Marc J. Spears

  • The weekend Bay Area trip that helped make LeBron James a star

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 20 hrs ago

    "I didn't know him and he didn't know me. He was quiet," Olivier said. "I had to kind of break the ice. When we got in the car we already were in San Francisco. So I said, 'Have you guys ever heard of the most crooked street in the world? …Y'all want to go?' "

    Olivier took the boys to Lombard Street, and "that kind of broke the ice."

    While James was a local basketball star in Akron, Ohio, at that time, he was largely unknown to the rest of the nation when he came to play in a tournament for the AAU Oakland Soldiers in 2000. The Soldiers were founded in 1990 in the Oakland suburb of Richmond. Twenty-five years later, it has now grown into an AAU powerhouse with alumni that include James, Chauncey Billups, Brandon Jennings, Leon Powe, Aaron Gordon, Chuck Hayes, Jabari Brown, Kendrick Perkins and Stanley Johnson.

    Fifteen years after first playing for the Soldiers, James returns to the Bay Area to lead his Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

    "I told him that I saw a kid that will be better than Jason Kidd," Dennis said. "He just blew me off, but I didn't give up on it."

  • Source: Pelicans will hire Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry to four-year deal

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    The New Orleans Pelicans will sign Golden State Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry to a four-year, $13.75M deal, including a $4M team option in final season, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.

    Gentry was in New Orleans on Friday night for a second interview that concluded on Saturday morning with a meeting with Pelicans owner Tom Benson, a source said. Gentry is scheduled to fly back to the Bay Area on Saturday night. Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave Gentry his blessing to go to New Orleans despite the fact that he was missing Golden State practices in the process. Gentry had been worried about being a distraction as the Warriors prepare for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.

    Gentry, 60, has a 335-370 record in 12 seasons as a head coach with the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns and has worked as an assistant head coach the Clippers last season before joining the Warriors. The offensive-minded coach will begin working for the Pelicans after the NBA Finals. Gentry will replace former Pelicans coach Monty Williams, who was fired after leading the franchise to 45 wins and the playoffs.

  • Steve Kerr believes Klay Thompson will be ready for NBA Finals

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes All-Star guard Klay Thompson will overcome his concussion symptoms in time for the start of the NBA Finals.

    The Warriors said Friday that neurological tests revealed Thompson has a concussion and will not return to practice until he is symptom free. He was injured in the fourth quarter of Golden State's 104-90 Game 5 win over the Rockets in the Western Conference finals clincher Wednesday night. The NBA Finals start Thursday against Cleveland, but Kerr said he is confident that Thompson will pass the NBA's mandated concussion protocol in time for Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    "He's going through the [concussion protocol] process, but all is going well," Kerr said after the Warriors' practice on Saturday.

    Thompson was in street clothes during Saturday's practice. He averaged 21.7 points, 3.2 points and 2.9 assists during the regular season. Thompson didn't speak to the media after Saturday's practice.

     

  • Why the Warriors' dreadful past makes their trip to the NBA Finals that much more special

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Even with an NBA Finals hat proudly on his head, his daughter Riley in his arms, and blue and white confetti falling over him, Stephen Curry was a little surprised that most of the Golden State Warriors fans were in no rush to go home with the team still four victories from winning a championship.

    The Warriors knocked off the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference finals with a 104-90 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday night to advance to the NBA Finals. The Warriors' lone NBA championship was in 1975, and they can end the drought by beating LeBron James and the Eastern Conference-champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. Considering it has been 40 long and frustrating years since the Warriors' last Finals appearance, Curry eventually realized why the fans so appreciated just getting back to the championship series.

    Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who is a life-long Warriors fan from nearby Danville, Calif., remembers the franchise's dark days.

  • Klay Thompson must complete concussion protocol to be cleared for NBA Finals

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – After the Golden State Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals, All-Star guard Klay Thompson began to develop concussion-like symptoms that will force him to pass the NBA's concussion protocol test before he can be cleared to play.

    Thompson was kneed in the head by Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza with 9:30 left in the fourth quarter of the Warriors' 104-90 deciding victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. After falling to the floor in pain, Thompson was eventually replaced by Stephen Curry and went to the locker room. The Warriors stated that Thompson went through a concussion medical evaluation immediately after suffering the injury and showed no symptoms at that time.

    Thompson returned to the bench before the end of the game, but began bleeding from his right ear and returned to the locker room to get stitches to close a laceration in the ear. The Warriors said he began exhibiting concussion-like symptoms after the game.

