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How the Warriors embrace innovation of Silicon Valley

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Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — The Golden State Warriors are undoubtedly the best team in basketball — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson & Co. proved it last year after capturing the team’s first world championship in four decades, and reinforced it this season while winning a regular-season record 73 games.

Now, the Warriors are facing off again in the NBA Finals against a familiar foe, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While Golden State’s success has been heavily contingent on the skills of their players, some of it can also be attributed to a five-year bet the franchise hedged on technology. A wager which has likely transformed co-owner Joe Lacob’s team into a perennial NBA contender for years to come.

Lacob and the Warriors were among the league’s first to install cameras at Oracle Arena that track each time a player touches or shoots the ball during a game. During practice, Warriors players wear monitors that measure their heart rates, movement and stamina. And as days pass, the team is continuously implementing new technologies into their everyday routines, including a new “smart” sleeping mask.

In the world of sport where the old adage of not trying to reinvent the wheel is still a fixture, the Warriors are trendsetters in the technology of sports as much as Curry is shooting the three.

“You can play on the probabilities or just stand pat,” says Kirk Lacob, an assistant general manager who oversees the team’s analytics staff and is the son of Joe Lacob. “We choose to take the risks.”

The official transformation began in 2010, when the elder Lacob, a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, and Peter Guber bought the team for a record $450 million. Their purchase coincided with the same time basketball teams had just begun exploring new analytics options for the sport.

Along with the Warriors, the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks began collecting data that stretched far beyond the basic metrics basketball had relied upon since its inception: how many points a player scored and how many rebounds he collected.

Golden State kicked off their efforts by installing SportVU, a six-camera motion-tracking system which hung from the rafters of the arena. The system allowed the Warriors to analyze every dribble and pass each of their players made during a game, along with his speed, distance between teammates and miles run in a game. Reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry, for example, runs about 2.4 miles during the 34 minutes he averages per game.

Now, all 30 NBA teams use SportVU, and every team additionally keeps a specialist on staff who can summarize the data collected — a privilege the Warriors didn’t have when they first implemented the system, they had to learn on the job as they went along. During their first two years using the system, Golden State won fewer than half their games.

In the days since Golden State has learned how to properly collect the data, the team’s winning percentage began to climb consistently. They won 57 percent of their games in 2013, and 62 percent in 2014. Last season, the Warriors won 82 percent of their games, and 89 percent of the regular season which just ended.

Head coach Steve Kerr with players during practice.

Head coach Steve Kerr with players during practice.

The Warriors have been complimented for their unselfish style of play on the court, “Strength In Numbers” is the team’s slogan, and everyone has a common job and role in winning another championship. While the Splash Brothers have been pegged as the league’s premiere marksmen, the Warriors dish the ball so often that forward Draymond Green is considered to be a nightly threat to collect another triple-double.

In sports, the most minuscule movements of a player can speak volumes to his fatigue or potential for injury. The Warriors consider this information as important as any other piece of information they collect on their players.

During practices, players wear a small monitor produced by Catapult Sports that tracks their movements during the session. The monitor is worn underneath a compression shirt between the shoulders, and detects pressure on the knees and ankles, and if players are moving at their usual fitness levels.

“Back in the day, we were just able to say, ‘He’s breathing hard, he might need to rest,'” says the Warriors’ Thompson. “Now [coaches] can actually see if you need a day of rest or you need to go harder.”

Lacob says the information is vital in allowing coaches to monitor workloads and prevent injury to their players.

“You may come to the gym one day and want to say, ‘I’m sore, I really don’t feel like working out,'” says Warriors forward Harrison Barnes. “This will tell you how [you’re] feeling because the data says it all right here.”

Daniel Brusilovsky, who leads the team’s digital and technology initiatives, sometimes takes a lead role in the constant testing and implementation of new products. The Neuroon is a new sensor-equipped sleep mask that helps to combat jet lag.

“I sleep with it every single night,” says Brusilovsky. “We’re talking with the company each day to provide feedback on what’s working, not working and what features they could possibly add.”

Several players on the Warriors D-League team in Santa Cruz often serve as guinea pigs in the testing of new products — the team won the league’s championship last season, as well.

