Come At The King: Warriors v Cavaliers 2015 NBA Finals Preview

I’ll confess off the top that this Warriors-Cavaliers series would be extraordinarily difficult for me to forecast even in normal circumstances, but the injury situations of Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving have made it virtually impossible.    

“A man must have a code.”

— Bunk

The Injury Report: The Warriors are blithely assuring us that Klay Thompson will be back to normal and playing by Game 1, just as his agent blithely assured us that Klay didn’t have a concussion at all. (I assume these statements are not attempts to game the NBA protocols, because with the long-term health of their player at stake, that would be morally reprehensible. Right?)

They’re full of crap. Neither the Warriors nor Bill Duffy, Klay’s morally compromised agent, nor Klay himself have any idea whether Klay will be ready to go in Game 1. None. Zero. Nada.

Just as the Warriors had literally no idea whether or not Curry or Klay had concussions when they let them leave the locker room to return to the floor. It frequently takes some time for concussion symptoms to manifest themselves, as Klay’s situation demonstrated to the casual fan. (But surely the professionals who “evaluated” the players already knew that, right? And communicated that clearly to the grown-ups present in the locker room with them, right? Or perhaps Warriors management and staff have just shown themselves to be willing to sacrifice the long-term health of a player, any player, in order to line their own pockets. Or keep their jobs.)

No one has any idea whether Klay will be ready, because it simply cannot be known. The recent cases of Justin Morneau and Brandon Belt have shown that concussion symptoms can linger for weeks, months or even a year or more. Both of those players had periods of feeling better, and of getting cleared to play, only to later suffer setbacks, and again sit out. And those guys are baseball players. Not basketball players, who have to jump up and down on hardwood. (Is that jarring at all?) I hate to say it, but it wouldn’t shock me if Klay were to miss the entire Finals. It also wouldn’t shock me if he returned to play, but then suffered a relapse of symptoms that forced him to sit out again. Nor would it shock me if he were entirely fine by Game 1, and ready to go seven with no after-effects at all. Nobody knows. Nobody.

So how to forecast this series? Stephen Curry has hardly been blitzed at all this postseason, but I’m virtually certain that he’s about to get the crap blitzed out of him by the extremely mobile Cavs. If Klay is out, or rusty and diminished? The Cavs’ blitz will be completely unpunishable. They can live with whatever Dray, Barnes and who… Holiday? Barbosa? Livingston? give them.

The Kyrie Irving situation is equally unpredictable. The Cavs have been calling his knee injury “tendonitis”, but I think they’re just as full of crap as the Warriors. Irving got almost the same amount of time to rest his knee before the Hawks series as he’s getting now, and yet by Game 3 of that series he was unable to go. If this is tendonitis, I’ve got a Warriors season ticket to sell you. I’ll lay… mmm… 2-1 that Irving has off-season surgery.

So what does Irving’s situation mean for the Cavs? I’m not as sure about this as I am about Klay’s. When completely healthy, Irving’s All-World offensive abilities completely outweigh his well-known defensive deficiencies. His supreme three point shooting  (41% regular season; 48% on one leg this post-season) perfectly complements LeBron’s supreme point-forward skills. His ball-handling and ability to penetrate the defense for either layups or kick-outs can give LeBron a much-needed breather.

Does he still help the Cavs when playing on one leg? That’s a difficult question. He’s still obviously valuable as a spot-up shooter, but whether or not that outweighs his incapacity for defense will probably depend mightily on Harrison Barnes. Yes, Barnes. More on that later.

The Cavs without Irving altogether? That’s easier to analyze than Irving on one leg. Judging from this post-season the Cavs are still a superb team playing entirely without Irving. Mathew Dellavadova, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith all pick up more minutes, and the three point shooting suffers only marginally (Delly 41% reg. season, 36% playoffs; Shump  34% reg. season, 37% playoffs; JR  38% reg. season, 40% playoffs). The defense goes from good to superb. The biggest downsides are in the predictability of the Cav’s offense (only LeBron can really initiate), the shortness of the Cav’s rotation, and in particular the huge demands placed on LeBron’s stamina. He wore down badly against the Hawks.

So assuming all of my injury assumptions are correct, how do you predict this series? I think anyone who believes they know what the outcome will be, is — like the Warriors management, their “doctors”, and their player agents — simply full of it.

I’m sorry to start out on such a downer. I am genuinely excited to see Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and the Warriors in the Finals, and particularly against The King and his latest Posse, in what could very well turn into one of the great Finals matchups of all-time. I just have to lead with the truth, when the powers that be are currently leading with falsehood. That’s been my m.o. here, something I can’t help, one of things that impelled me to start this blog.

So on to the series. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but for the sake of more comprehensible analysis, as well as for the sake of my own heartfelt desire, I’m just going to assume that Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving will be perfectly healthy throughout, and go from there. (Hey, I’m full of crap too!) Here are a few things I think we might see in the Finals:

“Game’s the same, just got more fierce.”

— Slim Charles

Guarding LeBron: Ahahahaaaa! Haha! Let me just lead with that.

The Warriors have a natural defender for LeBron in Draymond Green, someone who can’t guard him at all, of course, but can’t guard him better than anyone else in the league can’t guard him, except possibly Kawhi Leonard.

The problem the Warriors have is that they can’t get Draymond on LeBron. At least I don’t think they can. The Cavs start LeBron at SF, with the 6-9″ 240 Tristan Thompson at PF. Thompson is a beast on the boards, a player who admires and styles himself after Dennis Rodman, and is averaging 10 rbs/gm in the playoffs, and 12 in the last five games. Harrison Barnes is averaging 5 rbs in the post-season, slightly less in the last five games. My point being that I don’t think the Warriors could crossmatch these positions even if they wanted to.

But what about when the Cavs go “small”, with Thompson at center and LeBron at four? Again, I don’t think there’s any way the Warriors could crossmatch Dray and Barnes in this spot. I’m not even sure the Warriors could get away with playing Barnes at all against those two, without having either Bogut or Ezeli behind him.

Mo Speights is apparently ready to play again after sitting out the Houston series with a calf injury. But even if he weren’t now rusty and poorly conditioned, I think this might be a poor matchup for Mo. He can’t bully either Thompson or LeBron, and they have him badly out-quicked in what promises to be an up and down series. The last time these two teams matched up, Mo got 7 minutes. My gut tells me he’ll average less in this series.

David Lee got 21 minutes in that last game, and put up 19 points on 8-11 shooting, but we won’t see that again. That was during Kerr’s experimental regular season phase. It’s clear from these playoffs that Kerr would rather suck lemons than play Lee. It would mean changing his system and trying to win with offense, and he’s not prepared to do that.

My gut tells me that Kerr is going to try to ride Festus Ezeli when Bogut is done giving his 18-21 minutes. Other than Dray, Ezeli is likely to be the Warriors’ best defensive center against the combination of power and speed that the undersized Thompson and the oversized LeBron present. Kerr prizes defense above all on his second unit, and given that fact, and the nice Houston series Ezeli is coming off of, I believe Festus will be his man. And the best way to get Dray matched up against LeBron.

But can Festus really run the floor with the Cavs’ small unit? That remains to be seen.

And can Dray really slow LeBron? In the last game, LeBron backed him down with apparent ease, and went 3-3 with Dray guarding him. So that remains to be seen as well.

“I’ll do what I can to help y’all. But the game’s out there, and it’s play or get played.”

— Omar

The Harden Defense:  If the Warriors can’t get Dray on LeBron when playing against the Cavs big unit, then who will guard him? Nominally, it will be Barnes and then Iggy. The problem with this is that neither has a prayer against LeBron on his own. Barnes has more size, and some athleticism, but doesn’t have… IT. LeBron went through him like a knife through sauteed butter in their only matchup this season.

And Iggy wasn’t any better. Iggy never could guard LeBron, even in his prime. Back then it was an issue of LeBron’s size, combined with equal athleticism. But the Iggy of 2015 has lost a step. I was dismayed in the last game to see that Iggy couldn’t even keep LeBron in front of him on the perimeter. Iggy can’t do to LeBron what he did to James Harden in Game 7.

Clearly, the Warriors are going to have to reach into Ron Adams’ box of tricks one more time for a defensive gameplan.

The Warriors played a box and one zone against Harden in the last series, essentially trying to force him to shoot outside against the length of Harrison Barnes, by threatening to trap his drives. And come to think of it, isn’t that exactly what the great Gregg Popovich did to LeBron in last years’ finals? A box and one, with Kawhi up top? The difference was that instead of pressing up on the slow-footed Harden, as Barnes did, Kawhi sagged all the way off LeBron, and literally dared him to shoot every time down. A brilliant strategy against one of the great facilitators in NBA history.

And the strategy we can expect the Warriors to deploy. Particularly since LeBron is currently struggling badly with his outside shot. 12 for 68 from three in this post-season, I believe. Yowza. As he did against the Grizzlies and the Rockets, Ron Adams will borrow from the master to try to slow LeBron.

But will it work? Unlike James Harden, LeBron can literally blow by his initial defender. Unlike Harden, LeBron has the power to bust through double teams like Jim Brown busting through an offensive line. Unlike Harden, LeBron will not only draw the foul, but he’ll finish the shot.

And unlike Harden, LeBron has some truly great three point shooters around him, to find on the drive and kick: Kyrie and JR are lights out, better than anyone on the Rockets. Shump and Delly are just as good as anyone on the Rockets. Not to mention James Jones, the graybeard three point specialist who has been seeing some time off the bench.

And what of Mike Miller, who is riding the pine? Could he be dusted off for this series? Hmmm.

The Kyrie Effect: In any game that Kyrie plays close to healthy, the Warriors will be facing two players who require two defenders each to guard. That was the World Champion Heat’s winning recipe, and it will stretch the Warriors defense to the absolute limit.

This is the first series the Warriors have played in which their defense has the potential to get ripped to shreds.

The Battle for the Boards: If the Warriors have an Achilles heel this season, it is rebounding. They were 15th in the league in rebound rate, at 48.8%. None of the teams they’ve faced so far in the post-season have been able to exploit that. But what about the Cavs? Can they exploit it?

I think they might. The Cavs outrebounded the gigantic Bulls by 261 to 245. They absolutely crushed the Hawks on the boards, 208 to 157. Mozgov will be a handful for Bogut. Tristan Thompson is a superb offensive rebounder, who has at least three inches on Draymond. And LeBron, of course, dwarfs both Barnes and Iggy.

What happens if the Cavs win the battle for the boards? Well, it will be the Cavs beating Bogut down the floor, instead of the Warriors beating Mozgov. It will be the Cavs getting early transition looks at threes, instead of Curry and Klay.

I’m particularly worried about the Cavs getting on the offensive boards. There is no better way to slow a great fast break team than by crashing the offensive glass. I learned this by watching the great Bird Celtics beat the Showtime Lakers, when victory seemed impossible.

This is one series that could be decided by rebounding

And if things start going south, I predict that Kirk Lacob will approach Steve Kerr mid-series with a printout ranking Warriors players by rebound per minute, and offer some suggestions.

“Omar comin’!”

— Anonymous

The Stephen Curry Problem: OK, enough depressing stuff about how tough the Cavs are going to be to defend in this series. We all know that the Cavs face a tough defensive problem of their own. Guarding the 2015 MVP, one of the greatest offensive wizards to ever set foot on the hardwood. Can the Cavs guard him?

Not with Kyrie Irving, that much is clear. Particularly not with a one-legged Kyrie Irving. Curry will run him through so many screens he’ll wind up feeling like cutting his gimpy leg off at the thigh. And that would, of course, take away one of the Cavs’ own great offensive weapons.

I don’t think the Cavs will want to guard Curry with Kyrie. Not for long anyway. And fortunately for them, they have several good alternatives: JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to start. Particularly Shump, who is a superb defender. But JR is extremely underrated defensively himself. And the Cavs might also turn to Matthew Dellavodova, who as we’ll all seen, loves to throw his body around in reckless fashion, and is a pretty good defender. Although with Delly, I think a Curry blitz would be an absolute requirement.

So far in these playoffs, Curry has had it extremely easy. He’s been guarded by length, but not quickness (injured Quincy Pondexter, Tyreke Evans, injured Tony Allen); he’s been guarded by quickness, but not length (injured Conley); and he’s been guarded by neither (decrepit Jason Terry).

He’s also very rarely been pressed or blitzed. His opponents just didn’t have the personnel. Or the coaches.

That’s going to change now. The Cavs can get both length and quickness on Curry, and with LeBron and Thompson on the front line, I think they have the overall team defense to blitz the crap out of him. This team can blitz like LeBron’s Heat teams, recover to the shooters, and always have a rim protector near the paint.

What happens if the Cavs just decide to take Curry off the board? Can the Warriors beat an all-out Cavs blitz?

Klay Thompson: That’s going to depend heavily on Klay, of course. And for the third series in a row, he’s going to draw a great defender for much of the game, either Smith or Shumpert.

I’ve been disappointed in Klay’s post-season so far. He has both struggled with his shot, and struggled getting to the line. The Warriors haven’t needed great scoring games from him yet. But I strongly suspect they’ll need them badly in this series. Klay has got to get to the line, especially if his shot’s not falling.

“My name is my name.”

— Marlo

Playoff Barnes: It’s almost a shame that this series is following right on the heels of what was possibly the best game of HB’s career. One feels he should get to bask in the glow a little bit longer before matching up with LeBron.

There might be some good news, though. In the last game, the Cavs matched up conventionally to start the game, and LeBron completely ignored Barnes to concentrate on giving help. That led to numerous wide-open Barnes threes, three of which he converted.

And if the Cavs try to hide Kyrie Irving or James Jones on Barnes, which I think they will, Barnes could have a field day.

Can Playoff Barnes break the Cavs’ blitz? This is the biggest test of his young career. And perhaps the best opportunity he’ll ever get to make his name in the league. His real name, not his brand name.

“Is this money? Mothafucka, money be green!”

— D’Angelo

The Draymond Green Factor: Smart fans know that the Warriors had two MVPs this season. Stephen Curry was the fans’ MVP. Draymond Green was the undercover MVP.

His elevation into the starting lineup was the single biggest reason why the Warriors exploded from 51 wins to 67.  His defense, his rebounding, his toughness, his energy, his ability to stretch the floor, to lead the fast break, to pass out of the high and low post, to coach on the floor and light a fire under his teammates, to do literally everything his team needed, transformed this Warriors team into a legitimate contender.

In the last series he dominated not only Josh Smith but Dwight Howard in the paint. Can he carry it over against the bigger and far, far badder Cavs front line? Against a Tristan Thompson who is coming into his own? Against The King himself?

Can he do it while helping to break the Curry blitz with his offense?

Money Green’s performance is a major key to this series. Quite possibly THE key.

“I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It’s all in the game though, right?”

— Omar

Coaching: The Warriors have had a huge edge so far in these playoffs in the coaching department. Will that edge carry over to this series?

I don’t know, I think LeBron knows what he’s doing.

“Look the part, be the part.”

— Prop Joe

The Final Adjustment: I’m sure you can already tell that I’m nervous about this series. But what has me truly terrified is the thought of the final adjustment that awaits Stephen Curry, when the chips are down.

Being guarded by LeBron.

Do you remember, as I do, the last time LeBron faced an MVP point guard in a playoff series? It was Derrick Rose in his prime, and LeBron took on the challenge of guarding him in the fourth quarter of the close-out game.

And destroyed him.

What happens if the Cavs guard Curry with LeBron at the end of close games? For entire fourth quarters? Well, I know that Stephen Curry is not Derrick Rose. He has many more weapons than just a right-hand drive. He’s got the handle, the step-back, the unlimited range. He’s got the court vision, and the passing ability. But I’m still worried.

We’ve seen Curry guarded by Kawhi Leonard this season. And the result was not pretty. And we’ve also seen, for 8 minutes of one quarter, Curry being guarded by Kevin Durant. That also wasn’t pretty: Curry went 0-4 with 3 TOs, and the Thunder took control of the game by turning a 5 point deficit into a 9 point lead. The fact of the matter is that Stephen Curry has in the past proven extremely vulnerable against great defenders with great length and great athleticism.

Gulp.

Stephen Curry has had a season for the ages. He has demonstrated offensive gifts the likes of which have never before been seen in the NBA. But now he’s coming face to face with the player who just might be the best in NBA history. And if Curry is to prevail, there is going to be a moment of truth when he has to beat that player mano a mano, MVP to MVP.

The Baby-Faced Assassin is coming for The King.

And as Omar would tell him:

Come at The King, you best not miss.

313 Responses to Come At The King: Warriors v Cavaliers 2015 NBA Finals Preview

  1. No way Warriors win the series without a healthy Klay.

    Was the Cavs winning % after the acquisition of Mosgov, Smith, and Shumpert better than the Warriors season %? I’ll look that up later.

    • Warriors 82% for the regular season and the Cavs 75.5% during the regular season after the aquisitions.

    • the calculus won’t be straightforward if both irving and thompson are playing at reduced capacities. seems pretty likely that they’ll both have ups and downs, game to game. might be simplistic, but the pundits will like having the matter reduced to the performances of the respective best players. whether it’s irving or someone else who’s the second most important player for Cle, GS would seem to have the advantage there with d’mond. and none of us should be surprised if he rises to the occasion and becomes the difference maker.

