War­riors can end 40-year drought if they can over­take the Cava­liers

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JIM SLATER

Stephen Curry and his Golden State team­mates face the big­gest game of their ca­reers Tues­day as the War­riors visit Cleve­land with a chance to cap­ture their first NBA ti­tle in 40 years.

Com­ing off a 104-91 home tri­umph Sun­day, the War­riors own a 3-2 edge in the best-of­seven cham­pi­onship se­ries with the Cava­liers need­ing a game-six vic­tory to force a sev­enth game Fri­day back in Cal­i­for­nia.

“This is go­ing to be the big­gest game any of us have ever played in our ca­reers,” said War­riors for­ward An­dre Iguo­dala.

“It’s all about stay­ing locked in, about know­ing it’s not go­ing to be given to us. We have to earn it.”

NBA Most Valu­able Player Curry has re­cov­ered from de­hy­dra­tion af­ter a 37-point per­for­mance in game five and will be ready Tues­day.

“The close­out game is al­ways the hard­est game in ev­ery se­ries, but par­tic­u­larly in the fi­nals,” War­riors coach Steve Kerr said.

“There’s a lot of emo­tion. You’re right there on the cusp of some­thing, but you still have to get the job done, and in this case we’ll be on the road against a great team.”

None of Golden State’s play­ers were alive in 1975 when the War­riors last won the NBA Fi­nals. And the lineup could be­come the first with no prior NBA Fi­nals ex­pe­ri­ence to take the crown since the 1991 Chicago Bulls.

“Treat it like game seven,” War­riors guard Klay Thompson said. “As much as we would love to win it in front of our fans, we re­ally want to fin­ish it in Cleve­land.”

But LeBron James, car­ry­ing the scor­ing and set-up load for the in­jury-hit Cava­liers around a set of role play­ers, has other ideas.

“We don’t want them cel­e­brat­ing at all, no mat­ter if it’s on our home floor or their home floor,” James said. “We’ve come this far and we’ve been very good at home.”

Fa­tigued by a fast-paced War­riors lineup and lim­ited sub­sti­tu­tion op­tions, the Cava­liers were beaten hand­ily at home in game four, some­thing they hope to avoid re­peat­ing.

“We have to un­der­stand why we weren’t good in game four,” James said. “We had a lack of energy. We had a lack of ef­fort in a lot of ar­eas in game four and we can’t re­peat that or they will raise the tro­phy for sure.”

The War­riors could be­come the first team with a rookie coach to win the ti­tle since Pat Ri­ley with the 1982 Los An­ge­les Lak­ers.

But James is a threat for a break­out game at any stage af­ter an all-around per­for­mance for the ages in the fi­nal.

“He’s phe­nom­e­nal. He does ev­ery­thing,” Kerr said of James. “But I’m not en­joy­ing the mar­veling.”

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