the-return-to-cleveland

Steve Kerr explained why the Warriors didn't go to one of their greatest weapons until they needed it most

(Ezra Shaw/Getty)
When the Golden State Warriors signed Kevin Durant last summer, the NBA world immediately became intrigued by how he and Stephen Curry could work together.

Both historically great shooters, deft ball-handlers, and clever passers, they could seemingly run the most lethal pick-and-roll in NBA history. There would be no going under screens, no trapping for fear of leaving one open, and no switching and setting either player up with a mismatch.

However, throughout most of the season, the Warriors almost never ran the play.

It didn’t affect the Warriors offense, as they posted a league-leading 113.2 offensive rating, but the lack of that particular pick-and-roll surprised many (although, contrary to belief, the Warriors are not a pick-and-roll-heavy team).

However, in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, with the threat of returning to Cleveland for a Game 6, the Warriors busted it out — along with their notorious “death lineup” — and buried the Cavs. Though the NBA’s Stats site doesn’t track the number of pick-and-rolls in a given game, the Warriors ran the Curry-Durant pick-and-roll several times in the fourth quarter, including three straight possessions.

The offensive success left many wondering why the Warriors didn’t run the play more often — especially with assistant coach Mike Brown telling ESPN’s Zach Lowe that he prefers to run it more than Kerr.

On Wednesday, Kerr was a guest on Lowe’s podcast, “The Lowe Post,” and admitted, “We probably ran it more in that game than we did literally all season long, combined. It was obviously effective.” Kerr then explained his hesitancy in running it over and over.

“The thing for me, philosophically, we could do Steph-KD pick-and-rolls all season long and get open shots, and I understand that. But that’s, think about our team — if we were built like Cleveland, and we had Kyle Korver and [Channing] Frye and [Kevin] Love, that makes perfect sense. Now you got the floor spaced and you just have three-point shooters everywhere. But we have playmakers everywhere — Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala. I want those guys making plays. I want them with the ball in their hands.

"I learned this with Phil Jackson and the triangle. When everyone is involved, touching the ball and cutting and screening, there’s a magic that happens, there’s something special where guys feel empowered, their defense gets better because they’re involved. And so I think, what’s important for me as a coach is to play the style we do.”

However, Kerr said that in the playoffs, teams have to make adjustments, and that it was Brown who put the Curry-Durant pick-and-roll into the game plan, and the Warriors decided to give it a try.

“It was different than a lot of the stuff that we’ve done. And we just unleashed it in Game 5. I give Mike a ton of credit because it changed the look and it changed the scheme defensively, what Cleveland had grown comfortable with. And we just kept going over and over.”

The Warriors’ baskets out of the pick-and-roll were not, as some would call it, “the beautiful game” — a reference to the dazzling ball and player movement that teams like the Spurs and Warriors often run. But there’s something to be said of putting the ball in your best players’ hands and letting them run something simple.

As Kerr said, most of the time, he’d prefer the Warriors run plays with more passing and screening to get everyone involved and scramble the defense. But it shows the Warriors’ unbelievable depth and talent that their fall-back play in the Finals is a basic action 29 other teams would be giddy to use. 

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Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are now in the running for LeBron James’ services and they are pulling out all the stops to welcome their King back. Despite their hostile reaction to the decision, Cavs Nation is ready and willing to welcome their hero home. In doing so, they’ve traded Jarrett Jack in an attempt to free up cap space, making it possible to offer LeBron a max contract. Aside from making financial moves, they are also recruiting Mike Miller and Ray Allen to make the move irresistible! 

LeBron James to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers

Sports IllustratedNBA superstar LeBron James says he is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

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Photo: Getty Images via NBC

By leaving Miami to go back home to Cleveland, LeBron, who is worth far more to the N.B.A. than any owner, has taken back a fraction of the power he and other players have earned and continued the trend that he, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade started whereby players, still working within a restrictive and draconian labor system, can scratch out a small measure of autonomy. In professional sports, the players are the business. The league is stronger when it remembers that.
—  Jay Caspian Kang on LeBron James’s return to Cleveland: http://nyr.kr/1mH2m2S
3

Medical Update:

Dear Taylor,

Today I was at the Cleveland Clinic getting blood work and ultrasounds done. I woke up super early to get to the Hospital at 8:45am. As suspected, I did not get the best news today….

In November of 2014 I was diagnosed with Non-Aloholic Fatty Liver disease which means which is a term used to describe “the accumulation of fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol. In some people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the fat that accumulates can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver. This more serious form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is sometimes called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. At its most severe, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can progress to liver failure.” A month ago I just had the fat accumulating outside of my live, but now most of the fat as penetrated my liver and reside within it. This is not good news.

Along with this news, my tumor is slightly bigger now…. also not good, but not critical at this point. In March 2015, I was diagnosed with Hepatocellular Adenomas (HCAs) which are also known as hepatic adenomas or liver cell adenomas. They are rare, benign tumors of presumable epithelial origin and occur in less than 0.004% of the population at risk.

I plan to drive home to Connecticut tomorrow morning and will return to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment on June 19th….

I am scared of what happens next. It seems as if each “check up” leads to another diagnosis with no treatment options, currently. taylorswift do you know what I did after I head this bad news???? I listened to 1989, TWICE! It made me feel better and the pain stopped for a short time.

taylorswift, If you are reading this… I want you to know that you are my inspiration to not give up and to fight my sickness. I will never let pain get in the way of doing the things that I love and getting an education. I love you so much. taylorswift…. Thank you for being there for me since day one. You’re my cheerleader!

I cannot wait to see you in July at Gillette on the 24th!!! If you want to know how I am doing you can find me in PITL, GA1, seats 14 & 15.

Sincerely,

Hannah Boulden…

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LeBron James continues classy return to Cleveland with kind gesture towards neighbors

 “We know things have been hectic in the neighborhood these past few weeks and we are sorry for the chaos,” the note reads. “We are so thankful to live in this wonderful community and we are so blessed to have understanding neighbors like you.

“As a gesture of our gratitude and appreciation, our family wants to give you something that is meaningful to us, our foundation’s cupcakes. We hope you enjoy the treat!”

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