Fiers tosses second career no-no, Athletics beat Reds 2-0

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 07: Mike Fiers #50 of the Oakland Athletics has Gatorade poured on him by teammates after pitching a no hitter against the Cincinnati Reds at the Oakland Coliseum on May 7, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

After a rough start to the season, Mike Fiers is pitching like an ace the Oakland Athletics expected him to be.

Fiers pitched his second career no-hitter and the 300th in MLB history to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 on Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum.

Fiers becomes the 35th pitcher to throw two no-hitters. The 33-year-old’s first no-no was on Aug. 21, 2015 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The no-hitter is the 13th in franchise history and eighth since the team moved to Oakland in 1968.

The game was delayed 98 minutes at the start due to a lighting malfunction in left field. Fiers finally threw the first pitch at 8:45 p.m.

Fiers retired the first 11 batters before Jesse Winker reached on an error by Matt Chapman. Winker sent a grounder up the middle. Chapman ranged to his left, but the ball bounced off the heel of his glove. The official scorer could have ruled it a hit, but Chapman is a Platinum Glover for a reason.

Fiers retired the next seven batters after the error before walking Eugenio Suarez on seven pitches to start the seventh. But Suarez was quickly erased on a 4-6-3 double play.

Fiers issued another walk to Puig, but Derek Dietrich popped out to Chapman to end the inning.

At this point, Fiers was already at 109 pitches and Lou Trivino was warming up in the bullpen. But Fiers needed only nine pitches to get through the eighth.

Fiers opened the ninth by inducing a pop out from pinch-hitter Josh VanMeter. For the final two outs, Fiers had to navigate through two of the premier power hitters, Votto and Suarez.

After falling behind 3-1, Fiers threw a strike before getting Votto to ground out to first baseman Matt Olson.

The final hurdle for Fiers was Suarez, who leads the Reds with 10 homers and 23 RBIs.

Fiers got a called strike one on an 88.1 mph fastball. Suarez fouled off a 90.2 mph fastball for strike two.

After two extremely high fastballs that Suarez didn’t chase, Fiers threw his best curveball of the night. Suarez never had a chance and the celebration was on.

Fiers threw 88 of 134 pitches for strikes against the Dodgers. He threw 83 of 131 pitches against the Reds. Fiers struck out six and lowered his ERA to 5.48.

No-hitters and perfect games are always preserved by great defensive plays. There were two in this game and they occurred on back-to-back pitches with one out in the sixth.

First, it was the much-maligned Jurickson Profar laying out for a diving catch on a popup into no man’s land in right by Kyle Farmer.

On the next pitch, Ramon Laureano made a leaping catch over the wall in left-center to rob a game-tying homer from Votto. Laureano made the play a few feet away from where he robbed Teoscar Hernandez of the Toronto Blue Jays 17 days ago.

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 07: Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics leaps for and catches a fly ball hit off the bat of Joey Votto (not pictured) of the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on May 7, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

The offense did just enough for Fiers, scoring a run off starter Tyler Mahle in the second and Martinez native Robert Stephenson in the seventh.

With two outs and Stephen Piscotty on first, Profar lined a double down the right field line. The ball got past Yasiel Puig and rolled around in the corner.

Puig finally retrieved the ball and threw a strike to the cutoff man Votto, who relayed another strike to catcher Tucker Barnhart. The throw beat Piscotty to the plate, but Barnhart overreached, allowing Piscotty to slide home safely behind the tag.

Profar added an insurance run in the seventh with his third homer of the season. Stephenson left an 0-1 fastball down in the zone and Profar launched it over the wall in right-center.

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 07: Jurickson Profar #23 of the Oakland Athletics rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the seventh inning at the Oakland Coliseum on May 7, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Mahle allowed one run on three hits, walked one and struck out eight in six innings. The 24-year-old dropped to 0-5 despite a solid 3.69 ERA. The Reds have provided Mahle with no run support (1.62) in his seven starts.

Olson returned after missing 34 games with a right thumb injury. The Gold Glover went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Fiers’ pitching counterpart for his first no-hitter was his now-teammate Brett Anderson. Anderson will start against the Reds on Wednesday.

