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Golden State Warriors suffer ‘humiliating’ 53-point loss to Toronto Raptors



The Golden State Warriors suffered one of the most “humiliating” losses in franchise history Friday night during a 53-point defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors — a team that came into the game having lost 13 of its last 14 games.

“You saw it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the 130-77 loss. “We just got destroyed. Not a whole lot to be said. Humiliating for everybody involved.”

The Warriors, who trailed by as many as 61 points in the second half, set some dubious marks in a game where both Stephen Curry (tailbone soreness) and Draymond Green (left finger sprain) sat out.

The Raptors outscored the Warriors by 51 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the largest point differential over a two-quarter span within a game in NBA history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The Warriors became the fourth team in the last 25 seasons to trail by at least 60 points in a game, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Raptors’ 53-point margin of victory is also tied for the third largest in league history by a team that is 10 or more games below .500.

“I just think the game went south on us quickly and we got demoralized,” Kerr said. “I think without Steph and Draymond out there I think we were a little bit rudderless when things went south. We didn’t have the internal fight that we needed to kind of get over the hump.”

That was evident in a variety of different areas, but offensively, the stat that may be most jarring for the Warriors is the fact that they became the only team in the last 25 years to lose a game by at least 50 points and not score a fastbreak point. They only had one fastbreak attempt the whole game and missed it. It’s a huge reason why Kerr was so frustrated with his team’s lack of ball movement.

“Our team has been built on sharing the ball,” Kerr said. “When you move the ball in this game, that’s when the magic happens, when you build an energy, a karma, the shots tend to go in if you move the ball and you share it. And I just saw one possession after another tonight that was one pass and a shot. We’ve got to play for each other and I didn’t think we did that tonight.”

The Warriors, now 23-26, sit in 10th place in the Western Conference and have struggled all season to find consistency. Last week veteran Kevon Looney acknowledged that Curry and Green shared messages for their teammates about looking within and trying to play better. After Friday’s embarrassing performance, veteran Kent Bazemore said injured former All-Star Klay Thompson shared some frustrating thoughts with several teammates after the game.

“It’s a hard pill for them to swallow,” Bazemore said of the Warriors’ three core players. “We’re talking about — and Klay is back there as well, these guys [have] five straight Finals appearances. This is by any means not acceptable by them at all. This hurts them more than anything. Klay was fired up after the game. And this has been the toughest two years watching his guys out there, and him not being able to help. So I think it’s lit a fire up under him, and Steph and Draymond, they know how important they are to us.”

For Thompson, the loss was even tougher to watch given that he is currently rehabbing an Achilles injury that has forced him to miss his second straight season. Bazemore said Thompson’s message to a few teammates was simple in its point.

“He was just kind of going off about how he missed the game and how it’s just not acceptable to lose this way,” Bazemore said. “He’s fired up, man. It’s hard watching, regardless if you’re playing or not playing.”

The good news for the Warriors is that Curry is expected to be back on Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks. Green’s status remains unclear given that he was initially expected to play on Friday but after trying to warm up he told the coaching staff that he couldn’t catch the ball with his left hand because of the finger injury. Green told Kerr he could play, but the veteran coach made the decision for Green to sit.

As the Warriors wait for their stars to heal, they’ve got a looming issue with the young center they were hoping would help them this season. 20-year-old big man James Wiseman had another rough night against the Raptors, struggling on both ends of the floor, which has been an ongoing theme since the All-Star break. Kerr said that the Warriors would like to simplify parts of the game plan for Wiseman so that he could build his confidence back up.

“As a young player, a lot of guys try to do too much,” Kerr said. “I think that’s what’s happening with James right now. I think he’s such a gifted guy, and he’s always been able to do whatever he wanted on the floor, but the NBA, the game happens so fast that you just have to sort of strip it down to ‘let’s be good at the things that I can be good at right now and then my game will expand as we go forward.’ And that’s what we’re trying to share with James and teach him.

“But the only way to learn that is to feel it and he’s feeling it. So he will grow from here and we’ll stay positive with him, we’ll try to peel things back and keep things really simple and help him build his confidence over the last quarter of the season.”

As the Warriors hope to see more development down the stretch from the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, they do so with a group that hit the low point of its season on Friday night. Kerr is hopeful that his team will bounce back after two straight defeats, but he also understands that each individual player has to find his own motivation to get things back on track before it’s too late.

“As a coach, you try to navigate the season with your team as best you can,” Kerr said. “So there’s times for humor, there’s times for joy, there’s times for serious discussion and soul searching. This is a time for soul searching for sure.”

