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Tormented and outraged, Warriors' Steve Kerr makes the strongest statement of Game 4

What Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said about the Texas school shooting (Author: Gardener)

Steve KerrDALLAS — Early in the third quarter, Game 4 between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks was delayed about 15 minutes by a leaking roof. Yes, a rain delay in an NBA game. Which might have been the way of a higher power to say that maybe a basketball game shouldn't be played a few hours and a few hundred miles away from where 19 elementary school kids were massacred in their classrooms. We have a minute's silence. And reach a basketball game. The unspeakable tragedy in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday afternoon cast a dark shadow across the nation, including what was happening at the American Airlines Center. But of course that didn't stop the game from taking place. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said as far as he was aware there was no discussion about delaying the Western Conference Finals. For the record, the Warriors fell well behind the Mavericks in the third quarter after the rain delay, and instead of chasing the game, Kerr began pulling starters and thinking about Thursday's Game 5 at home. An inspirational rally in benchers in the fourth quarter wasn't enough. But Kerr had already made a statement far more powerful than anything that can be said on the basketball court. During his pre-game media availability, Kerr asked no questions. Didn't talk about basketball. Instead, he made an impassioned, outraged statement about our leaders' impotence to protect us from assassination, a statement that was shared over a million times within hours. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr speaks emotionally about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed at least 14 children. “In the last 10 days, older black people have been killed in Buffalo, Asian churchgoers in Southern California. And now we have kids who were murdered at school," Kerr said, voice shaking with emotion. "I'm so tired of standing up here and offering my condolences to the devastated families out there. I'm sorry - I'm tired of the moments of silence. It was a basketball coach's genuine outrage, the most furious, raw emotion we've seen coming from behind a microphone. "Think of your own child or grandchild or your mother or father, your sister, your brother," Kerr pleaded. "How would you feel if this happened to you today? We can't sit here and just read about this and say, “Well, let's have a moment of silence. Kerr doesn't have to wonder how it would feel. When he was a freshman, his father, Malcolm, was murdered outside his office at the American University of Beirut by two gunmen and shot twice in the back of the head. Kerr has spent his life campaigning for gun control. Malcolm Kerr was murdered by terrorists. His son witnessed a dizzying avalanche of domestic terrorism, with American citizens massacred in their homes, schools, shops, movie theaters, and the political powers-that-be shrugged at the slaughter. Since becoming the Warriors coach, Kerr has used his massive platform to call out politicians who support and encourage gun violence by fighting against any form of controls or restrictions. On Tuesday, he called out the 50 US senators who will not allow a vote on House Resolution 8, the background check bill that the House of Representatives has passed but on which the Senate refuses to vote at all, despite polls showing overwhelming support American. Kerr's outrage was powerful, and it came in an open-carry state that's due to host the NRA conference later this week in Houston, whose governor is urging Texans to buy more and more guns, who have been pushing for restrictions and controls like that to relax as much as possible, including allowing 18-year-olds to buy guns. The Robb Elementary School killer was 18 and reportedly bought two automatic guns for his birthday. Everyone knew that on Tuesday it didn't matter who won Game 4. Stephen Curry tweeted the video with Kerr's words ahead of the game, saying: "Watch this as many times as you watch the game tonight...". "I appreciate his leadership," Curry said. "It was all the rage... it was hard to stay focused, go out and play basketball. I send her to school every day. "Every word he said was powerful, meaningful. I accept the challenge of finding a way to use my voice and my platform to hopefully make a difference.” The Warriors' locker room was quiet before the game. Curry walked up to Kerr, looked him in the eye, and nodded. The players thought of their loved ones. How do you prepare to play a basketball game after such scares? "The balance is difficult," Curry said. You use your routine to get ready. Obviously your mind is wandering. We can get lost in a basketball game for two and a half hours.” “The shock and the sadness, the anger is there for all the guys,” Kerr said, “and I'm sure everyone in the building.” During the silence, Kerr stood with them head down on the pitch. "I just tried to calm down and coach the team," he said. "Hard day for everyone." I mean, I don't even know how to express the sadness these families are feeling right now. However, Kerr can fathom it. His pain and outrage are just and necessary.