WP: Mike Fiers (3-3, 5.48)

LP: Tyler Mahle (0-5, 3.69)

Time: 2:25

Attendance: 11,794

Record: 16-21


Athletics blow lead in 13th to complete disastrous road trip

PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 05: Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is hugged by Melky Cabrera #53 as he crosses home plate after hitting a walk-off three run home run in the thirteenth inning during the game against the Oakland Athletics at PNC Park on May 5, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

The silver lining for the Oakland Athletics is that they are still only six games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West despite a 1-8 road trip.

Starling Marte hit a walk-off three-run homer off Fernando Rodney in the bottom of the 13th inning to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

This marked the second Sunday in a row in which the Oakland bullpen blew a lead in extra innings. Last week, Blake Treinen gave up four runs in the bottom of the 11th to the Toronto Blue Jays.

A week later, Rodney couldn’t protect a 3-1 lead against the Pirates. Rodney allowed a one-out single to Cole Tucker, walked Jung Ho Kang despite getting ahead 0-2, an RBI single to Adam Frazier and the game-winner to Marte.

All three hits Rodney allowed in the 13th inning came off first-pitch fastballs right down the middle. (Diagram courtesy of MLB)

The Oakland bullpen had retired 14 batters in a row before the 13th inning meltdown.

Tyler Lyons picked up the win. He allowed two runs on in two innings. Rodney suffered his second loss.

The Pirates got on the scoreboard first in the second inning. Josh Bell led off with a double to the gap in left center. Bell advanced to third on a groundout by Melky Cabrera and scored on a sacrifice fly by Colin Moran.

Khris Davis was replaced defensively in the bottom half with a left hip contusion after reaching into the stands for a sensational catch in the opening inning. His hip made hard contact with the side wall on the follow-through and was in obvious pain.

Jordan Lyles started for Pittsburgh and allowed just three hits and two walks in the first 6.2 innings. But Oakland finally broke through with a two-out rally in the seventh.

Nick Hundley doubled down the left field line and scored the tying run on Robbie Grossman’s pinch-hit opposite field single.

Frankie Montas started for Oakland and earned a well deserved no decision. The 26-year-old allowed one run on five hits, walked none and struck out five in six innings. Montas threw 58 of 90 pitches (64.4%) for strikes.

The most stressful inning for Montas came in his final inning when the Pirates put runners on first and third with no outs with the heart of the order due up.

But Gregory Polanco flew out to Ramon Laureano, Bell struck out and Melky Cabrera lined out. Laureano’s reputation forced the Pirates to hold the runner at third twice.

The A’s got two innings each from Lou Trivino and Joakim Soria and an inning each from Ryan Buchter and Yusmeiro Petit.

Lyons was pitching his second inning in the 13th when he issued leadoff walks to Laureano and Chapman.

After Chad Pinder grounded into a force out, Kendrys Morales drove in Laureano with a bloop single into center. Stephen Piscotty drove in Chapman on the next pitch with a double off the out-of-town scoreboard in right.

With Petit on deck, the Pirates walked Jurickson Profar intentionally to load the bases. Then Oakland got unlucky.

Petit grounded sharply up the middle. The ball hit Lyons and caromed to Kang at third. Kang stepped on the bag for a force out and threw to first for a 1-5-3 double play.

The unlucky bounce was a prelude to what was about to come in the bottom half.

The A’s will get a day off before starting a six-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

WP: Tyler Lyons (1-0, 9.00)

LP: Fernando Rodney (0-2, 8.78)

Time: 3:58

Attendance: 18,517

Record: 15-21


Athletics continue struggles, swept by Red Sox

BOSTON, MA – MAY 1: Mitch Moreland #18 of the Boston Red Sox high fives Mookie Betts #50 and manager Alex Cora after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics on May 1, 2019 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

It’s a good thing the Oakland Athletics are done with the AL East until June.

After winning six of the first eight games, the Athletics have lost nine straight to AL East opponents, six to the Toronto Blue Jays and three to the Boston Red Sox.

The latest defeat was Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Mitch Moreland homered and drove in two runs. Andrew Benintendi added two RBIs for Boston, who are still three games under .500 at 14-17 and six games behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

Marcus Walden pitched three scoreless innings in relief to pick up his fourth win of the season. Hector Velazquez opened and allowed one run on two hits in two innings.

Mike Fiers suffered his third loss. He allowed three runs on five hits, walked one and struck out three in five innings.

Khris Davis and Chad Pinder both went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Oakland, who dropped to 14-19 and the cellar in the AL West.