Last season, the Warriors tested smart clothing by Athos, which measures breathing, heart rates and muscle use. The team is currently piloting headphones by a company named Halo Neuroscience that send electrical impulses to the brain to improve muscle memory.

Basketball

Golden State Warriors host first-ever Sikh Awareness Night

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OAKLAND, CALIF. (Diya TV) — Oracle Arena was the site of the first-ever Sikh Awareness Night as the Golden State Warriors cruised to a 117-101 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night.

It was the second one in as many weeks throughout the NBA as the Los Angeles Clippers introduced it to their home crowd last week.

Other teams and leagues have previously hosted Sikh Heritage Nights, including the San Jose Sharks, who were the first NHL team last year to hold such an event.

Aman Singh, part of the local gurdwaras organization to put the event together, was excited for the community to be represented.

“We contribute to society here, so it’s great to be able to be part of this, to be able to have exposure and allow other folks in the community to get an idea of our heritage, Sikh values,” Singh said.

Fans got there early enough to take pictures outside Oracle and awaiting them inside was an up-close view of Stephen Curry’s highly-anticipated shootaround.

Soon enough, Singh — who was also coaching the pregame scrimmage — would hit the Warriors hardwood with 16 young kids from the Sikh community to shot hoops.

For 13-year-old Gagandeep Kaur of Milpitas, it was an unforgettable moment to be out there.

“Being able to play on the same court as my inspirations means a lot,” she said.

The five-minute scrimmage right before players from the Warriors and Grizzlies hit the floor included some dazzling shots and a buzzer-beater as well.

Members of the two teams remained close by as they eventually stood in front of their inspirations during the National Anthem.

Additionally, right after halftime, they were greeted with high-fives from Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and among others coming out of the tunnel.

“It’s great to be part of something like this,” Singh said.

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Warriors emerge as the new NBA dynasty with a clean sweep in Cleveland

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Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, second from left, celebrates after the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 in Game 4 of basketball’s NBA Finals to win the NBA championship, Friday, June 8, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Diya TV) – Back to back NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on one of the greatest players in basketball and a new NBA Dynasty emerged.

At halftime on May 26, the Warriors were down 11 points in Game 7 against the Houston Rockets, with the entire season on the line. Losing that game, wasn’t an option. The Warriors reeled the game back in the second half.

“It shows what our team’s about,” Klay Thompson said after a champagne spray in the locker room.

The Warriors have secured their sixth championship, sweeping the Cavaliers after a rocky season.
Stephen Curry’s ankle and the new Rockets hurt the Warriors’ chances, but the Warriors stayed together and ended on a high note. Kevin Durant, a golden asset to the team, acted like the glue, helping the team during the season when they really needed it.

This back-to-back Finals MVP earned the well deserved Bill Russell Award, scoring 20 points and a triple-double.

Milestones

With the ‘Hamptons Five’ leading the charge, the Warriors have found a new dynasty – a golden one that has won 3 championships in the last 4 years. This team has evolved over the ages, but maintained its style – attack the perimeter, defend the paint, and spread the ball around. And now with Coach Kerr, its redefining they way basketball is played. More skill, more talent, less physicality.

This “golden” dynasty has joined 6 other franchises- Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, L.A. Lakers, and Miami, to repeat as champions. The Warriors now have six championships tied with the Chicago Bulls for third place.

With the Hamptons Five leading the pack, the Warriors have found a new dynasty- a golden one that has won 3 championships in the last 4 years. This team has evolved over the ages but kept its style the same – attack the perimeter, defend the paint, and spread the ball around. This play-type has set records.

The legacy of Kevin Durant has been secured, but people are questioning Steph’s place. With records broken all over the roster, Steph carved out his place in NBA history, despite not winning the Finals MVP. Kevin Durant said, “Does it matter? Does it? Does it? We won two championships. We just won back-to-back. I don’t think anybody’s even worried about that type of stuff. I’m glad that we came out and played a great game tonight. We were able to finish the series off. That’s the only thing that matters to us.” about that.
This unselfish, team first attitude is unique to this Warriors locker room.
Steph echoed Durant saying, “K.D.’s been amazing these last two years, especially in The Finals, and so deserving of back-to-back Finals MVPs. I’m going to be his biggest fan in there with what he’s able to do. I think the biggest thing we appreciate in the locker room is, again, what everybody brings to the table and we kind of unlock the greatness out of each other. I can put my head on the pillow tonight and — actually, I might not go to sleep. When I do go to sleep, put my head on the pillow and understand I had a great year, had a great Finals and I’m a champ.”