Luka Doncic believes Mavericks still have a chance against Warriors

After winning Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks are now 3-1 down to the Golden State Warriors. (Author: Gardener)

Luka DoncicAfter winning Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks are now 3-1 down to the Golden State Warriors. Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said so early in the 2022 NBA Playoffs when his Raptors team came down 3-0 in the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers. Even with Nurse and the Raptors eliminated from the playoffs, that mindset lives on in the Western Conference Finals as the Dallas Mavericks now trail the Golden State Warriors 3-1 after winning Game 4 on their home court. Luka Doncic and the Mavericks definitely face an uphill battle if they're to keep their hopes of reaching the NBA Finals alive, but Doncic remains optimistic and firmly believes that streak isn't quite over yet. No team in NBA history has ever come from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs. Could the Dallas Mavericks' No. 147 team find other luck? "I mean, I still think we can win, you know," Doncic said after Game 4 on Tuesday night. No matter how many we win. Going down in series and being under pressure in the playoffs is nothing new for the Mavericks, as they drew 2-2 with the Utah Jazz in their first-round series and even went 2-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals : 0 behind the Phoenix Suns. A 3-0 deficit is a different story altogether, but the Mavericks played well in Game 4, shooting 20:43 (46.5%) from three-point range and passing the Warriors for the first time in the series. With 30 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in Game 4, Luka Doncic has continued to make a huge impression for the Dallas Mavericks, and with contributions from everyone around him, the Mavericks have some confidence going into the game 5 on the street Thursday. "Everyone in this locker room feels like we can play more basketball," said Mavs forward Dorian Finney-Smith. "We just wanted to win by any means necessary." The Golden State Warriors are a championship-level team, but they've had their own flaws in recent postseasons. In 2016, they became the first team in NBA history to lose from a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, and are now 3-1 ahead of the Dallas Mavericks. Given their intermittent offensive struggles and turning the ball around, the Warriors can be vulnerable, which could play right into the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, a premier defensive team in this league. Should they be able to win Game 5 against the Warriors, that series will suddenly drop 3-2 in Golden State's favor with Game 6 being played in Dallas, a prime opportunity for the Mavs to potentially equalize that series and a cheat to force Game 7. Whether or not that Game 4 win was just a "last try" by the Mavericks will be seen when Game 5 is played Thursday night in San Francisco. * Complete 2022 NBA Playoff Schedule, Results, Seasons, TV, Scoring: Fastbreak on FanNation updates the results and schedule for every 2022 NBA Playoff game. * 3 things we learned from Game 4 of the Warriors-Mavericks Western Conference Finals on Tuesday: The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Golden State Warriors 119-109 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday to keep their streak alive, though the Warriors still lead at 3-1.


3 things we learned from Game 4 of Tuesday's Warriors-Mavericks Western Conference Finals

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Golden State Warriors 119-109 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday to keep their streak alive, although the Warriors still lead 3-1. (Author: Gardener)

