This morning's headlines:
No. 1: Circumstances change, not Draymond -- This is the one-year anniversary of Draymond Green receiving his suspension for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after hitting LeBron James and we know how that turned everything around. But now, after his Warriors took a different kind of 137-116 punch from the Cavs in Game 4 and Green wound up back in another technical foul controversy, the volatile forward is not changing, says J.A. Adande of ESPN.com:
"I just try to play basketball," Green said. "I'll tell you, ain't no tech going to stop me from being me. At least if I'm going to get 'em, let me earn them. Let me get my money's worth if I'm going to get some techs."
Earned or cheapies, technicals are the sorts of storylines Green is writing now, after he had masterfully scripted a narrative of better behavior brought on by a desire for redemption. Even better than good behavior would be good basketball, and Green hasn't provided much in this series.
If Green could somehow summon the 2016 Game 7 version of himself, the one who made six 3-pointers, scored 32 points and had 15 rebounds and 9 assists, Durant and a healthy Curry could probably take it from there.
But that's not the element from last year that people will bring up this weekend. Get ready for all of the "Warriors blew a 3-1 lead" memes to emerge.
"I'm sure it will come," Green said. "I'm sure that's just the world we live in. But we were up 3-0 [this year]. We weren't up 3-0 last year. So, it's a little different. And at the end of the day, the series is a little different. Thank God I get to play in Game 5.”
No. 2: Cavs reward Lue’s faith -- The whispers began after the Warriors blew out his Cavs in the first two games of The Finals and grew to nearly a roar after Golden State built a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue kept insisting that he would not change his lineup or his team’s plan of attack and it paid off in the Game 4 rout by the Cavs. Bud Shaw of cleveland.com says Lue has earned the benefit of the doubt on his instincts:
The Cavs see the suggestion they can't play with Golden State without changing who they are in the same light.
"We were able to get out in transition and score some easy baskets," Lue said after the 137-116.
"When we're making shots and playing with pace we're a tough team to beat. This is who we are.”
So the Cavs will push the pace Monday, try to hound Curry into more reckless turnovers, goad Draymond Green into apoplectic moments.
Game 3, minus the exhausted ending, and Game 4 were reminders they're still the Cavs of the 2016 postseason, a team that can shoot threes and rebound around James and Irving well enough to win games going away.
"That confidence comes from experience and a lot of guys being here before," Kevin Love said.
Golden State is experienced, too. But for the Warriors and their most dependable player, Kevin Durant, that experience includes blowing 3-1 leads just a year ago.
Ty Lue didn't panic and change his lineup or his offensive style. Now the Cavs have a chance to make it a series with a win Monday.
"I stick with my guys," Lue said.
No. 3: West to Clippers should worry Lakers -- With his contract in an advisory role at Golden State soon to expire, the talk is that Laker legend Jerry West, 79, is ready to move his focus back closer to home in Los Angeles. Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times says West’s old team could come to regret not pairing up West with new club boss Magic Johnson, especially if he signs on with the Clippers:
“Sometimes I thought in my life that maybe that might be something that I can revisit, or they would want me to revisit, but that didn’t happen,’’ West said recently when asked about his Lakers tenure on “The Dan Patrick Show.’’ “It kind of sent me a message that they wanted to go elsewhere, which was fine.”
The opportunistic Clippers then sent him a completely different message, something alone the lines of, “Come on down!”
West recently met with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and basketball boss Doc Rivers, and walked away energized by the possibility of helping reshape his longtime rivals.
“I’m very intrigued,” West said.
The Lakers should be very afraid.
What are Lakers fans supposed to do if their team’s most legendary living figure goes to work for the other guys? And the other guys are better? And now they have the stamp of his credibility and the benefits of his wisdom?
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