Cavaliers, Warriors Reportedly Won’t Face Discipline for Game 4 Incidents

The NBA won’t hand out additional discipline following the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ Game 4 victory over the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals, USA Today‘s Sam Amick reported Saturday.

Amick previously reported the league was looking at various incidents from the game, including a brief scuffle between Iman Shumpert and Zaza Pachulia.

 

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available. 

Get the best sports content from the web and social in the new B/R app. Get the app and get the game.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

from Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/2sfvSHz
via IFTTT

NBA Live 18 Revealed by EA, Including New Mode and Demo Release Date

EA Sports unveiled NBA Live 18 at the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo on Saturday and confirmed a new mode and demo release date. 

According to IGN’s Andrew Goldfarb, EA Sports formally introduced a new mode called The One, which will allow players to track their journey in one of two settings. The first is The Streets, which is for players who want to play in competitive five-on-five games in prestigious pickup game locales. 

There’s also The League, which allows players to track their journey through the NBA. 

According to the game’s explanatory trailer released Saturday, The One is being billed as “an all-new way to pursue your legacy.” 

It also notes that “the respect you earn on the streets matters just as much as the rings you earn in the league.” 

In The Streets, players will be able to prove their worth at famous courts like Venice Beach and Rucker Park, while also participating in the Drew League to bolster their skills and acquire new gear. 

In January, EA Sports announced the NBA Live franchise wouldn’t produce a game for the 2016-17 season and would push the release for its newest game to the fall of 2017. 

“We have been on a journey with NBA Liveand want to deliver something that’s truly innovative and disruptive in the marketplace,” EA Sports CEO Andrew Wilson said at the time, per Polygon’s Samit Sarkar.

A demo is expected to be made available to the public in August. 

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

from Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/2s9rx84
via IFTTT

Cavaliers vs. Warriors: Game 4 Stats and NBA Finals 2017 Game 5 Schedule, Odds

The King made a stand in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals on Friday night between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

In what seemed like a snap of the fingers, LeBron James and the Cavaliers swapped roles with the Warriors and didn’t have any problems rolling to a 137-116 victory, creating flashbacks to last year’s 3-1 series comeback in the process.

This might’ve been even more surprising than last year, though, because the Cavaliers hadn’t shown any signs of life through three games. But taking last year into account, this waking up on the brink of elimination by Cleveland begs the question—can LeBron do it again?

Unexpected a few days ago, a necessary Game 5 doesn’t need much in the way of hype. Here are a few details to know during the excruciating wait.

             

2017 NBA Finals Schedule

  • Game 5: Cleveland at Golden State, Monday, June 12, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on WatchESPN
  • Game 6 (if necessary): Golden State at Cleveland, Thursday, June 15, at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on WatchESPN
  • Game 7 (if necessary): Cleveland at Golden State, Sunday, June 18, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on WatchESPN

        

Game 4 Stats 

The above, via ESPN.com, is the exact opposite of what occurred over the first three games of the Finals.

Something switched Friday night. Kevin Durant, clearly, wasn’t the mismatch nightmare he had been for the Cavaliers. He still dropped 35 points but only hit nine shots, and his usual flirtation with a triple-double fell short in a big way, stressing Golden State’s lack of ball movement leading to high-percentage looks—hence the team shooting just 28.2 percent from deep.

Falling behind early seemed to slam the door on Golden State’s typical offense. And to be fair, most teams would panic when an opponent drops a 49 burger in the first quarter.

“That first quarter, they came out and hit us with that amazing punch,” Durant said, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “You got to give them credit, they played extremely well tonight.”

Cleveland had few problems to speak of from the jump. Kevin Love erased the memory of his miserable first three outings with a smooth 23 points by way of a 6-of-8 mark from range. Kyrie Irving put questions about his play behind him with not only the game-high 40 points, but also running the offense well and providing an uptick in play on the defensive end of the court.

