The Warriors will try to build on a two-game winning streakwhen they play the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunderon Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.The Warriors (5-4) are coming off a 106-98 victory over theTimberwolves in Minnesota on Friday. This is the middle game of a three-gameroad trip for the Warriors. The trip concludes Monday in Dallas.The Thunder (7-3) have won six of their past seven games,including a blowout win over New Orleans on Friday. The Thunder has beaten theWarriors six consecutive games in Oklahoma City.Here are some things to watch for during Sundays gamebetween the Warriors and Thunder:Warriors body language: This is a gamethat few expect the Warriors to win. Theyre going into an Arena where theyhavent won in a while and theyre playing one of the leagues eliteteams.Still, if the Warriors expect to have realistic hopes ofmaking the postseason this season, theyre going to have to win some games thatare unexpected.This would qualify. Lets see if the Warriors have the lookof a team that expects to win.Durant vs. the rookie: Warriors rookieHarrison Barnes has been a big-time bright spot in the teams two recent games.Barnes has shown a knack for scoring and his athleticism sticks out on theWarriors.If you look at the Warriors roster minus Brandon Rush it seems obvious that Barnes is Golden States best option when it comes todefending Kevin Durant.It wont be easy for Barnes, but the reality is that hes abetter option defending Durant than Richard Jefferson, Draymond Green or KlayThompson.Curry vs. Westbrook: Its interesting despite being one of the most dynamic and explosive point guards in the league,Russell Westbrook is still relentlessly criticized for hisdecision-making.And yet Westbrook enters Sundays game averaging 8.5 assistsper game and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 3-to-1. Curry, on theother hand, has been shaky with the ball this season. He has just 49 assiststhis year and 30 turnovers, a ratio of less than 2-to-1.Since Westbrook has a size and athleticism over Curry, itsimportant that the Warriors point guard plays a steady game and can keepWestbrook honest on defense by making some perimeter shots.
The Washington Wizards' long-term future is now a lot clearer, as superstar point guard John Wall agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $170 million. David Aldridge first reported the news.
Wall, 26, re-ups with the Wizards through the 2022-23 season. By the time it expires he will be 32 years old, meaning the Wizards have locked him up for the majority if not all of his prime.
Wall was able to earn the dollar amount he did in part because of his selection to third team All-NBA for the 2016-17 season. Under the recently installed collective bargaining agreement, honors like All-NBA and Defensive Player of the Year allow players to earn more money on contract extensions.
The Wizards drafted Wall first overall in 2010 out of the University of Kentucky. In his seven NBA seasons since, Wall has blossomed into one of the NBA's best players with career averages of 18.8 points, 9.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He has been an All-Star in each of the past four seasons and is a one-time All-Defensive team selection.
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On Friday afternoon, news broke that Kyrie Irving reportedly requested a trade from the Cavs.
Shortly thereafter, a Twitter account with over 296,000 followers tweeted the following:
Hi @KevinLove, how are things— InsideHoops.com NBA (@InsideHoops) July 21, 2017
A little over an hour later, Kevin Love responded:
Life is amazing. No complaints. Things are a little peculiar. But no complaints. Now go kick some rocks 🙌🏼 https://t.co/Tz62YyGeYt— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) July 21, 2017
On Tuesday night, Irving told Sports Illustrated the Cavs are "in a very peculiar place."
In the weeks between Cleveland's Game 5 loss to the Warriors and the start of free agency, Love was reportedly on the trading block.
The Cavs and GM David Griffin "mutually" parted ways three days before the NBA Draft.
Cleveland is finally finalizing a deal with assistant GM Coby Altman to become the permanent general manager, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
LeBron James can opt out and become a free agent next summer, and there is already speculation about where he may go.
Man. The last six weeks in Cleveland have been wild...
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller