New chapter unfolds in Draymond-LeBron saga

New chapter unfolds in Draymond-LeBron saga

OAKLAND -- Add a new conflict to the war between Draymond Green and Lebron James.

With 6:55 left in the second quarter of the Cavaliers-Warriors game at Oracle Arena on Monday, Green was assessed with a Flagrant Foul 1 after colliding with James, who was barreling toward the basket on a fast break.

Upon contact, James went down hard and remained face down for a few moments. Cleveland teammate Richard Jefferson confronted Green, with both men gesturing, though no actual blows were thrown.

The officiating crew, led by Ed Malloy, took several minutes to review the play and concluded that Green deserved a flagrant, while also slapping Green and Jefferson with double technical fouls for their mini-skirmish.

Though he outweighs Green by at least 20 pounds, James reacted to the collision with his head snapping back as the ball went flying out of his hands. He landed on his right side before turning face down to the floor.

Incensed at James’ reaction, Green mimicked a flop as he walked toward the Warriors bench.

This is the latest manifestation of the bad blood between Green and James, who were involved in a crucial play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals last season. That skirmish resulted in Green being suspended for Game 5.

In divided days, Steve Kerr turns to the words of Martin Luther King Jr

In divided days, Steve Kerr turns to the words of Martin Luther King Jr

OAKLAND -- Two hours before tipoff of the most anticipated game of the season, Warriors coach Steve Kerr entered the room for his pregame news conference, seated himself and immediately began a monologue unrelated to basketball.

Kerr took a couple minutes Monday afternoon, prior to Cavaliers vs. Warriors at Oracle Arena, not only to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but also to share a story that provided a glimpse into his family.

“First, I want to wish everybody a happy MLK Day,” Kerr began. “I think about this story every year. My son was five years old. He was in kindergarten and he came home from school a couple days before MLK Day and he had this really sad look on his face. And I said, ‘What’s the matter, buddy?’ He said, 'Well, Monday is Martin Luther King’s birthday, and I didn’t get an invitation.'

“So I hope if there was a party today for any of you, you did get invited.

Warriors-Cavs, featuring the teams that met in each of the past two NBA Finals, is one of nine NBA games -- five of which are nationally televised -- scheduled on MLK Day. The NBA makes a concerted effort to use the national holiday as an opportunity to educate while also entertaining.

“We celebrate the game, we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and his impact and, I have to say, I’m really, really proud to be part of the NBA and proud of (commissioner) Adam Silver’s leadership,” Kerr said. “I’m proud that the league is so progressive in terms of really promoting tolerance and equality -- and they back it up. It is truly from the heart.

“I’m proud of our players for the work they do. And I just want to say thank you for all the people out there who are working toward all those ideals, not only in the league but everywhere -- teachers, mentors, philanthropists, a lot of people out there doing wonderful stuff.”

Asked about significance of MLK Day, as it relates to the America’s contentious political landscape four days before Donald Trump, the most bombastic president-elect in modern times, is inaugurated, Kerr didn’t flinch.

“There’s definitely a divide right now,” he said. “Today is full of significance in terms of reminding everybody to be compassionate, to be empathetic. I was looking at some of Martin Luther King’s quotes this morning. And one of them that I hadn’t seen before that was really simple and to the point was: ‘We may have all come over here on different ships, but we’re now in the same boat.’

“I thought that was really well said. It’s a reminder that we are all products of our environment. Some of us are much more fortunate than others. I know from my own life that there’s no way I’d be sitting here without the family support that I had, the upbringing that I had. There are so many people are left behind.

“And so it’s critical for people to have compassion and have empathy. And I would hope in these times, with so much anger and divide, that we’ll be reminded of that today.”

NBA Gameday: Warriors welcome Cavaliers with vengeance in mind

NBA Gameday: Warriors welcome Cavaliers with vengeance in mind

OAKLAND -- With the Christmas Day Collapse lingering about the back of their minds, the Warriors are out for vengeance against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

When the teams meet Monday for a late-afternoon Matinee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Warriors will be trying to end a four-game losing streak to the Cavs, who came from behind for a 109-108 win on Christmas Day in Cleveland.

The Warriors (34-6) hope to benefit from the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, where they have been nearly invincible over the past two-plus seasons. They are 95-7 at home since coach Steve Kerr arrived before 2014-15 season.

The Cavaliers (29-10) are making the final stop of a six-game road trip that spanned 12 days in three different time zones.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 7.5

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving: Though they don’t always defend each other, each point guard is his team’s catalyst. Irving has been winning this battle of late, and the result is success for Cleveland. Curry is playing well of late, better than Irving. If that trend continues Monday, the Warriors will take their chances.

Kevin Durant and LeBron James: Durant was superb on Christmas Day, clearly outplaying James until the final quarter, when he melted down with his teammates, missing seven of his last nine shots. James seized the moment, leading his team to victory. Nothing would please the Warriors more than KD getting the best of James.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: No injuries listed.

Cavaliers: G J.R. Smith (R thumb fracture) and F/C Chris Andersen (R ACL surgery) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Cavaliers: 6-4.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors lost the previous meeting this season and, including the last three games of the 2016 NBA Finals, have lost four straight. They are 10-8 (including postseason) against Cleveland since James returned before the 2014-15 season.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE START: In winning their last three games, all against sub-.500 teams, the Warriors cruised through the first half and didn’t get serious until the third quarter. That formula would be particularly dangerous against a defending champion. A faster start is called for, and the Warriors know it.

THE GLASS: What killed the Warriors in the Christmas Day Collapse, perhaps as much as turnovers, was Cleveland’s relentless work on the offensive glass. The Cavs piled up 18 offensive rebounds, leading to 17 additional shot attempts. If the Warriors can’t do a better job, it could be disastrous.

THE 3-BALL WAR: The Warriors rank fourth in 3-point shooting percentage; the Cavs are third. The Warriors rank fifth in attempts from beyond the arc; the Cavs are third. Cleveland put up more triples, with more accuracy, on Christmas Day. But . . . the Warriors are No. 1 in defense against triples, while the Cavs are 14th.