LAS VEGAS – Identical to he did in Game Three of the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals, Kevin Durant nailed a Three-pointer over LeBron James.
The context was totally different, although. It was not a dagger shot. It additionally befell through the Warriors’ 123-113 pre-season loss to the Lakers on Wednesday. Therefore, James shot down any comparisons between the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals matchups prior to now 4 years and Wednesday’s pre-season game.
“It’s exactly the same,” James sarcastically. “Preseason games vs. The Finals – it’s exactly the same.”
It was not precisely the identical. Nevertheless it had the identical forged of characters with the Warriors’ Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson towards the Lakers’ James. Curry made Three-pointers as all the time en path to 23 factors on 6-of-11 capturing. Durant confirmed off his footwork, spin strikes, jumpers and dunking en path to 18 factors on Eight-of-14 capturing. Thompson had 20 factors on Eight-of-18 capturing. And James confirmed off his athleticism and vary with 15 factors on 5-of-Eight capturing, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in 18 minutes.
The Warriors and Lakers performed with the type of depth often reserved for playoff matchups. However don’t inform James the Warriors and Lakers have a rivalry.
“What’s the rivalry?” James requested rhetorically. “I know nothing about it.”
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Some on the Warriors respectfully disagree. After rising up a Lakers fan, Warriors coach Steve Kerr argued “it’s great for the league to see LeBron in a Lakers uniform.”
“It ramps up just because there’s a rivalry between Nor Cal and SoCal,” Thompson stated. “There’s talent on both teams. But I don’t think it’ll be the level of us and the Cavs just because we played at the highest level for four straight years.”
The Warriors and Lakers at the least provided a sneak preview of the chances.
On one play, James transformed on a reverse layup after Warriors ahead Kevon Looney wrapped his arm round him. James then flexed his muscle. On one other play, James drained a 34-foot shot earlier than the buzzer to shut the primary half. He stood nonetheless to soak within the second, simply as Curry typically does.
In a single first-quarter sequence, Warriors middle Damian Jones blocked a shot from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope off the backboard to arrange a Thompson Three-pointer. Then Lakers middle JaVale McGee, who performed with the Warriors the earlier two seasons, threw down a dunk just for Curry to launch a Three-pointer.
Durant powered for a two-handed dunk, which offered retribution for a misplaced cross he threw earlier to veteran reserve Andre Iguodala. On one other play, Durant performend a clinic on Caldwell-Pope together with his footwork and a spin transfer earlier than nailing a baseline jumper.
These highlights couldn’t camouflage some ugly developments. The Warriors dedicated 25 turnovers, collected 38 fouls and allowed the Lakers to attain 52 factors within the paint.
“It was misplaced energy on our part,” Kerr stated. “We were trying to put on a show instead of playing basketball.”
That present no less than offered a sneak preview in what might be an entertaining playoff collection. A lot would change had Warriors ahead Draymond Inexperienced performed as an alternative of lacking his third consecutive game with a sore left knee. The Warriors presumably would have performed with higher self-discipline had this taken place in one of many 4 regular-season video games, together with a Christmas Day matchup at Oakland.
However the Lakers adopted the technique the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics tried final yr. They drove to the basket, drew fouls and prompted frustration with the officers. Additionally they pressured turnovers to create straightforward baskets.
“If you don’t care of the basketball, you’re going to be in trouble. If you shoot bad shots, you’re going to get in trouble,” Durant stated. “They’re going to get out and run fast and they have athletes and playmakers. They got shooters. They make you think. You got to make the correct plays on the offensive side of the ball in order for you to kind of slow them down.”
All of which reminds Durant of the Showtime Lakers. As an alternative of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Michael Cooper, the Lakers have James, Brandon Ingram (26 factors on 5-of-13 capturing, 15-of-17 from the free-throw line), Kyle Kuzma (22), Caldwell Pope (20), Rajon Rondo and McGee.
