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NBA Finals: Warriors look to clinch second title without Draymond Green

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Andre Iguodala of the Warriors contests a shot by LeBron James of the Cavaliers.

Andre Iguodala of the Warriors contests a shot by LeBron James of the Cavaliers.

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — Steve Kerr would have appreciated receiving a little more notice from the NBA in its decision to suspend forward Draymond Green for Game 5. A heads-up would have helped him in the process of game preparations.

“It didn’t happen, so whatever,” Kerr said Sunday morning at Warriors practice.

Green was suspended from the game after he was assessed a flagrant foul for an incident with Cavaliers star LeBron James during Game 4 in Cleveland. The infraction ran his playoff flagrant fouls point total to four, which calls for an automatic one-game suspension.

In their announcement, the NBA said Green “made unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin” of LeBron James, who also received a technical for his part in the fourth quarter incident.

Kerr later said he was more disappointed in the fact Green won’t be allowed to play than his behavior on the court, but there is little time to focus on that now. The Warriors have the opportunity to clinch their second-consecutive NBA title Monday night, on their home court at Oracle Arena.

“We’re going to come out aggressive and confident, just like we would if Draymond was playing,” MVP Stephen Curry said. “We understand what we’re playing for, and that’s all that matters. So we hope to have a great night, take care of the details of the game. Individual guys step up and play pretty special and have special efforts and come out with a win.”

Center Andrew Bogut says the pressure has shifted even more on to the shoulders of the Cavs’ players now, especially since experts aren’t picking Golden State to win Monday night without the presence of Green.

“The pressure’s back on them. We’re not supposed to win tomorrow, not by anybody’s picks,” Bogut said. “We like those situations. We like going into those games on our floor. We’re going to try to wrap it up.”

The Warriors have two titles in franchise history, both of which were clinched on the road in 1975 and last year in Cleveland.

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Klay Thompson, one-half of the Warriors’ Splash Brother tandem, said they’ll approach the situation the same way they’ve been doing it all season: next-man-up.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m not going to let it get us down,” Thompson said. “We had a next-man-up approach all year. Draymond, we know it’s going to kill him not being there, but we’re going to go out there and do it as a team and win for him. Go out there and try to make a statement on our home floor.”

Golden State has ended each round of the playoffs on their home court this postseason.

For Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, the absence of Green leaves him in a situation of also figuring out what to do with his lineup. He, too, recognizes the importance Green represents on the court for the Warriors.

“He brings a toughness to their team,” Lue said. “He’s the heart and soul of their team.”

After sticking with Richard Jefferson as a starter in Game 4, you could likely see him opt to move Kevin Love back into the starting five. With Green out, Love can be a bigger factor on offense and on the boards. James played nearly 46 minutes in Game 4, but might have spent too much time trying to get his teammates involved in the first half, scoring only seven points on six shots.

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India Rising puts forth valiant effort in loss to Boeheim’s Army in TBT

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SYRACUSE (Diya TV) — With The Basketball Tournament commencing, most eyes have been set on Boeheim’s Army and their path to repeating as champions. However, their first match provided an opponent true to its name: India Rising. 

While one may look at the 90-62 score and disregard the India Rising squad, when watching the game, the team did truly give Boeheim’s Army a run for their money in the first half. Facing a team full of guys who played under one of the greatest basketball coaches ever, Jim Boeheim, India Rising jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and was able to keep pace with Boeheim’s Army for a substantial amount of time. Most people may have written them off early but they kept fighting. They had a clear cut goal to bring attention to basketball players of Indian descent by pulling off a cinderella win and carve a path for themselves. It is clear that they put in their full effort to try and realize those goals.

In the second half, Boeheim’s army was able to pull away but India Rising had made their message clear: Indian ballers should not be overlooked. The box score does not paint the real picture of how much heart, determination, and grit India Rising displayed to get more recognition. General manager Gautam Kapur and head coach Ajay Sharma have done an excellent job overseeing the initiative and giving the best Indian hoopers a chance to shine on a big stage. 

In a 64 team tournament, India Rising stood out and gave a near-professional squad a tough time. For what this team set out to achieve, no heads should be hung low. India Rising should be getting the recognition they so rightfully deserve.

