Hey All! Im working the WarriorsMavericks game tonightsort of. Usually, a Warriors home game is long (and pretty fun!) day for me. Today, not so much. My day usually starts first thing in the morning with a read of all the game previews available on the internet. I also peruse the team reports that the Warriors email to the media. From that, I create a dossier for that nights game that I email to my phone. It helps me come up with relevant and timely questions for my 10:45 visit to morning shoot-around at the Warriors Oakland Practice facility. It also gives me nuggets of information that I can use in my pre and postgame live shots. (ex. The Warriors tonight faced the NBAs highest scoring teamand shut them down!) Shootaround is a chance for me and the other media members assembled to interview Mark Jackson and a player or two. This is the sound that I usually build my pregame live shots around for early Sports Net Central and for Warriors Pregame live. In between shootaround and live shot time in the 6 pm show, Ive got to prepare for my three in-game live shots. I get the topics emailed to me between 11 and noon from the outstanding Warriors game producer, Phil Pollicino. Sometimes the hits are pretty straight forward and easy to write (ex. David Lee has been great..). Sometimes, theyre fairly complicated. This is particularly true when Im dealing with an NBA special program like NBA Green Week. In such situations, theres a lot of information to disseminateand only :30 to :40 seconds in which to disseminate it! I can feel this getting bogged down into the extreme minutia of my day. Ill just say from here that a usual Warriors home game day for me starts at least at 8 am and usually is pretty non-stop until I do my postgame live shot at around 10:45 pm. But dont cry for me; I really enjoy these days! Im a basketball junkie! I follow the game; I play a couple hours of full court every Tuesday and Thursday morning (starting at 6:30 am!). And, I love the people that I meet and interact with at these games from the Warriors players and coaches to the rival broadcasters and coaches to all of the great, hardworking ushers and security staffers to the regular fans Ive had a chance to get to know over this season. Being the Warriors sideline reporter is great funa true feel good experience! So, nowall of that is to illustrate the point that today will be different: --No morning shoot-around (so I cant get my sound for my live shot until Coach Jacksons pregame press conference at 6) --No Pregame Live or in-game live shots (TNT has tonights game, so we are not broadcasting it) The only time youll see me today is in the early and late Sports Net Central shows. With less to do today, Ill try to get ahead in some other things Im working onand during the game, if theres a injury situation or some other surprise happening, Ill work to find out whats happening and tweet it to you. In fact, expect lots of tweets from me during tonights game!Dont forgetif you see me at Oracle, say hi!
OAKLAND -- No one among the Warriors had a deeper desire to beat the Cavaliers than Stephen Curry, and his performance Monday gave every indication that he wanted it as badly as he needed it.
And after losing the point-guard battle to Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in four successive games, all Warriors losses, it was past time for Curry as the back-to-back MVP to stand up and make a statement.
His response was impressive: 20 points (7-of-20 shooting), 11 assists, four steals and a 126-91 rout by the Warriors. He was plus-23 over 31 minutes.
“He was making shots, it’s as simple as that,” Irving said. “In transition, off pick-and-rolls, doing what he does and that makes him a great player.”
Irving’s response: 17 points (6-of-19 shooting), two assists and a game-high-tying (with teammate LeBron James) six turnovers. Irving was minus-12 over 29 minutes.
“Steph was great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “A phenomenal first half, I think he had 10 assists. His energy was great and he set the tone. He put a lot of pressure on the defense.”
Curry has been playing with renewed vigor lately, his mentality changing shortly after the Warriors on Christmas Day in Cleveland blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, taking a 109-108 loss. Curry took only 11 shots, scoring 15 points.
He was particularly good in the first half, scoring 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, with 10 assists and three steals. Curry clearly came to destroy.
“It was a great way to start, just a foot on the gas pedal,” Curry said.
Curry’s game, along with the victory, may silence some of the narrative suggesting the Cavaliers have his number. Though he was displeased with one aspect of his game, Curry happily accepted the outcome. Or that Irving hadn't caught up to him.
“I obviously wanted to play well; I didn’t want to walk off the floor with anything more than what I think is a solid, aggressive game,” he said. “I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I wanted to. Some shots I normally make didn’t go down.
But I can live with that knowing I took care of the other stuff I was supposed to do on the floor. Really, what was all in my head was that I definitely wanted to leave this arena tonight with a solid performance and obviously get the win.”
OAKLAND -- There was a single play Monday night that delighted Warriors fans more than any other in a 126-91 win over the Cavaliers, and it was not any of five 3-point bombs dropped by Oracle Arena favorite Stephen Curry.
Nor was it the high-velocity collision between Draymond Green and LeBron James, which resulted in Green being assessed with a Flagrant Foul 1 and the Warriors cranking up their intensity to another level.
No, the most satisfying play of all was on defense, and it was made by offensive wizard Kevin Durant, who sent a resounding message to the Cavaliers and, moreover, to James, Cleveland’s superstar forward.
With 9:48 left in the third quarter and James driving in for a dunk, Durant responded by rising up and cleanly stuffing the shot, sending James sprawling helplessly to the floor as the Warriors gained possession and raced the other way.
“That block at the rim was definitely great,” Draymond Green said. “If LeBron dunks on him right there, the momentum swings, he’s excited and everything can possibly swing. Yeah, he made a stand. Got a big block for us and we got off to the races. That puts momentum completely in our favor.”
With the crowd pumping up the volume, the Warriors, already in control, finished the job. And don’t think Durant isn’t aware of the effect such a play has.
“Yeah, especially when you’re at home, when you get a block against anybody, the crowd is into the game and they really enjoy that,” he said. “Around the league now, in every arena, fans are starting to respect defense. They can sense that it’s a momentum shift when you get a big block or a huge steal or a block.”
It also put momentum, on a personal level, in Durant’s favor. Despite the fact that Curry has won the last two MVP awards, it’s widely believed that James and Durant are the top two players in the NBA.
James has three championship rings, while Durant has none. James has four MVP awards, to one for Durant. When the two met in the 2012 NBA Finals, when Durant was with the Thunder and James with the Heat, Miami won in five games.
Durant, who entered the league four years after James, is at the point in his career that he believes he’s ready for anything James may have. Furthermore, since coming to the Warriors last summer, Durant clearly embraces the opportunity to beat James.
Durant posted 36 points and 15 rebounds when the teams met in Cleveland on Christmas Day, and posted 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals on Monday. KD, on an individual basis, is now 2-0 this season against LeBron.
“Guarding one of the best players in the league, and somebody that can score in different ways and impact the game from different ways, whether it’s in transition or the pick-and-roll or (isolation), I just tried to stay locked in and relied on my teammates,” Durant said.