GOLDEN SWEEP

Ruth­less War­riors breeze past Spurs to book spot in NBA Fi­nals

New Straits Times - - Sport -

STEPHEN Curry and Kevin Du­rant led the way as the Golden State War­riors sealed a clean sweep of the San Antonio Spurs to reach their third con­sec­u­tive NBA Fi­nals berth on Mon­day.

Curry scored 36 points and Du­rant weighed in with 29 as the War­riors pow­ered to a 129-115 win to com­plete a 4-0 vic­tory in the best-of-seven Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals series.

It was the third con­sec­u­tive series sweep of the 2017 post­sea­son for the War­riors, who are now 12-0 in the play­offs head­ing into the fi­nals.

Du­rant, who at­tracted con­tro­versy af­ter his block­buster move from Ok­la­homa City Thun­der last year to the War­riors, was de­lighted to be back in the NBA Fi­nals once again.

The 28-year-old for­ward, who also pulled down 12 re­bounds and con­trib­uted four as­sists, ad­mit­ted he and Curry had re­dis­cov­ered their un­der­stand­ing fol­low­ing the mid-sea­son in­jury that side­lined him for around 20 games.

“Our chem­istry is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter and we’re go­ing to need it even more who­ever we play in the fi­nals,” Du­rant said.

“It’s great to be one of the last two teams stand­ing — we’ll see what hap­pens.”

Curry mean­while ad­mit­ted he was rel­ish­ing his part­ner­ship with Du­rant.

“It makes the game fun,” Curry said. “The way we play the game and move the ball. Watch­ing him do what he does. It’s a fun way to play and we want to keep that up. I’m hav­ing fun, en­joy­ing what I do.

“Things are flow­ing. It’s a part of our iden­tity to get that mojo go­ing. I think we’re pre­pared for pretty much any­thing. We’re go­ing to be con­fi­dent and ready to go.”

Spurs fans mean­while bade what looked like a farewell to 39year-old Ar­gen­tinian leg­end Manu Gi­no­bili, who was given a rous­ing ova­tion as he left the court.

“He’s some­body I grew up watch­ing,” Du­rant said. “An amaz­ing com­peti­tor. I got noth­ing but love and re­spect for him.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Gi­no­bili had been handed a start­ing berth “out of re­spect.”

“This is a hall of fame player who al­lowed me to play him off the bench for the last decade or some­thing be­cause it would make us a bet­ter team over­all,” Popovich said. “He’s a big rea­son for our suc­cess. He de­served to have that night of re­spect so that he re­ally feels that we ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­thing he’s done for us over the years.”

The War­riors win keeps them on course for an un­prece­dented third con­sec­u­tive NBA Fi­nals meet­ing with the Cleve­land Cava­liers, who lead their Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals series against Bos­ton 2-1.

RE­SULT — Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals (best of seven series): Golden State 129 San Antonio 115 (Golden State win 4-0). AFP

EPA PIC

Golden State’s Stephen Curry (right) tus­sles for the ball with San Antonio’s Manu Gi­no­bili in Texas on Mon­day.

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