Durant delivers deja vu ‘assassin’ dagger into Cavaliers
- Marjorie Weaver
Iguodala had averaged 11.4 points in his 18 previous Finals games - including a 20-point showing for Golden State in last year's title clincher against Cleveland. In that Game 3 win at The Q, the Warriors withstood poor shooting games by their All-Star backcourt - leaning on Kevin Durant, who poured in 43 points to push the Wine & Gold to the edge.
Although the recency bias falls with Durant, James had a 33-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double in 47 minutes in Game 3.
Through three quarters, Warriors not named Kevin Durant had only 49 points and had misfired on all but two of their 13 3-point tries. "We still have to have that enthusiasm, trust and belief that we can get this thing done".
The Cavs are now on the clock for what could be a franchise-altering summer, as LeBron James hits free agency and could leave Cleveland for the second time in his career.
When the Miami Heat beat Oklahoma City Thunder to win the 2012 National Basketball Association championship, it was clear that it wouldn't be the last time LeBron James and Kevin Durant would meet in the Finals. "When they make you pay, it's a 3-0 or 6-0 or 9-0 run, and it comes in bunches".
And there is curiosity if James might leave Cleveland again to unite with the best possible talent, potentially doing what Durant did with the Warriors. "He's one of the best one-on-one players in our league.?" "I thought we'd have to face them for a while".
In the pre-KD days, if a team was able to hold the Splash Brothers to 21 combined points in a Playoff game, that would nearly guarantee a victory.
Even taking that into account, nobody needed Warriors and Cavs to meet in the Finals for the fourth year in a row-and not because seeing the same two teams slug it out year after year becomes boring.
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And this might have been the toughest one yet for Curry, even counting all those losing seasons early in his career, plagued by multiple injuries and so much missed time.
Curry had 11 points while McGee, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Jordan Ball all had 10 for the Warriors. Kevin Love drilled a tone-setting three-point on the first possession, sending the crowd into fits, and J.R. Smith, who most definitely did not enjoy his trip to Oakland, hit one soon thereafter.
He finally secured his first championship by overcoming his rival a year ago, claiming the Finals MVP award in the process.
Cavaliers fans waited outside the Warriors' team hotel after the loss apparently to heckle the players.
Golden State has been complete again since Curry returned for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Pelicans following almost six weeks out with a sprained left knee. As the quarter was winding down, a little bit of déjà-vu would strike by way of a Durant three-point dagger to seal the game. On Wednesday, history repeated itself. He's also recorded at least 25 points, five boards, and five assists in 13 straight Finals games - a league record.
Rodney Hood made the most of his opportunity by contributing 15 points off the bench.