Curry buries rem­nants of ri­valry

Golden State star dom­i­nates in lop­sided tri­umph over out­classed Cavaliers

China Daily - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND — Their fierce ri­valry is over, re­duced to only mem­o­ries.

The Golden State War­riors and Cleve­land Cavaliers had some­thing spe­cial, four straight NBA Fi­nals that Steph Curry will one day sa­vor. Some day.

“It was his­toric,” Curry said. “I’ll def­i­nitely sit back on the couch in 10 or 12 years when it’s all over and think about what it was like to play here, and how high the stakes were ev­ery time we came into this build­ing.”

Right now, Curry and the War­riors aren’t ready to rem­i­nisce.

Curry made nine 3-point­ers and scored 42 points, Kevin Du­rant added 25 as Golden State re­turned to face a very dif­fer­ent Cleve­land team for the first time since win­ning an­other NBA ti­tle, whip­ping the Cavs 129-105 on Wed­nes­day night.

Fully healed after miss­ing 11 games with a strained groin, Curry scored nine points in less than a minute mid­way through the fourth quar­ter to help the War­riors pull away for their eighth straight win over their for­mer Fi­nals ri­vals.

Curry added nine re­bounds and seven as­sists, and Du­rant had 10 re­bounds and nine as­sists.

It was Golden State’s first visit to Cleve­land since June, when the War­riors com­pleted a sweep to win their third cham­pi­onship in four years.

Noth­ing in Quicken Loans Arena felt or looked the same.

“There were more me­dia mem­bers here the last cou­ple of years. We were talk­ing about that be­fore we ran out on the floor,” said Du­rant.

“It was a cir­cus here dur­ing the Fi­nals. You start think­ing about the great mem­o­ries you had, es­pe­cially the cham­pi­onship.

“I’m sure we’ll feel those feel­ings ev­ery time we walk into the build­ing.”

This was the first matchup be­tween the War­riors and Cavaliers since LeBron James left as a free agent last sum­mer, even­tu­ally sign­ing with the LA Lak­ers.

The Cavs are start­ing from scratch after a four-year run as East­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons, and they’re strug­gling with­out All-Star Kevin Love, who is re­cov­er­ing from foot surgery. For­ward JR Smith is out of the lineup on a forced hia­tus.

There are no play­off plans in Cleve­land, where fans are more in­ter­ested in watch­ing Duke Univer­sity games than what the Cavs are do­ing.

Tris­tan Thomp­son, one of the only holdovers from those pow­er­ful Cavs teams, had 19 re­bounds and 14 points. Rookie Col­lin Sex­ton scored 20 points for Cleve­land.

For War­riors coach Steve Kerr, the Golden State-Cleve­land Fi­nals, a four-act play loaded with drama and in­ten­sity, had it all.

“Some of the best bas­ket­ball I’ve ever seen in my life,” Kerr said be­fore the game.

“Ob­vi­ously, they have a new team and so you move on. But part of me is a lit­tle nos­tal­gic for that.

“Now it’s not a ri­valry, it’s an­other game. They’re try­ing to build some­thing and we’re try­ing to con­tinue our run for as long as we can.”

The War­riors had trou­ble shak­ing the Cavs un­til Curry took con­trol.

Golden State’s lead was just 10 when he got fouled while hit­ting a 3-pointer and com­pleted the four­point play.

He then buried an­other 3 and fol­lowed that with two free throws to put the War­riors ahead 116-99 with 5:34 left.

Kerr isn’t sur­prised Curry is back to be­ing him­self.

“It’s pretty rare, but Steph is rare in gen­eral in ev­ery­thing he does,” he said.

“We’ve seen it be­fore where Steph was out with an in­jury and comes back and starts light­ing it up right away.

“The guy keeps him­self in amaz­ing shape, which al­lows him to come back pretty quickly from an in­jury.”


War­riors: Kerr said Dray­mond Green (sprained toe) could re­turn as early as Mon­day when Golden State hosts Min­nesota. Green has grad­u­ally in­creased his on-court work of late and Kerr said “he’s re­ally mak­ing strides”.

Cavaliers: Thomp­son, too, said the War­riors-Cavaliers ri­valry is of­fi­cially over. “It’s in the past. New sea­son. New team. Our ball club is dif­fer­ent and they’ve made some changes, but pre­dom­i­nantly the same. That’s all the last four years,” Thomp­son said.

“That was great for the NBA. Now we’re in a new chap­ter for our or­ga­ni­za­tion.”


Golden State War­riors' Stephen Curry drives to the bas­ket against Cleve­land Cavaliers' Jor­dan Clark­son in the sec­ond half of Wed­nes­day’s NBA game in Cleve­land. Curry had 42 points to lead the War­riors to a 129-105 vic­tory.

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