LeBron James had rough night and despite the sweep, his contribution to the game and the Cavaliers franchise is unquestionable. He averaged 34 points a game in the Finals, including 51 in Game 1 against a booming Warriors’ defense. He also averaged 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists, almost a triple-double.

What’s Next

As soon as LeBron checked out of the game, he shook hands with the Warriors on court, talk about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers started to flood social media. It was also one of the first questions asked of him in the postgame press conference.

“I have no idea at this point,” James said.

Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers are often mentioned as possible James destinations — but since they’re in the Western Conference it would mean potentially facing the Warriors in playoffs before getting to the Finals. He could go to Philadelphia and join an up-and-coming team, although the 76-ers are dealing with their front-office questions after the resignation of Bryan Colangelo. He could also return to Miami, a place he still loves. However besides the obvious factors, for James there are also personal considerations to account.

“My family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide,” James said.

Kevin Durant cleared any doubts about leaving the Warriors earlier this week on Thursday in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
“I’m planning on staying with the Warriors, and we’ll figure the rest out,” Durant said, before adding that only “small details” remain to be settled.
After the big win tonight, he talked about how nice the Warriors’environment is and why he wanted to sign with them in the first place.

As for accomplishing anything, Durant said, “I’ve just got to keep getting better. I don’t think I prove — I proved to myself I picked the right career as a kid. I think I’ve got a lot more to go. So I’m just trying to prove to myself that I could just stay in it for the long haul, and hopefully I continue to have some success. Just keep growing as a player. That’s my only concern.”

The new NBA Dynasty


Love ’em or hate ’em, there is no denying them.

“That’s how you know we’re a great team, is when everybody’s coming after us,” Durant said. “Whether it’s opponents, whether it’s different coaches panning for us, whether it’s the fans, the media that hate us, it feels good when you’re the team that everybody’s gunning for. It makes us better.”

No team is better. They are the champions 2nd year in a row.
Golden State. Golden standard. A team that has changed the way basketball is played.

Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors won their fourth straight finals matchup against Cleveland with a sweep. It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one. His eighth straight appearance didn’t go well either, and now there’s uncertainty where the superstar will play next.
Right now, Golden State is on another tier and with Durant expected to re-sign with them in weeks and Curry, Thompson, Green and the rest still young and hungry, their reign could last much longer.
“We’ve got a lot of three-time, two-time champs in there, and we’ll have plenty of time in our lives to discuss that later,” Curry said. “So want to keep this thing going as long as we can.”

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Will the Warriors sweep, or will the Cavaliers live to fight another game?

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Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant celebrates with Stephen Curry, left, and Draymond Green (23) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 110-102 to take a 3-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Diya TV) – Stepping back after a dagger 33-feet 3-pointer with less than a minute left in the game, the ‘assassin’ as LeBron James called him, stood there savoring the moment as his teammates screamed in absolute joy. It was the Kevin Durant show. The Cavaliers setup an effective defense on Steph Curry, double teaming him and while he perhaps had the worst night of this finals series, it was Durant’s night to shine. With 43 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists the 6’9″ soft-spoken Warrior along with his supporting cast, executed exactly what the Warriors team is known for – Strength in Numbers. Switching the plays from Curry to Durant, Coach Kerr, chalked in yet another victory for his franchise.

Game 3 was the Cavaliers’s big chance to make a comeback, but this loss lifted the Warriors to places hard to reach. A comeback from a 3-0 deficit has never been done in the playoffs. But the Cavaliers have shown before that they can make history, so this series is still far from over.

The Cavaliers came back from a 2-0 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to win the Championship in Game 7 and did not allow the Warriors sweep them last year. However this year the Cavaliers have made many changes to their roster, including bringing on point guard George Hill & the aggressive and fierce shooting guard Rodney Hood and these two made their presence known in Game 3, despite the loss.

