OAKLAND — It seemed like if anyone might bite on the Bryan Colangelo question at NBA Finals media day, it would be Draymond Green.
And so the outspoken Warriors forward was asked about the story that was much discussed here, a report on The Ringer website that suggested Colangelo, the Philadelphia 76ers president and general manager who previously did that job in Toronto and Phoenix, could be operating as many as five anonymous Twitter accounts that tended to defend Colangelo while blasting various Sixers players and disclosing sensitive team information.
“I’ve had my social media mishaps before, too,” said Green, before saying he was focused on the Cleveland Cavaliers and winning a championship and various other non-juicy sound bites.
And so, it was left to everyone else to wonder what the Colangelo story might mean to an ascendant Sixers franchise and a GM who is a basketball lifer. Colangelo himself remained quiet on Wednesday, with his only response a team-issued statement that said he was not behind four of the Twitter accounts and only used one, from which no tweets had been posted.
The team said it would launch an independent investigation into the accounts, which as documented by the The Ringer have a number of similarities in both things they have tweeted and in accounts that they follow. Three of them were changed to private accounts shortly after The Ringer contacted the Sixers to inquire about the other two accounts, a coincidence for which there has yet to be an explanation.
With about five minutes left in the second quarter of Game 7 between Houston and Golden State on Monday night, James Harden picked off a sloppy pass by Green and raced down the court for a dunk that gave the Rockets a 15-point lead. Warriors coach Steve Kerr called a timeout and, it was admitted on Wednesday, everyone yelled at each other for a while.
“That timeout was a little chaotic. I think we were frustrated,” Kerr said.
Steph Curry said, “It was kind of everybody just getting the anxiety off their chest.” Green said it was “everybody pretty much yelling the same thing.”
Asked specifically what was said in the huddle, no one would provide specifics, possibly to avoid repeating cuss words.
“I think at the end of the day all I said was, ‘We got it off our chest, let’s move on and win a basketball game and let’s do it together,’” Curry said. “That sounds very Disney Channel-type movies, but that’s what we needed, to kind of turn the page and focus on the game and how we were going to win.”
Kevin Durant said the Warriors just “talked it out.”
“We didn’t take it personal when guys had stuff to say. We moved past it pretty quickly, and knew what we had to do to get back into the game.” That 15-point lead was the largest that the Rockets would have all night, and the Warriors outscored them 68-44 from that point forward.
“We came out the huddle as one,” Durant said. “We might have walked into it separately, but we came out as one.” Kind of like a line from a Disney Channel movie, really.
Although the Warriors have done a lot as a team — the 73-win season, the two titles — and as individuals, they are not above taking some playful umbrage at suggestions that their resumes are not perfect. Asked if his career was defined by some big shots he hit in last year’s final, Durant said thought he had done pretty well before those games. Later, asked about learning to have a short memory, he played slightly wounded again: “Well, this is my 11th year in the NBA. I know a lot of people probably didn’t watch me play before I got to the Warriors,” he said. “But I was in the league before I got here, and I learned a lot along that time. I actually won an MVP award. I went to the Olympics. Scored a couple points.”
During Curry’s turn at the podium he was asked whether the fact that he had never been Finals MVP — he has been the regular-season MVP twice — would likely be a story this time around. “It took to the second question of my first media availability, so I’m pretty sure that narrative’s going to take life, as it has since 2015,” he said. “But it doesn’t make or break my career or whatever you want to say looking back. If we win this championship and I don’t win Finals MVP, I’m going to be smiling just as wide and just as big.”
The Finals MVPs in Curry’s three previous trips here were Andre Iguodala, LeBron James and Durant.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue took a brief leave of absence from his team during the regular season, citing chest pains that were exacerbated by the stress and anxiety of the job. One of the people who contacted him during that time was Kerr, who missed a long stretch of time last season with back problems.
“The main message was, you can’t allow what feels like the enormity of the job to interfere with your health and your recovery and whatever you need to do,” Kerr said on Wednesday. “I just told him the team will still be there when you get back.”
“But sometimes I think in this job because there is so much passion from the fan bases and because everybody wants to win so badly, it feels bigger than it really is. So, just kind of a reminder that we’re playing a sport.”
James acknowledged that, at 33 years old, he is at least a couple of seasons beyond what is generally considered to be the prime part of an NBA career. He doesn’t happen to agree.
“I’ve just never really bought into that,” he said. “I’ve never bought into a ceiling either. You guys talked about what’s your ceiling, and I’ve always kind of told you guys that I don’t really have a ceiling. I want to just try to maximize as much as I can and be as good as I can.”
James said he has worked hard to stay healthy and has been lucky enough to only miss a couple of practices all season.
“I’ve put in the work,” he said. “It’s allowed me to be able to tomorrow suit up for the 101st consecutive time. If I’m fortunate, I can suit up for -— what is it, 108? We’ll see what happens.”
It will be a surprise if this Finals gets all the way to Game 108, but point taken.
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