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NBA Finals: Warriors look to rebound in Game 4 against Cavs

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CLEVELAND (Diya TV) — Game 4 of last year’s NBA Finals is when the Warriors turned the ship around, decisively winning the next three games to capture the team’s first championship in more than four decades. Andre Iguodala was inserted into the lineup for that game in place of Andrew Bogut, which proved to be the kryptonite for the Cavs offense.

After being blown out 120-90 in Game 3, one thing head coach Steve Kerr isn’t worried about is his lineup, specifically the absentee play of MVP Stephen Curry.

“Just think about the OKC series. We’re down 3-1, he hadn’t played well,” Kerr said Thursday.”Look what he did the last few games. So that’s Steph. That’s who he is. He always responds. He’s got a huge heart, competitive as hell, and extremely talented. I know how he will respond. He’ll play well. He always does.”

Curry led the league in scoring throughout the regular season with 30.4 points per game, but the MVP found himself in foul trouble during Game 3 on Wednesday. Additionally, he was missing his trademark swagger on the court for the third game in a row. The Cavaliers defense have been glued to Curry since the series began.

“We can definitely help Steph out and we will. We can put him in better position to catch the ball or to handle the ball and to come off screens and that kind of stuff with more space, and we’ll do that tomorrow. Then the other side of it is just him playing better, and that’s what the Playoffs are about.,” Kerr said.

“All this stuff about, ‘Oh, my God, what are we going to do?,” he added, “All we have to do is take stock. We’re up 2-1. We’re in pretty good shape. We haven’t played that well. Let’s play better.”

Golden State had emerged victorious against the Cavaliers in seven consecutive games, stretching back to Game 4 of last year’s Finals until Wednesday. Recognizing that Game 4 was the turning point of last year’s series, Cleveland star LeBron James spoke on the importance of coming out Friday night with the same effort.

 A general exterior view of the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 8, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

A general exterior view of the Golden State Warriors against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 8, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

“We can’t afford to go down 3-1 and go into their building and give them confidence going back. So it’s a do-or-die game for us still,” James said Thursday.

Kyrie Irving was an integral part of the Cavaliers victory on Wednesday, the 24-year-old had to sit out last year’s Finals after fracturing his knee during Game 1. The former No. 1 overall pick is viewed as James’ sidekick.

“As a maturing young player, young man, I had to really just remove myself emotionally and realize that the journey isn’t going to be easy in order to be a champion in this league, a great player or anything. And when you have the chance to learn from someone like that and you have a group of guys in our locker room like we do with veteran leadership, it makes my job a lot easier and a lot more fun to be a part of,” Irving said. “So I’m happy about the team that we’re part of and the teams that I’ve been part of. But being around him every single day has been great for my career.”

For Cleveland, the real question is whether Kevin Love will be a go for Game 4. Head coach Tyronn Lue said the team missed his rebounding and scoring prowess in Game 3.

“We miss his rebounding. We miss his post presence. We miss his three-point shooting,” Lue said Thursday. “So we definitely want him back, but he has to take the steps necessary to get himself back. So just staying positive with him. We know it’s a tough time being in the NBA Finals. It’s something you dreamed about your whole life, and having to deal with this is tough. But myself, my coaching staff, teammates, we all have his back and we wish him well and need him back.”

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Will the Warriors pull off a historic 16-0 sweep at the NBA Finals?

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Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers  getting ready for a layup during Game 3 of the 2017 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.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on the court with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.

What’s next?

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.”

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Warriors crack the code to Cavs defense in Game 2, can they do it in Game 3?

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Lebron James tries to guard JaVale McGee at the basket, Game 3 NBA Finals 2017

Lebron James tries to guard JaVale McGee at the basket, Game 3 NBA Finals 2017

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.

Making History

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.

LeBron James of the Cavaliers drives to the hoop against Andre Iguodala of the Warriors.

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.

Moving forward

“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.

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Why defense is going to be key for the next winner at the NBA Finals

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Kevin Durant was the highest scorer in Game One with 38 points

Kevin Durant was the highest scorer in Game One with 38 points

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.

Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are on another historic run, after sweeping of the San Antonio Spurs, the team has its first 13-0 playoff start in franchise history.

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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