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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Basketball

Damian Lillard does not think injured ribs are impacting his play

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard has not had the impact on the Western Conference Finals that he would have wanted to have, but he refuses to blame his injured rib for that.

Lillard is dealing with separated ribs sustained during Game 2. In Game 3, he shot just 28 percent from the field while being held to 19 points, and the Blazers were outscored by 23 when he was on the floor. The guard admitted that he feels the injury, but he doesn’t think it’s impacting his play.

Lillard has not played well. However, he was also held to 19 points in Game 1, before any injury happened. A large part of this is simply Golden State hounding him defensively and wearing him down.

Patrick Beverley brags about Clippers putting up biggest fight against Warriors

The 2018-19 Golden State Warriors are so good that they have their opponents bragging about not getting embarrassed by them.

Coming off their four-game sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, it would appear the Warriors have gotten better as we get deeper into the postseason. They needed six games to beat the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers before demolishing the Blazers, and one opponent seems proud of the way his team lost to Golden State.

Patrick Beverley and the Clippers found themselves in a 3-1 hole against the Warriors before surprising some people by winning Game 5 at Golden State. They then lost 129-110 at home in Game 6.

Was that a better performance than Houston had? The Rockets lost the first two games of their series against the Warriors before battling back to win Game 3 and Game 4 at home. They then lost two straight with Kevin Durant sidelined because of a calf injury.

Every game of the Rockets-Warriors series was decided by six points or less, though Beverley would probably argue that the Clippers put up a better fight because Durant was healthy for the whole series. The way he praised Durant da few weeks ago gave you an idea of how valuable he thinks the two-time NBA Finals MVP is.

At the end of the day, a loss is a loss and a win is a win. If saying his team put up a better fight than the Rockets and Blazers helps Beverley get over the disappointing result, more power to him.

Raptors’ Fred VanVleet needed stitches after taking elbow to eye

Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet’s left eye was not looking so great after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday night.

VanVleet’s Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-112 in double overtime for their first win in the series. VanVleet did not play well and shot just 1-for-11 in the game. Adding injury to the insult, he took an elbow and had his eye bloodied.

TSN Raptors reporter Josh Lewenberg shared a photo after the game that showed VanVleet’s eye looking nasty. The Raptors guard needed stitches to close the cut.

VanVleet has been going through a rough postseason. He’s just 4-for-20 (20 percent) in the series against Milwaukee. He was just 3-for-24 (12.5 percent) shooting in the previous round against Philly.

Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna has amazing highlight video

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant may not have any children who will be eligible to play in the NBA one day, but you didn’t expect The Black Mamba to procreate without producing at least one baller, did you?

Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna has clearly been putting in work on the court with her dad. Check out her highlight video:

That step-back three-pointer at the 11-second mark was money.

Kobe and his wife Vanessa have three daughters with a fourth on the way, and the rumor is they’re going to give it one more go in hopes of having a boy. Either way, the Los Angeles Lakers legend clearly has at least one kid who can keep up with him on the basketball court.

Kevin Durant blasts Warriors fan on Instagram

Kevin Durant Warriors

Kevin Durant is in extra sensitive mode as his Golden State Warriors compete in the playoffs without him.

Golden State beat Portland 110-99 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday night to take a 3-0 series lead. They have now won four games in a row since Durant got injured, and five if you count the game where KD got hurt against Houston. The Warriors playing as well as they have without Durant has led to questions if they’re better off without him. Some critics have gone the other way and doubted how well the Warriors would play without KD.

A fan on Instagram commented on a thread on the WarriorsTalk account by referencing the talk about people doubting the Warriors and said Golden State would prove all doubters wrong. Perhaps Durant read the comment wrong, because he blasted the fan in response.

“very divisive mikey. let’s celebrate this win as dub nation. F— wrong wit u??” Durant wrote in response, edited for profanity.

Durant must have read the message wrong because there was no reason to get defensive. The fan was just pumping up how good Golden State is and responding to all the doubters.

This proves once again just how sensitive Durant is. And he wonders why people consider him so insecure?

Steph Curry shares his message to brother Seth after playoff sweep

Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors prevailed in their Western Conference finals matchup with Seth Curry and his Portland Trail Blazers as expected. Though the Warriors are returning to the NBA Finals and Seth is going home, Steph feels his brother made a statement during the series.

Asked after Golden State won 119-117 in overtime of Game 4 on Monday night to sweep the series, Steph shared his message for Seth.

“Somebody had to lose but this is just the beginning for him and his career in terms of being on this stage. He’s proved to a lot of people that no only does he belong, but he can play big minutes in playoff games,” Steph told ESPN’s Doris Burke. “We’ll remember this for the rest of our lives and for our family back at home watching. This is what it’s all about.”

Seth went undrafted out of college, barely played over his first three seasons in the league, spent a season out of the league, and then signed with Portland and proved he can contribute. His biggest contribution came guarding his brother in the series; he had seven steals including four in Game 2, and talked some trash to Steph.

Golden State moves on to their fifth straight Finals, while Portland goes home after their best season since 2000.

Mychal Thompson shares advice he gave to son Klay about free agency

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson will have an interesting decision to make when his contract expires and he becomes a free agent this summer, but the Golden State Warriors star’s father has made it clear on numerous occasions what he thinks his son should do.

In an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Sunday, Mychal Thompson — a former NBA player himself — was asked what advice he would give to Klay about his impending free agency. He indicated he thinks Klay should stay put.

“Any advice any mother or father would give to their child in their place of employment. If you are happy where you’re at and comfortable and this is where you want to be, just stay where you are,” Mychal Thompson said. “There’s no reason to go looking for anything else if you’re happy and content with where you’re already at, which he definitely is. He loves the Bay Area, loves playing for the Warriors, loves their fans.”

Of course, money will be a factor. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaorwski previously reported that Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors without hesitation if they offer him a max contract, but that may not be a guarantee. Kevin Durant could make things interesting if he decides to remain with Golden State.

Most people seem to think Durant will leave, which would free up a max slot for the Warriors. Of course, they can offer Thompson a max contract either way and spend beyond the salary cap because they hold his Bird rights, but you have to wonder if there’s a limit to the amount of luxury tax they want to pay.

When you look at the comments Mychal Thompson made over the weekend and what he said last year, it would be quite the surprise if Klay signed with another team after the season.