Stephen Curry explains why he’s locked in but logged off



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OAKLAND, Calif. — With the NBA postseason underway, Golden State Warriors Jerseys All-Star point guard Stephen Curry told ESPN he has curtailed his social-media usage.

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Indeed, to further assist in avoiding “”unnecessary distractions,”” the two-time MVP says he deleted every social media application from his phone before Game 1 of the first-round series against the Portland cheap jerseys Trail Blazers Jerseys.

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&#8226 Winners, losers after weekend
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• “”>LeBron’s all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts’ first-round picks: East | West

“When you’re really trying to zone in and keep your focus, you don’t want to have any unnecessary distractions during this point of the season,” Curry told ESPN. “We have goals to accomplish, and you want to make sure you’re giving your all.”

Curry said this is the third consecutive year he has taken this approach cheap jerseys. It’s a routine he’s never disclosed before.

Cleveland Cavaliers Jerseys All-Star forward LeBron James is known for activating what he calls “Zero Dark Thirty-23” before postseason play. The Warriors point guard says he didn’t get the idea from James.

“I didn’t do it because he did it. I’m not reinventing the wheel,” Curry told ESPN. “It’s just a way to help me keep my focus on what’s important.”

James removes himself from the social media sphere entirely, refraining from tweeting and posting pictures. Curry goes about his social media ban a little differently. Moments before each game, Curry typically tweets out “Lock in #DubNation.” He didn’t do that on Sunday. He said he’ll occasionally send out a tweet or a picture, but he won’t log into his accounts to do so.

“I have a way of sending out messages without getting into my accounts,” Curry revealed wholesale basketball jerseys. “That way, I’m not seeing or reading something I’m trying to avoid.”

Curry registered 29 points, five rebounds and four assists in Sunday’s 121-109 victory, leading his team to a 1-0 series lead. Going without social media has apparently paid dividends.

“It’s worked for me so far,” Curry said. “I’m going to stay with it.”

After overhaul, Blazers’ McCollum accepted challenge

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Not just Friday at the Trail Blazers practice facility outside Portland either, as C.J. McCollum walked into the small theater room a little past 10 a.m. to accept the trophy as Kia Most Improved Player for 2015-16. He was very good on the court and finally very healthy, he handled the pressure when his own organization dropped unwieldy pressure on his back in a difficult situation that could have proven too much, and then he even stuck the landing with the wardrobe choice for the moment of celebration.

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McCollum dressed in Blazers colors, and that’s only right. This is the season, after all, when he established himself as an actual part of the foundation, not a potential standout, the months of pairing with Damian Lillard in the backcourt to drive Portland from playoff longshots as training camps opened to playoff participants.

McCollum Wins Kia Most Improved Player Award

Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys guard C.J. McCollum wins the 2015-16 Kia Most Improved Player award.

McCollum isn’t the face of the franchise, Lillard is, but McCollum is emblematic of the good that has happened. Lillard was already great and no one had reason to expect anything other than a continuation, if not more of pedestal than before with all LaMarcus Aldridge’s touches now available. The other guard had everything to prove — like the team as a whole that was supposedly limping into a rebuilding plan after losing or trading 80% of the previous starting lineup.

McCollum missed much of his senior season at Lehigh because of a foot injury, then played only 38 games in 2013-14 as a pro rookie mostly because of a foot injury, then played 62 games mostly because of a finger injury. And then he played 80 games this regular season.

Meanwhile, his shooting percentage went from 41.6 percent as a rookie and 43.6 last season to 44.8, while his three-point accuracy jumped from 37.5 and 39.6, respectively, to 41.7 percent. McCollum didn’t easily beat Kemba Walker of the Hornets and third-place finisher Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks for Most Improved because of the minutes windfall created by Wesley Matthews’ free-agent departure, opening a hole nba jerseys for cheap at shooting guard. McCollum won and won so handily because of what he did with the opportunity.

He was the Trail Blazers of October. Unproven, with possibilities but nothing more than potential and big-picture plan.

