Warriors vs Cavs – Game 5: 16 and WON !!!

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The Finals are over and “The Larry” is coming back to Oakland for the 2nd time in three years!!!

Steve Kerr said it best when he stated that he has never seen this much talent and skilled players on the court from both teams at the same time.

Hats off to the Cavs. They are a great great team. LeBron is the best player on the planet and he proved it by producing triple-doubles in all 5 games. Kyrie has the best handles in the world and he complimented LeBron brilliantly. It was obvious that his knee and sore back hampered him in games 4 and 5 but he didn’t used that as an excuse. JR Smith contributed in a big way in both games 4 and 5. Although Kevin Love fell off the radar in game 5, his rebounding was outstanding throughout the Finals. The Cavs were a bounce or two away from winning both games in Cleveland and they refused to quit and go away in game 5. They have hearts of a champion. LeBron said that his Cavs are a Super Team. I agree and would say that the Cavs as constructed today would beat most of the teams in the past who are acknowledged to be the best of all time (The Bulls, Celtics, 76ers, Pistons, Lakers).

The Warriors were a championship team before they signed KD. With KD, they are not only a Super Team but a team for the ages. A couple more “Larry’s” in the house will tell the story of where they belong in history. For now, they are creating a new history with every new season.

For sure, the Warriors have the best roster of any team that I can think of either in the past or present. Their motto “Strength in Numbers” is no joke. All of their 4 All Stars (KD, Steph, Draymond, and Klay) are all in their 20’s and in the prime of their careers. All of their other complimentary players (Zaza, Iguodala, Livingston, West, McGee, McCaw, Clark, McAdoo) played and made contributions in the Finals. In game 5, Iguodala was the spark plug who ignited the Warriors on their 2nd quarter run. Iggy is a veteran who knows what it takes to up the game to another level during the Finals. He won the Finals MVP in 2015 for a reason.  And a rookie, Patrick McCaw, played magnificently during the minutes that he played. Although KD deservingly won the Finals MVP award, Steph Curry had a monster game with 34 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals. KD called him the “Big Dog” for his terrific play and dissed anyone who said or wrote that Steph can’t put up numbers in the Finals.

The off season will be important to the Warriors as they have to make tough financial decisions which will impact both Livingston and Iguodala the hardest. If KD and Steph both decide that it is more important to keep the team together rather than demand the max contracts, then this dynasty will continue. If they lose either one or both, Bob Myers and Steve Kerr will find another versatile player or two who can play multiple positions and be effective at both ends of the floor. Dynasties are built around a system and there will always be great skilled players who could do very well in the Warriors’ system. Luckily for Bay Area fans, the Warriors will be on top for years to come.

Steve Kerr – The Coach, the Friend, the Diplomat, the Man

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Since Steve Kerr was hired by Golden State before the 2015 season, he has coached his team to an astonishing regular season record of 207 wins and 39 losses (.841 winning percentage). His Playoff record has been equally impressive… 35 wins and 14 losses (.714 winning percentage) with one world championship trophy in 2015.

What is behind his tremendous success are multiple factors including a front office who have developed a culture of winning with a support infrastructure up and down the organization. The Golden State Warriors are a business whose employees are all part of the Strength in Numbers family. From owners Joseph Lacob and Peter Gruber to COO Rick Welts to GM Bob Myers to Coach Steve Kerr, the team has been built with the foundation of truly unselfish team players… Great players who are in the business for individual success and stats are quickly ruled out.

It is one thing to put a great roster together. It takes a special coach to get the roster to play together as a team on a consistent basis. Steve has done this and continues to spread his teachings through his assistant coaches. Before the 2016 season, he had a back surgery and suffered major complications including leaked spinal fluids which has caused Steve to suffer debilitating neck pains and migrane headaches. He missed the first 43 games of the 2016 season due to the pain he suffered. Because he had set the foundation of his coaching philosophy, his assistant, Luke Walton, took over head coaching duties during Steve’s absence and lead the team to an astounding 39-4 record winning the first 24 games of the season.  Unfortunately, these symptoms have flared up again and Steve was not able to coach the last two games of the first round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers. As Luke Walton left the team last year to coach the LA Lakers, the Warriors hired Mike Brown who has had a brilliant NBA coaching career including being named coach of the year in the 2008-2009 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mike coached the last two games while Steve was out and won both games in Portland to close out the series by winning in a 4-0 sweep. And, of course, Mike’s coaching philosophy is very similar to Steve’s.

Steve’s coaching style is not limited to spreading his philosophy to his assistant coaches. It applies equally to his players. A case in point is when one of their stars, Kevin Durant, went down with a knee injury in late February. The Warriors went 7-5 while adjusting to playing without KD. But, when they adjusted, the Warriors won 15 of the last 16 games of the season and won the first 3 games of the Portland playoff series without Durant. They also played without two other key players, Matt Barnes and Shawn Livingston during the Portland series but still swept them.

One of Steve’s wonderful traits is his ability to relate to his players as both a friend and a father figure. He is tough when he needs to be and isn’t afraid to yell at his star players including Steph Curry or Draymond Green in a team setting. He has broken more than one clip-board on the sidelines when the Warriors get careless with the ball or their defensive play is below his standard. Other than these tense situations, Steve instills a sense of “fun” in the locker room, on the court, and off the court. He praises his players both as athletes and as wonderful people off the courts.

As a diplomat, Steve excels. He has been surrounded by Hall of Fame coaches throughout his entire basketball career from Lute Olson at the University of Arizona, to Phil Jackson in Chicago, and to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. When Steve’s father, Malcom Kerr was assassinated in Beirut, Lebanon in 1984, Lute Olson and his wife took Steve into their home to provide comfort and support. Malcom was serving as the President of the American University of Beirut at the time of his death and was a victim of a terrorist action. This tragedy in Steve’s life has lead to the formation of Steve’s views on world unrest and other political issues. Phil Jackson taught him how to win and Popovich taught him the meaning of team play. What life has taught Steve is that no matter the circumstance, deal with it diplomatically. He can’t play all of his players and give them the minutes that they want, so he is very upfront about where every player stands. Each player knows his role on the team. He is complimentary of all players and coaches in the league because he realizes that they are all in the pool of players and coaches that he may work with in the future. He jokes and laughs with the referees during the games and gets T’d up by them when he disagrees with their calls. Steve is always cordial with the press as this is a highly visible sport and he wants to portray the classiness of this organization.

Steve is the Man. He is respected by his players, his organization, his peers, and other players throughout the league. After the Warriors won Game 3 of the Portland series which Steve couldn’t coach due to his migrane illness, Steph Curry clung tightly to the game ball while being interviewed as he wanted to present Steve with the game ball.

In a very classy move, LeBron James broadcasted a video expressing concern over Steve’s health and wished him the very best to recover quickly and get back on the sidelines.

Steve Kerr is a great coach but more importantly, he is a very classy guy and loved by everyone. Wishing Steve all the best and hope that he does conquer the pain that he has had to endure for the last two years!!!