‘Big­ger goal in mind’

War­riors ready for third straight NBA Fi­nals ap­pear­ance

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY RAUL DOMINGUEZ

Kevin Du­rant does not need to be told that Golden State should have a muted cel­e­bra­tion af­ter win­ning the Western Con­fer­ence Fi­nals.

Du­rant is fully aware a tough chal­lenge waits for them. It’s why Du­rant signed with the War­riors and why Stephen Curry, Klay Thomp­son and Dray­mond Green em­braced him at the ex­pense of their own stats.

“We have a big­ger goal in mind,” Du­rant said.

Golden State has a chance to earn their sec­ond cham­pi­onship in three years af­ter sweep­ing the San Antonio Spurs with a 129115 vic­tory Mon­day night.

The War­riors be­came the first team in league his­tory to open the play­offs 12-0, which pro­vides them with a week of rest prior to their third straight fi­nals ap­pear­ance.

Golden State will host Game 1 of the NBA Fi­nals on June 1 against ei­ther Cleve­land or Bos­ton. The Cava­liers hold a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Con­fer­ence Fi­nals, but Curry al­luded the War­riors are ex­pect­ing a re­match with Le­Bron James and com­pany.

“We all know, ob­vi­ously, who we’re go­ing to play,” Curry said. “We’ll be watch­ing the Eastern Con­fer­ence Fi­nals to see how that un­folds. But it will be easy to start this new chap­ter and re­ally just lock in on what’s in front of us.”

Fac­ing Cleve­land will res­ur­rect chat­ter of Golden State’s col­lapse in last sea­son’s fi­nals, which saw the Cava­liers rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the fran­chise’s first cham­pi­onship.

“This year is a to­tally dif­fer­ent year, dif­fer­ent group, dif­fer­ent jour­ney,” Curry said.

The big­gest dif­fer­ence is the ad­di­tion of Du­rant, who left Ok­la­homa City in the off-sea­son to sign with Golden State.

His pres­ence has given the War­riors a deep and tal­ented ros­ter head­lined by four Al­lS­tars in Du­rant, Curry, Klay Thomp­son and Dray­mond Green. But Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said to credit ta­lent as the sole rea­son be­hind Golden State’s cur­rent run is dis­re­spect­ful.

“They’re re­ally tal­ented, but that’s not ev­ery­thing that de­scribes them,” Popovich said. “This is maybe the best de­fen­sive team in the league on top of ev­ery­thing. So, they don’t just play with ta­lent. They ex­e­cute at the de­fen­sive end of the floor. On of­fence, no team is more un­selfish find­ing the open man and that sort of thing.”

The War­riors have shown their strength by blast­ing through the play­offs in the nor­mally rugged West.

Golden State is shoot­ing 50 per cent from the field while av­er­ag­ing 118.3 points in 12 play­off games. As good as the of­fence has been, it’s been the War­riors’ de­fence that has been key to their play­off dom­i­nance. Golden State held San Antonio, Utah and Port­land to 102 points and av­er­aged 9.2 steals per game.

“I think our de­fen­sive in­ten­sity has been amaz­ing,” Green said. “Over­all, I think we’ve done a great job lock­ing in on the de­fen­sive side, scram­bling around, try­ing to take away team’s No. 1 op­tion. That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean the player, just try­ing to make them go to a sec­ond or third op­tion in the set and also try­ing to cover that. I think we’ve been do­ing a great job of that.”

"1 1)050

Golden State War­riors for­ward Kevin Du­rant (left) con­trols the ball in front of San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green dur­ing Game 4 of the NBA Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals on Mon­day in San Antonio.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.