Nuggets

The Warriors look unstoppable, but Andre Iguodala’s health could be their undoing
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors will march into their NBA Finals three-match with the Cleveland Cavaliers this week with their strongest team yet. Having replaced Harrison Barnes with Kevin Durant, the Warriors boast a lineup featuring four of the top 15 players in the league and are favorites — even going up against LeBron James — to emerge with a second championship in three seasons. But that doesn’t mean the Warriors are without weaknesses. One could liken them to the “Death Star” from Star Wars fame: They seem like an overpowering opponent, but with the right weaponry aimed carefully, they can still be taken down. And, for these Warriors, their thermal exhaust port very well may be the health of Andre Iguodala. “It’s good,” Iguodala said Sunday, when asked how he’s currently feeling. “Right now it’s just time you have to block out everything. Seems like a long time, but I view pain as a good thing. Anything that’s painful, whether it’s mentally or physically, is part of the process, and that’s the reward when the goal is completed.” The 33-year-old forward has been, for years, one of the best options in the NBA to defend James. Going back to his days in the Eastern Conference playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, Iguodala’s combination of size (6-foot-6, 215 pounds), smarts and athleticism gives him as good a chance as anyone of trying to slow down the unstoppable force that James is on a basketball court. That was a big reason he was named Finals MVP when the Warriors won the championship two years ago. But Iguodala’s back betrayed him as the Finals wore on last year, and he didn’t look the same in its final few games as the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead over the Cavaliers and wound up watching Cleveland celebrate on Golden State’s home court. Even though the Warriors have four all-stars, they become unstoppable when Iguodala is right, allowing them to roll out a ridiculous lineup featuring Draymond Green at center. That lineup should allow them to overwhelm even a team as formidable as the Cavaliers can be. In a league where seemingly every team is trying to go small as often as possible, there is no configuration any team can put together that’s more dangerous than the “Hamptons Five,” as the Warriors quintet was dubbed after a recruiting meeting in the Hamptons where Durant was convinced to join them as a free agent last July. But, during these playoffs, Iguodala hasn’t looked healthy. He got an MRI exam on his left knee after the Warriors won Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, and he sat out of Game 2. He has struggled with his shot during the postseason, going 3 for 27 from 3-point range — and don’t think the Cavaliers won’t force him to keep gunning during the NBA Finals until he can prove he again can make them. Iguodala insists he is all right, and he will be ready to go when the Finals begin Thursday night here at Oracle. “I feel fine,” he said. “Taking it one day at a time as far as preparation and staying locked in, scouting, trying to pick up a new tendency every day and trying to be ready.” To a much lesser degree, the other potential issue that could derail the Warriors in these Finals is Thompson’s cold shooting in the postseason. After finishing second in the NBA behind Curry in regular season triples made for a fourth straight season, Thompson has been decidedly average offensively during the postseason, shooting just 38 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from 3-point range while averaging 14.4 points per game — down several from his 22.3 mark in the regular season. Thearon W. Henderson, Getty ImagesAndre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors defends against Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the NBA Western Conference Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 14, 2017 in Oakland, Calif. But even if Thompson remains cold from the perimeter, the Cavaliers aren’t going to ignore the league’s best shooter not named Curry — which will, in turn, open up more space for Curry and Durant to operate. And Thompson also will still have a prominent role defensively, as he’ll be the primary defender on Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving. “I take pride in [playing] both sides of the ball, defense as equally as offense,” Thompson said. “Whether or not my shot falls, I can always control that part of the game.” Still, Thompson would like nothing more than to see some shots fall. With the Warriors having plenty of practice time thanks to sweeping the Spurs, it’s a daily ritual to see, when reporters are allowed into the gym, Thompson going through a lengthy routine with assistant coach Chris DeMarco, dripping with sweat as he fires up one shot after another. His hope, as well as Golden State’s, is th [...]
2
Like
Save
2017 Draft Profile: De'Aaron Fox
Class: Freshman Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 171 pounds [...]
2
Like
Save
2017 Draft Profile: Dennis Smith Jr.
Take a look at 2017 NBA Draft prospect Dennis Smith Jr. [...]