“I feel like every Lakers team tried to play fast, but you got LeBron, Rondo and JaVale sprinting big. It’s definitely going to help them out,” Durant stated. “They got the young guys with a lot of energy. That’s Lakers basketball and getting up and down. That started in the middle of the Magic Johnson era. So they’re trying to bring that back.”
Los Angeles Lakers ahead LeBron James (23) shoots between Golden State Warriors ahead Kevin Durant, left, and guard Andre Iguodala in the course of the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photograph/John Locher)
A number of gamers on the Warriors bench shook their head incredulously. Durant stood up in exasperation. Officers had simply referred to as an offensive foul on Warriors ahead Marcus Dickerson after making slight contact towards Lakers guard Travis Put on whereas posting up with Three:37 left within the fourth quarter.
By that time, Durant had seen sufficient. So he stormed off the courtroom and went to the locker room.
“I had to go pee,” Durant joked.
He truly needed to calm his nerves. The Warriors have been whistled for 38 fouls, loads of which included offensive fouls due to the NBA’s renewed factors of emphasis on making contact throughout post-ups and screens. Durant additionally fouled out with 5:07 left within the third quarter and picked up a technical.
“Just like we play a few 82-game season, the refs have a full 82 game season,” Durant stated. “We try to make adjustments. We’re making adjustments as well. We know it’s tough for them to make that switch with points of emphasis on how to call those things. But just be patient with them. It’s early in the season. But when you’re on the court, in the moment sometimes it gets the best of you.”
It typically has gotten the perfect of the Warriors and Durant. Kerr acquired an ejection in Monday’s preseason game towards Phoenix after Curry collected his third foul. Durant has picked up a technical in every of the previous two preseason video games.
“I’m pretty confident they’re not going to call 65 fouls and foul Kevin Durant out in 24 minutes when the regular season starts. I’m pretty confident in that. If they do, then we got to talk.”
The Warriors already had that dialogue. On protection, Thompson cited the necessity “to play vertical.” Looney conceded the staff must improves its defensive communication and switching. And, nicely, Looney admitted the Warriors might enhance a factor or two about their picks.
“You have to set screens by the book,” Looney stated. “A lot of times you could get away with sticking your leg out or an extra bump.”
Nonetheless, that doesn’t account for Ingram (15-of-17) making far more journeys to the free-throw line than Durant (1-of-2).
“The NBA always tries to figure out ways to make our league better and make the game play better. So referees are working hard to figure that out,” Durant stated. “It’s a great time to put it in use with preseason. It’s not one of those things where I’m going to be [ticked] after the game. I know they’re trying to do a job and they’re going to make adjustments as well.”
Will the Warriors and officers work out that dynamic in another preseason game?
“Right now we’re putting the officials in a really tough spot. We’re having them call everything. I know it’s preseason. We’re trying to make sure we have these points of emphasis. But there has to be some flow to the game and there has to be some pace,” Kerr stated. “That’s what people come out to see. That’s what makes the game beautiful.. But I’m very confident that we’ll see that sorted out. The league always does a great job of making sure the pace and flow of the game is good. Ironically, that’s the point in calling things tighter off the ball. That’s to improve flow and improve pace. It’s not going to happen with 65 fouls.”
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams talks with Golden State Warriors’ Jordan Bell (2) within the fourth quarter of their NBA game towards the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Area in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Oct. Eight, 2018. (Jane Tyska/Bay Space Information Group)
One other preseason game often means one factor. One other lineup change. With Draymond Inexperienced lacking his third consecutive exhibition with a sore left knee, Kerr began second-year ahead Jordan Bell at energy ahead.
The Warriors have carved out a bigger position for Bell, however Kerr famous he has “been up and down a little bit.” He solely had two factors on 1-of-5 capturing, 10 rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes.
“Jordan sometimes try to relies on his athleticism,” Kerr stated. “We’re trying to get him to be in the right spot every time.”
Nonetheless, Kerr stated he stays “very happy” with Bell’s progress on his defensive rotations, passing and capturing. He devoted his offseason towards enhancing his mid-range shot, one thing that Kerr endorses to a level.
