Last season the basketball world watched as the Golden State Warriors put together a historic regular season, posting a record-setting 73-win season.
This season, they are honing in on history once again. Already enjoying a postseason record 14 straight wins, the Warriors and the NBA world are following their potential path to a 16-0 playoff record, capped off by an NBA title.
But Warriors Draymond Green says the team has one singular goal in mind and it has to do with a title, not win-loss records.
“We made that mistake of circling 73 [wins] and worrying about the wrong thing before,” said Green.
Green experienced what happened first hand as the Warriors gave up a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals to the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
This season, Green says, the Warriors aren’t concerned with an undefeated postseason run.
“It doesn’t matter,” Green said.
“It would be great, a great story (an undefeated playoff run). …if we were able to do that, I don’t think when I talk about a championship I’d say we were the only team to go 16-0. I think I’d say we won a championship. That’s all that matters.”
Steph Curry echoed Green’s sentiments.
“No, because we’re not [chasing it],” Curry said (h/t ESPN).
“We have a huge hurdle to get over tomorrow. … Game 3 has been a little rough for us historically — and especially in this building. So, to give ourselves a chance at even coming closer to thinking about that, we need to really, really just lock in and give every effort we have on [Wednesday] and how hard this 48 minutes is going to be to really seize control of this series.
“We talked about it before, that 16-0 doesn’t matter in any stretch of the imagination unless that’s a closeout game.”
But, people can’t help themselves but to debate the “what ifs”, such as what if the Warriors do go 16-0? Would that make them the best team in NBA history?
More specifically, does that put them ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls?
“I don’t think it ends the argument. Two different eras, playing against different teams,” Green said in response.
“To say if we were to go 16-0, we beat four teams 16 times in a row. But they weren’t the four teams they had to beat.
“I still don’t think there is a comparison to make. Only thing you can measure is the numbers. Everyone wants to make history, but I want to win four games. I just want to win four games. Championship is history. That is the only history we need to make.”
For now, the Warriors are focused on Game 3, a critical game for the Cavs, who need to avoid going down 3-0 in the series.
If they do, than the chatter about the Warriors going 16-0 will be impossible to ignore, despite what anyone on the team says.
Steph Curry Talks LeBron James Trash Talking During Game 1 of NBA Finals
Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry is gearing up, along with his team, to defend their 2018 NBA Championship, their 2nd in a row and 3rd in 4 years, when the 2018-2019 regular season kicks off this fall, but he is still discussing the 2018 NBA Finals.
Curry specifically is discussing his shock as the trash talk from then Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, which threw Curry off.
Curry and James’ relationship is seemingly in an odd place. James was “like a mentor” to Curry when curry was in college playing at Davidson, but things seem a bit icy now as Curry’s Warriors and James’ Cavaliers (James is now on the Los Angeles Lakers) met in some heated battles in the NBA Finals over the past couple of years.
Despite the shift in their relationship, Curry was still caught of guard by James’ approach, particularly in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.
“It was never going to spill over to that” Curry said, during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area’s Drew Shiller).
“But it was an interesting moment …I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn’t see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.
“And I was like, ‘That’s what we’re really on right now? We’re about to win and you’re worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?’ And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, ‘Yo, what’s up? Is this really what we’re about right now?’
“And he was like, ‘I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I’m a mentor’ and it’s a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.’ (laughter). Come on man, that’s messed up.”
The rift goes a bit deeper than that, and a book from The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, entitled ‘Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry’, it is elaborated, highlighting a 2016 Halloween Party thrown by James that featured a dummy of Steph Curry that was on the floor, forcing guests to step over it.
Now that the two are in the same division, thanks to James’ signing with the Lakers, betting websites will have a field day this season when the two teams take the court, and James continues his mission to topple the juggernaut Warriors.
Cavs’ Tristan Thompson Allegedly Punched Warriors’ Draymond Green at Night Club
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and Golden State Warriors’ forward Draymond Green apparently took their on-court beef off the court as the two allegedly had an altercation at a Los Angeles night club.
According to online gossip site Bossip, Green had approached Thompson to apologize for what happened after Game 4 of the NBA Finals, but Thompson wasn’t interested.
When Green persisted, Thompson punched Green.
Green and Thompson got into it numerous times throughout the Finals, with Green even insulting Thompson as Thompson attempted to shake his hand following the infamous Game 4.
Here is more from The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre:
Draymond Green was not the aggressor, he was trying to make peace. Tristan felt embarrassed by the end of the Finals diss moment and just unloaded. Couple players i spoke here in LA/on social media went with, “about time”
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) July 31, 2018
Kevin Love Signs Extension With the Cavs
Kevin Love surprised the Twitter GMs and signed a 4 year, $120 million extension to stay in Cleveland. The full value of the deal will wash out to 5 years and about $145 million, around $10 million below his max for an extension. This clearly signals that Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers want to remain competitive in the wake of LeBron James’ exodus.
The initial reaction across the NBA landscape was that Cleveland would look to tear the roster down to the studs and start over. The Cavs owe their 2019 first round pick to Atlanta if it falls outside of the top 10, so trading Kevin Love would’ve not only helped clear their books, but also almost guaranteed that they keep their pick. Bringing him back into the fold makes that much more precarious. The roster now contains a mixed bag of inconsistent youth and holdovers from the most recent LeBron era that won’t take kindly to a middling team not in the championship conversation. The Cavs seem to be split between two paths.
But that’s not forever. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, “Cleveland is still projecting to have close to $70M in cap space during the summer of 2020 to reshape the roster.” The Cavs can get off of George Hill, JR Smith and Kyle Korver for less than $10 million after this season. That leaves only Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson as expiring contracts in the following season to free the Cavs of all their (current) bad money. Cleveland is never going to be a free agent destination without LeBron, but keeping Kevin Love makes them a much more attractive option for free agents, and they’ll have plenty of money to play with.
If that doesn’t pan out, Cleveland can still trade Love in the future. This extension makes him a cost-controlled asset, giving other teams more certainty. Yes, it’s more years and more money but Kevin Love is still an All-Star. Making him the focal point of the offense should allow him to put up big numbers and recoup some of the market value he’s lost while playing a diminished role alongside LeBron. In the coming years, all the ghastly cap-spike deals will be coming off teams’ books, opening lots of cap space around the league. There are only so many stars available and some teams will inevitably strike out. Combine that with some pressure from ownership to win now and Kevin Love can be a very desirable option.
Even with the extension the Cavs are far from a playoff lock. Their second best player may very well be a rookie. So perhaps an injury or a few strategically placed DNPs could allow them to keep their pick. Either way, Love wanted to stay in Cleveland. That’s a nice change for a city that doesn’t have a lot of experience with that. The goalposts for success have changed, but after years of watching this team trudge through the doldrums of the regular season, this young, talented team could be a lot of fun for fans to watch night in and night out.
Follow David on Twitter @dmcgowan24
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