Stephen Curry Shoots 74 Friday, Misses Cut at Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic

Stephen Curry didn’t make the cut at the 2017 Ellie Mae Classic. He wasn’t even close. But those expecting the Golden State Warriors star to fall on his face after a solid 74 on Thursday were sorely mistaken.

Curry recorded a four-over 74 in his second round Friday, which put him 11 shots above the cut line. He went into the clubhouse in a tie for 148th place, placing him ahead of six pros on the Web.com Tour. Among the four amateurs in the field, Curry finished third, ahead of Colt McNealy.

 

As was the case for most of the first round, the key to Curry’s success was finding ways to atone for his mistakes. He finished the round with 10 pars against six bogeys and two birdies and overcame a shaky start to finish strong.

Starting on the front nine, Curry dropped a pair of strokes with bogeys on Nos. 2 and 3 and made the turn at 39 after two more bogeys on Nos. 6 and 8. That put him at eight over for the event and left a little bit of a groan with the gallery who had been following him through the first two rounds.

But as has been the case throughout his basketball career, Curry was at his best with adversity staring him in the face. He narrowly missed a birdie on No. 11 as part of a four-hole stretch of pars to start the back nine, then finally got on the board with a birdie at No. 14.

While Curry dropped that shot on the par-three 16th after a tee shot that missed the green, he answered right back with a red number on 17. The round (and Curry’s tournament) finished with a disappointing bogey on the par-four 18th.

For someone with no professional golf experience making his debut amid a ton of press, it’s hard to argue Curry was anything less than great. A pair of rounds in the 70s is better than most expected.

In fact, veteran golfer Dawie van der Walt told ESPN.com’s Michael Collins he would eat his own golf bag if Curry broke 80 for the second straight day. Not only did Curry break 80 once again, he also held together what could have been a poor round and wound up matching his score. 

Justin Ray of Golf Channel put his outing in perspective:

Perhaps we’ll see a little more social media gloating from the two-time MVP once he leaves the course. At the least, van der Walt should start spicing up that bag now and throw it on the grill for dinner time. 

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John Wall Comments on Kyrie Irving’s Trade Request, Situation with Cavaliers

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall commented on rumors of Kyrie Irving wanting to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers when asked about the situation Friday. 

According to Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic, Wall said he was taken aback when he first heard the news:

“That was crazy to me. I didn’t know that was happening at all. Well, too bad. It’s kinda tough. If I had been to three straight [NBA] Finals, I’d want to stay but you never know what type of relationship or what type of details they have going on the backside. Nobody knows what’s going on behind closed doors. He’s one of those guys who wants to be the main guy.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Irving was seeking a trade from the Cavs so that he would no longer have to play second fiddle to LeBron James.

Wall also discussed the potential issues playing with a top dog like LeBron could create:

“It’s a different situation when you’re playing with a guy like LeBron James who is so dominant. Everyone is always going to be the second guy to him. It’s kind of like what I tell all the young guys when they first come into the league. It’s kind of tough to get the young guys to play as one on the floor because everybody is trying to build their name up and start their own foundation. It’s kind of tough when you’re always in the shadow of somebody else. That’s something he probably got tired of.”

Irving and James have led the Cavaliers to three consecutive NBA Finals, and Irving is coming off his best statistical season.

He averaged a career-high 25.2 points per game during the regular season and upped that number to 25.9 during the playoffs.

Unlike Irving, Wall is the unquestioned leader of his team, and he averaged a career-best 23.1 points and 10.7 assists per game in 2016-17.

On the heels of his big year, Wall signed a four-year, $170 million contract extension with the Wiz.

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John Wall, Ronnie 2K Trade Barbs over PG’s 2K18 Rating

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall appeared to take exception to his 90 overall rating in the upcoming NBA 2K18 video game. 

Wall tweeted about his player rating directly to Ronnie 2K, who works for 2K Sports, leading to this fun exchange between the two, via Stadium:

The developers at 2K Sports have been releasing individual player rankings each day. Even though Wall isn’t happy with his rating, he is keeping good company. Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kyrie Irving is also rated as a 90 overall. 