      • SonnyParker

        moto,

        I was surprised and a bit alarmed when I learned that you admitted openly that you were rooting against the Warriors’ success this post season. I understand that you have a have an extreme loathing for Lacob and the “Lacobites”–and that you were worried that any W’s success would “encourage” them to continue their destruction of Western civilization (only a slight exaggeration!). But I was confused to read later on that you claimed to be a “non-partisan.” In fact, your admission in this regard positions you as a rather strong anti-Warriors partisan. Wouldn’t you say?

        • Professor Parker, it’s an honour to have your participation here, and for me personally to have merited your attention. will confess, as a subjective humanoid and a second rate (absolutely no social recognition, advanced degrees, or publications) intellectual, it’s impossible for me to be truly non partisan, unbiased, impartial. indifference might make it simpler, but it hasn’t quite overtaken my interest in the n.b.a.

          as for GS vs. Cle, pardon if this is a simplistic or inaccurate characterisation, but one of your academic subjects is the social impact of capitalism ? in that context, should there be a favorite between lacob vs. gilbert ? for me there is not. will simply attempt to learn something from the competition and outcome.

          some of the (self described) brightest minds on another hoops blog respond to my comments with their assessments of me subjectively. unlike some of them, it doesn’t sound like you are trying to belittle or provoke, and no offense taken. in my school days, could have benefitted from instructors like you or rgg, and can only remain open to learning in what time remains. bright moments.

          • SonnyParker

            Love your response moto! I was discouraged to find out that you were rooting against the W’s but that’s probably because I assumed that you were rooting for them–in spite of your dislike of Lacob. And I’ve always enjoyed your thought provoking posts.

            But fair enough, you needn’t be a W’s fan to participate in a W’s blog. For what it’s worth, I’m no fan of Lacob either. But I try my best to distance myself from the fact that he owns the team. Ditto for Cohan. But at times this blog makes that difficult as it seems like he’s both omnipresent and omniscient.

            And, please, no intent to belittle (where did you get that from?). And cut the “second rate” bit; higher education is certainly not an accurate barometer of intelligence.

            And please call me Sonny! You were the only one who remembered Jabari’s father (and my favorite player) when I last posted about L’Affaire d’Iguodala last November!

            Go #22!

  2. Having started Season 1 of The Wire last night (little late to the game), I appreciate your analysis even more than usual. But I think we can win without Klay, even if the chances drastically lessen. Any number of Warriors from the bench, or combinations anyway could replace his output so far in these playoffs. That being said if regular season Klay happened to show up, I think we are a vastly better team and would slice through these Cavs ‘like room-temp butter.’ Thanks for the post!

    • if you followed the events in Baltimore this spring, the Wire is the best available history lesson on that city’s recent past and economic disintegration, very specifically about the ‘west side’ where the demonstrations took place.

      the dialog which our guvnor has used for his book of quotes is so truthful because the characters are so acutely drawn. the cast is filled with fine actors and their performances in many instances will be the most fulfilling and truest for their careers.

      • I guess you guys love “the wire” – as a counterpoint here’s a link to some of ishmael reed’s crit of the show as slumming, incorrectly locating the center of drug distribution and use in the ghetto, and a white writer making money off black pathology: http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/03/15/faking-the-hood/

        • appreciate that you’ve provided this contrast. reed is a smart, perceptive guy and he makes some good points, but let us also keep in mind he’s an entertainer, which was part of d.simon’s venture, who also uses caricature and polemic. there’s a substantial part of simon’s work that doesn’t fit into reed’s outline, but going into them would spoil the story for T. to avoid that, will only describe very generally that the most venal, or lazy, or opportunistic characters come in all skin tones, and the most positive characters are black.

  3. Everything on the table, and thanks, Feltbot.

    Not playing to win with offense may be Kerr’s downfall. The Warriors will be playing away from their strength into the Cavs’ hands. If the game is close or they have to play catchup, it will be very hard. Lebron will almost always be able to get his points, which loosens up the other players with their shots. Then again, without Klay or with a diminished Klay, I don’t see how they do it.

    Do we know the Cav perimeter defense is that good? The games, especially the playoff games, don’t tell us much. But for size, Atlanta is the closest for comparison with the Warriors, yet they were injured and just weren’t shooting well.

    It will also be the most physical game, what with the human bowling ball and J. R. Smith’s hook. He also caught Bazemore sharply on the chin, though there wasn’t much flack:

    • SonnyParker

      rgg,

      I was away at a conference and will gladly respond in greater depth to your questions about my experience at Stanford in another post. As a quick note, one thing I enjoyed telling my students both there and at an even more prestigious university on the east coast is that, in spite of all the discussions about whether elite universities are diverse or not, there is one way in which they are extremely uniform: all of the students are very early achievers–rather absurdly so. I pointed out to them the obvious, but hardly remarked upon point, that not all children have their stuff together as twelve year olds–nor have the family resources to support that. I certainly was not. I also warned them that many of those non-early achievers will peak and gain momentum at a later age. And that they will be waiting for those that peaked early…

      • Since we digress here and are sitting on our hands for the next few days, I’d love to hear it. Am curious about your field, if you can reveal.

        I’m concerned. There was a piece in the NY Times recently about increasing anxiety reactions in students, and I’m seeing it. It’s a quick assessment, but I put one cause on the push for standards, which usually translates into grades and scores on standardized tests, both artificial measures. I see a handful of students every year who are quite bright and have graded well but who are shutting down. They literally can’t get their papers in. Where they most struggle is when I put them in a position to make a decision and pursue it. They just haven’t had experience or support here.

        I would also argue that privileged students are in a sense deprived—I also taught at Santa Clara U a dozen years which has some reputation (and UC Santa Cruz briefly and Hayward State, still others). They are emotionally incomplete, not challenged by the conflicts many community students face growing up—and overcome. Nor have they been exposed to the world they are supposed to lead. The CC students have been.

        I’ve been a bottom feeder my entire career, though I make this distinction, that I think water is clearer down there.

        • SonnyParker

          I, too, always preferred encountering those few students who had dealt with serious life problems. This was a rarity in the upper reaches of elite undergraduate education. At CC’s and commuter schools these students are far more common. As you might have gathered reading my “early bloomer” anecdote above, I was happy to tweak the “elite” students’ sense of self-satisfaction and assumptions of inherent superiority. (Note that there were a whole bunch of decent and well meaning kids among them as well.)

          At both universities I taught broadly across the humanities and social science disciplines. I also taught an intensive year-long seminar/tutorial for three years that traced the intellectual history of takes on capitalism beginning in the 18th century.

  4. And congrats to Gentry for landing the NO job. The Warrior/NO games will be quite interesting next season. Questions have been raised here about how much influence Gentry has had on the offense. But you know Kerr and he are close. Gentry wasn’t that hotly pursued last season. Being on a winning team sure boosted his stock.

  5. SonnyParker

    It’s unclear where you come down on who will win the series but I most certainly would not say that Harden is “slow-footed” by any stretch of the imagination.

    • one of the most glorious non-sequiturs I have ever read, and from a Stanford man!

      • SonnyParker

        Felt,

        I’m not a Stanford man–I just taught there (very different). I think that all of us can easily be deceived into thinking a certain way about a player based on his demeanor or other factors that we take in consciously or sub-consciously. Even basketball players who are scouted intensively with millions invested into assessing each player’s relative strengths as weaknesses are misunderstood.

        Here’s the combine results for Harden:

        “No projected lottery player was more surprising at the combine than James Harden. Many scouting reports on Harden say that he’s not athletic, but his results say otherwise. First, he recorded a 37” vertical and reached the same maximum height (11’8.5”) as Blake Griffin. Second, he ran a 3.13 sprint, which was only one hundredth behind speedster Ty Lawson, and repped 17 on the bench press. It’s been reported that the Thunder are considering him at #3. With no more reservations about his athleticism, is this enough for Harden to leapfrog Rubio?”

        • SonnyParker

          I expect many readers will find the rest of this analysis from the post-combine to be interesting:

          From the 2009 post-draft combine analysis:

          People make a big deal about the fact that Griffin measured at 6’10” in shoes, but the things that will make Blake a nightmare at the next level are his speed and agility. His 10.95 in the lane agility test and 3.28 in the ¾ court sprint were right there with the likes of Jonny Flynn, a player considered to be one of the most athletic point guards in college basketball this past year. He also recorded 22 reps on the bench press, good for 2nd best at the combine. Not like it matters; Griffin could have put up Austin Daye – numbers and would still go #1.

          Hill was up and down at the combine. On one hand, his standing reach (9’0”), body fat (6%), and maximum height (11’11”) were impressive. His 3.3 sprint was actually faster than several wing players as well. On the other, he recorded the worst agility score at the combine and only repped 11 on the bench. With the way the game has evolved, most NBA PFs are stronger and more agile than Hill, so he has some work to do physically.

          Point Guards

          Don’t be fooled by that baby face; just because Stephen Curry looks like a 12-year-old, it doesn’t mean he has the body of one. Surprisingly, he reached ten reps in the bench (honestly, who thought he’d get past 3?) and had the same vertical as Mr. Griffin. While his speed and agility weren’t on par with other PGs, his IQ will help to make up for it at the next level.

          • regarding foot speed, I’m simply referring to the degree of separation Harden achieves on his drives. Good, but simply not comparable to LeBron’s. That’s the point I was making.

          • I think it’s more a stylistic difference. Harden usually tries to create contact first, then just enough separation for a shot. LeBron doesn’t bother with that, he just blows through people.

      • SonnyParker

        Feltbot,

        Foot speed or not, I would argue that Harden is as difficult to guard against penetration than James–if not more so. James is superior because of his height and sheer strength. But if he’s not hitting his outside shots he’s easier to guard on the perimeter.

  6. Wow, that was on extensive preview Felt. Very much enjoyed it an throught provoking.

    My thoughts:

    * Rebounding: I think warriors will win the rebounding battle or will be close to equal. Cavs can’t ride on the rebounding advantage over dubs. Green and Barnes will not let Tristan Thompson get 4-5 offensive rebounds per game. The 3 inches you mentioned that Tristan has over Green won’t matter for rebounding. Warriors gang rebounding, with one boxing out and other grabbing the board is really effective, can’t see any team dominate warriors on rebounding. If Memphis couldn’t do it, Cavs can’t.
    * Cs: When Mozgov is there, I would like Bogut+Ezeli but if Tristan Thompson is the C, then Mo Speights or Green makes sense. Mo can pull Tristan Thompson out with his shooting and warriors can get offensive rebounds if Mo misses the shot.
    * Bench: Warriors bench is superior to Cavs. That will be a key factor in the series that you somehow seemed to have overlooked. Warriors bench can easily put take the lead to 10 pts or so. Like to see Holiday in this series. Barbosa can easily blow off every Cavs PG including Kyrie.
    * Green: I think warriors should save Green as much as possible to guard Lebron. Green doesn’t have the speed of Lebron but not having to guard Lebron at the perimeter will make Green’s job easier guarding Lebron
    * Barnes: Barnes will be key if Klay won’t be 100% or struggles. Cavs will surely like to hide Kyrie on Barnes and Barnes can be huge then especially with Mozgov at C. Warriors had seen Gasol and Howard last two series at rim and Mozgov, let me just say this, is not going to scare Barnes and warriors.
    * Curry: Agree with on how longer athletes give hard time to Curry and Lebron can cause the same problem. Curry though unlike regular season will adjust to this challenge. He might struggle in a game or two but will adjust quick enough. As per blitz, well, Bogut and Green will be there to help Curry and Livingston and Iguodala who can initiate offense while Curry running around in curls and get the ball and get himself into more of 1-1 situation.
    * Guarding Lebron: Where warriors will succeed against Lebron is by limiting his play making abilities and setting up easy baskets for his teammates. Make him get 5 assists per game instead of 10 assists per game. Green, Curry and Iguodala are good at getting into passing lanes. Green, Iguodala, Barnes and Livingston should all take turns guarding Lebron. That is 4 guys guarding Lebron different way and as felt said, box and zone.

    I also think you are underestimating warriors defense. JR Smith is not going to go 8-12 like he did in last series in one game. In the end, if Klay is healthy, the series will be over in 5 or 6 games, if he is not, then warriors may have to win in 7 games. Curry and warriors know how difficult it is to get back to finals from the tough western conference. We also have guys like Green looking for a big pay check, not that he needs additional incentive. Oh, and 4 game at oracle.

    Only one factor that might tilt in Cavs favor is refereeing. I can see NBA and refs favor Lebron more than Warriors.

    I can’t see Cavs win this one and hope I am right but will be very intriguing series. We would be talking about how warriors won against Lebron, a top 3 player of all time, for a very long time.

    My 2 cents.

    • Nice post Harry. It’s a level-headed counter to Feltbots take. And as a fellow biased partisan, I like its optimism, and agree with many of your points.
      If someone told me before the season began that we’d be in the Finals, I just would’ve looked at em funny. But I think there’s a real chance we’ll be celebrating at the end. Maybe rioting in the streets (Joking. I don’t agree with that stuff. Some non-destructive civil unrest is ok, though

      Wanted to tell a story about celebrating the Niners ’84 Super Bowl, but I need to think about this :/

    • Yes, the Warriors D is not to be under estimated, and Barnes is important. Let’s hope the assertive, productive Barnes shows up.

  7. SonnyParker

    rgg,

    I strongly disagree with any implication that Kerr is “not playing to win with offense.” Kerr and his coaching staff are *very* invested in producing a high powered offense. If you want proof of that look no further than the fact that the W’s stood atop the entire NBA in several offensive categories all season. As you know, their offensive guru on the coaching staff was just tapped to lead the Pelicans next year.

    I’m frankly very confused by this contention–especially from a die hard Warriors fan like yourself. How exactly is the Steve Kerr’s approach to the offense going to cause trouble in this series? Is this just a coded argument pushing for David Lee to play heavy minutes?! If so, you can’t be serious….

    • cosmicballoon

      I agree with Sonny’s sentiments. Kerr is neither an offensive coach nor defensive coach. He emphasizes tough defense, quick outlet passes that lead to fast break opportunities. He constantly urges his players to push the pace. Then in the half court, he runs a motion-style offense with Curry on the ball sometimes and off the ball at other times that emphasizes shooting three point shots while utilizing back door cuts, etc. Pick and roll is obviously not the central aspect of this offense, and that has proven to be fine. (When was the last time the Warriors were limited to 80 points or something like that??). The Warriors have only struggled on offense when the players (ie Green, Barnes, Iggy) miss open looks all game long. When those guys are making open threes, this team is unbeatable.

      I will note re: the offense: Green, Barnes and Iggy have gotten open three point looks all season long. No team can guard Curry and Klay 1-on-1, so there is always an open man. I believe Lee’s inability to stretch the floor to the 3 point line is the key reason that he is not playing. Kerr is leaning on the stat guru’s here that show that the three point shot is more valuable than the 2.

    • Some here would only be happy:

      * If Kerr plays Lee
      * Green start at SF
      * No sight of Barnes and Lacob

      They happily take losing if the above three happens. They even start a fantasy in the even of finals on how Warriors will trade for Kevin Love. Never mind, when they pursued Kevin Love, Klay thompson was not an all star, Green was not a starting PF and Barnes sucked. Oh, they think Lacob and co would commit 20 mils on Kevin Love after seeing the team without him win 90 games for the season and in NBA Finals. In their fantasy if somehow warriors get Kevin Love, Green will be moved to SF. Never mind, Green is all NBA D at PF.

      Did anyone mention the class act by Kerr, Lacob and Myers by not being in the middle of w conference celebration, just standing aside and watching. Lacob learnt from the boos.

      • “Lacob learned…”

        Yes he did. Ever since that night he grabbed the mike from Mullin, he’s deferred to his team – management and players – to speak for the team instead.

        One thing that has gone little-commented on this year is the team’s new openness with the press. Under MJax, players and assistants were forbidden to speak to the press except for league-mandated opportunities. It’s been very different this year. Curry and Green are absolute masters in front of the microphone, Gentry and Adams have both done interviews, and the team just seems… unworried about it all. Even Bogut is trusted, and you know what? He handles the press like a pro. And Riley.

        The Ws are far better at PR this year. Maybe it’s a result of having a TV announcer as head coach. Whatever. It’s opened up a lot of opportunities for the team and players that didn’t exist last year.

        • One place I still have issue is with the way they try to hide medical reports, but other than that there is very little to not like about this year’s version of front office and the PR.

          • why would you want your team to be honest about medical reports? it’s called tactical advantage…

    • Overall offensive stats will be skewed for many reasons when you factor in the level of competition over the season. The only comparison that matters now is how the Warriors performed against top teams. As I’ve maintained all along, the evidence here is ambiguous if not cause for concern. And the comparison that most matters is how they perform against Lebron and the Cavs.

      The best and only argument I can make is to compare this season’s game against Cleveland with Lebron

      http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400579146

      with their performance against Miami last season, a decisive win and a one point loss when Lebron beat the buzzer with a last second 3. The teams are comparable for the obvious reason.

      http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400489347

      http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400489661

      Note in the Cleveland game that they scored well the first quarter—and tailed off the rest of the game. Also note that the score rose 1st.Q when Lee came in and played with Steph. Check the play by play. And note in the Miami games that they were able to maintain scoring all four quarters.

      Qualifications needed here—Wade missed one game—and more analysis that would take time and quite frankly is beyond me.

      I keep coming back to Lee because, when played correctly, he offers scoring options from a front court player they don’t have with the starters now. He averaged 24 points in those 3 games. The loss on defense would lead to a finer debate.

      It’s a moot point, of course. Lee won’t play much and we have no idea what kind of shape he’s in after sitting on the bench most of the season. And given that, I’m not sure what Kerr can do with the rest, unless he brings in the better offensive players with the subs, but here we’re left with Speights. Or maybe tries to run with Barbosa, especially when Lebron sits. Which probably won’t be much.