The A’s won’t face an AL East foe until June 10 when they open a three-game series in Tampa Bay.

For the second time in the series, Oakland opened the scoring first.

Davis led off the second inning with a single off Velazquez and Stephen Piscotty was hit by a pitch. After two strikeouts, Ramon Laureano came through with an opposite-field single to score Davis.

Fiers couldn’t deliver a shutdown inning as the Red Sox scored a run to tie the game.

Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis opened with back-to-back singles. Fiers was unlucky in that Chavis hit a grounder up the middle that should have been at least a force out, but the ball hit the second base bag and bounced over Pinder.

Devers saw the play developing and advanced to third. Moreland drove in Devers with a sacrifice fly.

The Red Sox were primed for more when Fiers immediately loaded the bases by walking Christian Vazquez on five pitches and allowing a single to Jackie Bradley Jr.

But the A’s caught a break that has eluded them during the current road trip. Fiers uncorked a pitch to the backstop, but the ball bounced right back to catcher Josh Phegley, who tagged out Chavis trying to score from third. Fiers struck out Tzu-Wei Lin to end the inning.

Boston took the lead for good in the fourth on Moreland’s ninth homer of the season. Fiers threw an 89.2 mph two-seamer on the outer part of the plate and the left-handed slugger crushed it over the Green Monster.

The Red Sox manufactured a run in the fifth. Lin doubled down the third base line, advanced to third on a bunt by Andrew Benintendi and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mookie Betts.

Boston broke the game open with three runs off J.B. Wendelken in the sixth.

Wendelken allowed a lead-off single to Devers and walked Chavis. After inducing two flyouts, Wendelken walked Bradley Jr. On seven pitches to loaded the bases. Devers scored when Lin beat out an infield single. Chavis and Bradley Jr. scored when Benintendi dropped a blooper into left-center.

Vazquez homered on the first pitch in the eighth for Boston’s final run.

Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer and Heath Hembree worked one scoreless inning apiece. Tyler Thornburg pitched the ninth and allowed run-scoring doubles to Davis and Pinder.

The A’s hope to right the ship on Friday night in Pittsburgh when they open a three-game series against the Pirates.

WP: Marcus Walden (4-0, 1.65)
LP: Mike Fiers (2-3, 6.81)
Time: 2:54
Attendance: 33,708
Record: 14-19


Porcello shuts down Athletics

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 30: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox reacts during the seventh inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics on April 30, 2019 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

The end of April couldn’t come at a better time for the Oakland Athletics.

Rick Porcello pitched eight scoreless innings, Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland homered, and the Boston Red Sox continue the misery for the Athletics with a 5-1 victory on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Oakland has lost five straight and dropped to 14-18 on the season. The A’s have been outscored 30-12 during the losing skid.

Porcello is the latest pitcher to stymie Oakland. The former Cy Young winner allowed two hits, walked two and struck out eight in eight outstanding innings.

Porcello threw 78 of 114 pitches (68.4%) for strikes. He dominated the A’s despite generating just seven swinging strikes (6.1%).

Aaron Brooks started for Oakland and lasted just 4.1 innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, walked three and struck out two.

Brooks allowed a solo homer to Betts in the first inning and a two-run homer to Moreland in the fourth. Both Betts and Moreland crushed their shots over the center field wall.

The Red Sox scored a run in the second on a two-out single by Sandy Leon. They added a run in the fifth on a double by Rafael Devers after Ramon Laureano opened the door with one out by dropping a routine fly ball by J.D. Martinez.

Laureano and Nick Hundley got the only two hits against Porcello, who retired the side in order five times.

Robbie Grossman ended the combined shutout bid by crushing a 93.1 mph fastball from Tyler Thornburg over the Red Sox bullpen leading off the ninth. Grossman has the only two homers the A’s have hit on the current road trip.

WP: Rick Porcello (2-3, 5.52)
LP: Aaron Brooks (2-3, 5.74)
Time: 2:34
Attendance: 31,754
Record: 14-18


Drury, Smoak lift Blue Jays over Athletics in extras

TORONTO, ON – APRIL 28: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by teammates after driving in the game-winning run with an RBI single in the eleventh inning during MLB game action against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

It was a lost weekend north of the border for the Oakland Athletics.