 

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Dawie Van Der Walt Says He’ll Eat Golf Bag If Stephen Curry Breaks 80 Again

One day after Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry fired a 74 in the first round of the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic, veteran golfer Dawie van der Walt issued a challenge to the two-time NBA MVP.

Per ESPN’s Michael Collins, Van der Walt said he would “eat his own golf bag” if Curry breaks 80 in Friday’s second round. 

Curry received an unrestricted sponsor exemption to compete in the Ellie Mae Classic, his first professionally-sanctioned tournament appearance. He has previously competed in celebrity and pro-am events. 

His inclusion did draw some criticism in the golf world. Professional golfer Lee McCoy said there were “many great players” who could use the opportunity that Curry was receiving.

After opening with a 74 on Thursday, Curry did earn his share of applause from many PGA Tour stars, including Rickie Fowler who called the round “impressive.” Curry’s score was also one shot better than his playing partner, Sam Ryder. 

Even though Curry faces a steep climb to make the cut, which is projected to be two-under par, his performance so far is still worthy of praise since he had never taken part in a professional golf event prior to Thursday. 

 

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Big Baller Brand Partnership Reportedly Turned Down by Chinese Apparel Company

Big Baller Brand, an apparel company founded by LaVar Ball to feature his basketball-playing sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, has reportedly failed to reach a partnership agreement with Chinese company Anta.

On Friday, Nick DePaula of ESPN.com reported Anta “declined repeated requests” from Big Baller Brand for follow-up discussions after an initial set of conversations during which BBB focused on a “private label manufacturing concept.”

The report also noted Ball is no longer in active discussions with major brands Nike, Adidas and Under Armour about his proposed “co-branded partnership” offers.

Last month, Ball penned an article for Slam where he discussed the motivation for trying to create his own company rather than going the traditional sponsorship route.

“Big Baller Brand wants to show the next generation that there’s a difference between building wealth and just being rich,” he wrote. “This isn’t about getting that early money—just another athlete signing a regular endorsement deal. That would have been the easier route. But we’ve embarked on a mission. We want to go beyond just inspiring athletes. It’s about those small business owners that stay up at night plotting their next move and figuring out how to stay afloat.”

Ball added: “We just want to inspire people and show them that there’s a different lane you can travel in. It’s OK to step out and do it another way. Only a select few will do it, but folks will start creating their own brands, like we’ve done with BBB, and more and more families will begin feeling comfortable with betting on themselves.”

DePaula noted the 700-plus orders for ZO2 shoes—Lonzo’s signature shoe as he gets prepared for his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers —”beat out the expectations of several rival industry sources.” But BBB continues to seek a partner to help with “resources and manufacturing capabilities.”

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Doc Rivers Reportedly Losing Role as Clippers President of Basketball Operations

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday that Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers will be removed from his role as president of basketball operations.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said executive vice president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank will oversee basketball operations with Rivers still having personnel input.

Ballmer further explained his reasoning behind making the move:

“I’ve owned the team for three years now, and I really better understand what an owner’s responsibility is—and it turns out that running a franchise and coaching are two enormous and different jobs. The notion that one person can fairly focus on them and give them all the attention they need isn’t the case. To be as good as we can be, to be a championship franchise, we need two functioning strong people building teams out beneath them. There needs to be a healthy discussion and debate with two strong, independent minded people.

“There are different relationships that a player needs to have with the coach and the front office. Doc put Lawrence in charge of the non-coaching aspects of the front office last year, and he’s done a fantastic job. I want each of them to dig in and do what they do best. Lawrence has come on so strong in that role, and that has helped us go down this path.”

Rivers has served in a dual role since joining the organization in 2013-14, and while the Clippers have reached the playoffs every season under him, they have failed to advance beyond the second round.

The Clips have had an eventful offseason, starting with hiring Jerry West as an executive.

Since then, L.A. has traded point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, re-signed power forward Blake Griffin and acquired small forward Danilo Gallinari in a trade.

Rivers is still under contract as head coach through 2018-19, per HoopsHype.com.

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Kyrie Irving Trade Reportedly of Interest to Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are reportedly one of the NBA teams exploring the idea of a potential blockbuster trade for Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

On Friday, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported there’s a “strong possibility” Irving gets dealt in the coming weeks and the Pistons are “interested.”

                 

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

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