Game 4 Tipoff: 6 p.m. Friday at Quicken Loans Arena. TV: ABC. Radio: KGMZ 95.7 “The Game” in Oakland and San Francisco, KRTY 95.3 in San Jose, KUIC 95.3 in Solano County, KION 1460 and 101.1 in Salinas and Monterey.
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Game 1: Making his first NBA Finals appearance in five years, Kevin Durant proved he belonged on the big stage. He had 38 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and zero turnovers as the Warriors won 113-91. Durant scored 23 in the first half as Golden State took a 60-52 lead. In the third quarter, Stephen Curry picked up the offensive load, hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 14 in the period. The Warriors took control with a 13-0 run to start the third, the final eight in that streak scored by Curry on a 17-foot jumper and two 3-pointers. After Cleveland closed within 80-68, Golden State went on a 10-0 run to make it 90-68 with 1:28 remaining in the quarter. Curry had 28 points, 10 assists and three steals.
Game 2: The Cavaliers kept it close for a half, but a dash of Curry helped the Warriors take control in the third quarter of a 132-113 victory. Curry had a great all-around quarter, making up for a shaky first half that was lowlighted by his team-high six turnovers. Entering the third, Curry had 15 points but got 10 of them from the free-throw line after shooting only 2 for 8 from the field and 1 for 6 from 3-point range. But coming out of halftime, Curry was on his game. He scored 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting, including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc. He also had seven rebounds, five assists and only one turnover. That paved the way to Curry’s first postseason triple-double: 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Durant also had an impressive all-around game with 33 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and five blocked shots. And Klay Thompson broke out of a long shooting slump with 22 points, and still delivered another stellar defensive performance. Steve Kerr made his return to the Warriors’ bench after missing the previous 11 games.
Game 3: The Warriors took a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals with a 118-113 victory at Quicken Loans Arena, keeping their perfect postseason intact. Durant’s 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds left gave Golden State the lead for good at 114-113. The Warriors’ Big Three of Durant (31), Thompson (30) and Curry (26) combined for 87 points. Cleveland got monster games from LeBron James (39 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) and Kyrie Irving (38 points), but it wasn’t enough.
REMAINING SERIES SCHEDULE (if necessary)
Game 5: Monday, June 12 at Oracle Arena, 6 p.m. ABC
Game 6: Thursday, June 15 at Quicken Loans Arena, 6 p.m. ABC
Game 7: Sunday, June 18 at Oracle Arena, 5 p.m. ABC
HISTORY ON THE HORIZON
The Warriors are on the verge of completing the first perfect playoff run in NBA history. They would top the two one-loss teams in league history. The 2001 Los Angeles Lakers were 15-1, back when the first round was best-of-five. Their only loss was in Game 1 of the Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 1983 76ers were 12-1. As the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia had a bye into the conference semifinals, avoiding the first-round, best-of-three mini-series. The 76ers’ lone defeat was to Milwaukee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Warriors have left little doubt in the Game 4s they have played in these playoffs. In fact, they’re intensions were known right from the start. In the first-round against Portland, the Warriors opened leads of 14-0, 22-3 and 35-9 on their way to a 45-22 first-quarter lead and a 128-103 victory. Against Utah in the Western Conference semifinals, Golden State won 121-95, sparked by a 39-17 first quarter. In the Western Conference finals against depleted San Antonio, the Warriors set the tone with a 31-19 first quarter on their way to a 129-115 victory. Is this the fate that awaits the Cavaliers?
KD TO THE RESCUE
Durant was the key to the Warriors’ fourth-quarter comeback in Game 3. He scored 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting and hit two of this three 3-point attempts, including the one that turned out to be the game-winner. The Warriors outscored Cleveland 11-0 over the final 2:19, and Durant scored seven of those points.
NO REST FOR THE WEARY
Two of the more impressive numbers logged by James and Irving on Wednesday night were 45:37 and 44:23. That’s a combined 90 minutes the duo played. That means they rested a combined total of eight minutes. No wonder they were a bit off — a combined 4 for 12 from the field — in the fourth quarter. But what choice did Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue have? When James rested for the final 1:49 of the first quarter, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run to lead 39-32 at the end of the period.
Thompson delivered his best offensive game of the playoffs in Game 3. He scored 16 of his 30 points in the first quarter, getting Golden State off to a fast start. He also contributed four 3-pointers to the Warriors’ NBA Finals record of nine for the quarter. Thompson’s offense has come alive since the return of Kerr. In the four games Kerr has coached in these playoffs, Thompson is averaging 20.8 points and shooting 49.2 percent from the field (31 for 63) and 43.8 percent on 3-pointers (14 for 32). In 11 games without Kerr, Thompson averaged 13.5 points and shot 36.7 percent (55 for 150) from the field and 35.1 percent (20 for 57) from long range.
A J.R. SMITH SIGHTING
The Cavaliers actually had the highest-scoring trio on Wednesday night, thanks to a good game — finally — by J.R. Smith. James (39), Irving (38) and Smith (16) combined for 93 points. Smith came into Game 3 having totaled three points in the first two games. But shooting exclusively from 3-point range, he was 5 for 10 from the field.
COULD HAVE COST THEM
The Warriors were fortunate to survive their turnovers, especially in the first half, when they committed 12, leading to 16 Cavaliers points. For the night, Golden State had 18 miscues that produced 22 Cleveland points.