      I believe what Feltbot is saying is too that much is uncertain to make any prediction.

      • “too much is uncertain”

      • SonnyParker

        rgg,

        Reducing the analysis of a team’s offensive capabilities to how they fared in one single regular season game simply doesn’t make sense. And referring to a couple of games last season is even more pointless. I agree with you that it might be your only argument–and by extension your best one. But it is hardly a good argument. I don’t mean to sound harsh but…..

        Also, there’s been a disturbing tendency by some on this blog to assert that the W’s did not play a competitive schedule this year, which is echoed in your post above. Well, they played essentially the same schedule as every other WC team and a considerably more difficult schedule than all of the EC teams. I simply cannot understand this claim.

        Also, they just played three playoff series in the far tougher WC.

        I don’t get it. Please enlighten me!

        • Those games are all we got, but they are suggestive. The quality of opposition and performance has been argued here all season, with heated denial. I won’t dredge this up again. My basic argument is that the Warriors were able to do things against lesser opposition they won’t be able to do now, notably force turnovers into quick transition offense and build large leads which lead to their overall dominance in +/-. And I’ve argued this number is inflated when you prepare to meet Miami. In other games they stalled, more indicative of what they’ll see from Miami.

          One team’s whose season stats we have to throw out is Cleveland, when you factor in their injuries, LBJ’s break, their time spent trying to get together. They are a different team now.

          • SonnyParker

            As you know, I have not participated in those arguments. Nevertheless, I’d say the following:

            Those games are NOT all we’ve got. Indeed, we have an entire season’s worth of games and three playoff series to go by. Also, you completely contradict yourself later on in your own post by arguing that the current Cleveland team is an entirely different team than the team that played the W’s in the regular season. So why would that earlier game be of any relevance whatsoever, as you claimed earlier?

            Referring to any games 1 1/2 years ago is even more irrelevant. Different coaches and different teams. I’ve never heard anyone making such dubious comparisons before!

            Arguing that over a limited stretch of games, one team’s opponents were tougher than another’s is possible. But this line of reasoning completely falls apart when you are talking abut an entire season where all of the teams in the same conference (in this case the tougher WC) play the same schedule.

            The W’s just went 12-3 in three playoff series against some of the best that the WC had to offer. Of course no one expected them to have the same historical level of dominance in the playoffs that they had in the regular season. It’s a straw man argument, rgg.

            Finally, from a purely logical standpoint, how was the Warriors’ schedule easier than, say, their upcoming opponent? They both played the same number of games both home and away. the only difference being that Cleveland played 50% more of its games against opponents from a far less competitive conference.

          • My speculation about Miami and Cleveland was casual. I just wondered if the Cleveland team was better defensively and more cohesive. Offensively, there are similarities—most notably Lebron. That’s a qualification, not a contradiction.

            What the team did well, better than anyone else, is maintain a consistent level of performance the whole season, plus their ability to work offensive margins, better than anyone else. This is impressive, and credit should be given to Kerr but also the core players. But it doesn’t tell us anything about how they’ll perform in the finals.

            I’ll have to drop Lee for the simple reason he wasn’t played much this year, in part because of injury, but in large part because he was benched. The experiment wasn’t performed and I have nothing to show you. Except his performance against Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston.

            As for comparable teams, I’ll return the ball to your court. What games should we look at to get a sense of how the Warriors might perform against Cleveland? Be sure to check the rosters—injuries.

            My great regret is that we didn’t get to see a healthy, fine tuned Atlanta play the Cavs. This series, like many of the others, was just ambiguous in telling us anything.

  8. Bob Myers missed on Dellavodova in his backyard (or was it Kirk Lacob who drafted Nedovic?)

    http://www.theage.com.au/sport/basketball/andrew-bogut-tried-to-get-matthew-dellavedova-to-golden-state-warriors-20150531-ghdd3x.html

    • I’d be surprised if Lacob didn’t learn something from the NN and Kuzmic selections.

      I saw Lacob and Larry Riley together on the sidelines in Phoenix this year. Let’s hope Riley plays a bigger role in talent evaluation again. He’s one of the league’s best at it. Maybe one of the best ever.

      • SonnyParker

        Hat,

        I highly doubt that Lacob has anything to do with late draft picks. What makes you think that he does?

        He also has very little–if any–say on personnel playing decisions. For example, claims such as that Lacob forced Kerr to “showcase” H Barnes in preparation for a trade have proven to be patently way off base. The ascendancy of Draymond to a permanent starting role and the delegation of DLee to a non-rotation player is, by itself, ample proof that Lacob has very little (if any) say in such decisions.

        There’s no “Lacob’s Cube” either as Lacob did not construct the roster (not to mention that the roster is widely accepted to be the most versatile and deepest in the entire NBA). Thought I’d wedge that in here as I wanted to help clear up any misconceptions!

        • Livingston was signed to spell Curry and failed completely. Kerr solved this by playing Livingston as a Wing, frequently alongside Curry. Livingston scores primarily around the rim on fed lay-ups, dunks, and 10′ baseline turn around jumpers. He is adept at finding openings around the rim to be so fed, and he is a good defender, ball handler, passer, and rebounder. IMO, Kerr made excellent use of Livingston.

          Was Livingston Lacobs hire? Yes, everyone is. Myers said the group comes to a recommendation, brings it Lacob for final decision. Lacob interviewed Barnes and Kerr and probably others.

          Specific to Livingston is Joe’s statement, along with Myers, “we like size at every position”. This was also a reason cited by Myers for drafting Nedo — “he is 6′-4″ and 200 lbs, which is good size for a PG, and he is very athletic.”

          Ideally, Lacob likes height and athleticism ( who doesn’t?).

          I’m worried that pre-occupation could yet play out with Draymond.

          BTW, His son was reportedly the scout for Nedo with no doubt Lacob Sr support, so yes, in effect Lacob Sr made that decision as well.

          • Correction — in effect, Lacob Sr made both the recommendation and the hire.

          • Marc, this blog is yours if you’d like to continue it after I’m gone.

          • congrats, Marc, on winning the laurel from Caesar’s hands. you have the support of the nobles like rgg, hat, martin as well as the malcontents and misfits like me.

          • Thank you Felt for the wonderful comment. Means a heck of a lot to me. And thanx moto.

            You have what few do (I’m not one of them) — hoops knowledge and analytical ability in real time.

            A few recent examples:

            1. I saw Bogut standing in the middle of the court not seeming to be guarding anyone with Barnes fronting Randolph and thought what’s going on? It wasn’t until I read your tweet a few minutes later that I understood. (The Griz coaches understood pretty fast. Allen was out pulled out of the game pronto.)

            2. I noticed when Harden started to drive around Barnes, Klay and Curry or someone else were starting to pinch Harden. And sure looked like a zone. Again, it wasn’t until I read your tweets a few minutes later than I understood the Warriors were playing zone and trapping Harden (Harden knew it right away). I also did not know it was a Box and 1 until you tweeted so (which was confirmed later by St Jean).

            I learned a lot from you and you are one of those very rare guys, participating in any endeavor, that see the situation clearly and immediately.

          • SonnyParker

            Marc,

            If, as you claim, Lacob “likes size at every position”–and that he makes all of the decisions–why then has the 6′-7″ Green permanently replaced the taller, bigger (and huge favorite of Lacob) Lee? Was that Lacob’s decision?

            If citing Lacob and Meyers on how the team is managed provides you with the ammunition to make your argument then you must acknowledge Lacob’s assertion in multiple interviews that he does NOT involve himself in coaching decisions on who should play and who should not. He also asserted that all such decisions are ultimately in Kerr’s hand. In fact, I’ve heard him make this claim specifically with regards to Draymond taking over for Lee. It seems like you might be cherry picking a bit here.

            If it was Lacob’s decision to “hire” Livingston to replace Curry as point guard was it also his decision to abandon this plan?

            Was it Lacob’s decision to move Lee to the end of the bench and essentially not play him any more?

            Was Lacob over-ruled in his purported order to “showcase” Barnes for a trade?

            Do you really believe that Lacob would over-rule draft decisions on players at the end of the 1st round and 2nd round? Do you think that he has the time, energy, expertise, and inclination to bother himself with such things? And if so, he most definitely played a decisive role on all personnel decisions. How would you explain the benching of Lee and the ascendancy of the undersized Green at power forward?

            Of course every “hands-on” owner signs off on all major decisions. But that most definitely does not mean that he actually made the decision in the first place. Those are two very different things.

          • It’s all yours, Marc, since you are the heir apparent.

            This one has been discussed at length here as well, Sonny, with much opposition. One thing is certain: Riley was only involved in scouting Ezeli and Green. He had nothing to do with Kuzmic and Nedovic. Holiday was a K. Lacob and Myers project. Etc. You won’t find his hands on anyone else, drafted or traded for.

          • Thanx for the comment SP. I agree with most of your ideas.

            I was referring to hiring decisions. I think at this point, not earlier, Lacob will not interfere with Kerr and his staff. In the previous case of starting HB, I think MJax just could not do otherwise politically.

            There was no other choice than Green after DLee went down, which, IMO, largely made starting HB logical. HB is bigger and stronger than Iguodala, giving the starting line-up 2 smallish, yet skilled 4’s. (I think it can be argued HB is the superior stretch 4.)

            I think now, the shoe is on the other foot. Kerr has real authority and trust, whether he wins this championship or not.

        • SonnyP, my point wasn’t to criticize Lacob’s judgment. I didn’t, in fact.

          Out here we don’t really know how Ws front office talent decisions come together. You don’t know that Lacob didn’t determine the roster, Feltbot doesn’t know that he did.

          One thing for sure, though, is that the team still has the services of Larry Riley, the fella that brought us Stephen Curry, among other fine fellows.

          • SonnyParker

            Hat,

            Exactly, Riley is still scouting for them and played a key role in drafting players well before Lacob ever showed up. It’s quite a stretch to imagine that the club’s owner is pouring over scouting reports of players taken late in the draft as I mentioned above–and then over-ruling the team’s experts on decisions.

            No, of course we don’t know exactly what’s going on in the front office. But, again, we do know that Feltbot’s assertion that Lacob ordered that Barnes start so that he can be “showcased” for a trade was flatly wrong. We can also assume that Lacob–someone who is reported to be a huge fan of Lee’s (his first major signing) and, according to Feltbot, is fixated on always going big–ordered Kerr to permanently replace Lee with the smaller Green and turn Lee into a non-entity. Such an assumption strains the boundaries of reason, frankly. Just because someone states something over and over doesn’t make it true or more credible, does it?

            If you could explain to me how or why the above is incorrect I’d love to hear it!

  9. Feltbot—

    You made the comment. Any idea how they can play a more offensive game? I’m stumped. It’s a given he won’t play Lee. It looks like we’re reduced to hoping Green, Barnes, and probably Barbosa, average shooters, knock down their 3s.

    Kerr said that if Klay doesn’t play he’d probably start Barbosa or Holiday. It might be a fun digression to consider what other lineups he might try.

    • SonnyParker

      rgg,

      In response to your post above, I think it’s quite difficult to find the games where we can gain useful information for how the Finals will turn out. Certainly citing one or two games during the regular season is insufficient–especially if it’s a previous season and a different team! Yes, LBJ was on those teams and he’s a fundamentally important player. But even he plays differently depending on a variety of factors (note his outside shooting, for example).

      The best predictor, imho, would be how the two teams are playing in the playoffs. I think the W’s are still showing themselves to be the better team who is more battle tested. But the series should be close and a number of things can push the result in either direction. Hence, the amount of uncertainty expressed by Feltbot–along with the two of us!

      • We will have to wait and see. It’s been a very odd season on so many fronts. But if the Warriors beat the Cavs, I’m more than satisfied they are a championship quality team, worthy of comparison with others years past.

  10. If Barnes has to be the difference-maker in this series, we’re in trouble. He has never been comfortable in that role, he still can’t shoot with a hand in his face, he still doesn’t find a way to help when Curry is being trapped, he still struggles with rebounding and assists. A great shooter, surprisingly the league’s best at his position this year. But all his baskets have to be assisted. He can’t create for himself or others. Trouble.

    I think LBJames is… Draymond in 3 years. Last year Green couldn’t sink a shot from anywhere on the floor. This year his layups are money and his shooting everywhere else has improved significantly. If he continues to work on it (and we know he will, working is his thing), Draymond can be a scary offensive force, perhaps a mini-James. All the rest of James’ game – the ball handling, passing, court vision, team leadership, defense – Draymond has it all already.

    But that’s not this year. Right now, as Felt says, Dray will fail to defend James better than anyone else fails to defend him. And in return, James doesn’t need to worry about Draymond’s offense. No one does, much. That’s why he gets all those wide-open 3-pt shots.

    So my key to the Ws success in the finals isn’t Barnes. It’s Draymond. He HAS to make defenses respect his shooting. If he doesn’t, this series is over right now, because his man will be free to help on others. It’s money time, Mr. Green.

    If Klay can’t play, I’m actually OK with Barbosa. The biggest surprise of the season, league-wide, might be the fact that Barbosa suddenly plays a pretty mean defensive game. Before he met Ron Adams, it simply wasn’t part of his repertoire. Add in his wild-card offense (including his how-did-he-do-that drives) and Barbosa could well hold his own against anyone the Cavs can put up against him.

    I think the general consensus here, that Lee won’t see any meaningful playing time, will probably be true. Unless Draymond has foul trouble. Which he will, sometimes.

    Playing Lee wouldn’t be a terrible thing. He is a TREMENDOUS defensive rebounder, better than Draymond. And he ain’t shabby on O. And hey, he’s another 6 fouls to throw at anyone who drives the lane. Lee’s poor integration into the Ws defense might be a problem, but put him next to Ezeli and I think the tandem would be OK. Not next to Bogut, though.

    • SonnyParker

      Hat,

      I’d have to respectfully disagree. David Lee is most definitely not a better defensive rebounder than Draymond.

      Also, your assertion that,

      “Lee’s poor integration into the Ws defense might be a problem”

      is quite the understatement!

      And that,

      ” LBJames is… Draymond in 3 years”

      is quite the overstatement!

      • That last one struck me as an overstatement too

        I’ll make a possibly less egregious overstatement: Drays evolving into a poor-mans Magic
        I never really associated “the Blur” with “mean defense”. He’s a blow-by waiting to happen on both ends of the floor

        For a different perspective, who would be favored in a Hou-Cle series? That would be a tough call, given the Rockets up n down nature

      • David Lee career 9.5 rebounds/game (including his rookie season in which he barely played, plus this year, in which he’s average <20 min./game).

        Draymond Green 8.2 rebounds/game this season, the only season somewhat comparable to Lee's overall average minutes per game.

        Yes, dear heart, Lee is a better rebounder than Draymond.

        Re the Green/James comparison, think it through. Green absolutely sucked on O in his first year, improved to barely-didn't-suck in his 2nd year, and this year is shooting .443/.337. Not killer numbers, average numbers good enough to keep him on the floor so the team can get the benefit of all the truly excellent (non-shooting) things he does.

        Following that progression, Draymond will be an even better scorer next year, and the year after – which will make him an all-time GREAT player with no weaknesses. A mini-me LeBron, sorta.

        It’s funny, I had a similar discussion earlier this season with a blogger who was sure that the Ws should try to trade Green for Carmelo. I wonder what that guy thinks now.

        • SonnyParker

          Hat,

          Frankly, it doesn’t make sense to compare Lee’s career numbers to the ascendant Green’s. How Lee rebounded 5, 7 or 8 years ago is not relevant now. At present, Lee is often injured and, at this later stage of his career, has lost many of his physical attributes. Green–playing against some of the best front lines in the playoffs–is averaging 11 rebounds a game. I think you’d be nearly alone in your assessment above.

          As for Green, I’m a huge fan and have been for some while. But to project his offensive capabilities as coming close to LBJ’s is simply in the realm of fantasy.

          • Oh, are we talking only about this year’s playoffs?

            Draymond .29 rebounds per minute
            Lee .35 rebounds per minute

            SonnyP, you seriously underestimate David Lee. He is (/was? Who knows?) a masterful paint player. Lee’s career numbers are equivalent to Kevin Friggin McHale’s, my friend (a couple fewer points, couple more rebounds). So thanks bunches for your wonderful opinions, but I’ll just go with historical facts on stuff, for accuracy.

            Re Draymond’s possible future offense, free your mind, my friend. You think LeBron sprang fully formed from the brow of some Basketball God? OK, that’s a bad direction. He obviously did.

            Dray didn’t. His thing is work. “Don’t give me anything, I’ll earn it.” That’s the way people think where Dray grew up. I grew up in his neighborhood, that’s the way it is.

            If it’s possible to earn a good shooting stroke, Dray will. He has already gotten better. In his first two years he couldn’t even make a layup in traffic, now it’s money. And here’s his 3-pt progression: .209, .333, .337 (this season he started stronger, but it has fallen off).

            So what do you think? Is it possible to earn good shooting? If so, Dray will. Add good shooting to the rest of Dray’s skills and he’s LeBron The Hard Way.

            It seems obvious to me. That doesn’t make it right, of course.

      • to be harshly realistic, d’mond could very conceivably become recognized as a defensive player of the year, respected on the level of k.leonard, but in the end it’s scoring, specifically being able to score when the opponents know who and what is coming, that gets the $$ and respect. green’s triple double predecessor at Mich St. doesn’t get acclaimed as one of the all-time best, even with his immense skills and smarts, if he wasn’t a impact scorer as well. l-b-j branded shoes have grabbed over $300 m. per year, for another not-so-insignificant marker of stature.