The Toronto Blue Jays scored four runs in the bottom of the 11th to stun the Athletics 5-4 on Sunday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.

Oakland scored three times in their half to take a 4-1 lead. But Blake Treinen gave up a game-tying three-run homer to Brandon Drury with one out in the bottom half and a walk-off single to Justin Smoak four batters later.

Toronto swept the six-game season series by the cumulative score of 36-13. The Jays allowed only one home run to Oakland in 56 innings.

Rookie Elvis Luciano got the last out in the top of the 11th to pick up his first major league win. Treinen suffered his second loss.

Chris Bassitt started for Oakland and pitched seven strong innings. The 30-year-old allowed one run on three hits, walked none and struck out nine. Bassitt threw 70 of 103 pitches for strikes and induced eight groundouts to two flyouts.

The only mistake Bassitt made all day was leaving a cutter over the heart of the plate on the fourth pitch of the game to Eric Sogard, who launched it into the visitors bullpen for a leadoff homer.

The A’s will lament the fact that they scored only one run against rookie starter Trent Thornton, who struggled with command.

Thornton walked five in five innings, but gave up just two hits. Thornton helped his cause by allowing the lead-off batter to reach base only once in five innings.

That was in the first when Marcus Semien led off with a single. The A’s loaded the bases with two outs, but Thornton struck out Chad Pinder.

The second hit belonged to Khris Davis and tied the game at 1-1 in the third. Matt Chapman walked with one out. Davis followed with a double down the left-field line to drive in Chapman.

Thornton threw just 56 of 103 pitches for strikes.

The game stay tied until the top of the 11th when Oakland pushed across three runs off Thomas Pannone.

Pannone issued a dreaded lead-off walk to Stephen Piscotty. After Pinder flew out, Piscotty went first to third on a single by Kendrys Morales.

Ramon Laureano drove in Piscotty with a sacrifice fly to deep center. Josh Phegley drove in Morales with a double off the left-field wall.

Pannone loaded the bases by issuing two walks, one intentionally. This was the end of the line for Pannone.

Elvis Luciano was called upon and forced in a run by hitting Chapman on the elbow.

But Treinen couldn’t protect the lead in his second inning of work.

Rowdy Tellez opened by hitting a double off the top of the left-field wall. Alen Hanson walked on five pitches. After Billy McKinney grounded into a force out, Treinen left a 95.8 mph sinker in the middle of the zone that Drury did not miss.

All four of Drury’s home runs this season have come against Oakland.

The Jays weren’t finished yet. Freddy Galvis lined a single to right. Danny Jansen walked on five pitches. After Sogard flew out, Smoak sent everyone home on a 1-0 pitch.

Treinen allowed four runs on five hits, walked two and struck out one in 1.1 innings. He threw just 21 of 39 pitches for strikes and generated just three swinging strikes.

The A’s were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base.

WP: Elvis Luciano (1-0, 4.50)
LP: Blake Treinen (1-2, 3.00)
Time: 3:57
Attendance: 18,557
Record: 14-16


Warriors win 2nd NBA championship in 3 seasons

Larry O’Brien is coming back home to Oakland.

Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry combined for 73 points, and the Golden State Warriors captured their second NBA championship in three years with a 129-120 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 on Monday night at Oracle Arena.

Durant scored 39 points on 14-of-20 shooting from the field, 5-of-8 from the 3-point line and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. He was named unanimous Finals MVP after averaging 35.2 points on 55.6 shooting, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks.

“I just tried to stay in the moment the whole series and I think that worked for me,” Durant said  after winning his first NBA title in his 10th season. “I remember plenty of times throughout my career I continued to just look in the past and look ahead and not stay in the moment. In this series I just stayed in the moment.”

“The way that he embraced the opportunity in the Finals, it was unbelievable,” Curry said. “It’s kind of crazy to think about the conversations we had this summer and going into the year about how we can
both mesh and do what we do and be the players that we are and see it come to life in this series, it was unbelievable.

“You got to call Kevin Durant a champ now,” Curry added.

Curry had a monster game of his own with 34 points, 10 assists and three steals. He and Durant received plenty of help. 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala scored 20 points. Klay Thompson had 11. Draymond Green added 10 points, 12 rebounds, five rebounds and two steals. Rookie Patrick McCaw chipped in with four important points late in the third quarter.