3
Like
Save
LeBron James undaunted by beastly Golden State Warriors
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — There’s a four-headed, shot-making, scoreboard-breaking monster out West awaiting LeBron James and the Cavaliers. The Warriors are stomach-churning scary. James, though, can’t run or hide. With eight NBA Finals appearances under his belt, he is ready to face a team he’s called “a beast.” After all, he has slayed behemoths before. Pushing off any talk about the Warriors until after Sunday’s practice, James was asked to assess the task at hand: beating Golden State’s All-Star-studded lineup of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Is this the biggest challenge of his career? “It’s probably up there,” he said. “I mean, it’s up there.” And then, almost as if he was trying to remind himself that he’s got three championship rings and is frightful in his own right, James recalled other fearsome postseason opponents — San Antonio and Boston. “I’ve played against four Hall of Famers as well, too, with Manu (Ginobili), Kawhi (Leonard), Tony (Parker) and Timmy D (Tim Duncan) on the same team,” said James, occasionally sniffling as he continues to fight a cold. “And if you add Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) in there, that’s five Hall of Famers. So, it’s going to be very challenging. Those guys are going to challenge me, they’re going to challenge our ballclub. “This is a high-powered team.” James also took on a Celtics team loaded with big-name talents. “I’ve played against Ray (Allen), KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo and Doc (Rivers). So, it’s going to be very challenging not only on me mentally, but on our ballclub and on our franchise.” Related ArticlesMay 27, 2017 Underdog Cavaliers insist they have plenty of bite for NBA Finals May 26, 2017 The NBA Finals everyone predicted is here. But is inevitable dominance good for the league? May 26, 2017 The “threematch”: It’s Cavs-Warriors in the NBA Finals, again May 25, 2017 Cavaliers back in NBA Finals after pounding Celtics in Game 5 May 25, 2017 LeBron James: Michael Jordan chase is about motivation, not greatness Cleveland-Golden State 3.0 is the matchup fans worldwide expected and wanted, and James believes they’re in for quite a show. Both the Cavaliers and Warriors have upgraded their rosters from a year ago, when they went seven games in an epic series that spawned the first comeback from a 3-1 deficit in Finals history and resulted in Cleveland winning its first pro sports championship since 1964. That Warriors team James conquered in 2016 won 73 games during the regular season and was being mentioned as one of the best to ever take the floor. Hard to believe, but this version — with Durant — might be even better. Golden State has been putting on a basketball clinic over the past two months, winning 27 of 28 games since March 11 and becoming the first squad to start the postseason 12-0. Durant, who previously faced James in the 2012 Finals with Oklahoma City, has taken a great team and elevated it to a nearly unstoppable level. The Warriors are using Durant in every imaginable way on offense, and James isn’t surprised to see his good friend and Olympic teammate more mobile than he was with the Thunder. Tony Dejak, Associated Press fileIn this Dec. 25, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James drives against Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant during an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. “You adapt to the culture,” he said. “You adapt to the style and that’s the same thing that happened to me when I went to Miami. I started to slash more and move more without the ball, shoot more standstill 3s and figure out ways I could be more productive than just having the ball in isolation. So, it’s the right thing to do. He’s one of the most dangerous guys we have in the world already. So it makes it even more dangerous when you equip that talent, that skill with those guys.” On the brink of becoming the first player since the early 1960s to play in seven straight Finals, James finds himself in a similar — and somewhat surprising — situation. The Cavaliers are being given little chance to defend their title against the vaunted Warriors, who have been winning by an average of 16.3 points per game in the playoffs. For the sixth time, James enters the Finals as an underdog, hardly a role he’s accustomed to before June. The only time he won a championship as a Finals favorite was with Miami in 2013, when the Heat upended the Spurs for their second straight title. James isn’t worried about point spreads or any odds. “I only play blackjack in Vegas anyway, so it doesn’t matter,” he sa [...]
1
Like
Save
2017 Draft Profile: Zach Collins
Class: Freshman Ht: 7-feet Wt: 230 pounds [...]
3
Like
Save
2017 Draft Profile: Jonathan Isaac
Take a look at 2017 NBA Draft prospect Johnathan Isaac. [...]
