Tagged in: golden state

Dallas Mavericks land free-agent center JaVale McGee for 3 years

The Dallas Mavericks and center JaVale McGee have agreed to a three-year deal worth $20.1 million, sources told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

The deal includes a player option for the third season, sources said.

McGee enjoyed arguably the best season of his career as the backup center and stopgap starter on a dominant Phoenix Suns team last season, averaging near career highs in points and rebounds on a per-minute basis.

He proved to be a key depth piece for Phoenix after the Suns lost Frank Kaminsky for the season with a knee injury and saw Deandre Ayton miss several matches.

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McGee gives Dallas some much-needed rim protection and a big lob-threat target for Luka Doncic.

McGee joins Christian Wood as the second frontcourt addition Dallas made this offseason after getting crushed on the boards by Golden State in the Western Conference finals.

McGee told ESPN he expects to be the Mavs’ starting center. “I saw some opportunities out there where I was like, ‘Oh yeah, if they had a rolling big, they could dominate in a different aspect,'” McGee said of choosing Dallas and playing with Doncic.

Entering his 15th campaign in the NBA, McGee has been a part of three championship teams — two with the Golden State Warriors (2017, 2018) and one with the Los Angeles Lakers (2020).

He is also reuniting with Mavs head coach Jason Kidd, who was on Frank Vogel’s staff during L.A.’s run to the title. A pure rim-rolling center, McGee has averaged 1.5 blocks while shooting 57.6% from the field for his career.

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Warriors answer in Game 2, top Celtics 107-88 to even Finals

Just like in Game 1, the Golden State Warriors took command with a big third quarter. Unlike Game 1, they finished the job.

The NBA Finals are now tied, after the Warriors turned a close match into a rout with a third-quarter masterpiece. Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Jordan Poole connected from just inside of midcourt to cap the pivotal period and the Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 107-88 on Sunday night in Game 2.

“I thought everybody was more engaged,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after his team improved to 5-0 after a loss in these playoffs.

“It’s pretty obvious. Just our level of force and physicality was ramped up quite a bit, and it had to be.”

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Poole concluded with 17 points for the Warriors, who outscored Boston 35-14 in the third quarter to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 23-point edge. And when the Warriors then scored the first six points of the fourth, the Celtics waved the surrender flag and emptied their bench.

“We said we needed to play with desperation,” Curry said. “That’s what we did.”

Golden State also got 12 from Kevon Looney on 6-for-6 shooting, and 11 apiece from Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson.

Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his 28 points in the first half for Boston. Jaylen Brown added 17 for the Celtics, but fought through a 5-for-17 shooting night, and Derrick White scored 12.

Just like in Game 1, a huge run decided everything.

The Celtics went on a 48-18 run in the second half to decide the opener.

The Warriors didn’t wait that long in Game 2, going on a 43-14 burst from late in the first half until early in the fourth quarter to turn a tie game into an absolute runaway. Game 3 is Wednesday in Boston.

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Ja Morant, with blurred vision, matches playoff career-high 47 points as Memphis Grizzlies even series with Golden State Warriors

All Ja Morant needed was one good eye to match his playoff career-high of 47 points and even the Memphis Grizzlies’ series with the Golden State Warriors.

Playing with blurred vision in his left eye after being poked in the third quarter, Morant scored the Grizzlies’ final 15 points to lift them to a 106-101 win in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series at FedEx Forum.

Morant concluded with a spectacular 47 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds to help Memphis avoid falling behind 0-2 in this best-of-seven series.

He joined LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only players with multiple 45-point games in the playoffs before turning 23 years old, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

And he did so after leaving the game at the end of the third quarter complaining, “I can’t see.”

“I still can’t [see],” Morant said when asked about his vision. “I can see on the middle. I can’t see on the outside. I got punched trying to get the rebound.” Morant added: “I got another good eye over here — 20-20 vision right here. Thank God for my right eye.”

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The Grizzlies trailed 97-93 with 3:50 remaining when Morant was in the midst of his fourth-quarter takeover. With starter Dillon Brooks ejected in the opening minutes due to a flagrant 2 foul on Gary Payton II, and Jaren Jackson Jr. having fouled out with 3:59 left, Morant scored on a second consecutive driving layup.

He then buried a 26-foot 3 and a 7-foot floater. Morant also drew a foul on Draymond Green as the two were chasing after a rebound that Green grabbed, but officials called a foul when he bumped into Morant with 49.8 seconds left. Morant made two free throws and then sank another driving floater to push the Grizzlies up 104-101 with 30.7 seconds left.