“We did it together,” Durant said. “What about Patrick McCaw tonight? What about Zaza Pachulia to start the game? He was amazing. What about Stephen Curry after not having a great game in Game 4? Came out tonight and played like a big dog.”

LeBron James did all he could to force a Game 6 in Cleveland. He had 41 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and two steals. James is the first player to average a triple-double in Finals history with 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

“I have no reason to look back at what I could have done or what I shouldn’t have done or what I could have done better for the team,” James said. “I left everything I had out on the floor every single game for five games in this Finals and you come up short.”

“To go up against somebody I view as like a rival personally is an amazing feeling to beat him,” Durant said. “But one thing I know about LeBron James, though, he’ll probably be back in the gym the start of July getting ready for next season.”

Kyrie Irving scored 26 points for Cleveland. J.R. Smith made seven 3-pointers for 25 points. Tristan Thompson finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.

“You feel obviously the disappointment of losing,” Irving said. “A lot of decisions that you’ll replay over throughout the summer. You can forget this feeling, but they beat us fair and square and you have to give them credit.”

Golden State took control of the game with a stunning 28-4 run in the second quarter, which turned a 41-33 deficit into a 61-45 lead. The Warriors were 10-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Durant and Curry combined for 17 points. The Cavaliers missed nine of 11 shots and committed three turnovers.

The Cavaliers cut the deficit to 98-95 early in the fourth quarter. Durant restored order by hitting a turnaround fadeaway jumper and Iguodala followed with a 3-pointer.

Kevin Love converted a 3-point play for Cleveland, but Durant answered with a 3-pointer and Green sank two free throws to help the Warriors regain a double-digit lead. Curry would be inserted back into the game moments later and the Cavaliers were finished.

“Winning is fantastic,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “I’ve been so lucky to be part of so many championship teams as a player and now as a coach, and it never gets old.”

“If you give all your effort and all the fight and all the heart you got, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win,” Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “That’s what’s tough about sports. I credit our guys. I thought they gave everything they had. We fought, we competed, and we never gave in, but they beat us.”

The game and the 2016-17 NBA season ended with Durant dribbling the clock out.

“It feels amazing to win a championship with these guys,” Durant said. “I can’t wait to celebrate for the rest of the night — maybe the rest of the summer.”

The parade to celebrate the Warriors’ fifth NBA title is scheduled for Thursday morning in downtown Oakland.

Game notes:


Cavaliers force Game 5 with resounding victory

The final game to end a season is the hardest to win. The Golden State Warriors proved it once again Friday night with a 137-116 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena.

Kyrie Irving scored 40 points and LeBron James recorded a triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to help the Cavaliers stave off elimination for another two games. The Warriors still own a commanding 3-1 series lead, with Game 5 on Monday night at Oracle Arena.

“This is who we are,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We’re a tough, resilient team. We knew we were down 3-0, but we thought we gave a game away in Game 3. So we knew this team was beatable. We knew we can play better and this is the result you get when we play at our best.”

The Cavaliers shot 52.9 percent from the field and made a Finals record 24 3-pointers. Irving (7), Kevin Love (6) and J.R. Smith (5) were a combined 18-of-29 from beyond the arc.

“When we’re hitting threes, we’re a different team,” Irving said. “We understand that. But when we take threes that are in rhythm and we’re getting guys to their spots and we’re unselfish as we were tonight, then our 3-pointers are a little bit different and it makes the difference.”

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 35 points. Draymond Green had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had quiet nights with 14 and 13 points, respectively. The Warriors failed in their quest to become the first team to go 16-0 in the postseason.

“We played a desperate team on their home floor,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “A great team with great players and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”

Smith and Irving opened the game with 3-pointers and Cleveland was off and running to a Finals-record 49 points. Love scored 14 points. Irving had 11 points. James added eight points and six assists. The Cavaliers shot 14-of-24 from the field and 7-of-12 from 3-point range. They would have scored more if they had not missed eight free throws.

“We were just playing in the moment,” James said. “We’re just playing good basketball. We were in attack mode and it results in us having 49.”

“They did a good job of attacking early and it opened up their 3-point game,” Durant said. “They made some tough ones. They also caught some in rhythm and knocked them down. That’s the team they have been all season.”