“You know how we operate on this team. Go ahead and shoot if you’re open,” Kerr stated. “But if Steph, KD or Klay have a better one, make sure you throw it to them.”
A reasonably novel idea.
“It took months and months of research to figure that out,” Kerr joked.
The person touched so many within the NBA group together with his educating, prompting many tributes to former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Tex Winters passing away on Wednesday on the age of 96. So when it got here to outlining what Winter meant to Kerr, he spoke in as a lot element as Winter’s observations concerning the game. The rationale: Kerr stated Winter “changed his life” when he performed for the Bulls (1993-1998).
“He didn’t care about anything other than execution,” Kerr stated. “He didn’t care about stars. He didn’t care about status. He didn’t care about anything other than just executing the play.”
A lot that Kerr stated that Winter typically yelled at Bulls coach Phil Jackson about needing to sub Kerr for star Michael Jordan.
“He’s the only guy who ever uttered the words, ‘Phil, get Michael out of there, put Kerr in! He literally said that many times,” Kerr stated. “He said we’re not running the offense. ‘Phil, get Michael out of there. Put Kerr in for me!’”
When Kerr’s teammates checked out him, Kerr typically responded, “Don’t look at me; he said it.”
“He was a stickler for offensive execution,” Kerr stated. “He taught me an awful lot about basketball and I learned a lot about his life, too.”
Winter was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame in 2011 due to his position in overseeing a triangle offense that helped the Bulls and Lakers win a mixed 9 NBA championships. Winter was a marketing consultant for Jackson earlier than his duties have been decreased after struggling a stroke April 2009. Due to that historical past, Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams advised Kerr that “Tex knew more about the history of the game and the fundamentals of the game than anybody he had ever met in his life.”
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 10: LeBron James #23 and Lance Stephenson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers rejoice after James made a shot towards the Golden State Warriors and was fouled throughout their preseason game at T-Cellular Area on October 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: Consumer expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or utilizing this photograph, Consumer is consenting to the phrases and circumstances of the Getty Pictures License Settlement. (Photograph by Ethan Miller/Getty Photographs)
The phrases unsurprisingly drew applause from the partisan crowd. At halftime, Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman introduced Lakers president of basketball operations and luminary Magic Johnson with the keys to the town on “Magic Johnson Day.” When Johnson spoke on the microphone, he shared a dream.
“I hope one day Las Vegas gets an NBA team,” Johnson stated to roaring applause.
Will that occur?
“They’re building the stadiums to get ready for it. With the hockey team and WNBA team that is here and Raiders coming in soon, they’re setting themselves up to have an NBA team,” James stated. “But I don’t know if it’s now or 10 years from now.”
The NBA doesn’t have any imminent plans to broaden its 30-league workforce or permit a staff to relocate. As an alternative, Commissioner Adam Silver considers it a precedence to make sure aggressive stability within the league.
“It seems like a logical spot in the future,” Kerr stated. “But I know there’s a lot more that goes into it.”
The NBA considers Las Vegas a beautiful venue. It has hosted Summer time League there since 2004 and expanded from six groups to all 30. The Lakers additionally hosted pre-season video games yearly since 2012 and in addition held video games 16 different occasions (1988, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
It seems possible, although, the NBA would first add a staff in Seattle after which in Vancouver. The previous Seattle SuperSonics left for Oklahoma Metropolis in 2008 after spending 41 years there. The previous Grizzlies have been an enlargement NBA workforce in 1996 and was bought after six seasons to Michael Beasley, who acquired league approval to relocate to Memphis.
“You can say that about a lot of cities. A lot of cities enjoy basketball. They can be pushing for their team in their market,” stated Durant, who has publicly vouched for Seattle to have an NBA group since enjoying for them as a rookie in 2007-08. “But I feel like the NBA is in a great place. Obviously this Vegas market is booming and it’s huge. But I just feel like you can say that about so many greats cities around the US that want an NBA team.”
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