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Warriors win Game 5 at home, now just one game away from the title

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —The Golden State Warriors are just one win away from their fourth title in eight years. The Dubs returned home and overpowered the Boston Celtics 104-94 to take a 3-2 series lead, even though Stephen Curry only scored 16. Infact, Curry did not make a single three, a first in the last 3.5 years. Andrew Wiggins on the other hand matched Tatum while scoring a team-high 26 points and added 13 rebounds, including the dagger dunk to finish off Boston. 

Draymond Green saw glimpses of a turnaround game as he was very close to a triple double before fouling out for the 3rd time in this series. Klay Thompson made a great contribution on the offensive end with 21 points, on the third anniversary of his horrific injury in the finals against the Cavaliers in 2019 . The Warriors trio of Curry, Thompson and Green were able to cement themselves even further with their 20th Finals win together, the most of any trio over the past 30 years.

The Celtics saw franchise star Jayson Tatum have a better game scoring wise than the last game with a team-high 27 points. But while Tatum showed up for game 5, Jaylen Brown did not. When both of those players are on at the same time, the Celtics can light it up. However, there has been inconsistency from both throughout the Finals. The C’s will need both guys to be on for them to fend off the Dubs and force a Game 7.

The Warriors can close out the series and add a 7th ring to their collection with a win on Thursday in the hostile environment of TD Garden. A collective team effort would do the trick as in Game 4, Curry shouldered the load while the rest of his supporting cast did the same for him. The Celtics will look to put forth their best effort of the season in a final effort to keep their season alive. It could very well come down to if both Tatum and Brown can prove they can be a dynamic duo on the biggest stage.

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Warriors seal Game 4 victory with an epic Steph Curry performance, tie series 2-2

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BOSTON (Diya TV) — The Warriors, seal Game 4 victory with a vintage Stephen Curry performance, evened up the NBA Finals in an absolute thriller, winning 107-97.

The start of the game saw both teams match each other pound for pound with Boston ultimately taking the first quarter by a single point. There were notions before the game about Curry having a foot sprain, but he quickly laid those doubts to rest. He began to heat up in the first quarter (and talked some trash along the way). Conversely, Draymond Green continued his finals performance with more fouls than points. Robert Williams III showed off his skills as a rim protector on defense, which was a missing piece for the Celtics up until the point of Williams’ return. In the first half, Curry and Jayson Tatum battled against each other in classic star matchup fashion with Curry scoring 19 and Tatum going for 16. Tatum was money from beyond the arc (made 3 out of his 4 three-point attempts), just like he’s been all Finals as he’s been shooting 48% on 3’s.

The officiating in the first half was questionable, especially in the second quarter when Payton Pritchard clearly traveled and yet a foul was called instead. This set off Warriors HC Steve Kerr and his temper led to him getting a technical foul. For a non-call to be that egregious and then to double down by giving Kerr the technical foul is asinine and something that certainly sparked controversy. Attention was also brought to the Celtics free throw attempts versus the Warriors (15 and 5 respectively) even with both teams attacking the basket often. Despite this disparity, the Warriors were able to keep it within 5 at the end of the half.

More Curry magic continued in the second half with him carrying the team on his back, in essence. 43 points highlight the stat line but when watching the game, it was clear as day that he was really the only dependable source of scoring throughout the ballgame for the Dubs. With 7 threes made tonight, we saw the greatest shooter in league history go to work and will his team to victory. In the biggest stage of basketball, Curry made his mark once again.

The Celtics now face a daunting Game 5 heading to San Francisco. Winning both games on their home court would have all but sealed a championship for them. But now, the door has not only creaked, but swung wide open. The #1 defense in the NBA will gameplan to try and find answers for Curry. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be facing a challenging environment in Chase Center, but one they are familiar with. 

Meanwhile, the Warriors will look to capitalize off the momentum and adrenaline this win has given them. Off the heels of a classic performance, Curry will try to carry on his titanium-strong Finals MVP case. Draymond Green, coming back to friendly faces in San Francisco, will try to turn around an awful stretch. This series is shaping up to be a dramatic one with both teams trading blows. Game 5 should deliver more popcorn-worthy entertainment, especially if Stephen Curry is involved.

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