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Golden State Warriors sign Juan Toscano-Anderson to multiyear deal



SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors signed forward Juan Toscano-Anderson to a multiyear deal Thursday and forward Jordan Bell to a two-way contract for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Toscano-Anderson originally signed a two-way contact with the Warriors in December. He is averaging 5.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 55 games this season. The Oakland native has scored in double-figures 10 times, including a career-high 20-point performance on April 15 at Cleveland.

Bell is back for a second stint with the Warriors after spending the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with Golden State. He most recently signed a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards at the end of April and appeared in five games, scoring 14 points and grabbing 19 rebounds.

Bell is averaging 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 159 career games with Golden State, Minnesota, Memphis and Washington.

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Blake Griffin debuts “McLovin”-themed Air Jordans



Along the French Riviera in Monaco during the summer of 2019, Blake Griffin and the entire Jordan Brand roster of athletes, designers and execs gathered for their annual extravagant team trip, a longtime bonding tradition led by Michael Jordan.

Some 5,500 miles away from their usual Beaverton, Oregon, product meeting location, Griffin sat down with designers and had a few ideas that he wanted to see come to life on his “player exclusive” sneakers for the upcoming season.

He wanted a shoe inspired by one of his favorite movies.

Jordan color designer Kelsey Amy and the team got to work, creating a Hawaii driver’s license graphic based off the 2007 movie “Superbad” and the character Fogel’s iconic liquor store scene with a fake ID in hand.

Initially designed for the Air Jordan 34, while Griffin was still on the Detroit Pistons, the theme was carried over onto this year’s Air Jordan 35, after Griffin missed most of the 2019-20 season due to injury and was unable to break out the sneakers.

Styled in white and blue hues and originally made just for Griffin in his size 16, the tongue’s license details include his birthday, height, weight, hair and eye colors. The toe of each shoe is accented with “Chikka Chikka,” a line from the quirky Fogel character after he gets hold of the “McLovin” license. The address leads to Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.

Of course, the updated ID doesn’t even have a first name, it just says “McGriffin.”

“They’re honestly so fly,” Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who played the Fogel/McLovin character, told ESPN. “My buddy sent them to me last night and I was stoked, but didn’t expect the internet world today to be this into it!”

Now with the Brooklyn Nets, Griffin debuted the shoes Wednesday night along with the team’s gradient fading blue Classic Edition jerseys in a home win against the San Antonio Spurs. He chipped in 13 points in 20 minutes, including a driving dunk.

“Superbad” co-writer and fellow co-star Seth Rogen, “Officer Michaels” in the movie, also caught wind of the themed sneakers.

“[It’s] super cool and flattering people are still into this movie and character almost 14 years later,” added Mintz-Plasse. “Plus the shoes are SICK. Not just a gimmick.”

Once the sneakers caught fire online, the brand and the original McLovin quickly got in touch.

“I got a pair comin’!” he said.

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Alex Rodriguez group to purchase Minnesota Timberwolves for $1.5 billion, sources say



Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has reached a verbal agreement on a $1.5 billion sale of the team to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

NBA approval of the deal was still pending, and neither side has publicly announced an agreement.

The two sides had entered an exclusive 30-day negotiating window April 10 that expired without an agreement, though the sides continued to negotiate in good faith, sources previously told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Taylor previously said a deal was contingent on Lore and Rodriguez keeping the team in Minnesota. The team has a lease at the Target Center through 2035, but the buyout is just $50 million.

Lore and Rodriguez are 50-50 partners. They tried to buy the New York Mets last year but were beaten out for the Major League Baseball club by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.

Any sale of an NBA club must be approved by the league’s board of governors, which could come later Thursday. The Timberwolves would become the second NBA franchise sold this season. Gail Miller and her family struck an agreement in October to sell the Utah Jazz to Ryan Smith, a deal that was finalized after board of governors’ approval in December.

Taylor, 80, a lifelong Minnesotan who bought the Timberwolves in 1994 for $88 million to save them from moving to New Orleans, has said he will continue to run the club for two more seasons until a handover in 2023. The Minnesota Lynx WNBA team is included in the sale.

“They’ve asked that I would be there for any decisions that would need to be made. I would enjoy that. I love teaching people,” Taylor said an interview last month. “These are a couple of very bright guys, and I think it could be helpful to the club and I think I could be helpful to them so that they feel confident once they take over 100%.”

Lore and Rodriguez met with Timberwolves personnel and toured team facilities in Minneapolis last month.

Rodriguez, 45, hit 696 home runs over 22 major league seasons with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. His last season on the field was 2016, marking the end of career that was tainted by performance-enhancing drug use he later admitted to. Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating MLB policy.

Lore, 49, became Walmart’s e-commerce chief in 2016, when the retail giant bought his startup in an attempt to boost online business. Lore notified Walmart on Jan. 31 of his intent to leave the company. He will continue to serve in a consulting role as a strategic adviser through September.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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