For the Warriors, with Durant in his second season with Golden State, their team chemistry has only gotten stronger.
“When a guy like Kevin Durant is hitting these shots, it’s a joy to watch. It’s amazing to be a part of,” Klay Thompson said, about Durant’s 3-pointer. This three is similar to the one last Finals in Game 3, one that was also crucial to the win.

The first and second quarter performances by the Cavaliers were extraordinary, they moved the ball and stopped Curry from finding his rhythm. In addition to having a firing offense, led by Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, they were able to maintain some good defense and keep a double-digit lead for part of the game. Tyronn Lue said, “I thought we played a good first half. They’re going to make runs. That’s what this team does. To be up 6 at the half after being up 13 in that first half, but they’re going to make runs.” Lue decided to play Rodney Hood last night, after benching him for most of the Celtics series. Hood’s 15 points gave himself and the Cavaliers new life, creating offense where there was none.

Stephen Curry was 3-16 from the field, with only 11 points, a rare performance for this all star. Klay Thompson wasn’t able to score much either, with just 10 points. However, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, JaVale McGee, and Jordan Bell pitched in. Shaun Livingston has only missed 1 field goal this entire series, pitching in 8 points. Iguodala, although not 100%, showed championship experience and grit with 8 points and a plus of 14. Coach Kerr said, “Andre was really good. He gave us much-needed minutes.” McGee racked in 10 points in 14 minutes and Bell had 10 points in 12 minutes.
Its that kind of team performance that has been the Warriors key to success.

History in Making

Game 3 uncovered a few historic moments in the NBA. Durant, with his notable performance, finished with a career-best in a playoff game and the third-highest point total in Warriors history in the Finals. He also, Durant surpassed veterans Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor on the NBA’s all-time postseason points list, at 17th place with a total of 3,636 points. He has maintained his streak of scoring 25 or more points in his first 13 Finals games.
This has only been matched by Shaquille O’Neal (first 20) and Michael Jordan (first 21).

Draymond Green passed Wilt Chamberlain and became the leader of most rebounds in the postseason for Golden State.
He also made franchise history, with his 100th playoff game, the 2nd Warrior to join Klay Thompson in this record.

Despite the loss, James had his 10th triple-double in the Finals, extending his personal record. He is climbing up the Finals’ leaderboards, coming in second in the all-time steals and points, third in assists, and fifth in rebounds.
He recorded his 110th playoff game with 30 or more points, passing Michael Jordon (109) for the most in NBA postseason. He also logged his 10,000th playoff minute during tonight’s game, becoming the first player in NBA history to do so.

Game 4 A Sweep or a Bloody Fight?

The Warriors have maintained they know the Cavaliers are no easy task and taking it for granted was never an option. The Warriors should have lost Game 1 had it not been for the unbelievable error by JR Smith, so the greatness of this opportunity to sweep, is not lost on them. “It’s just going to be …it’s a trap game. You let your guard down. You show up thinking that we’re going to show up and win, right? Start making preparations for celebrations. You can’t do that. You have to go against the grain.”, said Shaun Livingston

And given how critical Game 4 is for the Cavaliers, Curry reminded everyone, “Understanding that Game 4 is going to be the toughest game that we’ve played in the series, to close it out. We’re going to need energy, effort, focus from every
guy that steps foot on the floor for 48 minutes.”

For the Cavaliers, this is do or die, on home court. There is no way they will allow the Warriors to sweep them in Cleveland and spray champagne in their locker rooms. Earlier today JR Smith said, “Just know that our backs are up against the wall and if we don’t win, it’s over. So if that’s not enough motivation for you, I don’t know what is. It’s The Finals, and we’ve got to come out and play the way we know how.”

Kevin love is keenly aware of what it will take, “For us, that margin of error is very small. We know that if we keep our coverages tight; we foul when we need to; we switch when we’re supposed to; we don’t let them slip to the rim, get those easy buckets that are deflating; and then on the offensive end in the third quarter we don’t get stagnant and play a full 48 minutes of moving the ball and playing our game, we’ll give ourselves a chance and we feel like we can win.”

As for James, his message is clear and simple, “You’ve just got to try to hunker down and get stops and try to create a little space.’

It all unfolds Friday night at 9PM Easter/6PM Pacific at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

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