3
Like
Save
Underdog Cavaliers insist they have plenty of bite for NBA Finals
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Vegas is betting against them and the bookies are hardly alone. Let’s be honest, not many are giving the Cleveland Cavaliers much of a chance in the NBA Finals. They may be defending champions and they may have LeBron James, but against Golden State, they are definite underdogs. Just don’t try to tell them that. “The whole underdog thing is funny to me, because yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title,” Cavs forward Kevin Love said following Saturday’s practice. “We’re trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel. We will use it as motivation, but the idea of playing into it? It’s tough for me to say that is the case. I don’t feel like we’re underdogs. Related ArticlesMay 26, 2017 The NBA Finals everyone predicted is here. But is inevitable dominance good for the league? May 26, 2017 The “threematch”: It’s Cavs-Warriors in the NBA Finals, again May 25, 2017 Cavaliers back in NBA Finals after pounding Celtics in Game 5 May 25, 2017 LeBron James: Michael Jordan chase is about motivation, not greatness May 25, 2017 Tyronn Lue: Cavs’ Kyrie Irving feeling “good” after Game 4 ankle injury “We match up well with them and I think they’d say the same about us.” Maybe, but as the teams gear up for Thursday night’s series opener in Oakland, comments made by Warriors forward Draymond Green in October are reverberating around Cleveland. Still stinging after the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in last year’s Finals against Cleveland, the vociferous Green, who was suspended from Game 5, said if given the chance again, he plans to “destroy and annihilate” the Cavs. Love complimented Green’s competitiveness and aimed a verbal volley at Northern California. “He’s a guy who said he wanted us,” Love said, “and he has us — starting next Thursday.” Act III in this trilogy is overloaded with story lines, with the biggest being whether James and Co. have enough firepower to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors, who added superstar Kevin Durant to a team that won 73 games a year ago before its Finals flameout. Golden State has glowed in this postseason, becoming the first team to start 12-0 while winning by an average of 16.3 points per game — the highest margin league history. It’s no wonder then that the wise guys have installed the Warriors as heavy favorites to beat the Cavs for the second time in three years and wrestle back the Larry O’Brien Trophy that slipped through their hands last June. James referred to the Warriors as only “that juggernaut” and “a beast” following Thursday’s Game 5 in at Boston, a night in which he passed Michael Jordan as the career postseason scoring leader. James elected not to talk about the Warriors following the game, choosing instead to celebrate a third straight conference title in Cleveland and his seventh consecutive Finals trip. James didn’t speak to reporters on Saturday either, leaving Love to serve as the team’s unofficial spokesman as the sports world inched closer to a matchup that seemed destined from the moment last season’s Finals ended. Love was asked if the Cavs wanted the Warriors. “Want the Warriors?” he said. “They’ve been right at the top, best team in the league for three years straight now. They’ve been super-impressive. It’s kind of in our minds that that’s who we were going to see. They played great basketball this year. Obviously adding an MVP to a team that already has a two-time MVP makes them even more impressive. It’s tough to say that we didn’t expect it; we knew they’d be right there.” After the team returned from Boston in the wee hours Friday morning, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue didn’t go to bed and immediately began working on a game plan to stifle Golden State’s powerful, multi-faceted offense. Lue knows the Cavs are facing a difficult task, one made tougher with the addition of the versatile Durant, who can score down low, from the perimeter and free-throw line. The Warriors are using Durant the way he envisioned, but Lue has noticed changes in the All-Star. “He’s moving around a lot more,” he said. “Just watching him move without the basketball, getting easy baskets off of cuts and splits and when he passes the ball he’s also relocating now. He’s doing a lot more movement, which makes it even tougher to guard after being one of the tougher scorers I’ve ever seen.” Lue said didn’t deliver any inspiring speech to his players before practice. Words don’t mean much now — not his, not Green’s — a [...]
3
Like
Save
2017 Draft Profile: Lauri Markkanen
Class: Freshman Ht: 7-feet Wt: 225 pounds [...]
1
Like
Save
Danilo Gallinari to Celebrate International Children's Day and the NBA Finals with Fans in China
Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari will celebrate International Children’s Day and the NBA Finals in China from May 31-June 6. [...]
1
Like
Save
The NBA Finals everyone predicted is here. But is inevitable dominance good for the league?