    • Starting Barbosa can work. But, I think the defense will still suffer having Curry+Barbosa together. I would like Livingston or Holiday to start. Tough call to start Holiday, given he is not being played for a while now. If Livingston starts though, Barnes and Green should make 3s. You can switch on anyone with Livingston or Holiday on D.

      May be mute point after all, Kerr said yesterday that he is confident Klay will play.

      • Livingston or Iguodala get my vote for their D and size. I also like Holiday, but likely he is too nervous to play well.

        Barbosa could guard Delly or the 1-legged Irving effectively.

        • At this time, Barbosa is a better defender than you guys give him credit for. NO ONE blows by “The Blur.”

          It’s amazing, really. In years past, Barbosa (in the immortal words of Sir Charles) couldn’t guard a chair.

          • SonnyParker

            Hat,

            I do not (imo) underestimate Lee and like him as a player. But, as Feltbot correctly stated above, Green’s insertion into the starting lineup aver Lee was the single most important determining factor in the team’s dramatic improvement this year. Lee is also no where near in the same league as McHale. You will not find one player, coach, GM, etc., who would say otherwise.

            I’m not concerned with how good of a player Lee was 4, 6, or 8 years ago–that is irrelevant to the present. We will see how well he is valued by the trade offers that come his way this off season. If, as many suspect, the W’s will have to “add value” just to trade him, his perceived value around the league is quite low at present.

            The per minute rebounding averages you cite are meaningless given Lee’s small sample size and the fact he played garbage minutes. I cited Green’s 11 rpg in these playoffs merely to show that it’d be difficult to expect Lee to have done better. In last year’s playoffs, Lee only averaged 9 rpg, by the way. Also, did you know that Lee is only shooting 32% for the entire playoffs?

            As for Green vs. LBJ: first of all, I am probably a bigger Green fan than anyone. But to assume that if he works at it he will be anywhere near in the same category as James as an offensive player strains your credibility, frankly.

            Also, and much to my disappointment, Draymond most certainly did not progress as an outside shooter this year. His 3 pt. percentage is the same as last year’s.

          • Soooo… re David Lee, stats mean nothing.

            Re DLee’s defense – the weakest part of his game, and probably the only thing that keeps him from being mentioned with the likes of McHale – I’ll go with Ron Adams’ take on that. He says that one of the things he’s happiest with is Lee’s improvement on that end of the floor. He’s not a shot-blocker, but he has definitely improved. He’s a “position D” kinda guy. That’s why he’s such a great rebounder.

            re Draymond’s stats, maybe I should have cited his overall shooting percentages by year (.327, .407, .443) to demonstrate his progress as a scorer. He shot 3-pointers far better in the early season than he has lately. The question stands: do you think it’s possible to earn good shooting? I don’t know. Dray’s progress to date suggests that it is. Reaching the next level will be more difficult, of course. If he does, his overall team contribution will be indistinguishable from LeBron’s.

            Re “expert opinion,” who cares about unqualified, data-free opinions when we can quantify the facts?

  11. SonnyParker

    I’ve been reading for quite some time here that the Warriors “lucked” into an “easy” road through the playoffs. First of all, I’d argue that at each stage of the playoffs the W’s had an equally tough or tougher opponent than the Cavaliers.

    The single most “lucky” thing the W’s had going for them was that OKC did not make the playoffs. But this was fortunate for all of the WC teams–not just the W’s. Moreover, if they had had to play a healthy OKC team as an eighth seed they would have been profoundly unlucky. In a sense, many were arguing that the W’s were lucky to not have been profoundly unlucky.

    Their first round opponent was rather tough as the Pels had jelled with tremendous momentum to close out the season, (8-3 including wins over a hungry Spurs team and the W’s). Several players who had been injured were healthy for the playoffs as well.

    Their second round opponent had a bad break with Conley. But the W’s won the first game as they likely would have even with a healthy Conley. MC then had a transcendent 2nd game and played well (although fatigued) the rest of the series. Tony Allen’s demise hurt Memphis–but by then the W’s had figured out how to beat them with Allen on the floor. They also picked up Green mid-season without giving up too many assets.

    Houston also got healthy for the WC championship series. Howard was most certainly not playing on one leg for the series as has been falsely asserted here. Houston was playing better than they had all season when they came into the series as well.

    In some ways the W’s were unfortunate to have encountered Houston rather than a totally exhausted Clipper team–a team that the W’s already had an overabundance of confidence against. They would have destroyed the Clippers in 4 or 5.

    The Spurs were simply not the same team as last season. That the Clips could have beaten them is clear proof of that. Yes, they would have been a tougher opponent than the Clips, but they, too, would have been exhausted and depleted by the third round.

    Finally, the Cavs are a much better team now than they were at any time in the season. A combination of injuries (yes, injuries!) and judicious in-season pick-ups helped them to become a much better team.

    So, an emphatic “No!’ to the assertion that the W’s were uncommonly lucky in their post season.

    • Feltbot gives us the major factor to consider in the playoffs: Curry simply wasn’t pressured much—except a few games when Allen was healthy. The reasons are obvious—injuries to Beverly, Holiday, Allen, Conley, etc. The Houston game was so schizophrenic we’ll need a therapist to untangle it.

      And there’s a good chance he will be against the Cavs. The argument isn’t that they got lucky (though they did). They played well and won handily. The argument is what those games tell us about their chances against the Cavs, and the answer is not much.

      • The other question we want answered is just how good the Warriors are, against a fully (reasonably) healthy championship team. We will get our chance this week.

        Unless Klay cannot play. Then we’ll be engaged in endless debate where I will duck out.

    • if you wish to consider j.holiday healthy for this post season, because he was on the active roster and participated, that might be a low bar. it’s become pretty clear that opponents require several good to proficient perimeter defenders to compete with GS, and holiday didn’t seem back to that level. the rivers bunch is very unpredictable, and don’t have the requisite perimeter defense, but they do have the right attitude, mostly due to paul’s leadership, to compete against their division rival. would not have surprised me if they extended the third round to six or seven games, had they closed Hou out in the second round.

      not taking the position that GS was ‘uncommonly lucky’, but we can’t say they were tested by healthy opponents, either. Cle probably did have easier competition, but they had their own health issues as well.

      • SonnyParker

        moto–

        Yes, both Cleveland and the Pels have suffered injuries. But both teams are playing their best b-ball of the year so it’s not terribly relevant that they’ve had injuries. In fact, injuries to key players can sometimes benefit a team.

        Take David Lee. If he hadn’t been injured the W’s would have been considerably worse off–contrary to what many on this site feel.

        I think part of the issue is that the W’s have so thoroughly dominated so many teams so consistently that many here are looking for explanations outside the most obvious one: that the W’s were simply a better team than the rest. This is a case where Ockham’s razor makes sense. In your case, is it possible that your anti-Lacob/Warriors feelings might influence your take on this as well?

  12. You’re not really Longtimer in disguise, are you, sonny? Apologies if not, but when you pleaded for enlightenment that flashed before me..

    If your still lurking in the shadows, longtimer, chime in. Don’t worry about silly stuff like being a man of your word. These are the Finals!

    • Stylistic analysis has revealed this is definitely not the case.

    • SonnyParker

      No I’m most certainly not! I posted here earlier under this moniker and then was out of the country until recently. However, I did follow the blog as best I could and I do certainly remember Longtimer (how could one not?!). Many of the things he (I’m assuming it’s a “he”) wrote I agreed with, and some not. But his aggressive and grating style was a turn off in the end. I did wonder at times if he was just having a laugh. But in any event, no offense taken at all. And, yes, I agree: I would welcome back Longtimer as well.

  13. Not surprised at all that Alvin Gentry got scooped up already — he’s a great offensive coach.

    He will be absolutely fantastic for the Pelicans. They were 27th in pace last season, can you imagine? Anthony Davis is the best running center in the league.

    But beyond that, Gentry is one of the best pick and roll coaches there is, and Davis is probably already the best PNR big men in the game. Monty Williams’ offense last year was an absolute joke. With Holiday and Davis running PNR with Ryan Anderson stretching the floor, I wouldn’t surprised to see a top 5 offense out of the Pels next season.

    On a more somber note, the Warriors’ only PNR coach just left the building.

    • Hard to say who contributed what to the Ws offensive schemes, but it does seem that Gentry at least convinced Kerr to drop the triangle. Good work, that.

      I wonder what the Ws will look like without Gentry. Tex Winter is 93. Think D’Antoni might be available as an assistant?

      • +1

        I loved the way coaching staff, Gentry played a big and will be missed, are not stubborn about using just one system but catered the offense to best suit the warriors talent.

  14. What an awesome post from Felt and an equally great dialogue. Thank you all! The smartest blog anywhere. We have to get Lil B in here to curse Felt if he tries to leave.

  15. Great recap again Feltbot. Looking forward to your update as it gets closer to game 1 tipoff.

    Barne’s gives his defenders too much of a free pass so it would be good to see him utilised as a shooting guard so that defenders have to actively do something and not just camp out in the corner, waiting to play the passing lanes. Likewise, if LBJ decides to pick up Curry, I’d love to see Curry dish to a ball handler and force LBJ to keep up with him as he runs through some screens.

    Making LBJ accountable on both sides of the floor at all times should be a priority, especially if he’s gassed from the minutes he’s played so far.

  16. Moto, your posts call to mind Mr. Spock watching hoops. Unique

    Even Spock would raise an eyebrow watching the Dubs!

    • quite a high compliment. in my middle years the young’uns used to compare me to the nimoy Spock. the abrams-revised version of Spock has provided one tangible benefit — the lay audience had to think about alternate temporal sequences when one variable gets shifted. (cautioned Marc on this elsewhere when he made a supposition based on GS’s opponents having healthy rosters for the post season). but with the passing of nimoy, and the inevitable aging of his audiences, more people might associate the mark-II version with the character.

  17. Have to jump in and comment about Lebron on Curry. Lebron has no shot at covering Curry for any length of time. Lebron has too much bulk and not enough agility to cover Curry. Derrick Rose does not have the super quick release and step back that Curry does, so Lebron only has to stay close to contest. With Curry, Lebron has to be right up on him and Lebron is too slow to recover from that position. In this sense, he’s no Kwahi, who has the ideal attributes to cover Curry. And he’s no Durant, who has much more length than he does.

    What happens in the 4th quarter of games? In these playoffs Lebron is gassed towards the end of games, making it even easier for Curry to drive around him or step back for 3’s.

    • Hapax Legomenon

      Early in the finals four years ago, LeBron won a game or two against Dallas by smothering Jason Terry in the 4th quarter. Terry made a remark to the effect of, “It’s a long series. Let’s see how long he can keep that up.”

      He was right. LeBron wore down, and Dallas won the series.

      LeBron’s four years older now.

  18. I have zero issues with LeBron guarding Curry. Remember what Jet/Barea did to him when he guarded them? Also you pointed out that LeBron was running on fumes at times so that most likely would be aggravated by guarding Curry for long stretches.

    The rebounding situation is the problem that gets me the most although I don’t trust Moz/Tristan completely. Speaking of trust: Which Warrior could Dennis Scott us?

    Overall I am very anxious about this series for most of the reasons you stated but on the other hand it is also easily conceivable for me to see this thing go 4:1 for the Warriors even if both teams healthy. That said just tonight I dreamed about the Dubs leaving Oakland down two because of one loss due to jitters and another due to LeBron clobbering them to dust. I haven’t been so nervous since Dirk’s run.

  19. I’ve been arguing (with disagreement) that it’s hard to find a game or games that might tell us how the Warriors might match up against the Cavs, other, of course, than the single game they played against them with Lebron.

    But I’m having the same problem with the Cavs. I’m specifically looking for games that might give some indication of their defense and what it poses for the Dubs. The best I can come up with is their OT defeat of the Spurs, when both teams were full strength and hitting on all cylinders:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400579256

    A high scoring affair, and the Spurs were able to score from several positions. Note that Irving went on a tear.

    Two things have come to mind that haunt me—

    The 2002 Moneyball A’s had a fantastic regular season, 103 wins, with that 20 game winning streak. But they went down in the first round of the playoffs to the Minnesota Twins. There are other similar examples of teams who do very well regular season, but don’t in the playoffs.

    In the movie Master and Commander, after the British ship, disguised as a whaler, has fired a surprise attack on the larger and more powerful French Acheron and the sailors have boarded only to see an empty deck, an officer turns to Aubrey and says, “Looks like the job is done, sir.” If you saw the movie, you know what happens next.

    I can’t help it.

    • SonnyParker

      rgg,

      I replied to this above but would like to follow up on your mention of my Twinkies beating the A’s. Yes, some teams do play well in the regular season only to play poorly in the playoffs. However, baseball is very different to basketball and such things (i.e. getting hot or discombobulating) over the course of a series are far more common in the former.

      I’d also object to the inference that the W’s might end up playing poorly in the playoffs. Hasn’t their 12-3 playoff run shown you that they are not playing poorly in the playoffs?

      • They could be undefeated all year and it wouldn’t prove anything, right, rgg? :)

        (79-18!!!)

        • Right!

        • As in art, we want some appreciation of quality and greatness. If X writer wins the Pulitzer and is a schlep (you know who I’d pick), we are disappointed. And it has happened. The Pulitzer system, I understand, is a mess now.

        • SonnyParker

          double :)

        • It proves that warriors won because other teams were playing hurt. Warriors, not that good otherwise. :-)

      • There are examples in basketball as well. Maui Nelli gave us one—Houston years back?

        Not play poorly. This is never a question with the Warriors. Just not good enough, if the Cavs are as good as they appear to be, also up in the air.

        And no. The West playoff run tells us nothing about what they might do against Miami, for a host of reasons (given), the main one being, as FB says, that Curry wasn’t taxed that much in any of the series.

        I wanted to see the Warriors beat the healthy Spurs or Thunder, which didn’t happen. So the big trial is coming up.

        • cosmicballoon

          rgg- the Memphis series showed a grittiness that we haven’t had to see much of this season. The Warriors survived two disheartening losses and then turned up the heat and blew Memphis out of the water.

          One thing that you haven’t accounted for much is that the Warriors talent level is simply higher than any other team in the league. When you have two former all stars on the bench, three all stars in the starting lineup, and a budding star (Green), it means the team is simply good. Combine that with great coaching (Gentry and Adams) and a great leader (Kerr), you have the recipe for what we’re getting right now. The Cavs are not as deep nor talented as the Warriors. This gives the Wubs a substantial leg up. Not to mention home court advantage…

        • SonnyParker

          rgg,

          I presume you meant “Cleveland.” If the key to understanding this series is the “fact” that Curry wasn’t “taxed” during the playoffs, what about Le Bron? How “taxed” was he? Also, and even more important, did he face any team that is remotely as strong defensively as GSW? Or one that has the length, size, and defensive abilities as the plethora of wings the Dubs can throw at LBJ?

          • Hapax Legomenon

            The caveat on that last questions is that LeBron is bigger and (when healthy/rested) more athletic than any of the W’s swarm of wing defenders.

            My lasting memory of the February game in Cleveland was LBJ lined up for a free throw between Barnes and Draymond Green. LBJ was so much bigger, Barnes and Green looked like his teenage sons.

    • “It’s his [Barnes’] opportunity…and I think he’s capable.”

      Why? No reason given.

      In their last matchup, LeBron brushed aside Barnes like a housefly, shot 60% and scored 42 points. Not domination, complete devastation. And that idiot “thinks Barnes is capable.” Hardeharhar.

      • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

        hat you are the idiot if you are only going to use small sample sizes. That is almost as stupid as touting the rebound per minute of David Lee when has played 68 minutes to the 562 of Draymond Green

        • Oh wonderful. The brilliant stylings of Doofus#1. FFG, go yell at your mom or something. Grownups are talking here.

          • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

            You clearly are not a grown up. You are nothing more than an idiot that makes shit up. When you get called out for your BS and stupidity you either run away or ignore the facts.

      • Multiple players guarded LeBron in that game so it wasn’t all Barnes or even 50% Barnes. Iggy and Draymond both had turns guarding LeBron. LeBron was also hitting jumpers left and right in that game, which were shots Warriors wanted him to take. He was 15 of 25 for the night and 9 of those were 3 point attempts.

        • Right. I don’t think Barnes even played in the 4th quarter. That’s not a defense of Barnes defense.

          • Playoff Barnes D is better. No one player can stop Lebron but he will do well in 8-10 minutes he will guard him based on how he guarded Bo and Harden. Green of course is still our número uno defender but he won’t guard Lebron for more than like half the game.

          • From Zach Lowe:

            It’s an interesting idea. Barnes will start on LeBron, and he’s deceptively strong — stout enough to jostle with Zach Randolph, and to keep LeBron just far enough from the rim to force him into hook shots or difficult passes:

  20. Klay says he’s headache free:

    http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/golden-state-warriors-klay-thompson-expects-to-play-game-1-finals-no-headaches-concussion-060115

    I believe Curry had headaches for several days with his concussion?

    But of course I have no idea what that means, if anything.

  21. I have been reading a lot of crap about how Cleveland is a middling defensive team, far worse than the Warriors. How do I know it’s crap? Because every stat cited was based on the regular season, when they were playing with Kevin Love. And for half the year, with Dion Waiters. And no center. And no Shump and no JR.

    Crap.

