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Golden State Warriors sweep into NBA Finals like they’re the 2001 Lakers

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWith a dominant Shaquille O’Neal and an unstoppable Kobe Bryant, the Lakers ran through Portland by a margin of 14.6 points in what was then a best-of-5 three-game sweep; 9.25 points against Sacramento in the second round and destroyed the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs by an average 22.25 points.“It felt easy while we were doing it,” said Brian Shaw, a guard on those teams and now an assistant coach on Luke Walton’s Lakers staff. “I don’t think we were really ever threatened in any of the first three rounds.”It was only in Game 1 of the Finals against Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson, who scored 48 points and stepped over Tyronn Lue en route to victory, that the Lakers were tripped up, losing, 107-101, in overtime.The Lakers stared at their feet as they shuffled off the Staples Center court that night. Bryant walked briskly past his teammates into the locker room.“When we lost that first game it sent a shudder through the entire team and through all of L.A.,” said Mark Madsen, a Lakers rookie in 2000-01. “But then to go on and win decisively after that, in Philadelphia, it made it special.” When it came to dominant postseason teams, the 2001 Lakers were without peer in NBA history.Then these Golden State Warriors came along, assembling one of the most fearsome and star-studded lineups ever assembled and breezed to an NBA-record 12-0 start in the playoffs.With Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland, observers are only left to wonder: Could the Warriors, facing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third straight year, become the first team to go undefeated to win a title?Sixteen years ago, the Lakers were the team that came the closest. Ron Harper, a veteran on that team, remembers someone saying after Game 1 that the Finals were shaping up to be a good series.“I said, ‘No it’s not going to be. We’re going to win the next four games,’” Harper said. “I knew they won the first game. The only thing they did is make us upset.”The Lakers finished the postseason 15-1, the best winning percentage in NBA history.Will the Warriors challenge that mark? After sweeping Portland, Utah and the Spurs, they became just the third team in league history to enter the Finals undefeated in the playoffs, joining the ’01 and 1989 Lakers.Cleveland, coached by Lue, missed joining that club by a hair, losing Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals to Boston and brings a 12-1 mark into the Finals.“As much as Golden State is being talked about,” Shaw said, “Cleveland is still the defending champions.”The Warriors have lost once dating to March 14 and are beating teams in the playoffs by a healthy average of 16.3 points.“They force you to play a perfect game and that was just the thing that we did too,” said Devean George, who played on three Lakers championship teams from 2000-02 and played for the Warriors in 2009-10. “We forced teams to really – like really – play perfect and really not make too many turnovers because if you gave us extra opportunities then it was going to be a bad night.”Sixteen years ago, the Lakers hit their stride in the final month of the season, winning the last eight games of the regular season.“Everything was hitting on all cylinders,” Shaw said, “and I think it was the combination of the players got into a rhythm, the coaching staff, everything we did, that’s kind of what you always hope for and we had that.”Said Madsen: “We got to the playoffs we knew other teams’ offenses better than they did. That was how much tape we watched, that was the preparation level. It was an impressive thing.”As significant as the Lakers’ streak was, members of the 2001 team all repeated that the most important thing was hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the series with the Sixers, rather than what their postseason record was.“Whether Golden State goes 16-0 if they win it, or 16-3, the ultimate goal is to win the championship,” Shaw said.Harper agreed that regular-season accomplishments or reaching the Finals undefeated only has meaning if a title follows.“When Golden State was 73-9 (last year), they had a great year, but they didn’t win the NBA championship,” said Harper, who won five titles as a player, including three with Michael Jordan’s Bulls. “That’s like when New England went 18-0 and then they lost the Super Bowl. Who cares? You lost the Super Bowl. That’s what you play for.”Cleveland won 53 games in the regular season, while Golden State scorched the league to a 67-15 mark, boasting the league’s top-ranked offense and No. 2 defense.In the playoffs, however, Cleveland has been nearly as dominant as Golden State through the first three rounds and seemingly little separates the two sides that have traded championships the last two years.Harper, an Ohio native who was drafted by the Cavs in 1986, said, “It’s not going to be a sweep. That will not happen.”There should be, after more than a month of romps, some competition.“I don’t want to see what has been going on, I want last-second shots, nail-biters, a minute left, the game is tied, that’s what I want to see,” George said. “I don’t want to see a sweep or 20-point blowouts.”Those are only fun for the players on the team running the table.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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How do you spell it without any R’s? Aspiring reporter finds out