As Kevin Durant walked off the Pepsi Center floor back in December, a Nuggets fan riding the wave of Denver’s resounding upset victory over Golden State had some parting words for the Warriors’ newest star. “We’ll see you in the playoffs,” the fan shouted above the noisy crowd. The edited version of Durant’s colorful response to the fan: Prepare to be swept. The Nuggets, of course, missed the playoffs. So the Warriors instead swept Portland, the team that chased down Denver for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Then they dispatched Utah in four games. The Spurs were swept next, unable to provide any resistance in the superpower’s prodigious playoff march. Durant’s words to the Nuggets fan weren’t a prediction. They were a forecast of an unimpeded path to a title shot, with a 99.9 percent chance of Mr. June, LeBron James, landing on the other end. So you can call it a trilogy. You can call it the “threematch.” Or you could call the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavaliers, which begin Thursday, the most foregone conclusion in league history. The two teams are a combined 24-1 in these playoffs, with Avery Bradley’s game-winner for the Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals representing the only blemish on the collision course everyone saw coming when the season began at the end of October. The Warriors have an average margin of victory in the postseason of 16.1 points, and have won by fewer than 10 points only once. The Cavaliers found a different gear after their first-round sweep of the Pacers, with two of their four wins against the Celtics coming by more than 30 points. Never have two teams been so dominant on their respective paths to the Finals. This is the first time the same two teams have met to decide a title in three consecutive seasons. And the utter ease with which the latest iteration of this rivalry formed begs the question: Is such dominance in a 30-team league supposed to be this inevitable? “I don’t know what much we could do about it except for just enjoy it,” said Chris Webber, the former NBA all-star forward and Turner Sports analyst. “You can change divisions, do all these other things. But when you have great players like Curry and Durant on the same team, and then you have LeBron, there’s not much you can do.” LeBron factor The NBA’s championship eras have long been built by its biggest stars. The Celtics won 10 NBA championships from 1959 to 1969 behind Bill Russell and John Havlicek. Magic Johnson and the Lakers constantly battled Larry Bird and the Celtics for titles in the ’80s. Michael Jordan won six championships with the Bulls in the ’90s. As the league prepared to enter a new century, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers dominated before giving way to Tim Duncan and the Spurs. James has carried that torch for his generation, a human roadblock for the better part of a decade for frustrated Eastern Conference opponents. No team from that conference without LeBron James on its roster has reached the Finals since midway through Barack Obama’s first term as President, in 2010. “You take LeBron out of the East and the parity — Washington, Boston, Toronto — you could have a different team every year,” Turner Sports analyst Kenny Smith said. “It’s kind of like the Michael Jordan era in the Eastern Conference. Those six years, you’re not getting into the Finals. The Larry Bird era, the Magic Johnson era in the West, you’re just not getting there.” DeMar DeRozan may have summed it up best earlier this month after a 51-win season for the Raptors was abruptly ended by way of a James-led sweep in the Eastern Conference semifinals. “If we had LeBron on our team, too, we would have won,” DeRozan told reporters. “We could say that all day, time, everything. But we didn’t. It happened. We got swept.” Related ArticlesMay 25, 2017 Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay to compete in second-ever NBA game in Africa May 24, 2017 Gonzaga teammate on Zach Collins: NBA team who drafts 7-footer will get “full package” May 23, 2017 Former Grandview star Eric Garcia, a lifelong Nuggets fan, calls workout with team “a dream come true” May 23, 2017 Pre-draft workouts offer various benefits for NBA hopefuls on various paths to pro careers May 23, 2017 Lunch Special: What are the chances the Nuggets re-sign Danilo Gallinari? A different path The Warriors won an NBA record 73 regular-season games last season, then added one of the league’s best players in Durant. The team that had been built into a powerhouse organically with the shrewd draft selections of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Gree [...]
