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Shaun Livingston, NBA Finals MVP?

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Good morning. We have that and more in Friday's NBA newsletter.

Good morning. Let's basketball.

UH ... WHAT WAS THAT? Sure, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will combine to shoot 8-of-27 and score a combined total of 20 points. Sure, J.R. Smith will take three shots in 36 minutes. Sure, the Cavs' big three will outscore the Warriors' big three 66 to 36 ... and lose. Sure, 31 combined points for Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa on 13-of-15 shooting. Sure. This is fine. Warriors take a very weird Game 1 104-89.


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Paul Flannery, live from Oakland, discusses the oddities of the opener and writes how what happened might spell doom for Cleveland's dreams.

KERR SMASH: Steve Kerr, gentle general, smashes his whiteboard into puny, weak pieces.

WHOOPSIE: Matthew Dellavedova accidentally hit Andre Iguodala below the belt when swiping at the ball; Iguodala got very angry at the result; the referees reviewed it for 20 minutes (slight exaggeration) to see if anyone should get a tech. The Warriors have no standing in groin-related complaints! Speaking of which ...

MAN ... Draymond Green flopped on defense and flailed his leg to get ref attention as he does and almost kicked Kyrie Irving in the face! Are we going to see a Draymond Rule banning high kicks?

POOR TRISTAN: Can you imagine being a big ol' 6'9 or 6'10 center in the NBA and having to defend Steph Fricking Curry out on the perimeter with no help around? Just one little Curry jab step sends poor Tristan Thompson into fits. I sympathize so, so much.

EXCELLENT: Steph and Klay read mean tweets.

CULTURE SHOCK: Interesting Brian Windhorst story on how LeBron is trying to bring the Pat Riley-style culture to Cleveland, with mixed success. There's also an amazing anecdote that a decade ago Cavs franchisee Dan Gilbert installed a fart machine under Mike Brown's chair and operated it during a press conference.

RANKING THE PLAYERS: Before Game 1, I ranked all 30 players in the finals. Gonna need to move Club Liv up.

LOL: Ken Mauer got taken out in the course of action, and Leandro Barbosa buried a jumper next to him sprawled on the ground. It happened in front of the Warriors' bench, so naturally Mauer became a part of the celebration!

HMM: Mike Wise on LeBron's fairy tale life.

WHOA BOY: The Vertical's Shams Charania reports that the Sixers and Hawks have discussed a Jeff Teague-Nerlens Noel swap. That ... actually makes sense if Philly wants to stop being the worst team in the league and the Hawks want to retool.

BE MY VALENTINE: Denzel Valentine will make a team look smart, writes Kevin O'Connor.

INTERESTING: Paul George is considering playing in the Olympics, two years after his horrific Team USA injury.

GOOD: Adam Silver confirms he'll be seeking an intentional foul solution from the Board of Governors this summer.

GOOD II THE SEQUEL: Dwane Casey reaches a three-year extension with the Raptors.

SLIGHT TANGENT: The WSJ asks if American Ninja Warrior is the future of sport. I'll just say that my 6-year-old is obsessed with ANW. It is currently tied with the pole vault for her favorite thing to watch that isn't Steph Curry or a movie about Barbie and her sisters. Some recreation departments in our neck of the woods are buying in, too, getting kids into tumbling and gymnastics programs by holding obstacle course camps and the like. There's something there. (One issue to be looked at is diversity. I'm not sure the obstacle course community is hitting all demographics, you know?)

Along these lines: shout out to American Ninja Warrior Nation.

Happy Friday. We're taking Saturday off but will back for Sunday. Game 2 is Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Basketball Twitter and Game Of Thrones Twitter need to work out a spoiler agreement. See you next time.


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LeBron's NBA Finals legacy

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