“I feel like I’ve just watched him transform into a true closer,” power forward Xavier Tillman said.

Morant sealed the game from the free throw line to even it up.

“Definitely big time,” Morant said of where this game ranks for him. “I felt like this was a must-win game for us. For me, I was frustrated with myself missing that layup in Game 1.”

Morant, whose career high is 52 points, was frustrated after missing a driving scoop layup over Klay Thompson and a trailing Payton at the end of Game 1’s 117-116 loss to Golden State.

Morant stated Warriors star Stephen Curry told him and Jackson after that loss that “it is going to be a battle. We are going to have some fun.”

As streamers fell from the ceiling after the buzzer on Tuesday night, Morant walked by Curry. He had returned the favor and told Curry, “We are going to have some fun.”

“I was able to return that message tonight,” Morant said. ” … I am having a lot of fun.”

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Grizzlies beat Warriors 123-95, tighten hold on 2nd in West

Desmond Bane scored 22 points, De’Anthony Melton and Dillon Brooks added 21 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies solidified their hold on second place in the Western Conference with a 123-95 triumph over the short-handed Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Kyle Anderson added 13 points for Memphis, which holds a five-game lead over the third-place Warriors in the conference. The Grizzlies won their fifth consecutive and for the ninth time in 10 games.

Jordan Poole led Golden State with 25 points, and Moses Moody finished with 18. Jonathan Kuminga scored 14 points as Golden State dropped its third straight and lost for the sixth time in seven matches.

Golden State played without leading scorer Stephen Curry, who has missed six games with a left foot sprain. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Otto Porter Jr. also sat out under various injury management situations, and facing the second game of a back-to-back.

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That put the Warriors in an unfavorable position facing the Grizzlies.

Meanwhile, Memphis was without leading scorer Ja Morant, who missed his fifth consecutive game with right knee soreness, and Jaren Jackson Jr., who sat with right thigh soreness.

But Memphis has played well in Morant’s absence, winning the previous four after Morant was injured.

Neither team was shooting well to start, and Memphis was a step slow to 50-50 balls. The teams combined to make only 13 of 45 shots in the first quarter. Both were still mired at 25% each early in the second quarter before scoring started picking up — for Memphis.

Not Golden State.

The Grizzlies shot 59% in the second, including making 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. With the Warriors still stuck at 25% shooting, Memphis outscored the Warriors 48-21 in the second and held a 63-37 lead at the break.

By the end of the half, Warriors coach Steve Kerr vehemently argued a no-call on the final play and was assessed two quick technicals, getting ejected for the second half.

Poole helped the Warriors cut into the Memphis’ lead slightly with 13 points in the third, but Golden State never got within less than 18 points. Memphis carried a 95-67 lead into the final quarter.

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Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry has sprained left foot, expected to return by playoffs

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is expected to return for the beginning of the Western Conference playoffs with a left foot sprain, but will undergo further evaluation with specialists, sources told ESPN.

Curry and the Warriors are conferring with Dr. Richard Ferkel, a renowned foot specialist, on the injury, sources said.

Curry suffered the injury in a collision with Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart on Wednesday night, and an MRI overnight revealed the foot sprain. There’s no structural damage and Curry is considered to have avoided serious injury, sources said.

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The play occurred in the second quarter when Curry and Smart dove for a loose ball and Smart rolled on top of Curry’s leg.

Curry initially tried to walk off the pain but left the game after being checked out on the bench. After halftime, he was ruled out for the rest of the night.

Neither Warriors coach Steve Kerr or forward Draymond Green called the play on which Curry was injured dirty but deemed it “dangerous” and “unnecessary.”

“I saw the ball, I dove for the ball, trying to make a play,” Smart stated after the game. “Unfortunately, that occurred.”

Curry’s injury comes just two games after Green returned from a back injury that held him out two-and-a-half months. Curry, Green and Klay Thompson, who returned from two-and-a-half-month hiatus in January, have played just 11 minutes together this campaign.

“It seems like every time we get someone back, someone else goes down,” Green said. “So, it’s definitely a worry.”

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Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green returns off bench, with minutes restriction

Draymond Green returned for the Golden State Warriors on Monday versus the Washington Wizards in Chase Center after missing the past two months with a lower back injury.