    I also know it’s crap because I’ve been watching the Cavs in the playoffs. And they have looked, to my eyes, not just good defensively, but great.

    So just now I attempted to find some playoff stats. I couldn’t find DRating or Efficiency (adjusted for possessions) but this is what I found: The Warriors opponents are scoring 96 a game in the playoffs. The Cavs opponents? 92.6. Warriors opponents shooting 43.1%. Cavs opponents? 41.2%.

    Do with that what you will.

    On the offensive side, the Warriors have had the edge: 104.3 ppg as opposed to 101.4.

    Forecast away, my friends.

    • SonnyParker

      I agree that the Cavs are a better defensive team than many understand. I don’t think they are quite in the Warriors’ class, however. But we will soon see.

      As for the playoff stats–that’s probably too small a sample. And again, the W’s played better teams than the Cavs.

    • Good point, Cavs does triump over Warriors in all the advanced stats.

      http://stats.nba.com/#!?PlayerOrTeam=Team&StatType=Advanced

      It may have something to do with the opponents Cavs played too but neverthless seems like pretty impressive going by numbers as I have not seen them play in post season. But, I have to say warriors have already passed the test by playing against best D in business winning against Memphis.

    • http://stats.nba.com/league/team/#!/advanced/?sort=NET_RATING&dir=1

      Warriors are at 98.9, Cavs are at 98.5, obviously the Cavs having played considerably slower.

      • Thanks for this Bill. Interesting that the Cavs also have a better offensive rating than the Warriors, especially if it’s indeed true that they play slower. (I would be wary of relying on the pace stat, unless you’re prepared to fully analyze its intricacies, as well as the specific opponents each team faced.)

        I also need convincing that the injury decimated Grizzlies and Rockets were somehow tougher opponents than the Bulls and Hawks.

        • Game 5, rockets got as healthy Howard as ever possible from now on.

        • SonnyParker

          Feltbot,

          While we cannot prove that one team is better than another team in this context but I think the following is worth noting:

          1) You left out the Celtics-Pelicans comparison. The latter were clearly superior to the Cavs’ first round opponent.

          2) The Rockets were not “injury decimated.” Howard was injured for half of the first game and played a strong game 2 and after that he was fine. Both Beverley and Montejunas had been out for some while and the team had plenty of time to adjust (they also picked up Brewer mid-season). The key point is that the team was healthier for the Warriors series than they had been during most of the regular season when they were still able to ascend to 2nd place in the far tougher Western Conference.

          3) You curiously “forgot” to mention that the Hawks were absolutely decimated by injury. Millsap was in very bad form, Carroll was seriously injured early on, and Korver was out for half the series. Interesting…

          4) Memphis only lost Conley for the first game. And while Allen was out for half the series, his presence would have made little difference as the W’s figured out to expose his offensive liabilities.

          5) You also curiously “forgot” to mention that the many of the Bulls’ key players were suffering injuries of their own and in recovery (e.g. Rose, Noah, Gibson, and Heinrich). Noah had an especially poor series.

          • By your own (dubious) reasoning concerning Dwight Howard and Mike Conley (we won’t mention the Grizzlies only other wing defender, Tony Allen), DeMarre Carroll was perfectly healthy from Game 2 on. And Paul Millsap was healthy throughout (which is true, he simply got dominated). And the entire Bulls roster was healthy as well.

            By the time Korver got injured, the Cavs had already demonstrated utter dominance over the Hawks on their home floor. Korver went down with a minute to go in the 3rd Q of Game 2, with the Hawks getting their fannies spanked, 81-66, after having already dropped Game 1 97-89. So why is he relevant?

            The idea that the Rockets and Grizzlies were in the Hawks league this season, even when healthy, is tough to swallow. In the decimated state in which the Warriors met them… it’s laughable.

            But by all means, carry on. I think that’s the apt phrase.

          • And Felt, you didn’t mention Sefolosha being taken out by the NYPD before the playoffs began and Horford by the wrecking ball of St. Marys in a game the Hawks arguably may well have won, making a series of it.

  22. From an article on Steph and Pete Maravich in this mornings Chronicle:

    “Maravich, like Curry, could whip a crowd into a frenzy. In New Orleans, the Jazz were new and exciting, a nightly Mardi Gras in sneakers. Those Superdome crowds had much in common with the Oracle crowds in terms of appreciation, devotion and emotion. And Maravich and Curry could electrify a crowd without taking a shot.

    In many ways the two are nothing alike. Maravich was criticized as a guy who cared more about the show than about winning. He battled alcohol problems, was a party guy, was moody to a clinical degree and carried enormous personal demons. He seemed to live in his own universe, once painting an invitation to UFOs on the roof of his home.

    When Rich Kelley was a rookie, the veteran Maravich reached out to him.
    “Pistol went out of his way to welcome rookies,” Kelley said. “He wanted people to feel at home, and he liked to have a posse, and rookies make a good posse.”
    They went out drinking and, “I remember vaguely thinking, ‘Holy crap, I’m out drinking with Pete Maravich, and he’s acting very foolishly.’”
    Kelley, stressing that his is an amateur diagnosis, believes Maravich dealt with bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression.

  23. Hat/Sonny,

    I found Lee VS Green rebounding comp interesting. So did little digging. My perception before doing this is that warriors rebound better with Green than Lee on the floor even if Lee has better individual rebounding numbers than Green.

    So, checked 82games.com to see how team do with Green or Lee on the floor and off the floor.

    2014-15
    Green, warriors rebound 48.7% with net rtg of 0%.
    Lee, warriors rebound 48.5% and with net rtg of -0.3%
    http://www.82games.com/1415/14GSW9.HTM
    http://www.82games.com/1415/14GSW12.HTM

    2013-14
    Lee, warriors rebound 51.2%, netrtg of +2.5%
    Green, warriors rebound 49.5%, netrtg of -1.5%

    http://www.82games.com/1314/13GSW11.HTM
    http://www.82games.com/1314/13GSW12.HTM

    So, I think warriors are only slightly better to negligible level as a team with Green on the floor this year and better with Lee on the floor last year. Not much of an argument as who is better rebounder, I will call it a push, i.e. teams does about the same with either of them as PF.

    But, if Lee is not significantly making team better rebounding team with his worse defense, and not making team better with his offense either after he lost his outside shot, it is clear to me that Green makes team better as starting PF with his all NBA defensive credentials as PF to go with atleast his average rebounding. The other argument with Green as SF, I wouldn’t even want to go there, think Green’s average offense at PF makes him mediocre offensive player at SF. Lee even if used in PnR offense, the reality is that he is not the same player as last year, injuries or not, I think he regressed.

    My 2 cents.

    • SonnyParker

      Harry,

      Thanks for looking that up. I am wary of such stats but they aren’t completely useless, I’d like to add–just frequently overused.

      • SonnyParker

        I meant misused…

      • the obvious problems with those numbers, last season green and lee were on the court together for significant stretches, and overall lee played with stronger personnel on the floor. this season the personnel tilts heavily to d’mond of course, with many more minutes shared with bogut. our own eyes might provide more useful information, specifically, that lee’s lower body appears to have lost both strength and quickness, compared to most of his previous performances in a GS jersey.

    • With Bogut, Ezeli and Speights completely healthy this season, the Warriors dropped from 10th in the league in rebounding to 15th. From garnering 50.8% of available rebounds, to 49.8%. Why?

      If you guys can’t start your analysis by admitting that DLee is a better rebounder right now than Green will ever be in his career, then nothing you ever say can be credible.

      Steve Kerr improved this team by sacrificing rebounds for other tangible benefits. I recommend starting there.

      • SonnyParker

        A big part of the reason for this–in fact a major part–has nothing to do with David Lee. The reason why the rebound percentage went slightly down was primarily due to two factors:

        1) The W’s emphasized a far faster pace this year so they sent more players up court rather than staying back to gang rebound.

        2) The Warriors played a lot more small ball than last year and emphasized speed and mismatches over plodding iso. Smaller lineups usually equate to a lower rebound percentage.

        I realize that (but never understood why, frankly) you did an about face on small ball and strongly preferred that the Warriors revert back to the bigger and slower “traditional” lineups of last year. But the small ball lineups really worked well–especially the super small one with Draymond at the 5, which you argued against (if I remember correctly you argued on multiple occasions that Lee should close games at the 5 with Draymond at the 4). These smaller lineups give up a bit in rebounding but make up for it in other, more significant ways. In the Warriors’ case Kerr and Gentry’s genius decision to start smaller and go really small at times really demonstrated how effective small ball can be, in the form of a record setting and dominant season and romp (so far) through the post season.

        Forever live Small Ball!

        • I did not do an about face on smallball, any more than I think the Spurs, Thunder and Cavs — with the Warriors and Hawks the best Nellieball teams in the league — mismanaged their rotations this season. Those coaches know how to play both big and small, know the most effective position to play the strongest and most versatile defender on their teams, and know how to preserve the strength and health of their superstar stretch-4s.

          But thanks for reading.

        • SP, your points 1 & 2 above are correct, IMO, but do not negate or contradict the importance of rebounding in any type of offense nor subtract from the stats cited above by Feltbot.

  24. SonnyParker

    Hat,

    The reason why not one player, GM, or coach (past or present) would contend, as you have, that David Lee and McHale were comparable players is because they are not. This is but one example of why statistics can be so misleading. That you are relying on the simplistically simple rebounds and points per game stats to prove that the two players are comparable is rather unfortunate, I must say.

    I’m quite surprised that you think that these simple stats are more important than the considered opinions of actual players and coaches who are immersed in the game is rather “fan-centric,” wouldn’t you say?

    Similarly, your contention that Draymond simply improving his outside shooting would transform him into a player of the same stature as LeBron James seems to me to be an effort on your part to get a rise out of others. I can’t imagine any other explanation. In any event, I’m not falling for it!

    But more seriously, I was hoping for Draymond to get his 3pt % up to the 36-7% range before the season began and was disappointed that he was unable to do so–even after spending his entire summer devoted to just this. Some are able to improve their outside shot (see Dr. J, Magic, H. Barnes[!]); some are not (Iguodala, S. Livingston) and some even get worse (David Lee) although the latter is quite rare.

    • Thanks again for your undocumented, unverifiable opinions, SP!

      Unfortunately, most sportswriters share their opinions on the same basis, or they simply lend their voice to the echo chamber of popular opinion, to fill those mandatory column inches as easily as possible. That’s why I play here, instead of on some other blog.

      Re The Great King Draymond debate, I again urge you to free your mind. Here’s one way to do that: Don’t try to picture Dray with Cleveland or Championship Miami, imagine LBJ on this year’s Warriors team. Would he look for his own shot when he’s got open Splash Bros. + Barnes on the wings? Or would he play like… Draymond, distributing the ball to his great shooters? He’d make the right basketball decision, wouldn’t he? Just like Draymond.

      FWIW, James is shooting .176 from 3s during the playoffs, and has a career average of .342. Hmm. Dray shot 3s at .337 this year. Kind of a push, isn’t it? And I assume he’ll continue getting better at it, as he has so far throughout his career.

      So while your preconceptions prevent you from seeing any equivalencies, well, Dray and LBJ actually are more alike than they are different, throughout most aspects of their game. The big difference is offense. LBJ can create his own shot, Draymond not so much. So if Dray can close that gap… he’s the King. I’ll be interested to see if he can. As you say, hard work is not a cure-all.

      • SonnyParker

        Hat,

        I honestly didn’t think that you were serious. In any event, I thought that I was the one who held Draymond in the highest regard but you sure have me beat. All I can say is that I hope you’re right!

        • OK, maybe you’re right. LB James is a glowing, flying mythic being beyond human ken.

          Naw. For purposes of our discussion, he’s a superb ball player. So is Draymond. Except for that O thing. Which he’s working on.

        • cosmicballoon

          Um, Draymond plays mostly below the rim on offense. LeBron has been the biggest threat in the NBA for the past 10 years while attacking the rim. There is a big difference between their offensive capabilities.

          In terms of a playmaker, Draymond is very good and will continue to get better. However, he is not used like LeBron, nor can he carry a team offensively for entire games/series like LeBron does. I love Draymond and he is an integral piece to a championship contender. But the day he averages 30-10-9 in a playoff series (like LeBron did against the Hawks), is the day I admit you are right about the LeBron-Green comparisons.

          • Yes, the big difference is offense. It’s a BIG difference. Huuuuge.

            LeBron is an actual 6’8″, Draymond probably only about 6’5″. LeBron has a 40″ vertical leap, in a league that averages about 30″. Just guessing, but I doubt Dray’s vertical even reaches 30″. LBJ is currently listed at 250, Draymond at 230.

            But other than offense, both players have very similar playing styles, similar strengths, and perform many of the same functions for their teams.

            Obviously Dray’s not going to grow to 6’8″, or suddenly jump 10″ higher. But offense is (again obviously) about more than size and athleticism, and Curry (perhaps the best shooter ever) is the first to say that shooting/scoring is something you learn, and practice, and practice. It’s hard work. Draymond’s forte.

            So I don’t know. I think it’s quite possible for Dray to be the next LBJ – not physically, but in his impact on the whole game. He needs to continue improving his shooting/scoring. If it’s possible to earn and learn offense, Draymond will.

            I’m looking forward to seeing Green’s overall game impact in 3 years or so. How awesome will he be then?

        • Agree with hat. LeBron would certainly not look to score as much playing with Curry and Klay.

          Draymond does not have to be as proficient scorer as LeBron, because Draymond is playing with Curry.

          LeBron needs to score, playing with his supporting cast.

          That is the difference which could bring victory to the Warriors.

  25. That “open-minded man” article from The Onion you re-tweeted was sobering feltbot. I stopped half way through the article and just logged off your site

    • Just bought a 12 pack of the High Life, rzzz. Sure hope it makes it to Thursday, cause I got it for the games.

    • lol

    • it might be satirical (maybe .75 anyway) in its intent, but the reasons the character wants to reduce his time spent listening to rants are very similar to mine in regard to reducing time watching sports. my perspective on the games is mostly from reading, listening to game broadcasts, seeing a few video excerpts or analyses, plus selective sampling of the live broadcast video.

      • I’m the same way Moto. I still mainly keep up with Giants thru the newspaper.
        By the way, the Spock comment was a complement. I wasn’t a huge Trekkie but his measured way of responding to events was pretty commendable. Very analytical and somewhat Zen-like. He had sense of humor that many humanoids didn’t get, and your response near the top to SonnyP had me guffaw.

        I know you read Sakai, Moto. Did u ever see a tv show called “Dogfights”? It was probably on the history or military channel years back and they had great computer-generated re-enactments of aerial battles, including the P-38/39s vs the zeros. I used to watch it with my Father, who devoured stuff on the war. A lot of the shows were torturous to me, but that one was excellent

        • thank you, quite kind of you. have watched most of the reconstructions in the “Dogfights” program on the history channel. much of my war studies were prior to ’75, the restart of my undergrad schooling, and it is a guilty pleasure to watch video when one relied on imagination from written accounts before. my favorite installment was about the usmc ace who got his first kills when he was flying a douglas dauntless dive bomber, a slow two seater with just two front firing guns, plus another two light guns aimed rearward by the crew. in a single bombing mission he ends up in dogfights most of the day, during which he shoots down at least three enemy planes. he was assigned to fighters after that of course. imagine the ride his crew had on the bomber, faced backward and unable to see or anticipate most of what was going to happen.

          the p-38 and -39s were both unusual and unique for their time. none of the other twin engined fighters had essentially three fuselages and the long conjoined tail like the 38, beautiful lines of course from the renowned designer/engineer. the 39 didn’t do its best work in the Pacific, but flown by the soviets with its big center cannon used against ground targets.

          you have a beautiful beisbol park in your city, great that you can enjoy it. the much reviled O-co is more accessible for us, the tickets cheaper and easily available for the good seats. for very different reasons it’s quite a fine ball park experience in its own right. we get good take out from downtown and chinatown and have a very good selection of beer at the park to go with dinner.

          su padre grew up on Oahu, i.i.r.c. my mother was born there, with part of her childhood in the 20s and early 30s on the island.

          • My first car, Moto, was a 1964 VW Bug, and when you drive a gasoline powered mechanical contraption like that, sans digital electronics, you really get a feel for how it handles. How to downshift instead of break, how to squeeze between a bus and a car with inches to spare, smoke a cigarette and drink a beer with one finger on the wheel, it becomes second nature, and to me , a poor analogy to piloting a WWII fighting plane. With tracers beating down on you and a zero on your tail, those guys were heroes-both sides

            I’m looking at a framed Record of Service hanging just above my desk right now. It was my grandfathers, from serving in the “Hawaii Rifles, Organized Defense Volunteers, Central Pacific Area”. My dad used to tag along on their drills

            Honokaa was a town on the Big Island and a stopover for many if the Marine units returning from some of the Pacifics fiercest battles. A lot of the units came back in bad shape. My dad and his parents met many servicemen in town, most of whom were just mainland kids far from home, and brought them into their home for dinner, bought them cigarettes and alcohol, just tried to make them feel at home. One Xmas my grandmother hosted 15 GIs, buying them all gifts, and my then 8 yr old dad remained pen pals with one from Kansas into his teenage years. He also received Holiday cards from a couple onto the the 1970s. It was nice to know they really appreciated it

            One year my grandfather enlisted a marine to play Santa Claus for the schools kids. Unfortunately he imbibed too much Xmas cheer and passed out with a disappointed student in his lap

            My dad’s family also employed a Japanese-American maid who was really part of the family. She came back in tears from town one day, and my grandfather dragged her back to point out the perpetrators. It was a marine, and my grandfather, came back with a black eye. But she was just as American as anyone else

            After the war, my dad and his parents moved to Papailoa road in Haleiwa, on the North Shore, and one more interesting war tie-in, three of the only 5 fighters ( there s debate on this) were took off from an airfield a couple of miles from Haleiwa ( they were P-40s. My dad never misidentified a plane. He collected plane cards instead of baseball cards as a youth). My brothers and I played on that airfield as kids in the 70s. The weeds were growing over our heads, and I got my first look at a Playboy magazine found among the rubbish

            Moto, maybe you’ve already read it, but my dad also introduced me to the American take of the battle for the skies in WWII, it’s “the Cactus Airforce” by Miller, it’s really just as good. Thanks!