first_img`If you don’t like my story, chief, get yourself a news boy!” That’s what a reporter said to his editor in a movie I saw when I was 11. I learned reporters were on top of everything and were one step ahead of everyone. When I left the theater I made a decision: I was going to become a reporter. On my way home, I walked past the second-hand store. Two typewriters were in the window – an Underwood priced at $5 and the other, a Fox, at $1. I had 70 cents saved up from running errands. The next morning on my way to the store, I passed the barbershop. Oscar, the owner, was standing in the doorway. “What’s the rush, Jackie?” he asked. “I’m going to buy a typewriter at the second-hand store. I want to be a reporter.” “Be careful and don’t get taken,” Oscar said. “I’ll be all right. Reporters are sharp and careful about details.” When I got to the store I asked the owner about the difference between the two typewriters. “The Underwood is a little better than the Fox,” he said. “Does the Fox work pretty well?” I asked. “Not bad,” he said. “I’ll give you a demonstration.” He typed something without looking at the keys. “I don’t see any printing,” I said. “The Underwood shows you the printing as the type strikes the paper,” he explained. “This typewriter’s keys hit the roller underneath, so you have to turn it up.” He added that it had something to do with patents. I guess when someone invents something, no one else can invent the same thing. The roller was turned up and it said: “The lazy fox jumped on top of the white picket fence.” “Gee, it looks professional!” I thought. “I’ll be able to do some good writing.” When I told the man I had 70 cents, he did not seem too happy. I started to walk to the door when I heard him say, “All right, but remember, you are buying it as is, no refunds!” “It’s a deal,” I said. It was a 2-mile walk home and the typewriter was heavy, but I didn’t care. I was going to be a reporter. My typewriter looked good sitting on the dining room table. I started typing the alphabet. I turned up the roller and there were the printed letters, all but letter R. In its place was a small mark. I looked under the carriage where the R should have been was an empty space. Then I remembered what the owner said: “As is, no refunds!” It was my fault for being so anxious. Anyway, I figured I could use the typewriter to learn how to type without looking at the keys. I practiced the next two hours and learned the positions of the keys. It went well until on came the light. “I thought I heard clicking in here,” my mom said. “What on earth are you doing? It’s 10 o’clock, you should be in bed.” “In a little while,” I pleaded. Mom told me to leave on the light. I decided to wear a blindfold so I wouldn’t see the keys. It was as good as typing in the dark. “Now, what’s going on?” Mom asked a little later. “What are you doing with that necktie around your head? It’s almost midnight and dad will be home from work.” She also added that the typewriter would be there in the morning. The next day I planned to visit Oscar the barber. He doesn’t have any children and talks to me like a grown-up. Oscar was reading his paper when I walked into the shop. “Did you get the typewriter?” he asked. “I told my wife about it, and she has a book that will teach you how to type. There is a sentence about a lazy red fox that jumped over a picket fence. It is good for practice since it has every letter of the alphabet.” “I’m pretty sure it is a `blue fox jumping on top of a picket fence,”‘ I said. “I don’t think so,” Oscar said. “If you don’t use the words red or over you won’t have an R.” He didn’t know, but I learned that 70 cents ago. I thanked him and left. My plan was to save enough money to buy another typewriter. Maybe I could sell this one. Who would buy it? There might be someone who doesn’t need an R. Jack Younger is a 46-year Westchester resident and an actor. Do you have a story to tell? Submit your column to Lisa Martini, My Turn, Daily Breeze, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077, or e-mail us at lisa.martini@dailybreeze.com. Please limit to 800 words and include your telephone number. We’ll pay $25 for each column we publish. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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