The Warriors provided no resistance and committed a dozen fouls in the opening quarter. Thompson, Green, Curry and Andre Iguodala were called for two each. The Cavaliers went to the free-throw line 22 times.

“They were the aggressors to begin with and usually the aggressor gets the favorable whistle,” Curry said. “So we understand that going forward. Historically against this team, when we don’t answer that punch in the first six minutes, we put ourselves behind the eight ball. No matter how well we play after that, it takes a miraculous rise to try to get back in the game.”

The Cavaliers jumped out to a 16-5 lead barely three minutes in and never looked back. The lead grew to 17 in the first quarter and 22 late in the first half. The Cavaliers set a Finals record with 86 points and led by 18 at halftime. The Warriors could not get closer than 11 points in the second half.

“They were very aggressive,” Green said. “But when everyone has two fouls, it’s hard to match the physicality. We’ll bounce back though. At the end of the day, we didn’t expect them to come out and lay down. They came out and did exactly what we thought they would do. I can’t foresee them coming to Oracle and hitting 24 threes. We never felt like we were out of the game. We continued to push. We were right there. A couple of shots drop and maybe the game turns. We’ll be fine.”



Green was involved in perhaps the most bizarre moment in this year’s playoffs. There was a foul call on a jump ball late in the first quarter. Once Green realized the foul was on him, he reacted angrily and so did Kerr. Rookie Finals referee John Goble assessed a technical foul. Everyone in the arena, including the official scorer and the public address announcer, thought Green was the recipient.

Fast forward to the third quarter, Green was assessed for another technical, this time by referee Marc Davis when he reacted to another questionable foul call. The second technical warranted an automatic ejection for Green. Even the arena began playing “Hit the Road Jack.” The only thing was the first technical foul had actually been called on Kerr. After a few confusing minutes between the officials and the scorers’ table, Green stayed in the game.

“I thought they called it on Draymond,” Kerr said on the first technical. “I thought I deserved it. But I thought I heard the PA announcer say that it was on Draymond. So then I thought the second one Draymond was going to get kicked out, but they explained that the first one was on me.”

“They told me to keep playing,” Green said. “As I asked Marc Davis, he told me to keep playing. So I don’t know. It’s crazy to think that he thought that was my second technical foul and I would get a technical foul for that, but whatever.”

Goble and crew chief Mike Callahan met with Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press to clear up the confusion.

“After calling the loose ball foul on Draymond Green, I noticed the reaction by Coach Kerr and then assessed the technical foul,” Goble said. “In the moment, I thought I had verbalized to the table that the technical foul was on Coach Kerr. After looking at the video, I did not verbalize to the table, and looking at the video, I should have done a better job of making sure that the table knew the technical foul was on Coach Kerr.”

“The procedure is to advise the table who the technical foul is on and with the player we give a number,” Callahan said. “With a coach or trainer, we just verbalize and at that time we should listen to the PA announcer to who it is on. At that time, we did not do a very good job of listening to the PA announcer and we did not hear him announce it. I take full responsibly for that.”



There were four other technicals accessed. James and Durant picked up matching technicals with 7:26 left in the third quarter. Zaza Pachulia and Iman Shumpert got into the action later in the quarter.

“It was just an incredibly physical game,” Kerr said. “That was obvious from the beginning. Ton of fouls called early. A lot of holding and grabbing and pushing and shoving. It got out of hand a little bit and the third quarter it seemed like the game was stopping every time.”

Now that the misunderstanding from a long Game 4 — ended at 12:01 a.m. EDT — is in the rear view mirror, the Warriors return home to Oracle Arena for Game 5 on Monday night.

“We have a golden opportunity going home on Monday to close this thing out,” Green said. “I’ve won one on the road. I want to see how it feels to win at home. We have to come out with some fire and try to get it done.”


Kevin Durant: My Way

Here are the lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The 1969 song encapsulates Kevin Durant’s basketball career through Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals.

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

Durant has the Golden State Warriors one win away from hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy for the second time in three seasons. It would be Durant’s first NBA title.

Durant scored 31 points, including seven points in a span of 63 seconds late in the fourth quarter, to lead Golden State to a 118-113 victory in Game 3 over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. After trailing by six with 3:09 left, the Warriors scored the last 11 points. Durant nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer over LeBron James with 45.3 seconds remaining.

“I’ve been working on that shot my whole life,” Durant told ABC’s Doris Burke. “For that one to go in was liberating.”