Suddenly, he is the landslide winner of the award, Terry Stotts is a candidate for Coach of the Year, Ed Davis got votes for Sixth Man of the Year, Lillard re-affirmed his standing as a star at point guard, and the Blazers are in the playoffs, not a deep crater, after a 44-38 regular season. They also down 2-0 to the Clippers as the series shifts here to the Moda Center on Saturday night and Monday night, but the Portland season has been an unqualified success that offers hope far beyond what most could have expected in August.

Just look at what they have become, McCollum and the Blazers, together.

C.J. McCollum’s MIP Media Session

C.J. McCollum talks with the media following the Most Improved Player award ceremony.

“I put an inordinate amount of pressure on Dame and C.J. this offseason,” said Neil Olshey, the president of basketball operations. “We decided to go in another direction, we decided to get guys on the same career arc as Dame and C.J. As much pressure as we put on Dame, we put even more at times on C.J. because we knew for us to be successful this season it was imperative that C.J. make the jump we knew he was capable of. The amount of credit that goes to C.J. is supported by the amount of credit to the coaching staff. David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbets, Dale Osbourne, Jay Triano, Jimmy Moran and of course Stotts.

“They just spent countless hours getting extra reps up, extra shots, watching film, getting him to be the player we all knew he was capable of three years ago when we took him with the 10th pick in the draft. Nobody in this room is more deserving or has put more work in to reach this point in his career and I can tell you watching this guy in the gym, watching how he relates to the coaches, handles himself on the floor, this isn’t the last award he’s going to get from the NBA during his long career. Congratulations to C.J. We as an organization and as a city are very lucky to have C.J. in this family.”

McCollum could see what was coming as soon as July collapsed around the franchise. It was trouble. Or maybe it was a chance.

“Yeah, I understood I was being put in a position to sink or swim,” he said. “And I think they prepared me to swim, honestly, being here over the course of the summer and the two summers previous, working with the staff, getting in sync with the offense, what was going to be expected of me playing backup point guard and some of the duties I would have. I relished the opportunity. I looked forward to it. It could be a disaster if you don’t play well. But it can work out really well in your favor if you do play well.”

It worked out really well in his favor. The Trail Blazers took a big jump forward from where they seemed to be as camp opened, McCollum took a big jump forward.

Nailed it.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

Untested Blazers make up for youth with plenty of mettle

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Potential, to put a spin move on historic Brit writer Samuel Johnson, is the last refuge of a team expecting to lose. And when this 2015-16 NBA season began, expectations for the Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys in particular were set at the limbo level of your average Tobagonian mouse.

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Twenty-three victories, some critics predicted for Portland. OK, maybe a few more than a half dozen. But the Blazers, most concurred, would be lucky to win even half as many games as they had last season (51) and would best be served by putting out of their heads any notions of a playoff berth.

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We’ve all got to be together. We’ve got to be a unit, and that’s what we’ve turned into. We’ve become a unit and that’s what’s been working.

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– Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys star Damian Lillard

After all, it wasn’t just LaMarcus Aldridge who vamoosed as the biggest name in free agency last summer. Of the six Blazers players who saw the most court time for last season’s 51-31 squad, five — Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez and Steve Blake — were gone when 2015-16 began. They took with them 50 percent of Portland’s points (4,197 of 8,429 points), leaving point guard Damian Lillard with arguably the biggest and loneliest challenge in the league this season.

So when coach Terry Stotts began talking roster architecture and synchronization to those wondering about his team’s inevitable plummet, it sounded like so much whistling past the graveyard.

Except get a load of the Trail Blazers now.

At 32-28, they are tied with Dallas for sixth place in the Western Conference, 3½ games behind fifth-place Memphis and 3½ games out of ninth. Heading into their game against the New York Knicks Jerseys at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass), they were 2-0 to start their current six-game trip and a grueling stretch of 12 road games in the next 15.

From the predicted morass of their difficult 15-24 start — a pace that would have netted 31 victories — the Blazers have gone 17-4 since. Their roll includes victories over Oklahoma City, Golden State, Utah (twice), Houston (twice), Chicago and Indiana. They’ve gone from being outscored on average by 2.0 points through their first 39 games to outscoring teams 108.6 to 101.3.