3
Like
Save
By the numbers: Warriors, Cavaliers dominant on path to third title fight
The Warriors and Cavaliers will meet in the NBA Finals on Thursday for the third consecutive season, and their respective paths through the postseason were nothing short of dominant. A closer look at the numbers: 24-1 The combined record Golden State and Cleveland compiled during the first three rounds of the postseason. The Warriors became only the third team in NBA history to reach the Finals without a loss. 16.3 The margin of victory for Golden State this postseason, the highest ever for a team entering the Finals. Only two of the Warriors’ 12 victories have come by fewer than 11 points. 7 Combined games won by the teams this season by at least 20 points. Related ArticlesMay 25, 2017 Cavaliers back in NBA Finals after pounding Celtics in Game 5 May 25, 2017 LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan’s playoff scoring record May 25, 2017 Warriors coach Steve Kerr not yet ready to return to bench May 25, 2017 Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay to compete in second-ever NBA game in Africa May 25, 2017 LeBron James: Michael Jordan chase is about motivation, not greatness 120.7 Points per 100 possessions scored by the Cavaliers in the postseason, best among playoff teams. 99.1 Points per 100 possessions surrendered by the Warriors, the best defensive mark in the playoffs. 7 Combined NBA most valuable player awards won by players in these Finals. LeBron James has won the award four times, Stephen Curry has won two and Kevin Durant has one. [...]
2
Like
Save
Emmanuel Mudiay to Play in NBA Game in Africa
The NBA today announced the second NBA game in Africa, with Team Africa featuring Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay. [...]
2
Like
Save
Cavaliers back in NBA Finals after pounding Celtics in Game 5
BOSTON — LeBron James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night to claim their third straight Eastern Conference title and a return trip to the NBA Finals. Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Kevin Love finished with 15 for the Cavs, who never trailed and led by as many as 39 points in one of their most dominating wins of the series. The Cavs set an NBA record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity. Cleveland’s 4-1 series’ win gives it a 12-1 record this postseason and sets up a third consecutive matchup with Western Conference champion Golden State, the team it beat in the Finals last season to claim the franchise’s first championship. It will mark the seventh straight trip to the Finals for James. “This team is a crazy team. They just stayed resilient all year, got to the playoffs, and we really stepped our game up,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “Now we can start focusing on Golden State to get ready. As of tonight, I’ll get started.” Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points. Boxscore: Cleveland 135, Boston 102 The Cavaliers basically conceded the East’s top seed to the Celtics at the end of the regular season by opting to rest its starters in advance of the playoffs. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series. After allowing the Celtics to seize the early momentum in Game 4, the Cavs barely gave them the chance in Game 5. Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates. Love continued to knock down shots from the outside, Irving sliced his way into the lane to the rim and James got free for several of his one-handed, tomahawk dunks. It was a very welcomed sight in Irving’s case, after he rolled his left ankle in the third quarter of Cleveland’s Game 4 win. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists. Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver all helped spread out Boston’s defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities. Deron Williams, who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland. The Celtics did their best to keep up, but the consistent outside shooting, bench scoring and defense they relied on to stun Cleveland in Game 3 wasn’t there Thursday night. “I thought we played a little too haphazard tonight,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Our offensive mistakes led to bad defense, and it just kind of snowballed on us.” He said though he’s disappointed with how the season ended, he’s encouraged that no one in Boston’s locker room is satisfied just making it to the conference finals. “I told our guys: ‘We made a lot of great strides, but this pain is part of the path to what we ultimately want to be,'” he said. Related ArticlesMay 25, 2017 LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan’s playoff scoring record May 25, 2017 Warriors coach Steve Kerr not yet ready to return to bench May 25, 2017 Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay to compete in second-ever NBA game in Africa May 25, 2017 LeBron James: Michael Jordan chase is about motivation, not greatness May 25, 2017 Tyronn Lue: Cavs’ Kyrie Irving feeling “good” after Game 4 ankle injury TIP-INS Cavaliers: James has scored 30 or more points in 11 of Cleveland’s 13 games this postseason. … Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. … The 43 points Cleveland scored in the first quarter set a team postseason record for points in a quarter. Celtics: Injured point guard Isaiah Thomas led his teammates in a pregame huddle before they took the court for warmups. Thomas sat out the rest of the series after aggravating a hip injury in Game 2. … Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing. … Were whistled for 16 fouls in the first half. Elsa, Getty ImagesLeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles against Avery Bradley #0 of the Boston Celtics in the second half during Game Five of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2017 in Boston, Mass. [...]
3
Like
Save


Broncos | Nuggets | Rockies | Avalanche | Rapids | Outlaws | Mammoth
Mile High | Coors Field | Pepsi Center | DSG Park

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | DMCA Policy