“I saw him getting ready to pull up,” James said. “He uses a rhythm dribble to get a good look. When K.D. shoots, he falls forward and I wanted to get a contest. The last thing I want to do is foul a jump shooter. So I wanted to jump and contest it, but I know when he shoots, he kind of leans forward a little bit. So I just stayed there, high hands, contested and he made it.”

When the curtain falls on the 2016-17 NBA season, possibly around 11:45 p.m. EDT Friday night, Durant will be named Finals MVP. He stated his case over the first three games by averaging 34.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks. Durant is shooting 56.1 percent from the field, 52.4 percent from 3-point range and 89.5 percent from the free-throw line. But he and the Warriors know the most challenging work is yet to come.

“It’s not over,” Durant said. “Job’s not done. Closeout games are always the toughest. As you have heard from many players in this league over the years on how tough closeout games are on the road. I have never been in this position being up in the Finals and trying to close it out.”

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Durant played his first two seasons of high school ball at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, Maryland. He transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia for his junior season. Durant finished his high school career at Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Maryland.

Durant played one season of college ball at Texas before turning pro. The only time when Durant didn’t do it his way was when he was drafted second overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA Draft. Durant would only be in the Pacific Northwest for one season as the team relocated to Oklahoma City in the next offseason.

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

Durant did not enjoy much winning in his first two NBA seasons. The last Sonics team and the inaugural Thunder team lost 62 and 59 games, respectively. The Thunder improved dramatically in Durant’s third season, winning 50 games and going to the playoffs for the first time. It started a string of five consecutive playoff appearances, including the Finals in 2012. Durant was named the NBA MVP in 2014.

Durant suffered a Jones fracture prior to the 2014-15 season that caused him to miss 55 games. He returned next season and led the Thunder to the West Finals once again.

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

Durant joined Golden State as a free agent last offseason. It was the most difficult decision Durant has ever made in his life. Instead of staying with the Thunder, the safest and most comfortable move, Durant chose for the unknown with the Warriors. The reaction came swift and Durant was criticized by everyone except those in Dub Nation.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For all the success and winning Durant has experienced, he has never been able to or gotten the opportunity to win the game that matters the most, the final one. Durant is perhaps 48 minutes away from accomplishing just that. There are still more work to do and improvements to make. He and the Warriors can still get better.

“I don’t want to relax,” Durant said. “It’s not over. This is a crazy game. Anything can happen. So I don’t want to relax or feel like it’s over. It’s not. I’m just trying to enjoy this moment and trying not to look in the future or in the past. Just try to just stay in the present and enjoy this moment and for what it’s worth and just keep pushing.”

Sure, Durant has gotten plenty of help this time around. Reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry is averaging 28.7 points on 48.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson is averaging 19.3 points on 47.8 percent shooting. The trio combined for 87 points in Game 3. Don’t forget the all-around contributions of Draymond Green and the revenge block on James by Andre Iguodala.

But when the Warriors needed it the most Wednesday, it was Durant who stepped up and carried the team on his back.

For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, it was my way

Yes, Kevin Durant did it his way and now he and the Warriors are one win away from holding another parade in Oakland.


Kerr sets for return in Game 2

After missing the previous 12 games, Steve Kerr is ready to roam the sidelines once again for the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the great news for Dub Nation less than two hours prior to the game.

“The plan is to coach tonight and the rest of the series,” Kerr said. “I’m feeling better. I’m feeling more like I did at the end of the regular season. Last couple weeks have been good in terms of running practice, film sessions, coaching meetings, that kinds of stuff. I wanted to string together a few good days. I did that.”

Kerr underwent offseason back surgeries two summers ago and has been experiencing complications, sometimes unbearable, ever since. Kerr missed the first 43 games of last season and had to give way to Mike Brown after Game 2 of the first round in these playoffs.

The team was undefeated in Kerr’s absence, but don’t be fooled by the results.

“I just think the numbers are totally deceiving,” Kerr quipped. “You can talk like 15-0 or whatever he did, but the team was just falling apart at the seams. I just had to get back to make sure we righted the ship.”

Don’t expect the Warriors to do anything different with Kerr back at the helm. The game plan stays the same.

“Nothing really changes for our players,” Kerr said. “We are doing the same stuff and strategy remains the same. We’ll keep it rolling, and hopefully we’ll keep playing well.”


