Throwback: Steve vs. LeBron meeting again, mercy of random Thebes and weary Phoenix

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Steve Curry really is the Most devastating offensive player since Prime Shaq.

Rivalry and redemption

More Title Ready: Warriors or Lakers?

Remember that part of “The Shawshank Redemption” when Andy Dufresne walks through sewers of excrement to reach his freedom?

Lakers and Warriors seasons, in the basketball sense, look like this scene.

They will exit their series in the second round on Tuesday. These teams have had crazy seasons despite having two of the best players ever.

Golden State didn’t get a win on the road all year before winning Game 5 in Sacramento and hitting a series-closing home run in Game 6. Winning twice on the road in a tough week after doing it just 12 times in 44 chances.

Seventh game against the Kings – in Sacramento – It’s set up to be the toughest testing ground for the Warriors’ final title defense. On Sunday, the defending champion Warriors kept their season alive.

Fortunately, they have Steph Curry. We wondered all season if Golden State could pull together and flip the switch to channel their elusive championship qualities. It turns out Steph Curry is key.

He dropped 50 points on the road in Game 7, ending the Kings’ light-footed ambitions again. It’s another arrow on the body of any internet foe foolish enough to think Curry doesn’t feature much in the postseason. Although only a first round victory for the defending champions, Curry was dominant enough to make you think this team has a title defense in it after all.

Awaiting the Lakers are the Warriors, who intimidated the Grizzlies with a 40-point Game 6 victory on Friday — it was a tough night for a suddenly quiet Memphis team. The leadership of LeBron James and Anthony Davis transformed the talented Lakers support group into one capable of running deep. The Lakers team, broken before the trade deadline, now appears to have power, health and poise.

both of them The Warriors and Lakers climbed through their sewers and now find themselves facing each other outside. Denver or Phoenix will be waiting for the series winner, but looking forward to title chances for Golden State or Los Angeles will be compelling even to casual basketball fans.

And with both legends looking to build on their historical legacies, it’s great to have LeBron vs. Steve in the playoffs again.

Let’s bring it up to Sun to find out more about Steve’s historic “Do or Die” performance.

The latest from Shams

Steph’s Game 7’s legendary message

Steve Curry added another seemingly legendary achievement to his resume Sunday with another NBA record: the first 50-point masterpiece in Game 7 history.

It was also Curry’s highest point total in 141 playoff games.

To say the Finals MVP winner found another gear would be an understatement. And based on what I’m told, his new form could be the driving force behind one of the most highly anticipated second round matches in recent memory, with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and an even bigger in-state contender awaiting.

Sources told me and Athletic Marcus Thompson II, before Game 7 and after the team’s disastrous effort in Game 6 to put the champions on edge, Curry decided to address the team.

“I don’t talk much,” Carey reportedly told the team, “but I have something to say.”

It’s been really rare to see Curry take on this kind of role, as Draymond Green usually takes on the more vocal aspects of the lead, but we’re told he resonated with the team in a big way.

For more details on what Steve said to his team, and some of the internal dynamics of this Warriors team, be sure to read our story.

Back to you, Zack!

Leg sweep

Nix, what were you thinking?

The Heat took Game 1 on the pitch of Madison Square Garden by shutting out the Knicks in the second half. The most confusing point in the loss was not the improper turnover or poor shooting performance by New York. This was what could only be classified as either a complete lack of awareness of the situation or a strangely timed sign of mercy.

With 5:05 left in the game, the Knicks were down 95-92 when Jimmy Butler was fouled by Josh Hart. The error occurred when Butler slid as Hart also lost his footing. This resulted in Butler hitting his ankle and writhing on the floor for a few minutes. It looked like the Miami series and their season ended there.

But in classic Butler fashion, he was tougher of the moment.

He beat his free throws, stayed in the game and basically acted like a decoy for the rest of Game 1. Confusingly enough, the Knicks somehow didn’t try to test Butler’s ankle.

They went minute after minute, possession after possession and refrained from attacking his limited defensive movement.

Why not sweep the leg? Why do you want mercy? Why not attack Miami’s strongest ring that has suddenly become its weakest? Knicks would have sent Butler to sit on the bench alongside Tyler Hero in streetwear. Instead, they let the Heat seal the win and give the No. 8 seed a home advantage.

Now, the Heat have a 1-0 lead over the Knicks, and we’re waiting to put Jimmy into Game Two on Tuesday. Tom Thibodeau showed either mercy or incompetence.

from deep within you

The Denver Phoenix should run to the ground

While Thibs didn’t seize the moment on Sunday, the Nuggets certainly did on Saturday night. There was no cooling down on a short-handed sun. Phoenix does not have any major injuries that keep players out of the lineup. On a good day, the sun ran in depth about four as it rotated.

Denver decided to push the pace against Phoenix and test the limits of the latter’s fatigue. Jamal Murray continued the attack. Aaron Gordon decided to make it work. Nikola Jokic played bully ball. And any time the Suns considered running, the Nuggets made sure to get them out of the game. Final score: 125-107.

Depth was always an issue for the Suns after the Kevin Durant trade, but it shouldn’t be that bad. Monty Williams should play his All Stars for long minutes this postseason. Denver’s depth gives them the same advantage we’ve seen on most nights in the regular season. In Game 1, Phoenix didn’t shoot enough 3-headers or hit the rim enough. Denver kept the sun where they wanted it.

To get ahead, the Suns must move their stars around and avoid turning the ball over. Durant and Devin Booker were fine, but they need to be elite. It’s the only way to pressure the desperate Nuggets into proving they’ve been ignored for years.

Phoenix has to keep the game slow and steady – or they’ll get out fast.

Bounce passes

You can’t break up the warriors because they refuse to let that happen.

De’Aaron Fox lost the series but gained valuable lessons in his first NBA postseason.

No dinks react to Steph 7’s 50 point game and Jimmy is a good decoy.

Imagine getting a lifetime deal with Nike. Well, if you are Kevin Durant, then imagine no more.

The Grizzlies finally embarrassed themselves. Where do they go from here?

You must watch Jeff Teague narrate his first-hand account of Jimmy Butler’s famous practice of T’Wolves.

(Photo by Stephen Curry and LeBron James: Harry how/ Getty Images)

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