By his own standards, Stephen Curry got off to a slow start in the NBA Finals. Cleveland Cavaliers reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova, whose role was greatly expanded after Kyrie Irving went down with an injury in Game 1, was partially responsible for Curry’s struggles.
And, as it turns out, the attention Dellavedova received for that is partially responsible for Curry bouncing back with a vengeance.
“Delly did a great job, but (Curry) was missing some shots that he usually knocks down,” Bogut explained. “I think (Curry) was more frustrated and probably had a fire lit under him when he saw all the memes and the Delly mania. That really pissed him off. You could see in the locker room after Game 3, he wasn’t having any of it.
“I knew what was gonna happen Games 4, 5 and 6. It wasn’t a great time for Delly or the Cavs. … He’s a guy you probably don’t want to light a fire under, and the social media can be partly blamed for helping us win a championship.”
After the Cavs beat the Warriors in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead, the internet exploded with memes that were praising Delleavedova at Curry’s expense. Curry responded by putting up a combined 59 points between Game 4 and Game 5. He hit 11-of-20 shots from beyond the arc over the two-game stretch and helped Golden State take control of the series.
There were plenty of moments throughout the regular season where LeBron James showcased his lack of respect for Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt. As it turns out, all was not well between the two during the NBA Finals, either.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that LeBron acted in a disrespectful manner toward Blatt throughout Cleveland’s series against the Golden State Warriors. Stein says he witnessed James being openly defiant toward Blatt and saw him “emasculate” the second-year NBA coach on numerous occasions.
I saw it from close range in my role as sideline reporter through the Finals for ESPN Radio. LeBron essentially calling timeouts and making substitutions. LeBron openly barking at Blatt after decisions he didn’t like. LeBron huddling frequently with Lue and so often looking at anyone other than Blatt.
There was LeBron, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine.
Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.
When the Cavs completed a sweep of the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, Blatt put his arm around LeBron and the two shared a special moment for the cameras. According to Stein, the good vibes didn’t last.
In an interview with SVP & Russillo on Wednesday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst — whose job is basically to cover all things LeBron — said that James wouldn’t mind if the Cavs don’t make a coaching change because he “likes having Blatt to kick around.”
Harrison Barnes would have been within his legal rights — in America, at least — to take his first sip of alcohol two years ago, but the Golden State Warriors forward saved his first drink for a very special occasion.
Prior to Golden State’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, Barnes had never indulged in an adult beverage in his life. When asked what would happen if his team won it all, Barnes said he was going to be thirsty.
He did just that. Barnes grabbed a pair of goggles and a bottle of champagne like the rest of his teammates and went to town. If Barnes had committed to maintaining a straight-edge lifestyle even after the win, he would have had to steer clear of his coach’s incredible champagne bath.
We have heard of athletes avoiding alcohol celebrations because of their past issues with substance abuse, but Barnes is the only NBA player I have heard of who waited until his team won a championship to imbibe for the first time.
Enjoy that hangover, bro. Hope you drank plenty of water before bed.
Like his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, J.R. Smith was very disappointed while exiting Quicken Loans Arena after a Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. But unlike the rest, Smith rode out in style.
Smith made his way out of the Cavs locker room riding a PhunkeeDuck Scooter, which you can read all about here.
It looks like a hovercraft, but it actually has wheels. Apparently you lean to go forward and back and whatnot. I’m not sure how much coordination it takes, but I can see myself cracking a tailbone trying to use it.
Those of you who want to see an actual hovercraft can check out this PGA golfer. Still, Smith looked pretty smooth wheeling on out of there.
The Golden State Warriors are your 2014-15 NBA champions and assistant coach Alvin Gentry was the mastermind behind their historic, transcendent offense that proved once and for all that a jump-shooting team could in fact win an NBA championship.
While celebrating the Warriors’ championship-clinching 105-97 Game 6 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night in the champagne-soaked visitor’s locker room at Quicken Loans Arena, Gentry, who had accepted the head coaching position of the New Orleans Pelicans before the Finals began, had a message for his new superstar, Anthony Davis.
Though head coach Steve Kerr understandably wasn’t having any of it, Gentry’s 2015 reincarnation of Pat Riley’s famous “Next year, we’re gonna win it again” proclamation back in 1987 still made for a pretty awesome moment.
While Gentry will have his work cut out for him to deliver on that bold declaration next year, the idea of Anthony “Basketball Sharktopus” Davis teaming up with the man who produced one of the most revolutionary offenses in NBA history and took it to the championship is downright terrifying.
Steve Kerr became the first rookie head coach since Pat Riley to lead a team to the championship when his Warriors closed out the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. From the beginning of the season to the very end, there was no doubt about who the best team in the league was.
The Dubs had the best record in the NBA by far at 67-15 in the regular season, and they ran through the playoffs without ever having to play in a seventh game. It was the first title for the franchise since 1975, and a well-deserved championship for the team’s fans, which are among the best in sports.
Kerr was extremely humble throughout the team’s title run and was absolutely loving it during the postgame celebration.
The easiest way for LeBron James to be named the MVP of the NBA Finals would be for the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the series. But even if they lose to the Golden State Warriors in Game 6, there are still more than a few people who feel LeBron should win the award anyway.
On Tuesday, LeBron said he would not be happy about being named the MVP of the series on a losing team.
“I wouldn’t feel good about it at all,” he told reporters, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “Because at the end of the day, I’m here to win a team prize, and that’s to win a championship, not an individual prize.”
LeBron’s numbers during the Finals are eye-popping. He’s averaging 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists while playing 45.6 minutes per game. He has recorded two triple-doubles and scored 40 or more points in three of five games.
The last player to win the NBA Finals MVP on a losing team was Jerry West in 1969, when his Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in seven games. In a poll of NBA players and executives, Dirk Nowitzki told ESPN’s Chris Broussard that he doesn’t think it should happen again.
“For me, it’s got to be somebody from the winner,” Nowitzki said. “That’s how I always viewed the MVP, even though LeBron is playing from another planet and he’s singlehandedly keeping the series close. I’ve always believe the MVP has to come from the winner.”
Nowitzki mentioned Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala as potential candidates from the Warriors, and we tend to agree. Iguodala has been a difference-maker in the series, especially when Warriors coach Steve Kerr started him over Andrew Bogut in Game 4 and Iguodala led the way with 22 points in a pivotal win.
LeBron James made a comment after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night that is going to stick with him no matter which team goes on to win the NBA championship.
“I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world – that simple.”
From a guy who typically redirects praise onto his teammates and rarely compliments himself like that, the remark came as a surprise. After LeBron’s Game 5 press conference concluded, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com asked him to elaborate.
“It’s all about me putting in the work,” James explained. “It’s just basically saying, like I always say, I feel like I’m the MVP every night. I feel like what I’m capable of doing in this league is the one of the best if not the best.”
When Berger mentioned that boasting usually isn’t LeBron’s style, the Cavs star agreed.
“Nah, it’s not,” he said. “But it came out.”
Berger went on to note that LeBron was smiling “sheepishly” as he left the arena with longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter. You have to wonder if he regrets what he said, especially with the Cavs trailing 3-2 and on the brink of elimination.