Warriors top Cavaliers to move one win from perfection

Paola Ditto
Giugno 8, 2017

The Warriors lead the seven-game NBA Finals series 3-0.

But the Warriors had other plans, especially Durant as he led his team on an incredible 11-0 run over the final three minutes, including a crushing three-pointer with 45 seconds to play that put his Golden State ahead for good.

At 116-113 and with 12 seconds to go, James paused outside the 3-pointer line, took a shot and missed.

Rather than reach back to last year's championship comeback for a confidence boost, James' focus is on figuring out what Cleveland must do to change its fortunes against a Warriors team that is fresher and far more risky this year, thanks to the addition of Kevin Durant. This Warriors team has KD, who can produce magical moments like that clinching 3-pointer to turn tides.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving played their best games of these Finals, combining for 77 points, relentlessly attacking the rim. And I don't blame those who switched to YouTube to replay Justin Brownlee bury that late three-pointer to give Barangay Ginebra the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup title instead.

"From a league standpoint, you always want to see great competition", he said before Game 1 of the Finals. "He's one of the great players of all-time". I said it after we won the Eastern Conference Finals that we're getting ready for a juggernaut.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant apparently joined forces to form a superteam in 2011 - in the recording studio, that is.

"When you have great teammates like I do ... who allow me to use my emotions to the better for us, it's easy", he said Sunday.

"It's the Finals; we had our horses in", said Irving. Instead, the Warriors finished an 11-0 run. There are just not many players in the National Basketball Association who could make that play.

"So you get down in the fourth quarter, it's a five-point game with six minutes left, you don't say, oh, man, we're down five, you just say there's a ton of time left and let's execute".

They did previous year, coming home after losing the first two by a combined 48 points and beginning the turnaround with a 120-90 rout in Game 3. "So we made enough plays tonight to still win the ball game, but they made a couple more". While I had seen Durant highlights over the years, I had never really sat down and watched him play. Wow. I'm sure I'll go over those shots in my head over the next 24 hours.

Irving netted 16 points in the third and instead of falling well back as they had in the third periods of both prior games, the Cavs outscored Golden State 33-22 and seized their biggest edge so far in the finals, up 94-89 after three quarters. If Cleveland can continue from there, Game 6 is slated for next Thursday night at The Q. If the series goes to a Game 7, that'll be played on June 18 back at Oracle Arena.

Quotable - LeBron James, on dealing with the high-powered Warriors ... "I think we have grown and matured just mentally of how to just pace yourself through this long year and take every day as a new experience and something that you can kind of take control of".

Despite two lopsided outcomes, Golden State's two home wins over Cleveland averaged 19.6 million viewers, according to numbers released Monday by the Nielsen company. If Irving scores in volume off of those types of shots, the Warriors will have no choice but to live with it. The four-time scoring champ has changed these Finals with his Dikembe Mutombo act, blocking five shots in Game 2 as part of his stellar interior defense.

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