    "He said he just needs a good night's sleep," said Thompson's father, former NBA player Mychal Thompson. "[He] threw up and says he feels a lot better."

  • LeBron James' long trip home to lead the Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Browns won an NFL championship in 1964, 20 years before LeBron James was born. Now nearly 51 years later, Cleveland is still waiting to celebrate its next major sports title after decades of bitter disappointment that included James and the Cleveland Cavaliers being swept in the 2007 NBA Finals.

    James earned another chance to finally improve Cleveland's sports legacy when the Cavaliers advanced to the 2015 NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

    "We all here know how long it has been since a champion has been in this city," James said. "You can try and not focus on it. You can try to say, "OK, well, it's not about that.' But we all know it."

    Two years ago, GQ ranked the 20 worst sports franchises of all time and listed, "Every sports franchise in Cleveland," as No. 1. James, however, can finally cure Cleveland's sports drought if he can deliver the Cavaliers' first NBA title.

    "I'm not from Cleveland. But I could only imagine [that a title] would be one of the best things that happened to the city in a long, long time."

  • This time cramps can't stop LeBron James as he's one step closer to NBA Finals

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    CLEVELAND – Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao are out for the season with injuries and Kyrie Irving is currently sidelined with an ailment of his own, yet the Cleveland Cavaliers had an even bigger scare on Sunday night as LeBron James fought through knee pain and cramping to get within one victory of the NBA Finals.

    After missing his first 10 shots, James earned his first triple-double of the postseason with 37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists in 47 minutes during the Cavaliers' 114-111 overtime victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. James said he strongly considered coming out of the game in OT due to cramping. He also appeared to have a knee ailment.

    "I gave everything I had tonight," James said.

    James was in so much pain that he got on all fours during one point of OT. Cleveland coach David Blatt said it was tough for James to convince him to keep playing. But James did it.

    Said Blatt: "He played through the cramping and just wouldn't let us lose … Amazing."

  • War of words: Horford says Dellavedova's 'track record' is clear; LeBron says Delly 'doesn't deserve it'

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    CLEVELAND – LeBron James doesn't want to hear any badmouthing of teammate Matthew Dellavedova.

    "This is my guy," James said on Sunday night. "This is my teammate and guys are trying to give him a bad rap. He doesn't deserve it and I don't like it."

    Is Dellavedova, a reserve point guard, worthy of a "dirty player" reputation, particularly after his play led to the ejection of the Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals? Horford led the charge in disagreeing with James, issuing some strong words after Atlanta's 114-111 overtime loss, saying Dellavedova now has a "track record" for trying to cause physical harm to opponents.

    "He's got to learn," Horford said. "He's only been in this league for a couple of years or whatever. But he's got to learn at the end of the day it's a big brotherhood here. Guys look out for each other. I don't think it was malicious, but he has to learn."

  • James Harden, Rockets fumble away chance to steal Game 2 from the Warriors

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Stephen Curry pumped his fist hard in the air as the crowd released a scream of relief with him. As the Golden State Warriors celebrated their victory over the Houston Rockets, James Harden could only kneel and slowly lay his head on the Oracle Arena court in disappointment.

    Harden was mostly magnificent for the Rockets, pouring in another near triple-double with 38 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night. But he was left regretting the one shot he did not take after fumbling away the ball on the game's final possession to allow the Warriors to escape with a 99-98 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

    After Harden finally rose to his feet, the frustration of two blown games against Golden State boiled over as he yanked down a curtain on his way to the locker room.

    "It's frustrating," Harden said. "Frustrating to give the game away like that for myself."

  • Stephen Curry outduels James Harden again as Warriors win West finals opener

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Dwight Howard spent much of the final quarter of the Western Conference finals opener sitting on the bench with a knee injury. If nothing else, it gave him a good view of the battle between Houston Rockets guard James Harden and the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry.

    "Well, you got two chefs going at it and we can see who will make the best dish," Howard said.

    Curry had the right recipe on Tuesday night by leading the Warriors to a 110-106 win in Game 1.

    Curry's biggest challenger for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award was Harden, and neither player disappointed in Game 1. Curry finished with a game-high 34 points and made six 3-pointers in 39 minutes. Harden was also spectacular, nearly posting a triple-double with 28 points, a playoff-career-high 11 rebounds and nine assists.

    "It's entertaining basketball, but we're both supposed to help our team win and do what we can to impact the game," Curry said.

    Curry said that Harden's play helped push him this season.