Durant leads Warriors to Game 1 rout

So that’s why Kevin Durant chose the Golden State Warriors.

With infinite spaces to work and more than willing teammates alongside, Durant scored 38 points to lead the Warriors to a 113-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Durant shot 14-of-26 from the field, 3-of-6 from the 3-point line and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. He added eight rebounds, eight assists and zero turnovers.

“I’m only as good as my teammates,” Durant said. “And Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) and Zaza (Pachulia) and the rest of the guys, we just complement each other, try to complement each other and try to make the game easier for each other.”

Curry had 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 6-of 11 from 3-point range, 10 assists and three steals for Golden State (1-0,13-0), which became the first team in NBA history to win their first 13 games in the playoffs. Green added nine points, 11 rebounds and two steals. The Warriors shot just 42.5 percent from the field, but won handily because they committed a franchise playoff-low four turnovers.

“We had an opportunity to win the first game of the series and get off to a good start,” Curry said. “We were able to do that.”

“I give our guys credit,” Warriors interim head coach Mike Brown said. “Steve (Kerr) just said it to our guys at the end of the game. We had a formula and our guys did a nice job trying to follow it. He’s talked from day one about winning the possession game and our guys had four turnovers for the course of the game.”

LeBron James led Cleveland (0-1,12-2) with 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving scored 24 points. Kevin Love had 15 points and 21 rebounds. The Cavaliers were held to 34.9 percent shooting and committed 20 turnovers that turned into 21 points. James committed eight turnovers.

“It was the whole game,” James on what went wrong . “It started with myself having some turnovers, especially in the first half. I pride myself on not turning the ball over and I did it too much.”

“When you’re playing a good team like this, you can’t give them 20 more shots than you have,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “Having 20 turnovers and not being able to get back and get your defense set, they really take advantage of that, especially at home. And they thrive off turnovers and getting out in transition.”

Golden State led by as many as 10 points in the first half and settled for a 60-52 lead at halftime. Durant and Curry combined for 35 points and 12 assists. The Warriors shot 42.6 percent, but dished out 20 assists on 26 field goals to just one turnover. They had 42 points in the paint, 14 second-chance points and 11 fast-break points.

James and Irving combined for 36 points, but committed 10 of the 12 Cleveland turnovers. The Cavaliers shot 39.5 percent from the field, but seven 3-pointers and 11 free throws kept them in the game.

As the Warriors do so often, they pulled away in the third quarter by scoring the first 13 points. Durant opened with a 3-pointer and Curry added two more. The Cavaliers cut the deficit to 12, but a 13-1 run over a 2:35 span late in the quarter by Golden State sealed their fate.

“That’s something we have to limit going forward, especially when it’s an eight-point game,” Irving said. “We have done a good job of limiting them to certain things going into halftime, had a few too many mistakes, and then coming out of halftime they just jump on us. Great teams do that.”

Game 2 is on Sunday night at Oracle Arena.

Player of the game: When James was asked what stood out to him in Game 1, “K.D” was his answer.

The Warriors set the tone early with 10 dunks, including six by Durant, in the first half. Durant also assisted on two others.

“That was organic,” Durant said. “I don’t know when I’m going to dunk or when I’m going to get the wide-open three. I just go out there and play. I try not to predetermine anything, just go out there and hoop.”

“He just did what we expect of him,” Green said. “We’re going to seek him out, get him the ball and guys have to defend him. He was amazing tonight and I expect nothing less in the rest of the games.”

Klay Thompson: Thompson shot 3-of-16 from the field, including 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. But he has not allowed his struggles on offense to transfer to his defense.

“We have asked Klay Thompson to do a lot throughout the course of our playoff run so far,” Brown said. “He’s guarded some tremendous point guards. He’s chasing Kyrie around in pick-and-roll action, pin-down action, iso action and transition. You’re not going to stop Kyrie. Kyrie’s going to score. That’s what he does and he’s one of the best in the world at it. Give Klay a ton of credit because he’s out there fighting over screens, getting hit, trying to contest, trying to rebound, trying to do it all for us defensively. And then offensively he just keeps playing the right way. That’s what we love about him.”

Quotes of the night

DurantWe could be a lot better than we were tonight.”

Lue: “They’re the best I ever seen.”

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