Damian Lillard’s Best From 2015-16

Damian Lillard has had an amazing season, averaging 25.6 points, 7.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds so far this year!

Whatever sneaking up was done on unaware or dismissive opponents is done. Has been for a while.

“Aw, man, we’re over that,” forward/center Mason Plumlee said over the weekend in Chicago. “That was, like, preseason. We haven’t thought about that. I would say, when we got our first couple wins, we knew we were better than 23 wins or whatever they projected us. We’re moving on, we’re looking at bigger things.”

The potential about which Stotts has spoken since summer is legit. The Blazers, under GM Neil Olshey, have been refashioned with parts suited to Lillard and his backcourt mate C.J. McCollum, who are in their fourth and third NBA seasons respectively. After backup center Chris Kaman, who has played 13 seasons, reserve Gerald Henderson, 28, is Portland’s most grizzled veteran.

The Starters: Second Best Backcourt in NBA?

The Blazers backcourt is coming on strong but are they really better than the Raptors duo? Tas and Skeets debate.

This group was assembled to grow together, and it has maxed out the double-meaning of that phrase: In growing up as NBA individuals, the Blazers have bonded as a team.

“They’re all close in age, close [to the same point] in their careers,” Stotts said. “They’ve all been in the league two, three, four, five years, and it’s really a cohesive group. They communicate well together. They spend time off the court. They have good, positive interaction. We’ll have practice and they’ll stick around, get extra shots. That’s kind of refreshing to me, to have a good young team that’s anxious to get better and likes the whole idea of getting better.”

Lillard and McCollum have generated most of the headlines because they’ve generated most of the heat. Their combined average of 46.2 points through 60 games ranked third among NBA duos, behind cheap custom basketball team jerseys Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson (52.5) and Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook (52.2). Lillard has scored 30 points or more in seven of his last nine appearances, and the two rank among the league’s top 3-point tandems as well.

But there are nights when the shots aren’t dropping, and Portland — despite its tender years — has been finding ways to be successful then, too. Its bench and its defense have been invaluable over the past seven weeks.

At Chicago, for instance, all five of the Blazers’ subs finished with positive plus-minus ratings and four of them — Henderson, Ed Davis, Allen Crabbe and Meyers Leonard — stayed on the floor to thwart a Bulls comeback. Portland’s bench has outscored its counterparts in 17 of the past 22 games and, since Dec. 3, the Blazers are 19-6 when that occurs.

GameTime: Killer Combo In Portland

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann talks about the effectiveness of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum when they’re on the court together for the Trail Blazers.

Davis in particular was a force defensively against the Bulls, with a pivotal block on Mike Dunleavy to snuff Chicago’s rally. The nearby Blazers bench erupted and the Bulls never broke 95 points; Portland is 17-4 when holding teams below 100.

“The stuff that we notice from the bench is not just the big block or the big play,” Lillard said. “It’s where they’re breaking our lead and it gets to five, and we’re going back and forth and then Ed deflects a pass. And then we push it down and we miss, and it’s a 3-on-2 and Mase [Plumlee] comes back for a chase-down block. Those plays like that add up.”

Lillard and his All-Star snub will be in the spotlight again at Madison Square Garden. But the perceived overachiever from Weber State sounds most proud that, of the impact he has had on the Blazers, mostly it has been on teammates’ confidence.

I would say, when we got our first couple wins, we knew we were better than 23 wins or whatever they projected us. We’re moving on, we’re looking at bigger things.

– Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys forward/center Mason Plumlee

“Anything that I’m involved in, I’m just a huge believer … that it can be successful or it can work out,” Lillard said. “It’s just one of those things to see that everybody else has that same kind of belief. It’s the time we put in — you’ve got guys coming in an hour before practice, getting in their work. Guys who don’t even get minutes. Guys that have that same belief I’ve always had.

“It’s not even being in sync with me, it’s being in sync with each other. If G [Gerald Henderson] is not in sync with Mo [Harkless] but me and G is in sync, it’s [still] hard. We’ve all got to be together. We’ve got to be a unit, and that’s what we’ve turned into. We’ve become a unit and that’s what’s been working.”

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. Trending

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