Warriors, Clippers Exciting Game 1 Reactions

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The NBA Playoffs have started.

The first game of the day on Saturday saw the Toronto Raptors give the Brooklyn Nets a 1-0 lead in the series between the 3- and 6- seeds in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors committed 17 turnovers in a seven-point 94-87 loss. It was a physical contest, marred by 42 total fouls.

However, if you thought the officials let loose with the whistles in the first game, you may have missed the second game.

Game 2 of the day featured the Golden State Warriors in Staples Center to face the 3-seed Los Angeles Clippers—two teams that don’t exactly see eye-to-eye. The officials were all over the place, with four players having three or more fouls in the first half. Blake Griffin and Andre Iguodala were both limited to 19 and 20 minutes respectively, both fouling out in the fourth quarter.

There were 51 total fouls called in the Western Conference showdown that saw Golden State walk away with a 109-105 victory. For as many calls that were made, there was plenty of physical play—much of which could have merited another blown whistle.

A prime example of a non-call, Chris Paul’s sixth and final turnover, which enabled Harrison Barnes to, in turn, get fouled and make 1-of-2 free throws to stretch the Warriors’ lead to three. Paul was clearly fouled by Draymond Green as he rounded the elbow, the resulting contact caused him to lose control of the ball as it went out of bounds.

Over the course of the final 13 seconds, Golden State missed 3-of-4 free throw attempts, Los Angeles just couldn’t capitalize. It was a compelling and exciting game to watch.

Many in and around the league were watching as well.

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Scotto: Knicks’ Season, Futures of Melo, Woodson On the Line — UPDATED

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knicksNEW YORK — For Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, making the playoffs is all that matters.

The same can be said for coach Mike Woodson.

However, after a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday night, the Knicks find themselves one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff spot — and two games behind in the loss column — with only five remaining games.

Anthony’s desire to reach the postseason is understandable. Since entering the NBA as part of the heralded draft class of 2003, he has never missed the playoffs. Not even the Big Three in Miami can say that.

If Anthony reaches the postseason again, he’ll have to do it with a strained right shoulder that “gave out” against the Wizards.

“Throughout the course of the game there was no strength on the passes, causing turnovers and things like that,” Anthony said. “But hopefully I’ll be alright.”

NYK_Woodson_MikeFor Woodson, however, making the playoffs means much more. His job is on the line.

“No playoffs, no Woody,” one league source told SheridanHoops.

“Without question he’s fired (if they miss the playoffs),” one Eastern Conference scout also told SheridanHoops.

Scotto: Midseason Report Cards for Knicks and Nets

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knicks-vs-brooklyn-nets-at-barclays-centerBefore the season, championship expectations were attached to both the Knicks and the Nets.

The Knicks were coming off the team’s first season with at least 50 or more wins and a trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals since the 1999-2000 campaign, when Jeff Van Gundy patrolled the sidelines, Patrick Ewing wrapped up his final season in New York and Allan Houston was in the prime of his career.

The Nets were coming off their first trip to the playoffs in six years and considered the winners of the offseason after landing future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with Jason Terry, in a blockbuster trade with the Celtics.

However, neither team has lived up to the hype with the All-Star break now upon us.

With that in mind, it’s time to break down the season into four sections for both teams: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Future.

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SH Blog: Something is off with Curry’s shot, Deng upset with contract rumors, Wallace blasts teammates again

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Steph CurrySomething is wrong with Stephen Curry’s shot this season.

When the Golden State Warriors guard shoots, it’s almost never considered a bad shot. The reason behind that logic is simple: it’s not considered a bad shot if you make it. In past years, Curry almost always made shots that would be considered a bad shot if anyone else took it, like this one, for example.

This season, however, Curry has simply been off his shooting game. For the first time in his career, he is shooting under 43.7 percent from the 3-point line. In fact, he is nowhere near that number. The 39.6 percent (and that will go down even further after shooting just two-of-10 against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday) shooting from long-range makes Curry no better than very good with all things considered (attempts per game), and that’s a far cry from the “best shooter ever” label that many have put on him over the years. In comparison, he shot a whopping 45.3 percent from beyond the arc last season – over six percent better than what he’s shooting now.

An argument can be made that the loss of a secondary ball-handling point guard like Jarrett Jack plays into Curry’s struggles this season. The Warriors have been scrambling to find a legitimate backup to Curry all season long, and have found no answers in Toney Douglas, Nemanja Nedovic and Kent Bazemore. But from what I’ve seen, this is not the only reason for Curry’s struggles. Simply put, he has missed a boat load of shots that he would normally make – wide-open ones, even – that he has not missed on a consistent basis in the past. The ability to “make shots from anywhere” has somewhat become more of a myth than reality this season. It’s easy to see the difference when you compare his shot chart from this season and last - particularly from the right side. 

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SH Blog: Kidd says he won’t miss Lawrence, Kobe not ruled out for Sunday

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STORY OF THE DAY:

KiddWhen Jason Kidd demoted Lawrence Frank from the assistant coach position, it was assumed that there was a rift between them. While that’s all but true, it appears there was tension between the two the moment Frank agreed to join the team. Tim Bontemps and Fred Kerber of New York Post detailed what went wrong from the jump:

One league source told The Post the Kidd-Lawrence union began on rocky footing. After Kidd’s very public courtship of Frank, when the former head coach called to accept the job, he began laying out plans for the team. Frank suggested film sessions immediately.

“I think Jason was like, ‘Whoa, slow down,’ ” the source said. “He had other things to do on summer weekends.”

Multiple reports said Frank took issue with the fact he — as the most experienced assistant on the staff and the only one with NBA head coaching experience — wasn’t tapped to coach the Nets in the opening two games of the season while Kidd served a two-game suspension for pleading guilty to driving while impaired during the summer of 2012.

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