War­riors with­stand James, beat Cava­liers 3-2 in fi­nal

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY AN­TO­NIO GON­ZA­LEZ

The Golden State War­riors are a win away from end­ing one long cham­pi­onship drought and ex­tend­ing an­other.

Stephen Curry made seven 3-point­ers and scored 37 points, and the War­riors with­stood an­other bril­liant per­for­mance from LeBron James to out­last the Cleve­land Cava­liers 104-91 on Sun­day night for a 3-2 lead in the NBA Fi­nals.

With a sell­out crowd rocking and roar­ing in their golden-yel­low shirts, the newly minted MVP and his team­mates took con­trol of the game — and pos­si­bly the se­ries — in the fi­nal min­utes. Curry con­nected in­side and out — some­times way out — to help the War­riors pull away.

“He took over the game down the stretch,” War­riors coach Steve Kerr said.

The War­riors will try to win their first ti­tle since 1975 on Tues­day night in Cleve­land, which hasn’t won a ma­jor sports cham­pi­onship in 51 years. Game 7, if nec­es­sary, would be in Oak­land on Fri­day night.

James car­ried Cleve­land as far as he could. The four-time MVP had 40 points, 14 re­bounds and 11 as­sists, slow­ing down the pace the way only he can.

James made 15 of 34 shots in 44 min­utes.

It was James’ sec­ond triple-dou­ble of this se­ries. But the de­pleted Cavs, with­out starters Kyrie Irv­ing and Kevin Love, tired again late with a ro­ta­tion that has gone just seven or eight deep.

“He has the ball in his hands a lot. Stick with the pro­gram. Don’t get dis­cour­aged if he makes shots. He’s go­ing to,” Curry said of James. “Over the course of 48 min­utes, we hope we wear him down to make it very tough on him.”

Dray­mond Green had 16 points and nine re­bounds, An­dre Iguo­dala added 14 points, eight re­bounds and seven as­sists, and Le­an­dro Bar­bosa scored 13 points in re­serve for the deep and tal­ented War­riors.

Tris­tan Thomp­son tal­lied 19 points and 10 re­bounds, and J.R. Smith scored all 14 of his points in the first half for Cleve­land, which shot 39.5 per­cent.

Un­der the cur­rent 2- 2- 1- 1- 1 sched­ule for­mat, the win­ner of Game 5 in a 2-2 se­ries has won the ti­tle 12 of 14 times.

But no­body can feel too com­fort­able af­ter this one.

There were 20 lead changes and 10 ties in a game that fea­tured nearly as many bruises as bas­kets — but few big men — and the league’s two big­gest at­trac­tions trad­ing thrilling scores.

James made a 34-footer with the shot clock about to ex­pire mid­way through the fourth to cut the War­riors’ lead to 80-79. Curry an­swered with a step-back 3-pointer and Klay Thomp­son, who scored 12, fol­lowed with an­other.

Iguo­dala later hit a 3 and then grabbed a re­bound, toss­ing in a left-handed put back while get­ting fouled by Tris­tan Thomp­son. Iguo­dala strut­ted back to mid­court, star­ing at the an­nounced crowd of 19,596 — just about all of them on their feet through the fourth — be­fore miss­ing the free throw.

Curry added a cut­ting layup, then lost Matthew Dellave­dova off the drib­ble and stepped back for a 3 that gave Golden State a 96-86 lead with 2:44 left.

James hit a 3-pointer, and the Cavs be­gan foul­ing Iguo­dala — a sub-par free throw shooter. But Curry never let the game get out of his hands, con­nect­ing on an­other 3-pointer with 1:12 left that had him pound­ing his chest and point­ing to the sky.

“We didn’t let the mo­ment slip,” Curry said.

Kerr stuck with the small-ball lineup he used to win Game 4, start­ing swing­man Iguo­dala over cen­ter An­drew Bogut. Cavs coach David Blatt re­placed 7- footer Ti­mofey Moz­gov with guard Smith — slid­ing James to cen­ter — af­ter Cleve­land fell be­hind 8-2 in the open­ing min­utes.

Both teams lacked size. Nei­ther lacked fight.

Smith made four of his first seven 3- point­ers be­fore go­ing cold, but landed his big­gest shot when he ex­tended his right fore­arm and shoul­der to plow through Dray­mond Green’s screen, knock­ing the War­riors for­ward to the ground. Of­fi­cials called a fla­grant 1 foul on Smith af­ter a re­view.

Dellave­dova dragged Green down go­ing for a re­bound in the sec­ond quar­ter, and the of­fi­cials as­sessed dou­ble fouls af­ter the play­ers got tan­gled up on the floor. James Jones also grabbed Iguo­dala with two arms from be­hind on a layup at­tempt, which the War­riors ar­gued should’ve been a fla­grant foul.

The phys­i­cal first half ended with Har­ri­son Barnes putting back Curry’s miss for a dunk over James to start a three-point play that put the War­riors up 51-50. James scored or as­sisted on 16 of Cleve­land’s 17 field goals in the half.

James strug­gled to sup­ply the same power in the third quar­ter, scor­ing just four points and hand­ing out one as­sists. The War­riors closed on a 10-2 run to take a 73-67 lead en­ter­ing the fourth, which James erased quickly.

AP

Golden State War­riors for­ward Har­ri­son Barnes, cen­ter, dunks over Cleve­land Cava­liers guard Mike Miller, left, and cen­ter Ti­mofey Moz­gov dur­ing the sec­ond half of Game 5 of bas­ket­ball’s NBA Fi­nals in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia on Sun­day, June 14.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.