          • I have a feeling you probably know this Moto, but I guess I forgot to say 3 of the 5 US fighters that managed to get airborne, 12/7/41.

            I wonder if even 50% of today’s teens could name the country that spearheaded the Pearl Harbor attack. Maybe I’m selling them short, or maybe it’s just the fact I’m getting older, but the Greatest Generation is fading away, like all generations, I guess.

          • read “Cactus Air Force” decades ago. with your family connection and memories, hope you’ve had a chance to see the mini series, “the Pacific” about that theatre of war, based on two first person accounts from marines, enlisted guys not officers. the individuals behind the books which were the source of the scripts were quite different ; after the war, one became a well regarded newspaper writer and author of popular and children’s histories, the other a college professor in the sciences.

            the spielberg film, “Saving Pvt. Ryan”, and the mini series on the war in europa, “Band of Brothers” both got more hype and attention than “the Pacific”, but for me the latter was more truthful in the way it showed the hardships and cruelties. essentially the same units of marines were used over and over in the amphibious assaults on the occupied islands because the least experienced were the most likely to get killed or wounded, and no amount of training could prepare teenagers and very young junior officers for what they had to face. the commanders simply decided their best chance for success was to keep using the most experienced marines until they were dead, wounded, or totally exhausted, counting on another percentage to learn enough after one or two battles to survive and replace the more experienced who became casualties. certainly there was horrific carnage on the beaches in Normandy (though spielberg’s version doesn’t really surpass the classic black and white “the Longest Day”), a significant part of “Saving Pvt.Ryan”, but meanwhile the same marine units endured comparable landings on Guadalcanal followed by Tarawa followed by Iwo and Okinawa, without getting thanks from the liberated citizens of villages and cities in France, Belgium, the Netherlands. my sixth grade teacher, by far my best instructor in elementary school, was a marine in those campaigns when he was 20 years old, showed us a photo or two but talked very little about it.

            two of the best classic films on that war were directed by Samuel Fuller. the old infantry sergeant portrayed by Lee Marvin in a perfect role for him in “the Big Red One” is based on Fuller himself, who served in that unit through some of the toughest battles including Normandy, right through liberating a concentration camp. fuller’s other war masterwork is “Merrill’s Marauders” about the largely overlooked, grueling campaign in Burma.

  26. If you’re Cleveland, tell me why you don’t put Kyrie on Barnes?

    • Barnes can easily post and dunk over ?? They will do that anyway as Barnes is the easiest of 3 to pick.

      Related question, would Draymond get Tony Allen’s treatment or may be Kyrie will guard him, may be both are same. Hope they try that, because I think Draymond is primed to break out from his 3PT shooting slump.

      • As much as possible I think they want Barnes and Draymond to beat them from outside. Barnes needs to be more aggressive with his 3pt shots IMHO. How many did he shoot in the entire WCF? He should be firing up 5-6 per game, at least.

        • Agree, at the worst he will make 1 of 3 which is still good enough to keep the defenses honest.

        • Conversely, do you think warriors should leave Lebrin open at 3 pt line. Think that can be dangerous, what if Lebron finds shot.

    • Hadn’t occurred to me, but read Feltbots tweet above.

    • person x interested in team y often has little effect on how those wishes materialize. l.aldridge interested in SA for obvious reasons and his college ties is similarly based on what he and his agent fantasize, not what popovich and buford will be looking for.

      should kerr decide to hire shaw, his staff would have two triangle assistants if walton stays on.

    • No way, not going to happen, I think, I hope NOT.

  27. SonnyParker

    Feltbot,

    Referring to #23 (I was unable to reply there) and whether the W’s had an “easier” path to the Finals as you claim. I will “carry on” with my putatively “utterly idiotic” reasoning as you suggest:

    1) The Cavs had an easier first round opponent–that’s unquestionable.

    2) Dwight Howard was not “playing on one leg” as you continually (and falsely) claimed. In fact, here’s what Rotoworld had to say:

    “Howard went off for 19 points and 17 rebounds during Game 2’s loss, so there’s absolutely no reason to think he won’t be in uniform for a crucial Game 3 in Houston. His probable tag would suggest he didn’t experience any setbacks during his 40 minutes of action on Thursday, and Houston will need all they can get from Dwight if they hope to climb out of their current 0-2 hole.”

    And then…

    “Even though Howard missed half of the team’s regular season games due to a problematic knee, the Rockets aren’t concerned about the 29-year-old’s long-term health. Howard finished the 2014-15 season strong with a solid playoff performance”

    In fact, I checked every report and there was not one mention of the phantom injury you keep referring to.

    3) DeMarre Carroll was nowhere near “perfectly healthy” as you claim. Again, Rotoworld report:

    “DeMarre Carroll, who suffered a sprained knee during the series vs. the Cavaliers, was also dealing with turf toe.
    Carroll said that if the injury happened during the regular season that he probably would have missed three to four weeks. He also added that he couldn’t put any pressure on his left leg and couldn’t get any elevation when he jumped, so it shows just how tough of a player he really is.”

    4) Contrary to your claim that Paul Millsap was completely healthy; again, here’s Rotoworld’s report:

    “A report on Tuesday suggested that Millsap, an impending free agent, may need offseason surgery to repair his sprained right shoulder. The injury clearly plagued him throughout the playoffs — he led the Hawks with 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds during the regular season but was down to just 13.8 points on 34.9 percent shooting vs. the Cavs in the Conference Finals. We should have a medical update within a few weeks.”

    5) The Hawks team that faced Cleveland and was absolutely decimated by injuries (and far more so than either Houston or Memphis) were clearly not in a league above either of these teams as you laughably claim. And why did you refer to the regular season to “justify” this. We are talking about the *postseason* here.

    6) Why does Korver’s injury somehow not count because the Hawks lost at home? Wierd and bizarre reasoning.

    Feltbot, there’s my 2 cents. You might want to try “utterly idiotic” reasoning like me sometime!

    • Did I write somewhere that the Warriors had an easier path to the Finals than the Cavs? Or is that yet another product of your fevered imagination? I believe I have been simply countering your assumption that the Cavs had the easier path, something not at all clear to me.

      As for the rest, I think it’s best if from now on I simply follow Mary’s excellent example: “Oh, ok.”

      • rgg wrote that, repeatedly. Readers get confused.

      • Except first round, Cavs has played two very good teams to reach finals in Bulls and Hawks.

      • SonnyParker

        Feltbot,

        I must confess that I am now confused! I was trying to show you that the Cavs had an easier path. You countered this assertion (by your own admission) and made omissions and some false claims about injuries in doing so. I was simply alerting you to this and explaining why I stood by my claim. This was hardly the product of a “fevered imagination.” And I do appreciate that you fully accepted my counter-arguments!

  28. Even with Klay, Curry and Draymond have to play at the top of their game, every game to beat the Cavs.

    I think The King, JR, TT, and the Shump certainly will at the top of their game. The King will make sure of it.

    I think the crucible of the Championship game, internationally televised, MVP to MVP mano-a-mano will forge the best Curry and Draymond seen to date and a Championship series for the ages.

    • wouldn’t that be great.

    • The 2 Warriors MVPs, the head line MVP and the under cover MVP, vs the Cavs MVP.

      Together, at the top of their game, Curry and Draymond have it in them to defeat The King.

  29. Cleveland has the advantage playing
    at a slower pace because of their ability to
    get to the foul line more than the Warriors.

    The Warriors will be be more successful
    playing up-tempo and running,
    as that should increase their
    shooting percentage and result in getting
    to the foul line, but such advantages
    will be slightly decreased by an increase
    in turnovers.

    The Warriors with Curry, Barnes, Green,
    and Livingston do have an advantage in
    quickness that should lead to the Warriors
    garnering more loose balls and causing
    deflections.Irving is the only Cleveland
    player that has some quickness.

    Cleveland blitzing Curry should lead
    to a Warrior advantage as it leaves other
    warriors wide open. Besides no defense
    can limit Curry given his quick release,
    his ability to step back, dribble to an open
    Spot, and for picks and screens to be set
    to thwart blitzing.

    Your suggestion of the Warriors playing a
    box and one, with Bogut and Green down
    Low with Barnes on James is just plain
    foolish and ignores Nelson’s basic rule that
    Center always be the rim protector. And
    Bogut lacks the ability to get out and stop
    the corner three. More likely, Adam’s will
    employ an odd three man inside zone.

    I would like to the Warriors extend their
    defense outward so they can disrupt Cleveland
    plays, get more steals, and limit three
    Pointers. However, would be surprised if
    Warriors did so.

    I really think that Adam’s will use Bogut,
    Ezelli, green and Lee as his interior defenders.
    Speights defense is so bad even decent
    Shooting should not warrant him getting
    Significant playing fine.

    Lee will garner Off.rebounds and thus add
    scoring opportunities. Also, his scoring
    should help. Green and Lee should more
    than offset T. Thompson on the offensive
    boards.

  30. Lee’s defenses io be sorely needed
    in this series.

  31. Last try, maybe, and I’ll put it another way. Anyone who has watched the Warriors the past years, which looks to be all of us, knows what I’m talking about. We’ve suffered from not an inferiority complex, though we’ve been there, but a just-not-that-good complex. It’s a disease.

    No one thought the We Believe team would go all the way, and they went out the next round. There were teams we always looked up to—the Lakers and Celtics, etc. the past decades—who we didn’t think we had a chance of beating except with a few breaks on an exceptional night and certainly couldn’t beat in a series. If we do win, we overlook injuries and the breaks or the fact that it was an odd occurrence. Tell me you ever thought our chances of beating the Spurs @ San Antonio were ever good or are still good, which they haven’t done in how many games?

    Ah, but they beat the Spurs one game in the series a few years back! You see? You see? Pops manages series like he manages seasons. He didn’t need that game.

    You know what I’m talking about.

    The past few years the teams have been Memphis, San Antonio, and OKC in the west, and Chicago and whatever team Lebron is playing for in the East. Boston is rebuilding and the Lakers have self-destroyed. This might (finally) be the year the Spurs decline because of health and age. We’ll never know. I think they take full strength Memphis this year, but they didn’t get a chance. Don’t tell me Allen didn’t matter—that’s a symptom of the disease. I think they take full strength Houston, but we didn’t get a chance and I’m not convinced they were top tier for a variety of reasons, mostly bad fits and cohesiveness. Of course we never got a chance to see a Durant and Westbrook OKC, and I’m not sure we take them. We’ll never know. Both Atlanta and Chicago stumbled down the stretch, and not just because of injury. So we’ll never know there. And I greatly regret the Cavs didn’t see them full strength, hitting on all cylinders.

    By all appearances, the Cavs are now very, very good, however. But the evidence of the regular season, especially for the Warriors, is ambiguous, as the discussion above shows. So we finally have a contest that might help us know how good the Warriors are.

    I want to see clear. I want fulfillment. I want to break free of the chains of doubt. I want to walk in the sunshine. If they beat Miami, these happen, or happen well enough. (I’m debating how much to take away if Irving can’t play or or can’t play well.)

    • rgg, go walk in the sunshine. Seriously. You don’t need bball for that.

    • Make that Cleveland in the last paragraph. I still got Lebron in Miami.

    • Maui Nellie

      rgg, I think it’s sad to think that any long time Warriors fan would somehow have the desire to take a magnifying-glass-approach to their incredible 2014-2015 season with the mindset of trying to minimize what their accomplishments were, and make no mistake, their accomplishments were historic.

      GSW’s 67 regular season wins tied them with the Celtics, Bulls, and Lakers for 6th on the list of most regular season wins in NBA history.

      The Warriors made a shambles of the Western Conference standings, winning the West by 11 games. For all the injuries that occurred to other West teams this season those teams were still strong enough to prove formidable and a handful for opponents on most nights, a fact quite apparent in the final conference standings. All told, 7 teams finished with 50+ wins, and 2 others finished tied with 45 wins. That’s 9 teams that finished at least 8 games over .500 for the season.

      To further the point of overall strength in the West, there were 6 teams that finished with winning road records and 6 teams that finished with at least 30 home wins. Injuries or not, the West was again a tough row to hoe, and the Warriors distanced the competition.

      Were the Warriors lucky on the injury front this season, or were they so good that that led to their low number of injuries? The fact that Steph sat out so many 4th quarters because of huge Warriors leads meant that minutes played by everyone this season, but especially the starting 5, was way down from seasons past. While no guarantee, the formula of less minutes + fresher legs = fewer injuries would probably hold true more often than not. Their historic double-digit point differential this season definitely, imo, played a role in their relative health over the course of 82 games. Yes, the Warriors were so healthy, in part, because they were so good.

      Since the playoffs began the Warriors are 12-3 but one loss (Game 2 vs Memphis) was the “MVP Fog Game” where the whole team was still basking in the group celebration of Steph’s award from the day before, and one loss (Game 4 vs Houston) was a “mail-in game” after the team went up 3-0 in the series to all but guarantee a trip to the Finals. All another way of pointing out that their historic regular season dominance has continued almost non-stop right into postseason play to this point.

      The Dubs have won 79 games this season, and if they can find a way to win 4 more they will officially be crowned the best team in the NBA for the 2014-2015 season, an honor that will be richly deserved and historic (there’s that word again) in many ways. That should be more than enough “sunshine” for any long time Warriors fan. In fact, for me, I’ll be loading up on the sunscreen. :)

  32. Why I’ve about had it with the NBA and the whole culture:

    “Under Armour took steps last month to protect its investment in NBA MVP Stephen Curry. The shoe and apparel company, which signed Curry in 2013 after Nike passed on matching its competitor’s offer, filed to trademark a bevy of terms related to the Golden State Warriors guard who will play in his first NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.Under Armour has tried to trademark ‘Charged By Belief’ and other slogans related to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.”

    http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2015/story/_/id/12991363/under-armour-files-stephen-curry-related-trademarks

    • Riley (TM) children’s apparel I suspect is next.

    • curry’s shoe/apparel brand probably pays him .25, possibly less, than what the big kahuna pays l-b-j and durant($25-35 m. each), leaving the arrogance (will be a billionaire soon if not already) in his own category.

      it some ways it was a refreshing contrast that curry and his family didn’t hold out for a mega deal. considering what l-b-j’s and durant’s shoes get for their leviathan ($500 m. or more in annual sales just for their brands), curry’s owner is ‘exploiting’ him.

  33. Maui Nellie

    “Seven Questions That Will Shape The NBA Finals” (Zach Lowe)

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/seven-questions-that-will-shape-the-nba-finals/

    • Interesting. Unlike this Nervous Nellie, Lowe seems pretty confident in the Warriors – as long as Draymond stays out of foul trouble.

      • And this is where nerves might come into play–too many fouls in the first game or two would be disastrous.

      • Zach Lowe basically basing it on many factors but main factor, Kyrie and JR Smith’s D.

        “Do you trust the combination of Irving and Smith to suss out even the routine Curry–Klay Thompson screening actions that dot every Warriors possession?”

  34. SonnyParker

    Feltbot,
    (Referring to #25)

    Sorry, but I think that there was a misunderstanding here. I was referring to your longstanding criticism of the W’s using Draymond to start at the 4 and close at the 5. I know you have long been preoccupied with concerns that Draymond could not handle either of these roles and called for the W’s to start with a traditional (and very much non-Nellie smallball) big lineup with DLee at the 4. Your concerns were clearly and consistently stated:

    1) That Draymond could not deal with the physical toll.

    2) That Draymond (again, starting at the 4 and closing at 5) was ill-suited defensively–and in terms of rebounding–to be able to handle some of the top contenders and their so-called “monster” front lines.

    Both of these concerns have been clearly proven to be unwarranted over and over. Given that the Warriors set historically high standards of excellence and dominance over the entire course of the season deploying these very same small ball lineups you warned against–and then romping through the WC playoffs–it is clear that Kerr’s Nellieball approach (including the extreme small-ball Green at 5 lineup) worked brilliantly. That Draymond–as should have been expected–easily handled the physical toll is further proof of this. Moreover, his widely recognized emergence as one of the top interior defenders in the entire league further justifies Kerr sticking to core Nellieball principles.

    Perhaps my referring to your “about face” on Nellieball was misleading and I apologize if so. But, frankly, I was quite shocked to see you so consistently and doggedly criticizing Kerr’s full adoption and application of small ball given your long history of vehemently advocating for just that. Given the unprecedented success of Warriors small ball this season I fairly expected you to be romping through the Oakland hills shouting with glee.

    Indeed, Kerr and company were able to fully validate what I thought you were precisely campaigning for all of these years. Yet, instead, I mostly heard a steady drumbeat of criticism and frequent calls (as late as the Memphis series!) for a return to the “old school” and traditional big starting lineup from the Mark Jackson era. I’m sure that you can understand my bewilderment and confusion in this regard!

