Former Warriors owner Fitzgerald remembered as generous, giving

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Former Warriors owner Fitzgerald remembered as generous, giving

Jim Fitzgerald, who co-owned the Warriors from 1986 until 1994, passed away in Janesville, WI, on Monday. He was 86. Fitzgerald and Dan Finnane owned the Golden State Warriors beforeChris Cohan and after Franklin Meuli during the "Run TMC" era.Having begun covering the Warriors in the mid-1990s, I've heard a lot about Fitzgerald and Finnane -- whether it be from (Hall of Famer) Chris Mullin,(legend) Alvin Attles, (former player) Mitch Richmond, (former director ofscouting) Ed Gregory, (strength and conditioning coach) Mark Grabow, (athletic trainer) Tom Abdenour, (former coach) Don Nelson or countless other people who overlapped withFitzgerald and Finnane, they all spoke glowingly of them.Im deeply saddened to learn about the death of JimFitzgerald, who I considered a very dear friend and someone who epitomizedclass. Said Attles. Mr. Fitzgerald was simply a terrific man of incrediblecharacter and high standards who was a model owner for the Warriors and theNBA."He was true; they both were," Mullin said of Fitzgerald and Finnane. "They tell you something and they stick to it. They let the basketball people do their jobs. 'Run TMC' doesn't happen without Jim Fitzgerald and Dan Finnane. It was struggling there for a while, and they were the ones who really turned it around."If theres one story thats made the rounds in the Warriorscommunity about Fitzgerald and Finnane, its the one about their generosityupon exiting the game. After selling the team to Cohan in 1994 for 140 million, Fitzgerald andFinnane gave quite a parting gift to employees . According to several employeesat the time, every employee received a handsome parting gift, some in excessof six figures.One former Warriors employee told me he had been with theWarriors for a few months when Fitzgerald and Finnane sold to Cohan and that hereceived a check in the thousands.Disproportionate, was the way he remembered it.That same employee remembers a palpable buzz and then commotion in the offices as employees opened the envelopes with the checks in them.He always put the needs and concerns of others ahead ofhimself and was one of the most giving and caring individuals I have ever met,Attles said. He enriched the lives of his friends, employees and acquaintancesand for that we are forever grateful. My thoughts and prayers go out to hisentire family during this difficult time.Mullin said he specifically remembered how Fitzgerald and Finnane included Meuli in the Warriors' family -- even after Meuli had sold the team after owning it for 20-plus years. Meuli, who passed in 2010, was often in the front row of Warriors games well into the mid-2000s."I always thought that was cool," Mullin said. "They took care of Franklin. There was great trust there and respect there. It wasn't 'This is now mine.' To me, both Jim (Fitzgerald) and Dan (Finnane) are two great, first-class guys."

Ty Lue: Celtics 'harder to defend' than Warriors

Ty Lue: Celtics 'harder to defend' than Warriors

The Warriors possess four 2017 All-Stars, three 2017 All-NBA team members and had the highest-scoring offense during the offense. They are 12-0 this postseason and have won those 12 games by an average of 16.3 points.

The Celtics lost All-NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas for the rest of the postseason and don't have another All-Star on the roster.

But for Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, it sounds like he has an easier time scheming to defend the Warriors.

"The stuff (the Celtics are) running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's (offense) for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing. Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff but these guys are running all kinds of (stuff). And Brad's (Stevens) got them moving and cutting and playing with pace and everybody is a threat," Lue said Wednesday, according to Cleveland.com.

The Cavs rallied to beat the Celtics in Game 4 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite the commanding series lead, Lue isn't looking ahead of a potential NBA Finals matchup with the Warriors.

"You can't. As much as you want to, it's not over," Lue told reporters.

The Cavs have a chance to wrap up the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday when they face the Celtics in Boston.

The NBA Finals begin June 1 in Oakland.

 

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

More Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? Mike Brown: 'I love Steve, but...'

The Warriors led the NBA in offensive rating (113.2) during the regular season.

The Warriors are second in the league in offensive rating (115.8) in the playoffs.

Scoring is not an issue.

But will we see the Warriors run more pick-and-roll in the NBA Finals, specifically the Steph Curry-Kevin Durant combination?

"Steve (Kerr) isn't really into this much," interim head coach Mike Brown told ESPN's Zach Lowe. "He's more about spacing and movement -- and that's fantastic. I love Steve, and wherever I might go, I'm going to incorporate a lot of stuff he does.

"But in the playoffs, sometimes you have to attack a mismatch. When I need a bucket, that's what I'm going to do."

Mr. Kerr -- your response?

"Mike is right about me, but I also recognize the need to do it more as defenses get tougher," Kerr told ESPN. "It's about finding the right balance between isolating when we need to, and keeping the flow that makes us who we are."

During the regular season, the Warriors ranked last in pick-and-roll possessions per game -- both when the ball-handler ended the possession, or when the roll/pop man ended the possession.

Steph Curry averaged 6.1 pick-and-roll possessions per game -- 28th in the NBA.

That number is up to 7.5 per game in the playoffs.

“I think we’re still at our best when we’re simple about what we’re doing,” Curry recently told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. “Whether it’s pick-and-roll and you’ve got everybody spaced. You’ve got shooters where they need to be. You’ve got the dive man where he needs to be with space to put pressure on the rim. 

"You’ve got a ball-handler playmaker with it that can come off and shoot it, get a bucket. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be more complex than that. We’ve got the awareness that, that needs to happen.”