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Warriors, Cavaliers prepare for NBA Finals, the stakes are high on both benches

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NBA Finals
NBA Finals

The storylines for these NBA Finals stretch far beyond the legacies of LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — The unprecedented fact that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are preparing to square off in their third-straight NBA Finals matchup is a big enough storyline in itself to make this tournament an instant classic.

When the series kicks off Thursday night at Oracle Arena, the ramifications — on both benches — will run much deeper than settling a rubber match between two clubs that have struck up as deep a rivalry as any in the history of professional sports. Each team will send A-list players to the court, all of whom will have legacies on the line in a number of ways.

These Finals have the potential to play out in the likes of which we have never seen.

“It’s exciting,” Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said during Wednesday’s Finals media day. “You take the bus in here over the today, and you see that Finals logo. It’s special.

“It’s something that, being a basketball fan, and having come from a basketball family and having it in my blood, it’s — I grew up watching the Finals, and wanted to be part of the Finals. So to come in here today, it’s definitely something that’s not lost on us, and it’s a great opportunity for us.

“It’s special.”

Showcased at the front of every dialogue leading into Thursday night’s opening tipoff, forged into every storyline, is one the NBA hopes this series will make up for in what has largely been observed as a disappointing postseason tournament — the Cavaliers and Warriors literally demolished their opponents en route to their third consecutive meeting, with Golden State still undefeated and Cleveland having lost just one game these playoffs. The two teams have a combined playoff record this postseason of 24-1.

The leading men, of course, are the likes of Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry for the Warriors and LeBron James for the Cavaliers.

Durant so dramatically announced his move to Golden State last summer when the free agent window opened, this after he and his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals after squandering a 3-1 series lead. Durant has reached NBA’s mecca only once before in his career — in 2012, he and the upstart Thunder squared off against none other than LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Durant has, since then, spent five years waiting to return to this stage, enduring one postseason shortcoming after the other.

The stakes for the 28-year-old Durant couldn’t be any more clear: win a championship this season, and his choice to join the Warriors last summer will become validated. For Golden State, a win in this series could potentially serve as the framework of the beginnings of the NBA’s next dynasty.

On the flip side, lose again to James, and failing to win a championship after joining a team that had already won a record 73 games and came within one win of a championship last season, could cast him adrift, similar to what happened to James when his Heat failed to beat the Dallas Mavericks in his first season in Miami in 2011.

“I just take it a day at a time,” Durant said. “I try not to think about, ‘[Was] this year better than the last?’ I know I’ve grown as a player, just through experience, from the last five years, but if I don’t go out there and execute, none of it matters.

“I’m here now. And everything… in the past? It happened, and I learned from it, and hopefully it makes me better this time around.”

Surely, Curry will share a similar sentiment. The 29-year-old two-time league MVP has seen his on-court performance tame in the past two NBA Finals, a far less version of the player that spends the regular season dominating the league. He won back-to-back MVP awards, but was beaten out for the Finals MVP award by Andre Iguodala when the Warriors won two years ago. And after being injured earlier in the playoffs last season he had moments of brilliance he couldn’t sustain as the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead and watched the Cavaliers celebrate a championship here a year ago.

Today, Curry returns to the sport’s mountaintop playing his basketball yet — he has averaged 28.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 43.1 percent from three-point range. Not only would a strong performance in the Finals serve to hush the critics who have labeled his regular season production as overhyped, but it would also allow the Warriors to erase the feeling of having a second straight title slip through their fingers last season.

“It’s been a great motivating factor,” he said. “I have great memories of and terrible memories of last year, but they’re both lessons that you can learn going into the series, knowing what it takes to win, how important every possession is, focusing on the details.

“I don’t want to feel what I felt last year, and to do everything in my power to attack every game with that kind of perspective.”

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Deaths of Indian American family in Iowa ruled murder-suicide

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Iowa murder suicide

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (Diya TV) — Iowa police say the shooting deaths of an Indian American family in West Des Moines, Iowa was a murder-suicide. Police said autopsies determined 44-year-old Chandrasekhar Sunkara’s death was a suicide. And the deaths of his wife, 41-year-old Lavanya Sunkara, and their two boys, aged 15 and 10, were homicides.

Top diplomats from the U.S. and India are meeting later this month to continue trade negotiations.

India said this week they will increase tariffs on US exports effective immediately, impacting items like apples, almonds, lentils and several chemical products.

The tax has raised the ire of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who blamed the situation on President Trump. California almond exports to India are worth more than $650 million a year.

21-year-old Bishwajeet Kumar Jha, who authorities say was the head of a group of Indian college students who cheated more than 20 people out of nearly $1 million in a tech support telemarketing fraud scheme, received a five year sentence to prison in Rhode Island.

And we’ll introduce you to the pioneering broadcasters who called the NBA Finals in Punjabi for the very first time.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Indian American family of four killed at home in Iowa

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Iowa Family killed

DES MOINES (Diya TV) — Investigators in Des Moines, Iowa say the Sunkara family, an Indian American family of four, were found dead in their home over the weekend. All four had gunshot wounds. There is no suspect in custody.

The 5th International Day of Yoga (IDY) was celebrated around the world this weekend. Thousands flocked to the Washington Monument in Washington DC, where yoga enthusiasts of all ages took part in the event, including representatives from the White House, US Department of State and the Ambassadors of Nepal, Mauritius and Myanmar.

The alums of the Indian Institutes of Technology gathered in Silicon Valley for their annual conference, featuring talks by Microsoft Chairman John Thompson and Bhavish Aggarwal, the CEO of Ola Cabs.

India is now 7-0 against Pakistan in Cricket World Cup games, after winning by 89 runs in a match interrupted by rain.

And we spoke to Toronto Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia after his team won their first NBA title. Nav told our Ravi Kapur exclusively he will part of the championship parade and even received a ring from the owner.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Raptors win first ever NBA championship over the Golden State Warriors

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Toronto Raptors win 2019 NBA Finals

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) —  The first Canadian team ever to win the NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors fought earnestly and took down the NBA’s newest dynasty: the Warriors. The Raptors faced many hurdles in the playoffs, trailing 1-0 against the Magic and 2-0 against the Bucks. They put all of that behind and surged towards a 3-1 start in the Finals, which became increasingly difficult for the Warriors to overcome as they were tackled with injuries.

Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP, joined an elite group of players which have won a Finals MVP on two different teams. Among these players are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James, and now Leonard with a Finals MVP with San Antonio and Toronto.

Toronto was filled with star-power, with Fred VanVleet stepping up in the fourth quarter with three-pointers, and Pascal Siakam taking crucial layups in the paint. Kyle Lowry contributed throughout the series, whether rebounds, points, or simply aggression was needed. This lineup, together, took down NBA’s lastest dynasty.

The Warriors, however, put up a worthy fight, staying inches away from winning even with their best player Kevin Durant out and then the sudden loss of Klay Thompson in Game 6. Both teams fought with fervor and passion, with the Raptors inching closer to the Larry O’Brian Trophy as every second on the clock.

Looking Ahead

With the offseason looming, many questions are yet to be answered. Will this Raptors team maintain its core and stay together? If so, will they be able to storm into next season with skillful play? Most likely, yes. After what they have put together, the intention would be to establish themselves as the new NBA dynasty and completely overthrow the Warriors. Nick Nurse won his first championship in his first season coaching the Raptors. With the coach not likely to move, it seems as if the core will stay in place.

The Warriors’ offseason is uncertain, as this aging team has its contracts expiring. Kevin Durant is invariably out for next season after suffering a devastating achilles injury. Will he stay with the Warriors, or will he sign with another team? His injury may influence which team picks him up, as he will be out of commission for the upcoming season. Klay Thompson will become a free agent, but will he stick with the Warriors and his fellow Splash Brother Steph Curry, or lead another team? In addition, players like Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston are aging and may not be able to play as much. The Warriors will need to cultivate the young players, like Alfonzo McKinnie, to be successful.

This was the Warriors’ last game in Oracle Arena, as next season, they will be moving to Chase Center in San Francisco. Will they be able to make a championship run there, or will the Raptors emerge victorious again? It all remains unanswered, but for now, the Raptor roars.

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