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Warriors complete comeback, advance to NBA Finals for second straight season

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Stephen Curry scored 36 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, as the Warriors beat the Thunder in Game 7 on Monday to reach the NBA Finals. (Ben Margot/Associated Press)

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — After seven games of the most dramatic basketball the NBA has ever seen, reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry showcased a magical 36-point performance, propelling the Golden State Warriors to their second Finals appearance in as many years.

The defending champions will square off against a familiar opponent, the same Cleveland Cavaliers squad they defeating during last spring’s tournament, with a few extra players this time around.

Curry’s 36-point performance exploded during the second half, where he recorded 24, including 15 during the final quarter. He added another eight assists and five rebounds in the Warriors 96-88 victory, where the team became just the tenth in league history to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit.

“Steph is gonna Steph,” center Festus Ezeli said. “He came out and showed why he is the MVP.”

Curry said after the game that he and his teammates believed all along the series victory would come — they listened to each other when it counted, not the noise happening around them.

“I knew we were ready for the moment,” he said. “(I knew) we were a mature basketball team that tried our best not to listen to the noise when we were down 3-1. … In that locker room, the talk was positive.”

Fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson netted 21 points in the contest, including six three-pointers fresh off his series-saving Game 6 performance. As a team, the Warriors went 17 of 37 from three-point range, and Game 6 and 7 combined, they went 38 of 82 from three. Thunder first-year head coach Billy Donovan acknowledged after the elimination that his squad missed multiple opportunities in three straight games to slay the defending champs.

“There was opportunity for us to close the series out in 5 and 6 and 7,” Donovan said. “I don’t know if that tells the full story of the seven games when you look at them in its entirety.”

While Golden State has become known for their prolific offense, it was their defensive work in Game 7 which rang loudest.

Oklahoma City shot just 38.2 percent overall for the game, with star point guard Russell Westbrook hitting just seven of 21 shots. Kevin Durant, who will likely be the hottest commodity on this summer’s free agent market, went 10 of 19 for 27 points. The widespread belief is that Durant will re-sign with the Thunder under the terms of a one-year contract.

“It is a lot of what-ifs,” he said after the game. “We could have said a lot of what-ifs throughout the whole playoffs.

“[But] you’ve got to credit them. They came out and played well the last three games of the series, and won three in a row. You’ve got to give them credit.”

While Curry is undoubtedly Golden State’s leader, head coach Steve Kerr said after the game the win, both in Game 7 and in the series, was a complete team effort.

“With everything on the line,” Kerr said, “our guys all came through.”

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