The Warriors' superteam status extends to the coaching staff
As if having four stars weren't enough for Golden State, the Warriors' embarrassment of riches apparently includes the coaches.
Assistant Mike Brown isn't the greatest coach in NBA history, but the former Cavs head man knows how to make adjustments and put his team in position to win. With a team this talented, that's sometimes all you need.
It's not like Brown just rolled the ball out and let the stars play, though. After the Blazers got off to a hot start with the return of big man Jusuf Nurkic, Brown looked to JaVale McGee, who turned the game around for the Warriors. Brown trusted McGee beyond his typical minutes rotation and rode his center to victory.
Brown also had Golden State run a bit more pick-and-roll than they have of late, because that should be the Warriors' go-to set, while maintaining their trademark defensive intensity.
Here's hoping Kerr and Durant are healthy sooner than later, especially since Stephen Curry hinted after the game Kerr's illness could be serious. He kept the game ball, indicated he wanted to give it to Kerr, and said, "Our coach is going through a lot physically right now."
So ... that's not great. An extended Kerr absence in the postseason would drastically affect the championship picture. A title run can come down to even the most minute adjustments from game to game, series to series.
In the interim, though, at least both Durant and Kerr know their Golden State family can pick up the slack as they heal.
Jaime ValdezJaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
The off-court antics make the NBA the best professional sports league
The NBA playoff games were fantastic on Saturday, but that wasn't the most important thing.
The most important thing is the Toronto Raptors responding to the Milwaukee Bucks playing the "Barney" theme song during player introductions by posting a Bambi GIF following Game 4, because the Association is at its best when it's at its pettiest.
And business picked up following the Atlanta Hawks' Game 3 win over the Washington Wizards. Markieff Morris called Atlanta's Paul Millsap a "crybaby," Millsap said it's personal now, and Hawks PG Dennis Schroder could only facepalm. Seriously, watch the video above. You won't regret taking the 30 seconds.
The NBA: it's faaaaaaaaan-tastic!
As good as Giannis Antetokounmpo is, he's missing one key facet
The Greek Freak looked like the second-best player in the NBA for the first six minutes of Game 4. As the Toronto Raptors seized control, however, Antetokounmpo was nowhere to be found.
That reluctance to take over games late is the one crucial hole remaining in his game (other than a 3-point shot, but asking him to develop a consistent outside stroke feels like gilding the lily).
A true superstar needs to make his mark when the game is on the line, and Antetokounmpo is clearly dominant enough to do his best hero-ball rendition in the clutch. We have a feeling he'll learn his lesson sooner than later, perhaps even in this series.
On the other hand ...
Jeff HanischJeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard's killer instinct is unquestionable, and that's a problem for the Spurs
We know how good Leonard is. The only question was whether he had that Kobe Bryant-esque killer instinct you want to see from a championship contender's best player.
The Klaw silenced any doubters by scoring San Antonio's final 16 points in regulation, then tried to do the same in overtime.
Unfortunately, the Spurs are one of the few teams in the NBA that doesn't do well in isolation. They need to keep the ball moving until they find the best shot. That's the San Antonio way.
Knowing that Leonard can bust out this kind of offensive dominance is nice, of course. Every championship contender needs a go-to scorer. But when the Spurs aren't trusting all five guys and playing like a team, they become a lot easier to beat.