Then there’s LeBron. He casually posted the above triple-double over 41 minutes. Commenting on it like this almost does the feat a disservice, but he’s been a monster the entire series—the difference between the two sides has been depth and the Cavaliers simply getting crushed when he needs a rest.

Let’s just say James had help on Friday, as illustrated by ESPN Stats & Info:

But again—what are the chances the Cavaliers can put up a strong performance next Monday and steal a game away from home?

One of the best ways to get a general idea about such a question is a quick look at the lines out of Las Vegas.

      

Game 5 Odds, Preview 

Let’s be blunt—oddsmakers don’t exactly like Cleveland’s chances in Game 5. 

Whereas most lines in this series hovered around the seven-point range in favor of Golden State, the exception a misguided line going into Game 3 due to a venue change, the Warriors sit as the favorites by nine points as of this writing, according to OddsShark.

In a normal series, the team coming off a 137-116 win wouldn’t sit as almost double-digit ‘dogs regardless of locale. But this series has been anything but normal, and oddsmakers are right to feel like Game 4 was the last gasp of a team desperate to avoid a sweep more than the beginning of another historic comeback. 

On-court play aside, the Cavaliers taking offense to Draymond Green suggesting he wanted to win the title and celebrate on Cleveland’s home court seemed to confirm the Game 4 blowout.

Irving commented on the situation after the win, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin: “You add, of course, some chatter in there, and that adds some extra motivation. And you give us a day in between, and we were ready to come out. Especially me, because that taste wouldn’t have been the same if we would have lost tonight and they would have celebrated on our home floor. So I’ll just leave that at that.”

Everything combines to help explain the Game 5 odds. The chances Cleveland posts another 49-point quarter or breaks three-point records on the road while facing elimination aren’t great.

Then again, the Cavaliers know a thing or two about 3-1, making Monday’s Game 5 one of the most anticipated in recent memory.

          

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified. Odds via OddsShark

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

from Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/2rN3Ce1
via IFTTT

Kyrie’s Big Night a Testament to What He Is and What He Has Yet to Become

CLEVELAND — Put the re-evaluation on hold.

The history of 3-0 leads in the NBA playoffs suggests that the Cleveland Cavaliers still eventually must contemplate an overhaul if they want to keep up with the Golden State Warriors in the future. But Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at least nudged the introspection to the backburner Friday night.

In so doing, Kyrie Irving was able to submit further evidence to the jury of his unique worth to Cleveland…and to LeBron James as his co-star.

These playoffs have re-established how high James’ ceiling remains. As a result, the only place to start the eventual scrutiny of the Cavaliers is with the literal No. 2: Irving.

And the relevant questions also are two:

Is there someone who fundamentally makes for a better fit than Irving as James’ co-star in Cleveland?

Is Irving going to use this NBA Finals defeat, assuming it comes, to motivate him as meaningfully as the other did two years ago?

The answer to both questions is tied to the same issue: how much Irving is prepared for, even hellbent on, evolving his game.

Irving scored only a combined 43 points in the first two games of this series, both won easily by Golden State. The Cavaliers nearly won Game 3 in large part because of Irving’s 38 points, only to eventually lose in part because of his ill-advised step-back three-point miss over Klay Thompson.

Irving dwelled on that bad late-game possession for 48 hours, James told reporters, and in Game 4, he aggressively bounced back.

With his first shot Friday night, Irving hit a step-back three over Stephen Curry. On his second, he drilled a step-back over Thompson. The Cavaliers rolled from there to their first victory in the series, 137-116; Irving finished with 40 points.

He also shot well—55.6 percent in Game 4 after shooting 55.2 percent in Game 3—with the dramatic difference of going 7-of-12 on three-point shots Friday after going 0-of-7 on them Wednesday. Irving was only one shy of the NBA Finals record of eight three-pointers in a game (Ray Allen, 2010).

Quite a way to forget about the step-back three-point shot that Irving second-guessed as a play in which he “didn’t necessarily make the right decision.”

Irving is a deep (albeit unconventional) thinker whose willingness to wallow in failure fuels his motivation to redeem it. His uncommon determination has quickly become something everyone, including James, simply expects from him—in addition to his fearlessness when it comes to center stage.

