Warriors-Lakers: What to watch for


Warriors-Lakers: What to watch for

The Warriors have lost four games in a row, including two athome most recently to the New Orleans Hornets and New Jersey Nets. They begin afour-game road trip Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.The Lakers, who are coming off a come-from-behind victoryover the Hornets on Saturday, have beaten the Warriors seven consecutive timesat Staples Center.Here are some things to watch for during Sundays gamebetween the Warriors and Lakers:Make Kobe a volume shooter: Kobe Bryantis the leading scorer in the league, averaging 27.9 points per game, but hesmired in an awful three-game shooting slump.Bryant is just 19-for-70 from the field (27.1 percent) overthat stretch, including going 3-for-21 against the Hornets on Saturday. In thatgame, he headed into the fourth quarter having missed his first 15shots.Bryant ended up making the game-winner against New Orleans,but if the Warriors can continue to make Bryant an inefficient scorer, itincreases their chance of winning the game.Limit second-chance points: The frontlinetandem of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol has given the Warriors trouble for yearsup front. Warriors power forward David Lee will likely have to defend Gasol anddefending Bynum will likely be the responsibility of rookie Jeremy Tyler atleast to start.If the Warriors hope to stay in this game, theyll needDavid Lee to continue contributing as he has the past few weeks, but theyllalso need production out of Tyler and also backup center MickellGladness.Nobody is expecting the Warriors frontline to win thefrontcourt matchup, but theyve got to hold their own.No surprise stars: The Lakers defeated the Warriors 104-101 on Tuesday in Oakland, but it was a game Golden State had ashot at. One player who really hurt the Warriors that night was substitute MattBarnes, who finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in just 30minutes.Its difficult enough to beat the Lakers when theirhigh-profile stars are playing well. Its a lot tougher when the Lakers aregetting big play out of their role players.And thats what happened last Tuesday in the Lakers-Warriorsgame with Barnes and to a lesser degree Metta World Peace.Thompsons game: Rookie shooting guardKlay Thompson has scored in double figures 16 consecutive games for theWarriors, which has taken some of the sting out of the Monta Ellis trade.Nows the time for Thompson to become a little bit moreefficient though. He needs a little more consistency in terms of his shootingpercentage and it would also be nice if he could better his assist-to-turnoverratio as the season comes to a close.

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3


CLEVELAND — Avery Bradley's 3-pointer dropped in with less than a second left and the Boston Celtics, blown out in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals and playing without star Isaiah Thomas, stunned the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-108 on Sunday night in Game 3 to end the champions' 13-game postseason winning streak.

Bradley's shot from the left wing bounced on the rim four times before going down. It capped a furious comeback by the Celtics, who trailed by 21 in the third quarter before rallying to tighten up a series that appeared to be over.

Marcus Smart scored 27 points, and Bradley had 20 for the Celtics. They were given little chance after losing by 44 in Game 2 and then losing Thomas for the rest of the postseason because of a hip injury.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love 28 for Cleveland. The Cavaliers dropped to 10-1 in the postseason with their first loss since Game 4 of last year's Finals.

Zaza Pachulia: Popovich's words 'very big part' of threats to family

Zaza Pachulia: Popovich's words 'very big part' of threats to family

Zaza Pachulia can take being the villain in the opposing fans' eyes. But when it turns to his family, the situation becomes much different. 

Pachulia revealed Sunday to USA Today that security guards were sent to his childrens' school in San Francisco recently as a precaution after his family received threats. Spurs star forward Kawhi Leonard injured his ankle in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals after landing on Pachulia's foot and many questioned Pachulia's actions in the play. 

One person who made his feelings on Pachulia's actions loud and clear is Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, even using the word "manslaughter" in a rant that deemed the big man a dirty player. 

“I don’t blame everything on Pop, but what he said had a lot of influence (and) you had a lot of people where, unfortunately, you can’t control what everybody’s intelligence is,” Pachulia said. “(Fans) just hear the message, and it’s, ‘Ok, Pop said so and now let’s do this.’ It’s just wrong. You’ve got to think, and realize. Threaten me, but don’t threaten my wife or say something about my kids. It’s just wrong.

“Me as a person, as a man, I don’t mind dealing with it. But I hate to see my family deal with it. My wife and my kids who have nothing to do with it, who are very innocent. ... I just hate my family going through that. They don’t deserve that. … I’m not blaming everything on (Popovich), but he was a very big part of it.”

Pachulia then went into more detail with what happened at his childrens' school. 

“Look at what happened at the school. It was unfortunate. They had to get extra security because we are living in a world today where social media is so active, you can find any news you want to, hear any news you want to, and obviously it’s a hot topic lately. They just had hired extra security for the entrance, and make sure nobody goes in the school," Pachulia said. "It’s just not fair. It does upset me."

The 33-year-old Pachulia showed his respects for Popovich as a person and a coach. What he wishes most is that Popovich would have chosen his words better. 

"I have a lot of respect for him," Pachulia said. "In today’s basketball world, he’s a very, very respected person. So when Pop says something like that, calling me out ... it's understanding that (your words) will have an effect.

"I’m going to do defend my team, but I’m not going to send a message saying this guy killed (a player), is a murderer or whatever, manslaughter, because people take it differently. We live in a society where not everybody has intelligence, or understanding or is thinking of what’s right and what’s wrong. We’re going to move on. Hopefully (the fans) can let it go. But you know, I’m sure that a year later, 10 years later, (his family is) still going to remember this moment – and not in a good way. It’s something where your heart breaks, and even though life goes on you still feel it in a bad way. I think that’s going to be the case.”

The Warriors lead the Spurs 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals. Pachulia was ruled out of Game 3 with a right heel contusion he sustained in Game 3. He is listed as questionable for Game 4.