Green came off the bench in Monday’s game, and coach Steve Kerr stated he probably won’t start his first several games back. Green said he expects to play with a 20- to 23-minute restriction for the next 10 to 14 days as he builds up his conditioning.

“I’m usually against any restrictions. I hate them,” Green said earlier Monday. “Any time I’ve had one I get into a fight with Coach or with [team president] Rick [Welts]. I am actually very inviting of it this time around. I know I need it. I know I need them to protect me from myself.”

Kerr said he wants to make Green available for end-of-half and end-of-game scenarios, which would be hard to do under his minutes restriction if he started the game.

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“We’ve found this with Klay [Thompson] and Otto [Porter Jr.] — it’s really hard to start a guy on a minutes restriction and get him into some meaningful parts of the game,” Kerr said. “This is very temporary.”

Green said he plans on using the next two to three weeks to get his legs under him and his reaction-time quickness back, with the hope that by the time there is a week or more left in the regular season, he will be close to where he was before his injury as the team gears for the playoffs.

“In returning from an injury, it’s never what you left,” Green said. “It’s not like I’m going to come back doing all the same things I was doing when I went out. Just kind of coming in and figuring out where I can help. I’ve watched for two months — I already have in my mind where I can help … But you still have to figure the flow of the game out. I’ll just come in and let the game come to me.”

It had been 1,005 days since Green, Thompson and Stephen Curry had played in a game together, not including the seven seconds Green was on the court for Klay Day on Jan. 9.

The Warriors have been tracking the numbers until the trio would reunite because, as Green put it, “we built this thing from ground zero.”

During Green’s absence the Warriors have struggled, stringing together a five-game losing streak for the first time this season.

The hope, and expectation, is that simply having Green on the court will address a lot of the issues the Warriors have had. But they know he won’t fix everything, especially as he gets back into game shape.

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Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James sits out loss to San Antonio Spurs with ‘significant’ knee soreness

LeBron James did not play Monday night versus the San Antonio Spurs, with Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel saying pregame that James had “significant” soreness in his left knee coming off his 56-point effort versus the Golden State Warriors.

James, 37, missed five games because of his knee from late January until early February, but had not missed any time because of it since.

“With the heavy load that he’s carrying for us this year, we know that it’s always a possibility,” Vogel said of James sitting out, before the Lakers’ 117-110 loss.

“I think that’s why we continue to list him as questionable to see how it’s responding over the 48 hours between games. And this is just one of those days where it was significant enough to hold him out.”

Aside from James’ 39-minute workload versus Golden State, Los Angeles’ travel day on Sunday — when a mechanical issue caused the Lakers to sit on the runway for two hours before changing planes for the nearly three-hour flight to San Antonio — did not help with recovery time, sources told ESPN.

Vogel stated the Lakers are “hopeful” James will play Wednesday in Houston.

James’ performance against the Warriors was his highest-scoring game with the Lakers and tied for third-highest in his 19-year career, as Los Angeles rallied from a 14-point deficit to win 124-116.

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That triumph still only brought the Lakers’ record to 28-35, leaving them in ninth place in the Western Conference entering Monday’s games. The Spurs were No. 12 in the West, 4½ games behind the Lakers.

“His health takes precedence over any matchup, any individual one game, for sure,” Vogel said of the playoff implications of James resting.

Los Angeles also is dealing with the absence of Anthony Davis, who has been out for nearly three weeks with a midfoot sprain.

James is averaging 29.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 36.8 minutes per game for the Lakers this season.

The Lakers started Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk and Russell Westbrook against the Spurs, accounting for the 32nd different starting lineup of the season.

“No one player is going to have to try to pick up where he left off,” Vogel said. “Although I did tell Malik that he’s got to score 56 tonight since Bron’s out, he can try to have that mindset. And then I told him quickly that I was just kidding. Because he will actually go out and try to do that. But, it’s the next man up, but when it’s someone like LeBron, it has to be done by committee.”

Vogel was asked how he thinks James’ knee will be a factor down the stretch as the Lakers jostle for a spot in the play-in tournament over the final games of the regular season.

“I think the simplest way to put it is he’s going to plan on being in unless his knee tells him otherwise,” Vogel said. “I don’t know if we can really forecast any more clearly than that.”

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Brooklyn Nets star James Harden day-to-day because of left hamstring tightness

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden did not play in the 124-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night because of left hamstring tightness.