Game 4 of Tuesday'sThe Dallas Mavericks defeated the Golden State Warriors 119-109 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday to keep their streak alive, although the Warriors still lead 3-1. Wanting to avoid being completely embarrassed in the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks played one of their best offensive games of the entire year against the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night in Game 4. Not only did Luka Doncic lead with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists, but the Mavericks also shot from deep from three-point range at 20:43 (46.5%). The question of all series has long revolved around the Mavericks' secondary talents and whether they could give Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie the help they needed to beat Golden State, especially as those three combined for 86 points in Game 3, only to lose to the Warriors by nine points. Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber all made an appearance on Tuesday, giving Dallas exactly what they needed to win at least one game in this series. As for the Warriors, they could have done a lot better both offensively and defensively, but at the end of the day you have to applaud the Mavericks for their shooting. It may not sound difficult, but it's difficult to get 20 three-pointers in a single game as a team, and in the Western Conference Finals, which is no less eliminated, it was quite the answer for Dallas. The Warriors still lead that series 3-1 and return to San Francisco for Game 5 on Thursday, but could Game 4 be just what the Mavericks needed? After all, Dallas came from behind in the last two playoff series, so they definitely have the ability to win the next game against Golden State and suddenly make this series interesting. Dallas' three-point shooting had been held in check for most of that series through Game 4. With their backs to the wall and really nothing to lose, the Mavericks kept it flying from three-point range all game, and the basketball gods were with them on this one. With 20 of their 43 shots from deep, the Mavericks couldn't miss in that one from three-point range and in Game 4 they were +30 from deep. All day the skies opened up over Dallas and the US The city was on flood watch. Around the start of the second half of that game, play was quickly halted by officials and arena staff as there appeared to be a fairly decent sized leak near the Warriors bench that extended into the court itself. The start of the second half was delayed by almost 20 minutes as the roof leak was stopped and the arena crew mopped up the floor to make sure nobody got hurt. The Mavericks and the skies over Dallas rained Tuesday night and not only did we learn that this team lives and dies from the three-point shot, but also that Mavs owner Mark Cuban has some work to do on his arena's roof over the summer! We see "wedgies" all the time in basketball when the ball gets stuck between the rim and the back wall, but something you rarely see is the ball just stopping on the back of the rim and not moving an inch. One of the most unlikely things happened in Game 4 on Tuesday night when Draymond Green not only balanced the ball on the back of the rim but did the same on a free throw attempt! In the past we've seen this on some three point shots continuously hitting the back of the rim and layup attempts, but I think this is the first time I've seen the ball balanced on a free throw! The NBA never ceases to amaze, and Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals saw many people see something new for the first time when they watched basketball. At the end of the day, Game 4 of this Western Conference Finals series boils down to two things. The first is that Dallas had nothing to lose, and the second is that the Mavericks wanted to do whatever they could to not embarrass themselves in this Conference Finals series. Reaching either the Eastern or Western Conference Finals is a very difficult thing, especially in today's NBA, and while the Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns to get here, none of that would have mattered if they were swept would be. Dallas is a really good basketball team and they have every right to be where they are in the postseason. Unfortunately, the Warriors are just a better team than them and will very likely end that streak in Game 5. Giving your fans one last thing to cherish and celebrate from this season means everything and winning Game 4 was just a proud thing for the Mavericks at that point. Of course there's a sense of conviction in this organization now and the coaching staff wholeheartedly believe their boys can come back to fight the Warriors, but based on the Mavericks' body language; Players in that game and the way they collapsed in the fourth quarter, it's clear to see that this was a one-and-done mentality for Dallas. Maybe I'm wrong and Dallas will shock the NBA world by winning Game 5, but at this point in the playoffs, experience and depth count. The Warriors have both, plus the best home field advantage in the playoffs with a berth in the NBA Finals on the Game 5 line. * 3 Things We Learned from the Heat-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 On Monday: The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 102-82 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday to level that streak 2-2 and return to Miami for Game 5.


Epic comeback? The Warriors need not worry after their Game 4 loss

The Dallas Mavericks deserved to win Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, but a win doesn't change the bottom line of this series. (Author: Gardener)

Game 4This isn't even a series. Don't get me wrong, the Dallas Mavericks deservedly won Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in Dallas on Tuesday night. But the Warriors will take Dallas down in due course. Another game, maybe two, and the Warriors are back in the NBA Finals. Dallas needed an effort Tuesday night that was equal parts inspiration and throwback. The Mavericks made 20 3-pointers in the contest -- 10 more than the Warriors. And yet Dallas won by just 10 points. No code was cracked in Game 4. The adjustments the Mavericks have made have been positive, but they're not the kind of changes that can seriously transform this series. The Warriors have made a lot of history over the past eight years. There's a reason this series went into Game 4 with 3-0 Warriors. There's a reason Dallas won't do what 146 NBA teams before them couldn't and come back from a 3-0 postseason deficit: The Warriors are the better team. And in a weird way, they proved it again last night with a loss. The truth is so often sidelined, and it's telling that the Warriors' bench was able to force the Mavericks' starters back into contention to finish the game. Golden State loses focus with shocking ease. It could well prove to be the reason they don't win the NBA title this year. For some reason, the Warriors forgot that they had to attack the basket on offense in Game 4. And their defensive efforts were flagging at best. Warriors coach Steve Kerr also has to cope with this defeat. The Mavericks beat the Warriors' much-used zone defense on Tuesday by overloading one side of the court. It took Golden State too long to adjust. When the adjustment came (and Dallas took their foot off the accelerator, too), the Warriors made a contest out of it. That's the fun of the postseason, though. Watching the same team every night and not needing to focus on anything else allows you to delve deep into the playbook and, in some cases, the rich history of basketball. "They're going to be playing Zone for most of the game, so if they don't do three-pointers, that's going to be a problem for them," said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd. He called the zone a "compliment" from the Warriors. Golden State's motto is simple, tried and true: Don't let the best beat you. At the end of the day, playoff series is all about temperament and talent, and as my wife remarked on last night's tipoff, "That's all Dallas has? Like the Cavaliers, Rockets, and Blazers in past Warriors postseasons, the Mavericks aren't a particularly strong 3-point shooting team. In that series, the Mavs are taking 45 3-pointers per game — 43 percent more than the Warriors. They hit a third of those 3-pointers going into Game 4. This is the break-even point for viability of the shot. But Golden State knows it takes more than the 3-point shot to play for the NBA title. The Mavericks have gotten clean looks from beyond the arc in all series. Some of that is their offense and the power of Luka Dončić. Part of this is the Warriors' defensive strategy. And sometimes the shots are fired. But for Dallas, they're eliminated in one game out of four. Three quarters of a game, really. This confirms the warrior model. Unless Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith, 39 percent of the shooters from beyond the arc going into Game 4 and 36 percent of the shooters in the series before Tuesday, 58 percent of their 3-pointers (like they did in Game 4 done) The next three games in a row Dallas will lose to the Warriors, probably Thursday at the Chase Center.


