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Will the Warriors sweep, or will the Cavaliers live to fight another game?

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Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant celebrates with Stephen Curry, left, and Draymond Green (23) during the second half of Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 110-102 to take a 3-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Diya TV) – Stepping back after a dagger 33-feet 3-pointer with less than a minute left in the game, the ‘assassin’ as LeBron James called him, stood there savoring the moment as his teammates screamed in absolute joy. It was the Kevin Durant show. The Cavaliers setup an effective defense on Steph Curry, double teaming him and while he perhaps had the worst night of this finals series, it was Durant’s night to shine. With 43 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists the 6’9″ soft-spoken Warrior along with his supporting cast, executed exactly what the Warriors team is known for – Strength in Numbers. Switching the plays from Curry to Durant, Coach Kerr, chalked in yet another victory for his franchise.

Game 3 was the Cavaliers’s big chance to make a comeback, but this loss lifted the Warriors to places hard to reach. A comeback from a 3-0 deficit has never been done in the playoffs. But the Cavaliers have shown before that they can make history, so this series is still far from over.

The Cavaliers came back from a 2-0 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to win the Championship in Game 7 and did not allow the Warriors sweep them last year. However this year the Cavaliers have made many changes to their roster, including bringing on point guard George Hill & the aggressive and fierce shooting guard Rodney Hood and these two made their presence known in Game 3, despite the loss.

For the Warriors, with Durant in his second season with Golden State, their team chemistry has only gotten stronger.
“When a guy like Kevin Durant is hitting these shots, it’s a joy to watch. It’s amazing to be a part of,” Klay Thompson said, about Durant’s 3-pointer. This three is similar to the one last Finals in Game 3, one that was also crucial to the win.

The first and second quarter performances by the Cavaliers were extraordinary, they moved the ball and stopped Curry from finding his rhythm. In addition to having a firing offense, led by Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, they were able to maintain some good defense and keep a double-digit lead for part of the game. Tyronn Lue said, “I thought we played a good first half. They’re going to make runs. That’s what this team does. To be up 6 at the half after being up 13 in that first half, but they’re going to make runs.” Lue decided to play Rodney Hood last night, after benching him for most of the Celtics series. Hood’s 15 points gave himself and the Cavaliers new life, creating offense where there was none.

Stephen Curry was 3-16 from the field, with only 11 points, a rare performance for this all star. Klay Thompson wasn’t able to score much either, with just 10 points. However, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, JaVale McGee, and Jordan Bell pitched in. Shaun Livingston has only missed 1 field goal this entire series, pitching in 8 points. Iguodala, although not 100%, showed championship experience and grit with 8 points and a plus of 14. Coach Kerr said, “Andre was really good. He gave us much-needed minutes.” McGee racked in 10 points in 14 minutes and Bell had 10 points in 12 minutes.
Its that kind of team performance that has been the Warriors key to success.

History in Making

Game 3 uncovered a few historic moments in the NBA. Durant, with his notable performance, finished with a career-best in a playoff game and the third-highest point total in Warriors history in the Finals. He also, Durant surpassed veterans Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor on the NBA’s all-time postseason points list, at 17th place with a total of 3,636 points. He has maintained his streak of scoring 25 or more points in his first 13 Finals games.
This has only been matched by Shaquille O’Neal (first 20) and Michael Jordan (first 21).

Draymond Green passed Wilt Chamberlain and became the leader of most rebounds in the postseason for Golden State.
He also made franchise history, with his 100th playoff game, the 2nd Warrior to join Klay Thompson in this record.

Despite the loss, James had his 10th triple-double in the Finals, extending his personal record. He is climbing up the Finals’ leaderboards, coming in second in the all-time steals and points, third in assists, and fifth in rebounds.
He recorded his 110th playoff game with 30 or more points, passing Michael Jordon (109) for the most in NBA postseason. He also logged his 10,000th playoff minute during tonight’s game, becoming the first player in NBA history to do so.

Game 4 A Sweep or a Bloody Fight?

The Warriors have maintained they know the Cavaliers are no easy task and taking it for granted was never an option. The Warriors should have lost Game 1 had it not been for the unbelievable error by JR Smith, so the greatness of this opportunity to sweep, is not lost on them. “It’s just going to be …it’s a trap game. You let your guard down. You show up thinking that we’re going to show up and win, right? Start making preparations for celebrations. You can’t do that. You have to go against the grain.”, said Shaun Livingston

And given how critical Game 4 is for the Cavaliers, Curry reminded everyone, “Understanding that Game 4 is going to be the toughest game that we’ve played in the series, to close it out. We’re going to need energy, effort, focus from every
guy that steps foot on the floor for 48 minutes.”

For the Cavaliers, this is do or die, on home court. There is no way they will allow the Warriors to sweep them in Cleveland and spray champagne in their locker rooms. Earlier today JR Smith said, “Just know that our backs are up against the wall and if we don’t win, it’s over. So if that’s not enough motivation for you, I don’t know what is. It’s The Finals, and we’ve got to come out and play the way we know how.”

Kevin love is keenly aware of what it will take, “For us, that margin of error is very small. We know that if we keep our coverages tight; we foul when we need to; we switch when we’re supposed to; we don’t let them slip to the rim, get those easy buckets that are deflating; and then on the offensive end in the third quarter we don’t get stagnant and play a full 48 minutes of moving the ball and playing our game, we’ll give ourselves a chance and we feel like we can win.”

As for James, his message is clear and simple, “You’ve just got to try to hunker down and get stops and try to create a little space.’

It all unfolds Friday night at 9PM Easter/6PM Pacific at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

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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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