Here's to Tim Hardaway

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Here's to Tim Hardaway

It was Tim Hardaway bobble-head night at Oracle Arena onMonday night. In a lead-up to the Chris Mullin jersey retirement ceremony onMarch 19, the Warriors are doing the bobble-head thing with Hardaway, MitchRichmond and, of course, Mullin: "Run TMC.".When I get to thinking of Tim Hardaway, I think of a playerwho was relentless, tough and fearless. Few guards took the ball to the hole ashard as Hardaway did.His killer crossover is what many people will remember,but on the end of that move was usually a finish in the lane, sometimes intraffic and a lot of the time in head-shaking fashion.
Hardaway had four seasons with the Warriors in which heaveraged over 20 points and nine assists per game. When he got it going asthey say, he was virtually unguardable.He was a player who could get his shot when he needed to.You couldnt defend him tightly on the perimeter because hed just go by you,and so he always had a makeable 20-footer at hand.He was a fierce competitor, and he had a great love for thegame-within-the game. And that meant his head-to-head matchup with the opposingpoint guards.When Hardaway got scored on, chances were he was coming rightback at the guy. Hardaway was a player who didnt just want to win, he wantedto win two things: the game and his matchup.As competitive as Hardaway was, he almost always did his jobwith a smile on his face and in, lets just say, a vocal way. He was atremendous talker on the court but yet always seemed to do it in agood-natured way. Hardaway was the essence of a scoring point guard. He wasnot a consistent outside shooter, but he was good enough and he could bestreaky. Truth be told, Hardaway didnt have to be a great perimeter shooterbecause, in his prime, he got to the basket whenever he wanted.The other thing to remember about Hardaway is this: As goodas he was as a Warrior, he was every bit as good after he got traded to theMiami Heat. Hardaway had a whole nother career after leaving Golden State, andtruth be told, a better one certainly from a team standpoint.And its a big reason why the Heat have retired Hardaways No.10 jersey.

Mike Brown has one job to do as acting head coach of the Warriors

Mike Brown has one job to do as acting head coach of the Warriors

Programming note: Warriors-Blazers Game 4 coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

PORTLAND — Though this undoubtedly is a crisis for Steve Kerr, whose body is putting up such angry protest that he is pulling out of playoff games, it’s no emergency for the Warriors.

No matter what you think of Mike Brown as a basketball coach, and opinions do vary, his ascension to acting head coach in Kerr’s absence does not sink the championship aspirations of the team.

What it does, more than anything, is create leadership opportunities for such accomplished veterans as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

[POOLE: This is cruel: Steve Kerr imprisoned by misery that has engulfed his body]

What it also does is provide a deeper glimpse into one of the most democratic coaching operations in sports.

“The way things work here, it’s pretty unusual,” Brown told NBCSportsBayArea.com. “Everybody is involved. Everybody -- coaches, players, staff, anybody with an idea -- has a voice. Steve has created an environment where everyone is comfortable speaking up about anything.”

Not only is everyone comfortable, but Kerr also encourages participation in the process. Whether it’s a veteran coach like Ron Adams, a staffer like Nick U’Ren, an analyst like Sammy Gelfand or a video intern like Khalid Robinson, the floor is always open to ideas and comments.

No one is ignored, and that’s not the case with every coach in any sport.

The Warriors understand they operate in a special space, which is part of the reason they’ve spent three years thriving at such an incredible pace. And that doesn’t change because Brown is the guy standing up to call timeouts.

Consider a scene from Game 3 Saturday night. With the Warriors down eight in the final minute of the first quarter, Green picked up his second foul. That typically calls for a substation. And Brown was ready to insert Klay Thompson, but then caught sight of Green saying he would be fine.

Thompson returned to his seat, Green finished the quarter -- and was on the court again to open the second quarter.

“That just goes to show the trust that our coaching staff has in us,” Green said. “There are so many times you see guys wave a coach off . . . and they’ll still take them out. But that’s the trust our coaching staff has in us. And I know if I wave to stay in, I can’t pick up that third foul. It’s a two-way street. They have the trust in us to allow us to stay in in a situation like that, and we’ve got to make sure that we don’t mess them over and pick up that third foul, and then we’re out for the rest of the half.