“I’ve said that over and over again that he’s always been built for the biggest moments, and tonight he showed that once again,” James said late Friday night. “It’s not surprising. He’s just that special.”

Whether the passing of the title back to Golden State is inevitable as soon as Monday in Game 5, Irving at least got to make his case that he’s not the personnel problem for James.

It’s an argument he also made a year ago when sinking that critical three-point shot over Curry in the final minute of Game 7. That success made it impossible to assert too loudly that Irving’s ball-handling and scoring skills were redundant considering James’ greatest strengths.

But if Cleveland loses this series in only five games, it will be hard to ignore the fact that Irving’s ongoing defensive deficiencies mattered more this time. He has been consistently late and irresponsible on defense. He’s never been a two-way standout, and it’s unclear if he really wants to be.

As fun as it is to watch Irving drop high-degree-of-difficulty shots from all over the court, the Warriors’ style and success make isolation offense look outdated in today’s NBA.

The Cavaliers’ win last year certified that Irving was still state of the art. Things change fast, though.

This year’s iPhone becomes next year’s paperweight. (That must make Deron Williams a flip phone, right?)

Game 4 was Irving’s statement that his individual excellence on offense still takes a huge load off James and will as long as they’re together.

“We got [down] to [13],” Golden State’s Draymond Green said, “and Kyrie hit like the toughest three I’ve seen all year.”

Yes, there is a deflating power in Irving’s shot-making, but is it enough? If the Cavs can get only one game from the Warriors, how do you make up so much ground in the future?

Even with the avalanche of points and threes—and Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue finally adjusting his rotation to rest James and Irving more separately to hide Cleveland’s depth issues—Irving didn’t exactly hold the fort without James to start the fourth quarter Friday.

Irving got a couple of minutes of rest to end the third frame, which Cleveland ended with a 19-point lead after James sank a buzzer-beating three before he went for his rest.

But the Cavs looked frazzled to start the fourth. Irving missed Cleveland’s first two shots, and James had to be rushed back in with 10:23 to play, the lead down to 13 points.

With James back, Irving didn’t cede control, however, and it was Irving—not James—who hit the gut-punch three-pointer Green cited, plus another basket against a Warriors defense overloading to Irving.

It was an apt summation of this whole issue: Irving’s scoring does feel like it can save the day next to James, but there are a lot of days of the week.

As potent as Irving was in Game 4, the Cavs outscored the Warriors only by seven points with him on the court…compared to 32 points with James on the court.

Ultimately, the answer for the Cavaliers lies in how Irving implements his unwavering drive to improve.

After missing most of the 2015 NBA Finals with injury, Irving worked hard to make himself more durable. And he has become an even more relentless scorer.

Are upgrades in defense and passing and leadership still to come for someone who is only 25? Lue hasn’t exactly forced those vegetables onto Irving’s plate, mainly encouraging him to tap into his natural strength as a multidimensional scorer. But if Irving wants to make the most of James’ championship window, the Cavs must find more ways to win.

It’s unrealistic to think Irving can pull all that together right now to save this series and this season. For the next campaign, though, James had better be insistent that Irving broadens his mind.

After watching Irving’s pivotal Game 3 miss, James said, “We live with that. We live with our star point guard taking a shot that he’s capable of making.”

Yet James also must know that his Cavs had to live with the poor judgment that led to that miss. On the play, James had motioned for JR Smith to set a screen—which would’ve opened up the possibility of Irving getting to go one-on-one at Curry instead of Thompson—only for Irving to wave off Smith, leaving Smith throwing up his hands in helplessness and Irving to take a poor shot.

As unstoppable an offensive force as he can be, his future with James must feature far more growth than stubbornness—even if Game 4 showed that stubbornness is pretty powerful.

    

Kevin Ding is an NBA senior writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @KevinDing.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

from Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/2rMDos6
via IFTTT

2017 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Prospects’ Stock Movement and Predictions

The NBA Finals have away of ripping away attention from the upcoming 2017 NBA draft. 