    • d’mond will someday be paying the physical bill for his toil against larger masses in motion and collision. the season has already gone on for more games than any member of the team other than barbosa has had to play. if they don’t lighten his load, and the team continues to go three rounds or more in the post season for successive years, something will be breaking down in d’mond’s body during his next contract.

      relying on players like speights, or drafting guys like kuzmic isn’t the way to lighten his load, either. there was something weird going on with kerr and ezeli during the season, as well. the coach has been fortunate that ezeli has responded so well in the playoffs, considering what little preparation his coach provided him in games before.

    • Agree with moto and rgg. The bell will toll for Green. If Warriors had an Ed Davis, I would probably start him at the 4 and Green at the 3, eventually Ezeli at the 5, if healthy. I’m sorry this relegates Barnes to coming off the pine. He shoots well and will improve in all areas of his game.

      Or continue as is to take advantage of Barnes scoring and diminish Draymond prematurely. This is a valid option as well.

      Depends how a guy is utilized. Magic could play the 4, so could LeBron and does in certain line-ups in certain junctures.

      No one is saying Green would not play some 4 (or Barnes either, who I think is a superior Stretch 4 to Green and Green a superior 3 to Barnes).

      • The bell will not toll no more than say for a Lebron or Bosh as undersized C or Milsap or David West to name few.Anyone can get injured but Green’s D mostly consists of anticipation and getting into position early.

        • I don’t consider Bosch under sized for a center.

          Correct about LeBron and Milsap, though both have an inch and 20 lbs on Draymond.

          • SonnyParker

            Marc, moto, and rgg,

            Thanks for your responses. I wasn’t talking about 3 or 4 years from now; I was talking about this year. Wasn’t that clear? In any event, ALL small ball lineups face this same potential problem (and the criticisms against it). Always have. The only thing different is that now this is even less of a potential problem as more teams play smaller and on the perimeter. And there are fewer interior “monsters” than ever. And remember, Feltbot put out yet another plea (as he has done all season) for Kerr to consider going bigger and insert Lee into the starting lineup when they were down 2-1 against Memphis. And yet again, Feltbot’s call for Kerr to quit the “small ball stuff” was unwarranted as the W’s easily swept the next three games.

            Feltbot’s putative concern for Draymond’s health is quite odd not only because of how young and tough he is–but also because he was pushing for the much older and highly injury prone Lee to replace him at the 4 and then the 5. So this doesn’t make any sense at all.

            Indeed, Feltbot seemed to change his mind quite significantly for reasons that I’m not sure about. As we all know, Feltbot has been one of the best advocates for that for some time now. However, this small ball evangelist is now pulling out the exact same arguments that the traditionalists used to denigrate small ball. Rather perverse I’d say.

            The question I was hoping would be answered was whether Feltbot is abandoning his small ball advocacy for good–or at least dialing it back heavily (i.e. pushing for a version of “medium ball”)?

          • SP, not easy questions to answer, because small ball is not a full time occupation and is roster dependent, from how I understand the concept. For example, Feltbot advocated starting Bogut and playing him the first part of the first and third quarters, which is what Kerr basically ended up doing.

            Miami utilized a small ball concept, though I consider Bosch a legit center.

            Some say small ball is a legit 5 with a smallish 4, if so, that’s what Miami did (Bosh and LeBron) and the Warriors (Bogut and Draymond).

            A definite non-small ball line-up would be Bogut and DLee at the 5 and 4.

            For me, the ideal is to start a traditional 5 with a traditional 4 and utilize small ball as well. How much small ball and how much traditional would depend on the strengths of the roster.

            For the Warriors as currently constructed and operated, Green will play a lot of 4 in a “Miami” concept. Ezeli will a bigger center role, if his knees hold-up.

  35. from what i’ve seen this season warriors in six, or five if curry and thompson catch fire for a game or two together. they are simply much better at every thing.
    the smith/irving duo is just atrocious on defense, and when it will come to tons of picks warriors run, they will get lost.irving is still unlearned in that part of the game, and smith knows everything to the tune of single thing – shoot. if you aksed the dude how to deal with crisis of capitalism, he would answer: shoot. americans would love that answer, and here’s is the problem. you can’t shoot throught the crisises of your defense when thompson and curry dances upon your shadows.
    shumpert? yeah, ok, for how long, though? this is not half legged atlanta and no offense to your sacked offense chicago (i saw boston shoot many open threes, but they are not a good shooting team). you want to tell me cleveland can get with mozgov, thompson and shumpert as their scoring challenged three players to outdefend the warriors, who will, by all acounts, have only one non-scoring player on the floor at all time? who is this lebron guy? is he a god?
    nah, he isn’t. warriors are last years spurs in versatility and this years champions in youth and agility. unless i know shit, on paper this cavs team is just not better than last years spurs, no way, den har ingenting.
    you want to also tell me that green will not be able to hold his own against thompson – green, the heart of the heart of a champion of competitiveness? bogut will be outplayed by mozgov? the random bench of old dudes and half fits will outplay our core that has come into its own in these playoffs? nah, ikke happening. so, who is this lebron dude? is he a god? ok, for those who don’t know, there isn’t one, so by (s)way of simple aristotelian sylogism: from a) is lebron a god? and b) there are no gods; follows c) lebron is not a god.
    i give a combination of curry and green the same amount of impact on the game as lebron and (hobbled kyrie thrown in for reasons of symetry) (with due respect to a king, for there, in fall and demise of capitalism, there still are some, but no god – with couple of fee-free points thrown in, though i do not believe in kings neither, albeit their existence is sadly still littering the view of this earth i have from my rooms in interstellar space). ok, wash that.
    the rest of cavs is just less, marginally in each position and impact, which sums up into quite a disadvantage.
    warriors will play the passing lanes, the swithces, of which they are the masters this seasons, and there’s no team better at virtual ability to stop lebron than gsw, even if he beats the perimeter defense, he will run into walls. the dude will be dead tired by fourth game. and frustrated. as all gods and kings become in due time.
    other than lebron, cavs have no consistent punisher in their game, no combos of half punishers, and i do not for one second believe that smiths and james johnsons of the world will amount to anything more that statistics against warriors defense.
    and wariors offense? they will slice and dice the cavs, who faced untested, just plain shitty and traumatized offenses this postseason.
    oh, and warriors will run run run this place red.
    at the end of the series there will be blogs, topics etc. with headlines: the king is dead, long live the king! with curry holding mvp and sharing it with all, his splash brother, the soon to become greener green, aussie chap bogut, iguana (why is this not his nickname – “Iguanas have great vision and can see shapes, shadows, colors, and movement at long distances. Iguanas use their eyes to navigate through crowded forests, as well as for finding food. They use visual signals to communicate with other members of the same species”?) iguodala and his friend of the bench david the other lee.
    but i will not see curry as king, for i know better that you win against kings not by establishing new ones, but by decentralizing the power. so curry will be, with all his faults, my robespierre.
    now, let the thermidorians come.

    • *picks and screens

    • I love this post, Martin!

      • thank you, i gave it a hard fought try, being a fan of late beckettian fiction type prose, it’s kinda unusual for me to assume styles sport writers, bloggers and fans (i am a fan, but a silent one, unless some hand waving, joyfull middle finger pointing at the screen or voicelessly chanting warriors warriors in the middle of the night counts as sound and fury) have. but i try at times.

        in other news: Warriors guard Klay Thompson says he’s “99.9 percent sure” he will play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals

        i see klay follows the truth that states, that nothing in life is 100 percent, except for some abstract mathematics. good on him. i’m a fan of this kind of wisom.

    • it has been a true pleasure to make your acquaintance and enjoy your writing, martin. we are privileged here to share a hoops blog with an atheist philosopher/artist in residence. is your mother tongue Danish ?

      lacob and gilbert are the kings and oligarchs. here on the earthly realm we might not have to believe in them, but can’t avoid acknowledging their place. the u.s. of a. could end up with a third Bush as presidente, after all, when evidence suggests he would probably be the worst one yet. l-b-j, the demi god curry, d’mond, and the other mercenary performers/servitors are archbishops, grand marshals (ueber-knights), and knights . the hoi polloi have to consider the player/servitors as kings, put on the branded shoes and apparel, to believe they have similar possibilities and avoid confronting the ugly truth of how venal, mendacious, predatory the true oligarch/rulers are.

      for me the best moment in the scott film Prometheus was how the idealistic scientists had to come to terms with both their oligarch sponsor, and who the gods they believed were benevolent or at least indifferent life givers truly were.

      • my mother tongue, which i betray more and more often is lietuviu kalba. lithuanian. since i’m making bits and pieces (like a door or a window) of norway look nicer, i pick up some language. very unwillingly, for i think knowing 3 languages is enough for me and my brain, and the part i love/d about walking through oslo is not knowing a damn thing people speak about. i prefer to watch,listen to sounds and enjoy my beer or coffee or tea and a book if i need company of language when i’m there.
        i’m well aware of bread and games politics being run through ages. and support popular democracy movements fighting against centralizations of power. in words mostly, not actions. and if i had to make a choice of either being able to play and enjoy basketball or watch it, i know pretty well what i would choose. so while i admire athletes, musicians or writers, there’s nothing changing the pleasure and worth of however little and insignificant musings you can do for and by yourself. like when i hit or pass for a three to win 21 to 19, it just simply is better than seeing game winners, in a broader and more practical realm of things. but it’s cool with me to play a fan. i wouldn’t though pay 10s of thousands to watch games live, ever. it’s always interesting to see people talk about how there’s no money in economics, when such things happen. there’s no money for you, little john, there are for joe, though, right.

    • Very nice, Martin.

      I think we write these things simply to maintain perspective, if not sanity. The spin and stories from the national, and even local media, are always bad. Should the Warriors lose—and I’m not saying they will—or even if they win, I’m staying away from the press.

      The Warriors are looking for a mascot—maybe the iguana?

      • yes yes press stories (and press should have been the watchdog of democracy, but i guess the degree of press competence shows the degree to which democracy has deteriorated), reformulating the old slogan ”in simplicity lies the genius” to in ”in dumbness lies the cash”.

        i think iguanas kill too little, if any, to get throught to the competitive sports’ animal kingdom. do you think the bull would have passed if not for torture induced rage against the matadors?!

        • our press, publishing and the media in general, not to mention academia were all effectively muzzled as democracy monitors, with long lasting after effects still apparent today, during the ‘red scare’ of the late 40s through the Dulles bros. administration (a.k.a. eisenhower/nixon). the press would like to exhibit the Pentagon papers or nixon’s ultimate downfall as symbols of their independence, but the damage was done and permanent ; nixon and reagan both winning two terms, one obvious sign. abroad, it was more obvious, with the Dulles bros. installing their guys in places like the Congo, Iran, Viet Nam.

  36. Maui Nellie

    Teacher to Curry: “I love you but don’t ever visit my high school”

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/teacher-curry-i-love-you-dont-ever-visit-my-high-school

  37. Pelicans hire 2nd ex-Warriors coach:

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25202657/report-pelicans-hiring-darren-erman-as-associate-head-coach

    It could be big fun if Mark Jackson calls Pellies-Warriors games next year. I wonder if Erman is a caterpillar.

    • no surprise with erman’s career trajectory without the preacher as his boss. both he and adams are from the thibodeau ‘coaching tree.’ considering how rivers received his only big ring, rather surprising that he hasn’t employed its fruits yet.

      • Let’s hope Gentry wanted him.

        • Ouch. Hadn’t even considered the possibility of otherwise, rgg.

          Of course it’s possible that NO mgt. chose Erman without consulting Gentry, but that would be high-handed and weird. Experienced coaches almost always get to select their own assistants.

  38. Warriors advantage in this series is
    it’s half-court quick paced and original
    offensive system v. Cleveland’s boring
    system. If the Warriors can execute and
    and shoot a high percentage of
    their shots and keep turnovers at a
    reasonable number, they can win. But
    I listed a number of ifs, including Green,
    Barnes, and Lee, all having to shoot well.

    But make no mistake, Cleveland has a
    better offensive roster beginning with
    Irving, James, and Smith all being better
    then Curry, Thompson, and Green, under
    normal circumstances. But Irving is clearly
    hurt, but such be clear as the series
    goes on.

    Lee should be a key guy in this series as he
    provides offensive scoring opportunities
    via offensive rebounds. He played extremely
    well scoring against Cleveland in last
    game teams met, and he will
    be helpful when James enters the paint. I
    want Green on James outside and Lee ready
    for him inside. Don’t want to see Barnes
    on James outside and James throwing
    the ball over Green’s head to Thompson for
    a dunk, when Green comes to confront
    James in the paint. Want lee inside,
    Green on James outside.

    Regardless of above, any analysis is not
    Worth much if key player or players on
    either team are just off their game.

    Hopefully Kerr realizes how important Lee
    is to the Warriors winning the championship.

    Game one will hopefully tell us something.

    • “But make no mistake, Cleveland has a
      better offensive roster beginning with
      Irving, James, and Smith all being better
      then Curry, Thompson, and Green, under
      normal circumstances. But Irving is clearly
      hurt, but such be clear as the series
      goes on.”

      Irving is better than Curry offensively? In what way exactly?

  39. And Klay has been cleared for Game 1:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_28236565/warriors-klay-thompson-expects-be-cleared-later-tuesday

    It’s completely possible he’s OK and ready to go. His symptoms, at least from the reports, weren’t serious after the first day.

    We’ll find out what he’s made of—his wiring, not his character.

    • warriorsablaze

      It’ll certainly be interesting. How will his brain react to the loudest arena in the league?

      • thompson’s shooting pct. has generally been better at home than away. the pressures and distractions of the occasion is somewhat different than a big, loud home crowd. there’s no one on the roster who has played in a finals ; in college, lee went the furthest in the tournament, but his coach will keep him sidelined unless pushed by fouls or injury. d’mond probably went as far in college as anyone else.

  40. Key to hampering James effectiveness
    Is to pick him up as he crosses mid court
    and to make him dribble further out then
    he wants to or receive pass further away
    From basket. Don’t think Warriors will
    disrupt what he likes to do. To bad.

  41. I think when push comes shove, probably during crunch time, Draymond ends up defending The King, and The King winds up defending Curry.

    But the Shump is no slouch.

  42. Marc: With Green on James, whose inside on
    t. Thompson? Barnes? Iggy? Lee? I prefer the later.

    • The thing about TThompson is to prevent him from offensive boarding. Right? DLee, as a skilled and proficient defensive rebounder, would effect that. Barnes could effect it as well by screening TT off, though I’m not sure of Barnes knowledge and skill in that regard. That takes some experience, unless you’re a guy like Green who spent 4 years in college under a guy like Izzo.

      Perhaps Ezeli is an adapt choice to play alongside Green against the LeBron and TT “small ball” line-up. I *think* he can run the court well enough.

  43. If Lee playing he’ll help offset some
    T. Thompsons’s offensive rebounds.
    No one is keeping Thompson off
    the boards as opponents won’t know
    where’s coming from.

    Fairly clear that with Irving limited, James
    will be the point guard tomorrow night.
    One key to the outcome is for the
    Warriors to make a concerted effort
    not to put James at the foul line 10
    times, and not give up three point plays
    by fouling. Lot’s of luck.

  44. hey felt, I agree that curry has struggled against long superstar athletes. do you have any stats or thoughts on how he fared when guarded by Anthony Davis?

  45. The investigative reporter who took down FIFA:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/06/03/how-a-curmudgeonly-old-reporter-exposed-the-fifa-scandal-that-toppled-sepp-blatter/?postshare=8461433337571899

    Way between the lines: The corruption of European law enforcement.

    Not so between the lines: the reason why all media is corrupt, but especially sports media.

  46. How warriors defenders fared against Lebron ‘s 42 pts.

    LeBron James – Primary Offensive Matchups
    LeBron scored 42 points in the only game he played against the Warriors this season. Andre Iguodala was primarily tasked with guarding LeBron in that game.

    Defender Time FG% 3P% eFG% Fouls Drives Drive Pts Pts
    A. Iguodala 7:41 6-11 (54.5%) 3-5 (60.0%) 68.2% 3 7 5 16
    H. Barnes 4:15 2-3 (66.7%) 0-1 (0.0%) 66.7% 1 6 2 8
    D. Green 1:05 2-2 (100.0%) 0-0 (0.0%) 100.0% 1 1 1 5
    K. Thompson 0:59 2-4 (50.0%) 1-2 (50.0%) 62.5% 0 1 0 5

  47. I don’t think anyone can logically argue that the Monta-Bogut trade didn’t work out well for the Warriors.
    But that won’t stop em from tryin..

    I read Sakai’s book probably 25 years ago Moto, so parts of it are hazy, though I have an excellent memory. I think I just mistakenly assumed that the newer p-39 was the plane that turned the tides in the US favor. But your comments got me poking around, and it seems it was the Hellcat. Anyway, that book deserves another read

    “Lone Survivor” is a great book (they made a movie out of of, starring Mark Wahlberg. I didn’t see it). 4 special-ops guys get dropped of on some God-forgotten rocky crag one Afghani night, and while doing a bit of re-con on the local War lord, a mountain goat herder stumbles into their midst. It’s a moral dilemma and the guys have to decide to end his life or not. They let him walk and their situation goes from precarious to fatal
    They keep showing scenes from that San Andreas movie during the games. I can’t watch. An hour long earthquake destroy SF isn’t my idea of a good time. I’d be in the back of my parents Dodge Dart as a kid, crossing the GG bridge, and while others enjoyed the sunset or the city views, I’d just be thinking of the roadway buckling and collapsing, and the car plunging into the ocean. It’s a character trait I’ve carried over to adulthood.