“So I think it was great by him and the rest of the coaching staff to have that trust. It’s on us to hold up our end of the bargain and not get that third foul.”

[RELATED: Zaza 'got a little bit emotional' when Kerr told Warriors about chronic pain]

Green, by the way, didn’t pick up his third foul until the fourth quarter. That was long after he played such ridiculously good third-quarter defense -- 0 points while posting a plus-12 over 12 minutes -- that the Warriors wiped out a double-digit deficit.

Brown has learned to trust the player, just as Kerr trusts his players. It’s standard operation for this bunch, and Brown, a three-time NBA head coach, has seen enough not to deviate.

“The group, as a whole, understands what he wants,” Brown said of Kerr. “It makes it easy for a guy like me to just be a part.”

This is Kerr’s team, and Brown knows it. Brown wasn’t hired to coach the Warriors, and nobody understands this better than he. He wasn’t asked to come in and lay groundwork, to put his stamp on the roster or the playbook or video presentation or determine franchise direction.

His job, for as long as he is acting head coach, is to maintain status quo. And, maybe, if circumstances call for it, consider a wrinkle every now and then, as he would if he were standing next to Kerr.

Keep in mind that Kerr, who attended morning shootaround ahead of Game 4 Monday night, is not walking away. Though he does not plan to be on the bench for a while, he’ll continue to prepare and get into the ears of players and staff.

So this is not a crisis for the Warriors. Though they’d like to get Kerr back as soon as possible, they also believe the system he has built has tremendous self-sustaining qualities.

Brown has been around the game, seen enough organizations, to know this is about as good as it gets.

NBA Gameday: Durant remains questionable for Game 4

NBA Gameday: Durant remains questionable for Game 4

Programming note: Warriors-Blazers Game 4 coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

PORTLAND -- The Warriors are one victory away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

After snapping a five-game losing streak in Game 3s behind acting head coach Mike Brown on Saturday, the Warriors will go after a first-round sweep Monday night, when they face the Trail Blazers in Game 4 at Monday night at Moda Center.

The Warriors have won the first three games by an average of 15.7 points.

Facing what some players referred to as a must-win situation in Game 3, Portland took the inspirational approach, turning to center Jusuf Nurkic, who missed Games 1 and 2 with a fractured leg. He played 17 mostly ineffective minutes and already has been ruled out of Game 4.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 7.5

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson vs. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum: Any chance they Blazers have of fighting off a sweep lies with Lillard and McCollum. It has become evident through the first three games that they can’t just be good. They have to be vastly superior to Curry and Thompson. That’s an exceedingly tall order considering the Warriors are aiming to close out the series.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Matt Barnes (R foot/ankle bone bruise), F Kevin Durant (L calf strain) and G Shaun Livingston (R index finger sprain and hand contusion) are listed as questionable. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as out.

Blazers: G Allen Crabbe (L foot soreness) and G CJ McCollum (R ankle sprain) are listed as probable. C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) C Ed Davis (L shoulder surgery), C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) and C Jusuf Nurkic (R leg fracture) are listed as out.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors own a 3-0 lead in the series and swept all four games in the regular season. Including the 2016 playoffs, they have won 13 of the last 14 games.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

SPLASH TIME: Curry and Thompson have struggled with their shots for the majority of the series. Both warmed up in Game 3, Thompson in the third quarter and Curry in the fourth, examples of finding the range when it’s time to finish off an opponent. The Warriors would love to see 3-pointers splashing through the nets.

THE BENCHES: The Warriors, behind McGee, have won the bench scoring battle in each of the first three games by double digits. Portland’s most dangerous reserve, guard Allen Crabbe, has scored 15 points in three games. Unless he gets it going, there will be no Game 5.

JAVALE TIME: No non-star on either roster has made more of an impact than Warriors backup big man JaVale McGee. He’s shooting 84.2 percent (16-of-19) from the field and having his way inside. The Blazers have no answer for the 7-footer.