Steinmetz: Mullin's speech heartfelt and concise

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Steinmetz: Mullin's speech heartfelt and concise

Aug. 12, 2011

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Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- If anyone knows how to practice, prepare and execute a game plan, it's Chris Mullin. And that's exactly how he approached his enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday night.Mullin, who played 13 of his 16 NBA seasons with the Warriors, said before the induction that he would keep his speech concise and simple, and that his goal was to give it without getting too emotional. You don't make it into the Hall of Fame without setting goals and achieving them -- and that's exactly what Mullin did during his near six-minute speech.After Mullin thanked his family -- an older sister and three brothers -- and dedicated his honor to his late mother and father, he gave a special mention to his two biggest fans: "The nuns." One of them, Sister Kathryn, turns 90 on Saturday.Mullin was the first of 10 inductees at Symphony Hall, and he took those in attendance on a brief and heartfelt replay of his basketball career. Mullin thanked two of his early coaches -- Jack Alesi and Lou Piccola -- whom he said taught him to play the right way and give him the confidence to "go anywhere in the city and play against anybody at any time."Just like he was as a player, Mullin was steady, straightforward and passionate with his speech. But he made it clear that his college coach, Lou Carnesecca, has been one of the most important people in his life. Mulllin first met Carnesecca at a basketball camp when Mulliin was 12, and it was Carnesecca who presented Mullin on Friday."What I cherish most is our relationship the past 36 years," Mullin said.When Mullin got around to his professional career, the Bay Area took center stage. Mullin made mention of the "wonderful" Al Attles, Warriors legend and ambassador. And he talked of his early years in Golden State and the challenges he faced overcoming alcoholism. Mullin made a point to say early in his speech that he's a New Yorker at heart. "Brooklyn is definitely in the house tonight," he said.But there is no doubt Mullin has a special place in his heart for the Bay, and the Warriors fans who supported him during his difficult time. Mullin still talks about the game he returned after missing more than a month while in rehab and the ovation he got from 15-plus-thousand that night in Oakland."But by the grace of God, I started living one day at a time and it strengthened me personally, professionally, physically and spiritually," Mullin said. "I'm forever grateful to the Bay Area, and today I call it home."Mullin thanked his closest Warriors teammates -- Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway and Rod Higgins. And, yes, Mullin even gave a shout-out to former Warriors coach Don Nelson, whom he had a falling out with at the end of his tenure as Warriors general manager only a few years ago."Who else," Mullin said, "would encourage Manute Bol to shoot 3-point shots. Those were my favorite pro years."Mullin played three seasons near the end of his career for the Indiana Pacers, and it was there he was able to play for "his idol" Larry Bird, who was the head coach and alongside Mark Jackson, who he has known since he was a little kid.At the end, it was time for Mulliin to talk about his family -- his wife, Liz, his three sons and a daughter. And if there was a moment in which Mullin's pre-game strategy seemed in peril, it was then. His voice shook for a moment or two while he delivered what will likely be his signature line, but it was almost imperceptible. Mullin always has been great at camouflaging his weaknesses."You're my Dream Team," Mullin said of them, a reference to the 1992 Olympic Team that is universally acknowledged as the greatest team ever assembled.He took care of the formalities of thanking the Hall of Fame for the honor and NBA commissioner David Stern for allowing him to play in "the greatest league in the world."And with that, Mullin turned to Carnesecca, who was flanking him, and gave him a warm embrace. Mullin then extended his arm to Carnesecca and escorted him down the front steps of the stage. It was Chris Mullin helping Lou Carnesecca, which was fitting.Because it was Carnesecca -- and all the people Mullin mentioned during his speech -- who had helped him become a Hall of Famer.

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.

NBA-best Warriors still searching for right balance between risk and reward

NBA-best Warriors still searching for right balance between risk and reward

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants consistently preach one particular message to the entire roster, and the players have heard it so often they preach it to each other.

And yet there are times when they’re unable to practice what is preached.

It’s uncommon for the Warriors to fall apart, but when they do it’s usually by their own hand. It’s death by turnovers -- the very topic of the sermon.

“Our biggest issue is taking care of the ball,” veteran big man David West tells CSNBayArea.com. “We’ve got to be able to take care of the basketball for long periods of time.”

Among the NBA’s 30 teams, the Warriors rank 24th in turnovers. That’s better than the Hawks and the Nuggets. It’s worse than the Timberwolves or Pelicans or Lakers.

Practicing ball care, thereby limiting turnovers, can be challenging with such a skilled roster and players who really enjoy opportunities to shine. From Stephen Curry to Draymond Green, from Kevin Durant to Klay Thompson, from Zaza Pachulia to JaVale McGee, the Warriors like to entertain while winning.

To do that Monday afternoon against Cavaliers is to tempt fate. The Warriors learned that much on Christmas Day, when six turnovers in the fourth quarter, leading to 10 Cleveland points, fostered a startling Cavs rally that overcame a 14-point Warriors lead.

“When we look at that game -- and we’ve talked about it -- it just comes down to ball care and decision-making,” West says. “If we do that, we’ll be in good shape. If we don’t, then we give up a fourth-quarter lead against one the best teams in the NBA.”

It’s a hard pattern to break. The Warriors will go two or three or four games with a low turnover total, and then cough it up 16 or 18 or 20 times. It’s as if they’re on a constant search to strike the right balance between playing textbook basketball and relying on their plentiful gifts to riff for the audience.

“There’s a lot of trust and accountability that comes with that,” Curry says, “because we have a lot of talent and a lot of playmakers and guys that have a creative kind of style and approach to the game.

“But we have to have a certain IQ and just knowing if you can make the simple play, make the simple play. Understand the time and score, the flow of the game, how to manage that.”

Sounds relatively simple. It’s not. The Warriors are like a band composed of incredible musicians, most of whom can drop jaws with a solo performance. Great musicians are at their best when there is time and space. The Warriors often are at the best when improvising.

Without that element, this band of Warriors may as well play straight from sheet music. Artists take chances. Sometimes the result is a spectacular play that fans remember for years. Other times, it’s it ruins the set.

Kerr doesn’t want to kill the element of improvisation. He wants use it more judiciously, saving it for special moments. He believes this band is good enough to play it straight and still provide plenty of entertainment.

“The simple leads to the spectacular,” Kerr says. “That’s one of my pet sayings. But it’s always a balance with this team the last couple years. We are a little loose; it’s part of who we are and I accept that and I embrace it.

“But know when to draw the line, and understand that part of what’s going to make a special play is four or five simple actions to start the play itself. When we keep it simple, it’s amazing how many fun, exciting plays come out of that. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s the truth, especially with our guys because they have a lot of skill.”

The Warriors, to a man, say they are enjoying this season. They’re pleased with the NBA-best 34-6 record. They’re tops in the league in most pertinent team statistics.

But they continue to search for symmetry between risk and reward. How to make the right play without sacrificing the thrill of adventure? What, exactly, is the balance between playing with the appropriate amount of joy and seeking that breathtaking video that goes viral?

“If we make six easy passes, simple passes, in a possession, usually somebody gets open and there’s a back cut and there’s a layup or a lob or a 3-pointer and the crowd goes nuts,” Kerr says. “People love it.

“When they try to force the action on that stuff, it’s usually a turnover. And there’s not much joy in a turnover.”

The Warriors are unanimous in that sentiment. Yet the sermons continue because there are so many nights when it seems not everyone is listening.