Even these Finals, in large part because LeBron James looked elimination in the eye and pulled the Cleveland Cavaliers away from the brink, beating the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 and making the series interesting again.

But the draft realm doesn’t stop.

In the background, prospects continue to make visits, teams continue due diligence and the stock market continues to adjust. While nothing as bold as, say, the Los Angeles Lakers skipping on Lonzo Ball has entered the conversation, there are some interesting stock shifts fans should know about before June 22.

           

2017 NBA Mock Draft

      

Latest Stock Movers 

Terrance Ferguson, G, Australia

It’s impossible for the NBA to keep shoving Australian guard Terrance Ferguson to the side.

It won’t be much longer before the fan’s hype machine kicks into overdrive, too.

Look at it this way—Ferguson is 6’7″ and 184-pounds. Only 20 years old, teams will draft Ferguson in the middle of the first round in large part because of his size. His being an elite shooter from deep is only an added bonus.

There’s a major risk-reward factor to Ferguson. While perhaps the draft’s best shooter and in possession of an NBA-ready frame, he’s still growing in most other areas. It’s why an ESPN.com scouting profile revealed teams are “all over the place on whether he’ll be able to put it all together anytime soon.”

It sounds dire, but the first round of the draft is where teams gamble on major upside. The Denver Nuggets do at No. 13 in the mock above, and as Harrison Wind of BSNDenver.com captured, it sounds like he’ll fit right in:

Denver is one of the better teams in the NBA at taking international talent and grooming them. Ferguson fits quite well right out of the gates while learning behind guys like Gary Harris and Danilo Gallinari.

The real value here? Ferguson’s major stock boost as of late lands him in a locale where he’ll get to grow alongside a budding core in a great environment.

         

Justin Jackson, F, North Carolina

Fans perhaps haven’t heard much about North Carolina’s Justin Jackson as of late. 

Indeed, Jackson’s stock continues to dip slightly while those around him undergo major movement. It’s a testament to the prospect he is—Jackson played three years with the Tar Heels and simply doesn’t boast the upside of younger prospects.

Which isn’t to imply he won’t come off the board in the first round or provide real value to the team drafting him right out of the gates. A 6’8″ forward who took home ACC Player of the Year last season has a way of knowing how to contribute.

Still, it’s not hard to see which issues have held Jackson back. He’s slowly discovering his stroke as a shooter, yet he only hit 44.3 percent of his shots last year. By NBA standards he’s a bit of an average athlete, which caused Mike Schmitz and Josh Riddell of DraftExpress to note he’ll need to win differently at the next level:

“Jackson relies on his feel for the game and high skill-level to make the right reads on and off ball to help him score. There will be an adjustment he’ll need to make playing against more complex defensive schemes than he saw in college, but in a smaller offensive role, Jackson will likely find ways to use his basketball IQ to find openings to get good looks at the rim.”

This sounds like a major issue, but not every player in the first round comes oozing with upside without having hit the age of 20.

Call it something the Portland Trail Blazers understand quite well at No. 20. Grabbing Jackson gives the team insurance behind C.J. McCollum at the 2 or Moe Harkless and Evan Turner at the 3. Rotational offense and high-energy defense is something Jackson can bring to those spots while otherwise working to round out his game.

              

Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville

Few players have benefited from the draft process this year like Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell went from fringe first-round pick to mid-round stud seemingly overnight. He blew away the combine, coming in at 6’3″ and 210 pounds, not to mention a wingspan registering at 6’10”.

The height isn’t ideal, but Mitchell showed off an explosiveness capable of meshing well with his well-rounded offensive game and smart on-ball defense. 

Mitchell averaged 15.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last year while shooting 40.8 percent from the floor, but the real value seems to reveal itself when teams start to wonder if he can run the offense instead of playing the 2.

