Morning Skate: Friday, Sept. 14

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Morning Skate: Friday, Sept. 14

Interesting read on Deadspin about a book chronicling Gary Bettman thats about to come out with another NHL lockout looming. Boy, that timing is awfully interesting isnt it? The passage details how Bettman spent the time while Vancouver was burning after the Stanley Cup Finals.

Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden weighs in on the NHL lockout and comes away feeling that both sides are in need of a lesson in deal-making.

Adam Proteau says that NHL general managers are smart to wait and sign players under a new Collective Bargaining Agreement where the years and AAV will presumably come down along with the salary cap.

Marc Spector speaks with an economist that surmises that the preponderance of NHL work stoppages is the direct result of bad leadership.

Martin Brodeur may play overseas if theres no NHL to start the season in October. Youve got to wonder how many players like Brodeur could potentially have their careers end prematurely if the league loses an entire season.

FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle takes a look at the 1 billion gap between the NHL and NHLPA after their most recent offers, and what it might take to finally get a deal made to save the hockey season.

Elliotte Friedman asks an interesting question: should Gary Bettman consider stepping away from CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA given the burgeoning bad blood flowing from each side.

For something completely different: Boston.com blogger Eric Wilbur gets out the carving knife with the Red Sox ownership amid the rumors of a potential sale of the Sox franchise.

Warriors didn't play takeaway; Thunder played giveway

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Warriors didn't play takeaway; Thunder played giveway

The Oklahoma City Thunder choked. I mean, they got a gigantic tumble weed lodged in their larynx.

The better team did not win. However, the Golden State Warriors are actually better than the Thunder in one category:

Identity.

The Warriors know who they are and how they have to win. It never changes. Fire away, baby, and sooner or later the shots will fall . . . especially if the opposition has no clue who they are and how they got the lead in the first place.

I'm not sure if the Warriors are a great team defensively, or if OKC simply couldn't run an offense to extend its leads in Games 6 and 7. The best basketball analyst for my money is Kenny "The Jet" Smith. He accurately pointed out that one ill-advised 3-point attempt by Russell Westbrook in the first half crushed the Thunder’s chance to extend their lead into double digits. The same happened with a bad 3 in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors can kill a rally or get back into a game as soon their 3s fall. That is how they win . . . period. The Thunder tried to play Golden State's game at the worst times. OKC forgot that ball movement, player motion and setting up Kevin Durant for the best shot possible is how to win, not by hoisting panic-ridden 3s from the top of the key. To be fair, in the first half Durant did good job getting others involved. But when the Warriors got on a roll, the OKC offense froze with fear.

It simply amazes me how the Thunder would leave the paint wide open on the offensive end. No cuts, no pick-and-rolls (or not enough of them, anyway). Simply give the ball to Durant and then stand there. Or worse! KD gives the ball to Westbrook or another teammate and then he stands there! My God, give up the ball and move, Kevin! To me it was Durant’s stagnation without the ball that cost Oklahoma City a shot at the title.

Golden State was a very opportunistic team. It was not going to take the game or games from you. But if you wanted to give the Warriors a chance, no matter how slight, they'd accept it. And that’s exactly what OKC did.

Billy Donovan, Westbrook and Durant should feel sick to their stomach. If they don’t, something is wrong with them. My suspicion all three have driven the porcelain bus. Figuratively.

I was rooting for Durant because finally, finally Westbrook was buying into the team concept. But in the end it was Durant who let his team -- and city -- down,