Mavs avoid sweeping against Warriors on emotional day in Dallas

The Mavericks avoided elimination against Golden State, but the focus wasn't just basketball for either team. (Author: Gardener)

MavsDALLAS — In the first three games of the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors thoroughly won the defensive struggle against the Mavericks. Through a combination of looks that included a hedge-and-recovery man scheme, some switching, some box-and-one, and lots of zone, Golden State held Dallas at an offensive rating of 106.3 from games 1-3 , to Elite brand. Leave it to Mavs coach Jason Kidd to turn those plans into positives: Dallas was finally able to capitalize on the Warriors on Tuesday and book their first win of the series as the Dubs still go 3-1 back at bay. The Mavs' 119-109 win in Game 4 rested on the strength of their outside shooting when their threes finally started dripping like rain through the leaking roof of the Dallas arena. After shooting just 32.6% on threes in the first three contests, the Mavs tied 20 of 43 on Tuesday night, good for 46.5%. As an example of just how powerful the turn was, Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith shot together 2-of-12 from deep in Game 3. As Finney-Smith put it after the game, "If we were going to lose today, I wanted to go shooting." The attention paid to Luka Dončić often draws outside looks to the Mavs' supporting cast. The Warriors were generally reluctant to give Luka the switches he wanted this series, and that reluctance, along with the inclusion of zone looks, can put defenses in constant rotations. In their postseason wins, the Mavs are shooting 40.8% to 42 three-pointers per game. In their losses, they shoot just 33.7% on 40.8 attempts per game. Of all the teams remaining in the playoffs, Dallas has the best three-point win percentage as well as the highest number of attempts per game. After the game, Steve Kerr lamented his team's performance, saying they were not alert or defensively sharp. Golden State has mixed in so much coverage that assistant coach Mike Brown yells off the bench and yells duties for much of the game while Dallas gets the ball on the floor. At the other end of the floor, Golden State seemed lethargic. The Warriors couldn't build much offense into the fourth quarter. The Dubs were as much as 29 points behind in the second half until a bench unit cut the lead to just eight points in the fourth quarter. The end result made the game look more competitive than it was. The Mavs had obviously taken their foot off the gas, and when the Golden State starters checked back in with just minutes to go, they never seriously threatened to make things interesting. More importantly, of course, the game took place just hours after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, just over 350 miles from the arena. Kidd read out a prepared statement and declined to answer a basketball question. He said he was unable to keep his voice down given the circumstances as he tried to collect his thoughts. After Kidd, Kerr delivered an impassioned speech that lasted nearly three minutes. I'm so tired of standing up here and offering my condolences to the devastated families out there. I'm so sick of the excuses. I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough," Kerr said, adding, "To all the senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school and supermarket shootings, I ask you, 'Are you going to put your own desire for power over the lives of our children? our elderly and our churchgoers?' Because that's the way it looks.” Kerr, his emotions palpable, called the lack of action “pathetic” before saying, “I've had enough” and quickly exiting his press conference. Stephen Curry said after the game he appreciated Kerr's leadership, adding that shooting was "all the talk of the moment he came into the game". Sharing Kerr's pre-tip speech on his Twitter account, he wrote, "Watch this as many times as you watch the game tonight." Perhaps the most impactful thing that happened on the pitch on Tuesday happened nearly an hour after the game, when there was no one left in the stands: Draymond Green, beaming as he walked with his family through the middle of the mostly empty gymnasium, his children on either side.