Here is the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor hinting at this side of the equation:

“Mitchell might not have Lonzo Ball’s X-ray court vision, but if he improves his ability to break down a defense with his dribble, he can create opportunities for his teammates through penetration, rather than passing his teammates open like Lonzo. There are multiple ways to get to the same destination in different shapes and styles.”

Given the archaic nature of positional labels at all, it’s important the film and workouts have started suggesting this to teams. 

In other words, the NBA has slowly started to view Mitchell as a versatile backcourt player with plenty of upside. Above, the Brooklyn Nets pull the trigger at No. 22. Clutching perhaps the worst roster in the league, Mitchell is a smart addition to push backcourt members such as Jeremy Lin and Caris LeVert while giving him some run against budding two-way star Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Maybe the Nets act as big spenders while looking for a quick fix this summer. But Mitchell will see serious playing time either way, which is nothing short of a good development for his transition to the pros.

        

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

from Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/2sOaNkm
via IFTTT

NBA Finals 2017: Warriors vs. Cavaliers Game 4 Result, Quotes, Updated Schedule

Put the brooms back in the closet.

Down 0-3 in the 2017 NBA Finals, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers steamrolled Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors, 137-116, behind an epic offensive performance in Game 4 on Friday.

Cleveland looked determined to stave off elimination from the opening tip, scoring a Finals-record 49 points in the opening quarter. It then dropped another 37 in the second, giving the Cavs another Finals record for most points in a half.

They didn’t cool off much in the remaining 24 minutes, finishing the game a ridiculous 46-of-87 from the field and 24-of-45 from three.

Kyrie Irving was particularly absurd on offense, getting to his spots all night long on the way to 40 points on 15-of-27 shooting. LeBron, meanwhile, had 31 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, maintaining the triple-double average he already had in the series.

For Kyrie, it was his second 40-point performance on the NBA’s biggest stage, making him the third player to do so before turning 26, per Basketball Reference:

The Cavs now face a 3-1 deficit without home-court advantage. As J.R. Smith said after the game, per Joe Gabriele of Cavs.com, it’s a familiar situation for Cleveland:

And as Cleveland coach Ty Lue said, per the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, they now have the confidence to beat this iteration of the Warriors:

The Warriors, meanwhile, are already saying the right things. The chance at history and 16-0 is gone, but they’re still in control of the series, as Klay Thompson said, per Matt Moore of CBS Sports:

For the second year in a row, though, drama surrounding Draymond Green could give Cleveland hope of pulling off the comeback.

With technical fouls piling up, another suspension is already being talked about, per Yahoo’s Dan Devine:

Some of Kerr’s other thoughts on the loss were shared by NBA TV:

And the NBA shared more reactions from the postgame news conference:

The series now shifts to Oakland for Game 5, Monday at 9 p.m. ET.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

from Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/2rM9kfS
via IFTTT

LeBron James Sets All-Time NBA Finals Triple-Double Record in Game 4

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James set the all-time record for most career triple-doubles in the NBA Finals on Friday in Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors.

James broke a tie with Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, as his performance gave him his ninth NBA Finals triple-double, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

LeBron tied the record in Game 2 and nearly broke it in Game 3, but he fell one assist short, with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine dimes.

The 2017 playoffs have been kind to King James in terms of making history, as he shot to the top of another list during the Eastern Conference Finals.

In Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, James passed Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan as the all-time leading scorer in the NBA playoffs.

After setting that mark, LeBron reflected on the importance of surpassing his childhood hero, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin: “I wear the number [23] because of Mike. I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just because of what he was able to accomplish. When you’re watching Michael Jordan, it’s almost like a god. So I didn’t think I could be Mike.”

While LeBron has yet to reach Jordan’s heights in terms of being a six-time champion, adding yet another playoff record to his resume moves him closer to the conversation.

James has appeared in a remarkable six straight NBA Finals, and based on the Cavs’ construction, coupled with a lack of competition in the Eastern Conference, he could be back for many years to come.

If that is the case, LeBron will have a chance to add to the triple-double record he owns all by himself.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

from Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/2t6dM77
via IFTTT