled Thursday in Oakland scoring only 7 points while Smith scored 10 on 6-of-18 shooting. Contain the complementary pieces and the Warriors give themselves a great chance to win in Houston. Easy to say, not easy to do as Houston has to feel pretty good in losing the first two games of this series by a total of five points.

Move the ball. The Warriors need to rely on what has led them to 77 wins in the regular and post-season this year, ball movement. The Warriors are at their best when the ball is a blur and everyone gets a touch. It is also their greatest strength. While Houston is doing a pretty good job at defending the high pick-and-roll with the switch, their back-side rotations are not very good. If the Warriors can run their sets to completion, they force the back side defenders to make decisions on dribble penetration. When the Warriors do that they have too many options for the Rockets to defend. And this, is when the Warriors slice your heart out. There hasn’t been enough patience on the offensive end. The Warriors need to make Houston play defense. The longer the play takes to develop, the better for Golden State.

While the “experts” will tell you the Warriors have a 94 percent chance of winning this series, it doesn’t feel that way to me. Houston has played a lot better than I expected and I think this is going to be a long, tough series. The Warriors have their hands full with Harden. Howard is a force, but still incredibly unlikable. Ariza and Josh Smith along with Jason Terry and Corey Brewer can get real hot and with their length can cause defensive problems for the Warriors, if they don’t show patience. The Warriors had the best road record in the league, they will need to call on that road toughness heading to Houston for Game 3.

 

Talent not translating to wins for Dubs

Frustration is running deep with Warrior fans as dreams of a deep playoff run have been tempered by some less than stellar play at the Oracle.

Curry     When the Warriors returned from their nasty seven-city road trip, where they went 6-1, everything was going in their favor. The club was surging, and their Pacific Division rival Los Angeles Clippers were expected to suffer some slippage after losing Chris Paul to a shoulder injury. But, the Oracle has been anything but home-sweet-home. With losses at home to Denver, Minnesota, Denver, and Charlotte, fans are wondering what’s happened to this team.

As Paul went down, the Clippers seemed to find themselves. At one point winning 9-of-12 and playing very good basketball. The Warriors should have taken a cue.

First, it’s pretty obvious Golden State didn’t handle their good fortune well. The proverbial foot-off-the-pedal analogy works here. Just because you return home doesn’t mean the fight needs to stop. Clearly Mark Jackson was not happy with his team’s sub-par defensive play. It has become routine for Jackson to lament his team’s apathetic and uninspired defensive efforts. It’s getting old.  The Warriors have looked lost at home. Teams have come to Oakland and have pushed the Warriors around. It hasn’t just been the Association’s rough and tumble clubs, even the run-and-gun teams have come to Oracle and rattled the Dubs cage. Key players have also disappeared at the oddest of times.

While the losses mount, the Warriors troubles lie in their vast largesse of riches. Their starting five is the greatest strength and sometimes the biggest weakness of this team. As great as Klay Thompson is, (18.3 ppg; 3 reb) he has penchant for disappearing on the offensive end. His reluctance to attack the rim allows to defenders to body and ride him making it tough to get shots off against teams that make him their focus. Andre Iguodala is an absolute stud, but I don’t believe he is utilized well in the Warrior offense. He averages a mere 9.6 points-per-game. Sometimes the Splash Brothers forget about the weapon that Iggy is. A more balanced attack that utilizes Iguodala more would open things up for Steph Curry and Thompson. There seems to be a reluctance to move in this direction.

Many of the Warriors woes can be squarely put at the feet of the Warrior bench. The lack of depth was a concern at the beginning of the season and is still worrisome, even with the addition of Jordan Crawford. Draymond Green has been magnificent and has not only found his niche on this team but he will have a long and successful career as a garbage pail type of player. Harrison Barnes has super stardom written all over him, but his inconsistency has been costly. Fans will simply have to deal with his sophomore struggles. Patience will serve Warrior fans well when it comes to Barnes, eventually it will pay off.

As we venture toward the All-Star Break the Warriors need to decide who they are. Are they an electrifying offensive group that is content to try to win playing Nellie-ball, or is this the group Head Coach Mark Jackson thinks he has, a defensive minded strong-willed group that will flip the switch as they approach the quarter pole.

Whatever they are, we are waiting for them to decide.