Warriors win NBA Finals 129 -120 against Cavs

The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129 to 120 Monday night in game five of the NBA Finals. 

Kevin Durant scored 39 points, Stephen Curry added 34 and the Golden State Warriors won their second NBA championship in three seasons.

Durant capped his first season with the Warriors in triumphant fashion with another big shooting night that helped Golden State avoid a repeat of last year’s finals collapse when Cleveland rallied from 3-1 down to win the title.

LeBron James scored 41 points and Kyrie Irving added 26 for the Cavs, who had won four straight potential elimination games against the Warriors before running out of gas in Game 5

 

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Pulse nightclub victims honored at AAA event

At the rear of the American Airlines Arena there was a revolving sign Monday that shows photos of all 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre. In addition to the photos, the Miami Police department and the LGBTQ group Pridelines Youth Services …

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Durant’s dagger 3 lifts Warriors over Cavs in Game 3

Kevin Durant drained a big 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left and scored 31 points as the Golden State Warriors moved within one win of postseason perfection and payback by rallying to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113 on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors trailed by six with three minutes left before Durant, who signed with Golden State last summer to win a championship, brought them back, scoring 14 in the fourth.

With their 15th straight win, the Warriors have the longest postseason streak for any team in the four major professional sports.

And with a win in Game 4 on Friday night, Golden State can exorcise those haunting demons from last year when the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals to the Cavaliers. Not team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit.

Klay Thompson added 30 points and Stephen Curry 26 for this California Dream Team now one win from its second title in three years.

LeBron James shook off a knee-buckling blow to the chin and every Golden State shot while scoring 39 and Kyrie Irving added 38 for the Cavs, who took a 113-107 lead with 3:09 left on J.R. Smith’s 3-pointer.

Curry hit a layup and after both James and Irving missed for the Cavs, Durant dropped his 3 — a shot that could be the one most remembered in this magnificent run by the Warriors.

“All I was looking at was the bottom of the net,” Durant said. “I’ve been working on that shot my whole life. To see that go in, that was liberating, man. We’ve got one more to go.”

After the Warriors went up, Irving missed a 3 from his favorite spot on the right side and the Warriors closed it out with four free throws in the final 12.9 seconds before celebrating briefly on the floor and then charging down the hallway to their locker room.

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Cavaliers not slowing, sticking to plan against Warriors in NBA Finals

LeBron James isn’t changing his game, Tyronn Lue isn’t changing his lineup. The Cavaliers aren’t slowing down.

Defiant — and some might argue delusional — in the face of a 2-0 deficit to the postseason-perfect Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, the defending champions are sticking with their plan.

They may have no choice.

Back home after being outrun and outgunned by the Warriors, who won Games 1 and 2 at Oracle Arena by a combined 41 points, the Cavs find themselves in the same predicament they were in last year. This time, though, the hole feels deeper mostly because Kevin Durant is now leading a team seeking revenge after blowing a 3-1 lead to Cleveland in last year’s Finals.

To this point, chapter three of Cleveland vs. Golden State, a Finals dubbed “The Three-Match” has been a mismatch.

Still, Lue, the Cavs’ cool-under-pressure coach, believes his team can equal the Warriors’ frenetic pace and flip the script as it did in 2016.

“We just have to take care of the basketball,” Lue said Tuesday after the Cavs practiced at Quicken Loans Arena. “I think taking good shots when we’re playing with pace and not turning the basketball over, letting them get out in transition. So that’s our game. We’re not going to change our game because of who we’re playing. And I’m confident that we can play that way, and we did it last year.

“A lot of people said we couldn’t. But that’s our game. That’s who we are. And we’re not going to change just because we’re playing Golden State.”

One of the options Lue has heading into Wednesday’s Game 3 is to bench struggling starting guard J.R. Smith for Iman Shumpert, who played well defensively in Game 2 but wore himself out guarding Durant and needed IV fluids afterward.

Smith drained a 3-pointer for the series’ first basket, but hasn’t scored since. He’s just 1 of 6 from the field, and for some strange reason, one of the game’s most confident shooters has been hesitant to let his jumper fly.

Lue, though, is staying with Smith, who said his wife, Jewel, offered advice on how to end his slump.

“She had a great idea for me,” he said. “She told me every time I touch it, shoot it.”

That’s how the Warriors seem to be playing.

Golden State’s break-neck speed on offense has been a sight to behold. With unmatched firepower, the Warriors are pushing the pace and the Cavaliers to exhaustion.

According to ESPN’s research, the pace of play in the first two games was faster than in any of James’ previous 212 career postseason games. And, the first quarter in which the Warriors outscored the Cavs 40-34 and the teams combined for 130 possessions, was the fastest James’ career — regular or postseason — spanning 5,100 quarters.

It’s no wonder James, who has been his typically dominant self, averaging 28.5 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, stopped attacking in the second half. He was gassed, and the Cavs couldn’t keep up as the Warriors scored 132 despite 20 turnovers.

Cleveland prefers to play at a high tempo as well, and while that would seem to play into a trap with Golden State, Lue and James were adamant the Cavs aren’t pumping their brakes.

“That’s not our game. We don’t play slowdown basketball,” James said. “We play at our pace. We play our game. We got to this point playing our way. We have won a lot of games playing the way we play, so we’re not going to change.”

However, what has to change is production from Cleveland’s role players. James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are doing their part, but Cleveland’s Big 3 isn’t getting enough support.

Tristan Thompson has been neutralized as the Warriors are devoting multiple players to keep Cleveland’s relentless rebounder off the boards. Sharpshooter Kyle Korver is just 1 of 6 on 3s, backup point guard Deron Williams is scoreless in 33 minutes and Richard Jefferson, two weeks shy of his 37th birthday, is the only reserve contributing more than expected.

In real time, Cleveland’s two losses in Oakland looked lopsided, but Irving said the tape revealed some positives.

“When you watch it, it doesn’t necessarily seem as bad because you understand that the things that you can’t control,” he said. “They’re just kind of boneheaded plays that you are just like, ‘Oh, man, we can be better.’ Whether they’re speeding us up or whether they’re getting in our chest or challenging us, we need to hit back. And it’s just as simple as that.”

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Citizen/King: LeBron James wins NBA citizenship award

Snubbed in the MVP voting, LeBron James received an award maybe more significant.

James is this year’s recipient of the Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award given annually by the Pro Basketball Writers’ Association for “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”

Cleveland’s superstar is being honored for his educational work in Akron, Ohio, his hometown. He has helped more than 1,100 at-risk students through his LeBron James Family Foundation, which partnered with the University of Akron in 2015 to provide full scholarships to students who meet eligibility requirements. James is also starting a new public “‘I PROMISE” school to aid students and their families.

“It means a lot,” James said of the award, which is named after the league’s second commissioner. “I do so much for my community and my foundation does a great job of giving families and kids and the youth an opportunity to better their lives and better their futures and for that part of what I do to be recognized, it’s definitely an award that not only myself and my foundation but all my kids that are a part of my program and all the people that look up to me, it’s their award for sure.”

James has mentored students by writing letters, calling their homes and rewarding them with tickets to Cavs games. He has also bought groceries, supplied uniforms and arranged outings to expose the youngsters to new experiences.

“LeBron James’ efforts to help young people are exemplary,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “He is making a difference, and so are the other 25 people who were nominated for this award.”

The other four finalists for the award were New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Portland’s CJ McCollum and Memphis’ Zach Randolph.

Earlier this week, James learned that he is not among the top three MVP vote getters for the first time since 2008. James will finish in the media voting behind finalists Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard. The winner will be announced on June 26.

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