Harden, who is averaging 37 minutes a match this season, was a late scratch a night after racking up a triple-double in Tuesday’s 106-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Coach Steve Nash stated after the game that he was “hopeful” Harden will play versus the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. He called Harden’s hamstring injury “day-to-day.”

Prior to the game, Nash acknowledged how tough it is to manage Harden’s minutes as the team continues to play without stars Kevin Durant (sprained MCL) and Kyrie Irving. Irving is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and cannot play in home games because of a New York City vaccination mandate.

“It is a challenge,” Nash said. “We would like to protect him more. But he’s a competitor and wants to be out there so we try to have our little tug of war and I think that’s why at times we’d like to ask him to miss games so that he can regenerate and be a little bit safer as far as being ready to go when the playoffs begin.”

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Harden expressed frustration after Tuesday’s loss, saying in part that he thinks the Nets should have a better record than the 29-18 record they came into Wednesday’s game with.

“Of course I’m frustrated because we’re not healthy,” Harden said after Tuesday’s game. “There’s a lot of inconsistency for whatever reason.

Injuries, COVID, whatever you want to call it. But yeah, it’s frustrating. I think everybody in this organization is frustrated because we are better than what our record is and we should be on the way up.”

Nash believes that despite Harden’s frustration, he remains “happy” as a Net.

“I think James is happy to be here,” Nash said. “I just think it’s frustrating right now because we haven’t played great basketball, we’ve had a lot of injuries, we’ve had a lot of illness.

A lot of guys in and out of the lineup. A lot of chop and change so that can be frustrating for sure to not have that kind of consistency to build on. And we haven’t had our best performances.

“We’ve had a few — but ever since the COVID return it’s been, lets say, average basketball overall. So we have higher expectations and it’s frustrating, but I think James is happy here for sure.”

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Milwaukee Bucks stomp Golden State Warriors, keep ‘building good habits’ vs. elite teams

The Milwaukee Bucks delivered another statement victory Thursday night with a 118-99 thumping of the Golden State Warriors, continuing their trend of being at their best this season when matched up versus other likely title contenders.

The Bucks blitzed the Warriors from the start, jumping out to a 39-point halftime lead, Golden State’s largest halftime deficit since the franchise moved from Philadelphia.

In the past week, the Bucks have won handily against the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets — whom they also beat on opening night in Milwaukee — a pair of teams they could see on the path to attempt to repeat as NBA champions.

“I don’t know why we play well in big games, but at the end of the day we’ve got to just keep building good habits moving forward,” said Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in 30 minutes.

“Big games with big excitement or even games nobody watches, nobody cares about, we have to keep building good habits, so we can be good in May and June.”

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Milwaukee had coach Mike Budenholzer back on the sideline after clearing health and safety protocols but was playing without guard Jrue Holiday, its best perimeter defender, who missed his fourth consecutive game with an ankle. Still, the Bucks were able to contain Warriors star Stephen Curry with a smothering defensive effort.

Curry was 4-of-11 shooting in the game (2 for 6 from 3) for 12 points. He has shot less than 50% from the field in eight consecutive games, the longest streak of his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Golden State finished 3-for-14 from the field with three turnovers and seven points when the Bucks sent a double team at Curry.

“Milwaukee is a good team. They obviously have championship DNA now,” Curry said, “and present some challenges in terms of putting pressure on the interior end and spacing. We just got off to a terrible start where everything went wrong.”

The Warriors have dropped four of their past five games overall and Curry is mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career, but they were not panicking about their recent skid.

“To be honest, I’m not that concerned,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after the game. “I know we just got our butts kicked. We’re just in a rough patch in our season. Happens to every team, every year pretty much, with very few exceptions. We’re in a little bit of a rut. We played a team that was ready and played great … And so we’re a little out of sorts, and we just got to get back on track.”

Golden State will play the Bulls in the second half of a back-to-back on Friday night in Chicago. Klay Thompson, who scored 11 points on 3 of 11 shooting in 21 minutes, is not expected to play as the Warriors ease him back into action after missing more than two years because of injuries.

The Bucks, meanwhile, have continued to roll against some of the stiffest competition in the league because of dominant performances by Antetokounmpo.

On Thursday, Antetokounmpo finished a perfect 9-for-9 inside the restricted area with four dunks. He scored on four different primary defenders, (including 4-for-4 against Andre Iguodala) and hit all seven of his wide-open shots.

Even when the Warriors forced him into a pass, he routinely made the right read — the Bucks shot 11 of 16 (30 points) off Antetokounmpo’s passes, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

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