    • Also, that will.i.an “song” they play at the start of the games is pretty painful (I caught myself humming the baby-baby part just now)
      It’s right up there with ‘I love the Coco’ in terms of musicality

      • that song grew on me pretty quick. The part I find myself humming is oh my lordy, oh my goodness. And what a great line: I’m too Gucci…awesome.

        This is awesome
        And you know it.

        I think it’s a perfect fit for the finals!

      • Our society’s continued march toward purely being told what to do/enjoy is no better illustrated than by popular music. What would once be immediately brushed away as garbage is increasingly being accepted as quality content.

        • Kind of insulting, don’t you think? The last time someone told me what to do or enjoy, I sent them off to box with rzz.

    • the P-38, 39, 40 were all designed before the war started. the 38 and 39 came out of a 1937 rearmament program, and of the three the P-38 was by far the most complex and advanced (its designer went on to the space age planes the U-2 and SR-71 ‘blackbird” bomber) and took the longest for development and production. the Japanese fighters and bombers had tremendous range, and out of the pre-war designs, only 38 (which needed a land base opposed to a navy carrier) could match those distances. eventually it became a workhorse fighter for the Army in the Pacific [navy/marine fighters based on carriers all had F prefixes in their enumeration, the army used P for pursuit].

      you refer to a later aircraft, the Grumann F-6, which was designed and developed after the war started, specifically to surpass the Japanese Zero fighter.

      • Thnx Moto.
        Don’t know how creaky you or Mary may be, but the hike along the old Devils Slide road south of Paciica is nice. The trail is the actual old highway so no problems with turning ankles, exertion, dirt, etc. Just the great views of the ocean. There’s a rocky bluff that rises a couple of hundred of ft above the shoreline with a WWII bunker and observation tower perched on top. It’s fenced off, so naturally my hiking friend and I returned one full moon night (can’t park in the lot after 8pm) and climbed the muy destartalado stairway on the side of the cliff. My friend the Armenian is a big aficionado of life on this earth so he really needed some coaxing. Spectacular, and worth a little risk

        • Creaky but it’s better than creepy, no? Sounds like a cool place, rzz. Especially with a full moon.

          Funny yours and moto’s stories about Hawaii during the war. My mother grew up in Honolulu and she climbed up Tantalus after the bombing stopped. Smoke and sirens and all that but she said she wasn’t scared. I always wondered how true that was in the moment. And my grandfather (not her father) was captain of a ship in the harbor. No wonder I hate war and violence.

          • I don’t believe many enjoy war, Mary, especially those in the middle of it. To read about the hell, bravery, self preservation instincts, and all the other things involved isn’t everyone’s cup of tea either. But some of the stories are incredible testaments to the human spirit, like Sakai, who somehow managed to remain conscious and pilot his bullet-riddled plane home after a brutal encounter, despite being wounded

          • my socialization started to break down in the second and third grades, but it was damaged beyond rehabilitation between ’68 and ’75 (was a protester/dissident, not a draftee). so on a very micro, personal level, war was critical in evolving consciousness/conscience.

            for our parents and the generation of adults in charge of our education through high school, wars were the defining part of their young adulthood or prime of life. we now enjoy the loot of the planet’s most militarized empire, but unlike most empires of the past, those closely involved with the military and related activities and industries are a pretty small segment of society, and many here don’t have to think about it if they choose not to. coastal (within a few hours drive) calif with its affluence and culturally encouraged narcissism [not that most people actually have those ‘advantages’, but such is the ‘ideal’ the media encourages and perpetuates] is one of the most insulated subcultures.

  48. All the predictions of the Warriors winning the series are based on the firepower of the backcourt, and rightly so. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a jittery first game. It won’t just be a matter of Cav perimeter defense and their disrupting offensive rhythm, but also of when the shooters settle down.

    Looking at postseason stats, I was surprised to see that the Warriors and Cavs have been taking about the same number, 30 vs 29 pg. The difference in accuracy is substantial, but not overwhelmingly so, 38% for the Warriors vs 36% for the Cavs.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/team/_/stat/offense-per-game/sort/threePointFieldGoalPct

    The real story is who is taking how many and how accurately, and of course Curry comes out well on top. Klay needs to kick in. After that, it’s a matter of how well the fill-in players do in their limited attempts:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/player/_/stat/3-points/sort/threePointFieldGoalsAttempted

    Note the numbers for James, Schumpert and Smith (and Green and Iguodala and Barnes).

    Atlanta declined for a variety of reasons. Injuries aside, I don’t think the talent at key spots was good enough. Imagine if Curry ran this team instead of Teague. But they were hitting on all cylinders when they defeated the Warriors earlier in the season. It’s a major regret for me that they couldn’t sustain their performance and make it to the finals. What an exhilarating series that would have been (I give it to the Warriors).

    And what would Chas. Barkley have had to say?

  49. So I guess no one thought the coaching joke in my post was funny… You can never tell what will play in the room.

    • Have to admit the white space fooled me. It would be even funnier if it weren’t so true. It’s so interesting watching the on-court interactions between them.

    • It would have been funnier if it weren’t so apparent. LeBron has taken the lead and run roughshod over the traditional player/coach relationship all season long.

    • The joke might play well on the borscht circuit. Then again, I guess it wouldn’t. But it occurs to me that the coach with the most experience in the playoff finals will be Lebron.

    • thank you for the Washington Post link to the article, journalist vs. corruption. the mercenary nature of sports journalism is exactly why your joke about l-b-j’s coaching evoked no response from me. the media has tossed blatt’s inexperience around since he started the job, and to me a lot of the coverage was biased because l-b-j has become the media’s meal ticket, disney/espn and nba.com in particular, as well as der kommissar’s syndicate.

  50. Maui Nellie

    “Behind The Bets” (ESPN podcast that looks at the Finals from a gambling perspective.

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=13006648

  51. FWIW, Feltbot.com was featured in Ball Don’t Lie, Yahoo’s bball blog. So lots of others have picked it up from there, hence the pingbacks.

    Finally some recognition for the best basketball blog on the planet, without the animated advertising and other hoohaw. Smile! You’re on the national stage!

    • thanks, Hat. Think there’s a lot of demand for content now that the Warriors are as you say, on the national stage.

      Not sure what to do about these unsightly pingbacks…

      • Simply accept the recognition you have earned.

        And have no doubt, you have earned it. Thanks again, Feltonomicon, for all the great bball commentary and analysis you’ve blessed this little corner of the tubeverse with, for all these years.

      • Here’s the link to Ball Don’t Lie.

        http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/the-10-man-rotation–starring-the-matchups-to-watch-in-the-2015-nba-finals-160232147.html

        I’m going to delete those pingbacks. And I wonder how they can get away with stealing Yahoo’s content…

        • Lots of people don’t know that Google freely describes how to improve your Google Page Rank.

          One way to do it is to link to other high-ranking blogs. Another way (to the benefit of Ball Don’t Lie) is to be linked to.

          Re stealing content, it’s illegal, but exercising the legal machinery to make it stop is too slow and expensive to be effective or monetarily worthwhile. As far as Yahoo is concerned, all this stuff disappears tomorrow anyway, so why bother going after petty thefts? In the meantime, their Google Page Rank is ballooning with every link.

          • So if I left the pingbacks my page rank would go up? Or theirs?

            My page rank has never been great, but I always assumed that was because I was competing with major sites.

          • It doesn’t matter what you do with pingbacks. It doesn’t eliminate the source link to yours.

      • I’m no expert on bb or blogs but I’ve tried reading quite a few to get my fix. I’ve never found any that have the combination insight and intelligence and superb writing that yours does. Or that draws such astute commentary.

        (I didn’t see any unsightly pingbacks though I’m not sure I’d know one if I saw one.)

        • thanks again, Mary. I already deleted them, otherwise you’d see them. Just links.

      • Looks like we might have some company from here on out, so I guess we’d better behave.

        And of course step it up Feltbot.

        Congrats.

  52. The anticipation of tomorrow makes tonight feel like Christmas Eve. But of course Christmas won’t come until it’s over. Assuming 12 days of Christmas, that means the Dubs win in 6 games on 6/16.

    (How can this anticipation not be walking in sunshine??)

    • Howbout walkin ON sunshine?
      The Xmas eve analogy is a good one. But even Christmas comes every year. This took 40 yrs. Maybe it’s more like Hanukah anyway, with as many as 7 games to watch
      Speaking of ping backs, I always wondered where those came from and why. And I had to click on the “wanna date hot Philippine women online?” banner your site so kindly provided Feltbot because yeah, I do. The next screen had a bright red “start your love journey” button. Supposedly this is all free but I’m skeptical.
      I’m feeling good about the Wubs. I hope you’re right about their impressive D, feltbot, because they’re going to need it, and I want to watch some competitive hoops. I can really see the team blitzing the Cavs badly tomorrow night at Oracle, as I feel their playoff road was more challenging than the Cleveland. But you just don’t know with LeBron..

      • I was referring to the Cavs impressive D you mentioned, Feltbot.

        Also, I learned a little about Net advertising from my “Dummies” book, and am a bit embarrassed, remembering how these ads are placed. But hey, I’m single.
        Anybody else see these ads? I’m getting an auto insurance one now..

        • For the longest time I got the ad where you can do a criminal background check on people you know. No idea what cocktail of my search patterns brought that about.

          Also made me flash on that Tom Cruise pre-crime movie. Like Google was predicting I was about to turn to the dark side or something.

        • I get skin tighteners and flab removers. I want the Philippine women.

        • I’m curious what “Mature Asian Dating” is. The words suggest many possibilities. I’m scared, however, to hit the link.

        • I have one for saggy skin and another for DNA Oligos.

          • I was going to ask what Oligos were, but on second thought PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME.

          • I won’t tell! I had to google it myself. I think it’s a dark side thing like Felt said.

  53. SonnyParker

    Feltbot,

    You asked for more of an explanation of why the Cavs faced an easier difficult path to the Finals. Bem Golliver’s take seems spot on:

    “By contrast, the Cavaliers have faced a sub-.500 Celtics team, a Bulls team that self-combusted before firing coach Tom Thibodeau this week, and a Hawks team with half its roster injured or limited. Going from that pack of weaker East foes to the Warriors will make for a sharp 0-to-60 acceleration in the Finals.”

    • If I’d known that citing an idiot could settle a question, I’d never have started this blog.

    • Dr.Parker, Cle lost its starting four after their first round, and their lead guard was intermittently available or effective with his bum wheel. the partisans are certainly confident this season, but are you positive that GS would take out Mem in six without d’mond, and curry at less than full capacity ?

  54. Pre-game jitters—Jack Ramsay in his early coaching days, from Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game:

    “[Ramsay] sweated heavily now, anxiety sweat, not just through his shirt, but through his jacket and even his shoes. Earlier in his career he had been self-conscious about it, and about the telltale stains. Once in college, in a desperate attempt to hide the signs of so delicate a nervous system, he had taped sweat socks to his armpits. That had worked for a time, but as the evening wore on the tape had given out, the sweat socks had slipped and had started coming out of his sleeves, flapping in the air as he moved his arms. That ended the sweat socks, and he had decided to go to Pampers instead, which had worked admirably for a time, protecting him as they had protected the finer sensibilities of millions of mothers and fathers. But the Pampers were clumsy, or at least a whole Pamper was, and so he had gotten crafty, and he had cut a Pamper in half, placing a half in each armpit. That had worked well for a time, until during a game in Buffalo the Pampers had started to unravel. Buffalo fans in those days were accustomed to seeing almost anything, but that night they were treated to the sight of the Buffalo Braves coach shedding Pamper pellets all over the floor.”

    • Hilarious! I’m picturing Ramsay trying to point downcourt while socks flap all over. Must have been confusing to his team.

      And stalking the sidelines, leaving a little trail of mysterious cotton pellets in front of his bench, his players must have thought Ramsay himself was coming apart at the seams.

    • for rzz, Halberstam is my ideal in terms of an engaged and attentive sports observer and analyst whose biases in favor of a particular team or athlete are a minor, often insignificant aspect of his views. for me the n.b.a. might be the last spectator sport that still holds interest after my partisanship for the ‘locals’ has withered, as it has for los gigantes.

      we could use a historian like halberstam in our present time, and he might have given us a few more books before he was done, but he was killed by our local traffic.

  55. Wonder if Kerr will use both Lee
    and Speights to guard T. Thompson
    at times, and whether either will
    outperform him.

  56. Lebron’s injuries:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/cleveland-cavaliers/post/_/id/1035/injury-list-the-aches-pains-of-lebron-james

    I have no idea how this adds up or what it means for the playoffs, but wearing him down may be a significant factor in deciding the series, especially with Irving likely playing limited minutes. And I suspect if he falters, he will take the morale of the others with him.

    • The right wrist sprain is the most significant, as that’s what is hurting his outside shot. I expect the Warriors to dare him to shoot.

  57. Maui Nellie

    Vegas taking lots of Cavs money. Felty, are you wagering on the series, and if so what’s your strategy?

    http://espn.go.com/chalk/story/_/id/13010031/nba-finals-large-majority-bettors-backing-underdog-cleveland-cavaliers

    • As someone who can’t bet against the Warriors, but won’t bet on them at bad prices, I am staying away from them unless they get down in the series. They are too many people’s favorites right now. If they do get down in the series, sentiment changes, and I spot a price dislocation, I may pounce. I will notify the blog if that situation occurs.

      I do have a small bet on the under (204) in the first game. These two teams are both great defensively, and I think the great majority of fans are optimistically betting over, leading to a mispricing. Good luck!

  58. Idly speculating while waiting for the show to begin:

    Cory Joseph and Reggie Jackson are RFAs this summer. Danny Green is unrestricted.

    I’d take any of the 3 in place of Shawn Livingston. Jackson is not a 3-pt shooter but he is a real PG, decent defender and far quicker than Molasses Livingston.

    Any thoughts?

    • I’d take any of them over Livingston as a B/U PG.

      I’d take Green over Livingston as a Wing.

      I’d trade DLee for Jackson. I’m guessing the salaries would match.

    • doubtful that they intend a significant (most or all of their mid level exception, which is all they’ll have without major transactions) investment in a vet guard or wing this summer, if they retain both livingston and iguodala for next season. if they’re as clever as they say they are, they can find a guard to develop from a late draft pick, or from the very large labor pool of the undrafted. they have four vets making a mid level salary or higher sitting on the bench, of whom they will obviously prefer to jettison lee. adding an above-minimum contract vet to the bench will be tied to what happens to those four they have.

  59. cosmicballoon

    This would be a fun prop bet: Lee +/- 20/minutes in this series?

    • Total in the series? +

      Per game? –

    • if the reports on speights’ health are reliable, and we of course won’t know until he’s tested in games — no shock to me, unless the series goes beyond five games, if lee fails to see even 15 min. of court time. Cle winning more than one game probably means they put bogut and/or d’mond in some foul trouble, contributing to success on the boards against ezeli and the other forwards. kerr has put lee behind ezeli and speights on the bench, and hasn’t really had to stretch barnes’ minutes out, either.

  60. Great comments you guys. Nothing for me to add. My boss is busting my balls, and may be checking my browser history so i have to do this subrepticiously. Mainly i just have to finish my work, so I’ll check in after the warriors victory, er, game.

  61. 5:30 PM

    Just opened a High Life and have half a Pamper taped under each armpit (see @59).

    Let the Pampers pellets fly!

  62. Remember everyone, Iguodala is washed up and can’t defend anymore

    • the talent is closer between the two teams than the homers would like to think. l-b-j + irving + mozgov pretty close with curry, thompson, bogut, but that leaves GS with the edge in brains, with iguodala and d’mond.

  63. The series may have been decided in the last 30 seconds of regulation tonight, and I didn’t think they were going to do it.

    Kerr said he didn’t want to give help on Lebron because of the Cav 3 point shooters, which I really questioned as Lebron was scoring at will, though Iguodala did a better job on him. But with all the isos with Lebron and his shots, 38 attempts, when he looked for other offense it wasn’t there. It was the performances of Smith and Shumpert that got them here.

    Your preview nailed it, FB.

    Mozgov > Bogut.

  64. Feltbot, regarding your tweet, Blatt blew it by taking Mozgov out towards the end of the game, when Kerr went small? Or were you referring to bringing Jones in instead of TThompson was it? Don’t recall.

    Tough break. ABC had a chart showing all the Warriors playoff opponents’ starting PG out with injury or playing impaired by injury.

    • Checked PopCorn. TThompson was already in the game. Jones came in for Mozgov. Shumpert stayed on the bench.

    • KI played great and cavs lost. KI’s defensive play was most clutch play. So, don’t infer that dubs won because KI was hurt because it is not. If Shumpert shit went in, KI would still be healthy and a hero for that game winning shit.

  65. For most of the game the Warriors
    played the Cav’s game- slow ball. The
    Warriors were able to play to a
    draw in regulation by simply not fouling
    much and thus keeping the Cav’s off the
    foul line and the main reason Lebron was
    linited to 44 points in :38 attempts.
    Also kudos to Iggy in both defending
    James when it mattered and being
    So efficient scoring. Felty did not think
    that possible.

    Mosgov outplaying Bogot on the
    offensive end is a no brasiner.

    Regardless of the Warriors advantage now
    given Irving’s accerbated injury, it now
    seems clear that Green will not have success
    Thr remainder of the Finals scoring inside
    the rest of the series given
    the tallented Cav bigs who play inside.

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