OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — On one play, Stephen Curry dribbled the ball 14 times before bursting through the Oklahoma City Thunder defenders for a layup. On another during the first quarter, he took a scary first-quarter dive into the stands. He got back up, dusted himself off, and went immediately back to work.
With a puffy right elbow, Curry put on the type of shooting clinic he’s become famously known for worldwide.
“The elbow’s fine,” he said. “It looks like it has a tennis ball on top of it. I should be all right.”
With his tennis ball elbow, Curry proceeded to score 15 points in less than two minutes during one point of the third quarter in the Warriors decisive 118-91 victory over the Thunder in Game 2 on Wednesday night. The victory evens the series at a game a piece as the two teams head east to Oklahoma City.
“Business as usual. This is what he does,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s onslaught. “I feel great joy. It’s true.”
Curry ended the contest with 28 points, making 5 of 8 from beyond the arc and shot 9-for-15 overall. Klay Thompson added 15 points of his own. The victory was exactly the type of response he and his teammates were looking for after a Game 1 defeat which represented just their third home loss all season.
“We responded all year long, whether it was a bad loss or a sloppy win,” Thompson said. “We come back sharp the next game, and it’s a testament to everybody on this team.”
Reigning Finals MVP Andre Iguodala got off to a slow start, missing his first five shots of the game. However, he ended the game with 14 points. Festus Ezeli scored 12 points, recording his first double digit scoring performance of these playoffs. Marreese Speights provided an additional 13 points off the bench.
Kevin Durant dropped 29 points in the game, but was shut down during the second half, where he scored just six points. Russell Westbrook recorded 16 points for the Thunder in the losing effort, and added another 12 assists. The Thunder were outrebounded in the contest, the first time such a thing has happened in the five meetings between the two teams all season.
“They were sending three guys. I was trying to make the right pass,” Durant said. “Maybe I’ve just got to shoot over three people.”
“They were certainly very, very lively on both ends of the floor,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “We let Curry get loose a few times.”
Will the Warriors pull off a historic 16-0 sweep at the NBA Finals?
CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Diya TV) — With one more victory, the 2017 Golden State Warriors will forever be in the discussion as the greatest team in NBA history. All that’s standing in their way is LeBron James, a man trying to secure his own legacy, and the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Leading the charge is Kevin Durant, the Warriors’ prized offseason acquisition, who is likely to win his first NBA Finals MVP award.
“All I was looking at was the bottom of the net. I saw he (James) was playing his heels behind the 3-point line. I’ve been working on that shot my whole life. To see that go in, that was liberating, man,” said Durant after his game-winning shot in Game 3.
Game 3 featured the high drama we expected in this series: the most lead changes (19), and the closest game so far in the 2017 NBA Finals (5 point Warriors win). The question now is if the Warriors can reach 16-0 this postseason, the first one in NBA history.
For the Cavaliers, Durant’s shot from downtown was a wake up call, reminding them that no game is out of reaching for the hungry Warriors. Icing out the Cavs, the Warriors went on an 11-0 run throughout the last few minutes of the game, despite stellar performances by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
The Warriors took the lead in the first quarter and maintained that until halftime. After James went to rest late in first quarter, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run. In the first two games of the series, the Warriors increased their lead in the third quarter. But in Game 3, it was the Cavs who shined in the 3rd. When the Warriors led 67-59, the Cavaliers came back to take the lead heading into the 4th. Kyrie Irving had 16 points in the third quarter, while Cleveland held Golden State to 22 points.
The Cavs nursed that lead until the final stretch of the 4th quarter, when KD and 2015 NBA Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala made their presence felt. Iguodala blocked James in the game’s final minute, forcing a turnover on a possession when the Cavs were down three.
History is Made
LeBron James is now 4th place on the NBA Finals scoring list (1,175 points), behind Michael Jordan (1,176 points). He also became the first player to play in 20 or more Finals games with two franchises. The Warriors are the 13th team with a 3-0 record in the finals. The have set the longest postseason record for most wins in America’s 4 major sports, breaking the record set by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, (14-0). Stephen Curry has hit at least one 3-pointer per game in his 73 career postseason games. Golden State also broke the record for most 3-pointer made in a quarter of the finals, with 9 in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers are trying to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the Finals, something that’s never been done before. When asked about the Warriors, LeBron said, “I’ve played against some great teams, but I don’t think no team has had this type of firepower.”
James and Irving played extended minutes in Game 3, and many believe fatigue played a role down the stretch. Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted, “I think Kyrie and LeBron both played the entire second half. Maybe they got a few seconds’ rest, and that’s a hard thing to do.”
The Warriors, on the other hand, are looking to secure their fifth NBA title in franchise history.
With last year’s loss still fresh in mind, the Warriors are not getting ahead of themselves.. “We talked about it since the Finals last year that the last season was a very unique year, for a lot of different reasons, and we learned a lot. 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.” said Curry on last year’s loss.
Durant, so close to winning his first NBA finals said, “I never been in this position before. I don’t want to relax. It’s not over. This is a crazy game. Anything can happen. So I don’t want to relax or feel like it’s over, it’s not.”
Warriors crack the code to Cavs defense in Game 2, can they do it in Game 3?
OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — In Sunday’s game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Warriors slowly disarmed the Cavaliers, finishing them off 132-113, thanks to a NBA Finals record 18 three-pointers. Steve Kerr set the tempo for the Warriors, after missing eleven postseason games with an illness, ensuring the offensive sets would create more open looks for mad bombers Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
The Cavaliers took the lead early in the game, but it fell out of their grasp halfway through the period and they were never to regain it. The Cavs did pull within 3, 67-64, at halftime. But the Warriors claimed the third quarter for themselves. In the end, the Warriors balanced attack was too much and the 2015 NBA Champions now have a 2-0 series advantage in this best of 7 game battle against the defending champs.
Steve Kerr returns
Steve Kerr returned to the bench after missing eleven games, with a warm welcome from the Oracle crowd. Kerr requested Curry, “to play with passion and play with joy.” Curry said, “We love his presence. We love his voice. And we’re a full group when he’s out here, so that means a lot.” LeBron James also paid respect to Steve Kerr, welcoming him back before the game began. Kerr has been dealing with back problems for 2 years, but has persevered through it. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year said he plans to coach for the rest of the finals, though his future is uncertain.
There was more history made on Sunday night. LeBron James tied Magic Johnson for most triple-doubles in the finals with 8. He is also only a few points behind to getting sixth place on the all-time NBA Finals scoring list. James had never had more assists in a half during a postseason game than on Sunday, with 10 assists, also becoming the first person in 20 years to have double-digit assists in a first half of a playoff game.
The Warriors made history, becoming 14-0 in the postseason, the longest postseason winning streak in the history of the NBA. Curry had his first career postseason triple-double. Kevin Durant had 3 steals and 3 blocks in the 1st half, the highest the first half of a postseason game since Shawn Marion in 2006. Golden State had their first Finals game where they scored at least 40 points in 50 years, the last one being in 1967 in game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Klay Thompson has played in 78 postseason games now, the highest in franchise history.
“I thought for the most part with the game plan that we had we tried to execute it as close as possible. Much more physical today than we were in Game 1. And we forced them to 20 turnovers and they still beat us pretty good, so we’ve got to be much better, too.” said LeBron James, after the game. The Cavaliers played much better during game 2, forcing the Warriors to twenty turnovers (Curry with 8). Yet, they could not pull the win off, losing their lead about halfway through the first quarter. Defense is the difference. Cleveland had a much better offense than last game, with 113 points, but still lost because they had no answers to stop the Warriors. Still, as James said, the Cavaliers were more aggressive during Game 2 than Game 1 and you can expect more of the same in Game 3.
The Warriors now need to cut down on turnovers. Klay Thompson, who broke out of his slump with 22 points and four 3-pointers, will need to keep up that level of production as the series moves to a hostile Cleveland environment. Curry and Durant have been nothing short of outstanding, combining 65 points, 24 rebounds, and 17 assists in Game 2.
Kerr says with the Warriors loss in the 2016 NBA Finals after being up 3 games to one, they have their series lead in perspective.
Why defense is going to be key for the next winner at the NBA Finals
OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — With Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry leading the way, the Warriors claimed game one of the 2017 NBA Finals. In the first half, the Cavaliers stayed relatively close with an 8-point differential. The third quarter, however, was when it all fell out of the Cavaliers’ hands. By the end of the third quarter, the 8-point deficit turned into a 21-point deficit. The Cavaliers had 20 turnovers too, giving more chances to the Warriors to score.
Making History and Statistics
During game 1, players made history, many of them personal records. Kevin Durant beat his career record for most dunks in a game, tying it in the first half alone. He also joined the list of greats who had at least 25 points in their first 6 NBA finals games. This list includes Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, and Rick Berry. LeBron James, on the other hand, had the 2nd-most turnovers in a half, his most in 2005 with 9. Meanwhile, the Warriors tied the record for the least amount of turnovers in an NBA finals game, with 4. If the Warriors win game 2, they will set the playoff record for the most wins in a row.
Statistics explain a lot of what happened in the game. The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 35-30 in the first quarter, and past history shows that the Warriors are 21-0 this year, if they score at least 35 points in the first quarter. Statistics also show that the third quarter is usually a good quarter for the Warriors, as they have outscored their opponents by 477 points in the regular season, during the third quarter. This explains the Warriors’ lead in the third quarter.
Key to Winning
Some big factors in this game were defense, turnovers, and offensive rebounds. Klay Thompson played exceptionally well on defense. Against Thompson, the Cavaliers shot 1 out of 12. Kevin Love played especially well, with 21 rebounds. However, the Cavaliers had 20 turnovers, which resulted in more shot attempts for the Warriors. The Warriors also took many offensive rebounds, which gives the Warriors more points.
In order for the Warriors to win, they have to stick to what they were doing in game 1. In order for the Cavaliers to win, they need to step up their rebounding, and have less turnovers. This all groups into defense. Defense is they key. Kevin Durant had huge dunks that changed the momentum of the game. The Cavaliers need to stop Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. These were to two key offensive players. If the Cavs can stop them, the momentum will change and it will reduce the Warriors’ points. LeBron James said, “We can’t stop them from scoring, but we can step up ours.”
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