It was an interesting summer in the NBA as clubs looked to trade players in preparation for the 2016/17 NBA …
Golden state warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 to take a vital 1-0 series lead in the NBA finals last night. Warriors bench amassed 45 points in a game Warriors key players Shaun Livingston (20 points, four rebounds), Andre Iguodala (12 points, seven rebounds, six assists) and Leandro Barbosa (11 points) put the Cavaliers to the sword as coach Steve Kerr persisted with a second five that looked as strong as an NBA playoff team all on its own. On the contrary, Cleveland’s stars stood up. LeBron James (23 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists), Kyrie Irving (26 points) and Kevin Love (17 points, 13 rebounds) all had periods of dominance, most notably on that third quarter run that threatened to bust the game open and angered Kerr enough to smash his clipboard with his fist.But the Cavaliers bench, including Australian Matthew Dellavedova, combined for only 10 points. ALSO READ: Smalling Scores As England Defeat 10-Man Portugal They executed that plan and then some. Curry and Klay Thompson struggled mightily, going a combined 8-of-27. Curry ended the night with 11 points and Thompson only scored nine. But they had lots of help. The question mark was how would Love match up with the versatile Draymond Green. We still don’t know. Lue shuffled his defensive assignments around. Love started out guarding center Andrew Bogut and Tristan Thompson took Green. But the Cavs’ constant switching on pick-and-rolls left plenty of open space. Cleveland shot 38 percent for the game. They did a phenomenal job on the Splash Brothers, but were burned by the Warriors’ much-touted “strength in numbers.”
The Golden state Warriors have bounced back from a 3-1 series battle to clinch the Western conference title with an impressive game 7 victory over Okc Thunder. As they have all season long, OKC left the painful past behind them and opened with a 24-19 lead after the first quarter that made it clear Game 6 was a distant memory. Their defensive length and versatility, yet again, made things tough on this vaunted Warriors offense that shot just 34.8% (eight of 23). Thompson, whose 11-threepointer performance had put given Golden State this chance, missed all four of his shots. Thompson helped the Warriors stay afloat when their offense was stagnant yet again, hitting four threepointers in a row after missing his first seven shots. Curry was on point early, tallying 12 points and five assists, but he was in rare company. The Thunder, having let the Warriors crawl within four, used an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 45-33 – Adams hit a bucket in the lane, Westbrook converted a three-point play, Durant buried a jumper from the left during, and Adams added a free throw. But the finish, as was so often the case for them this season, left much to be desired. Warriors’ 29-12 period all came from offensive plays – the Curry three from deep on the right wing as Ibaka closed that cut the deficit to five, the Thompson three on the right wing over Adams, the Iguodala three from the right that came after Curry beat Durant baseline and curled a perfect pass to his teammate, and certainly the Curry three that followed on the right wing that tied it 54-54.But it was their defense – that stifling effort that forced the Thunder to miss 14 of 19 shots – that put them up 71-60 and on the verge of the Finals return. ALSO READ: Payet Scores Last Gasp Freekick To Lead France Past Cameroon Curry finished with 36 points (13 of 24 shooting overall, seven of 12 from three-point range), eight assists and five rebounds. His fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson – whose Game 6 performance brought them to this point – had six three-pointers in a 21-point outing. As a team, the Warriors hit 17 of 37 from three-point range. In Game 6 and 7 combined, the Warriors were 38 of 82 from three. Oklahoma City shot 38.2% overall, with Durant the only starter with an efficient night (27 points on 10 of 19 shooting). Russell Westbrook had a nightmare finish to his season, hitting just seven of 21 shots (to go with 13 assists).
Cleveland Cavaliers returned home for their NBA eastern conference Game 3 finals against the Toronto Raptors and they got 25 points from Kevin Love to trounce the Raptors 116-78 and take a vital 3-2 series lead,needing to win one game to qualify for the finals. The Cavs made a point of getting Love the ball right away and he responded by making all four field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer late in the first quarter that pushed the Cavs to a 37-19 lead.Cleveland’s onslaught continued in the second quarter, and when James got free for an easy two-handed dunk, Cavs fans could relax and begin making TV viewing plans for Friday night.These looked more like the Cavaliers who opened the postseason with 10 straight wins, obliterated the Raptors by a combined 50 points in Games 1 and 2 and given a chance to beat whomever survived in the West. LeBron James scored 23 points,eight assists and six rebounds in 31 minutes before checking out late in the third quarter with the Cavs up 37. He spent the fourth quarter resting on the bench while Cleveland’s reserves finished the romp.Kyrie Irving added 23 points and he, James and Love outscored the Raptors 43-34 in the first half. Cleveland has won its three games in the series by a combined 88 points.DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points and Kyle Lowry had 13 for the Raptors, who were overwhelmed from the start. Bismack Biyombo had just four rebounds after getting 40 the past two games. The only positive for Toronto was center Jonas Valanciunas, who returned after missing eight straight games with a sprained right ankle. He scored nine points in 18 minutes. ALSO READ: 5 Highlights Of Louis Van Gaal’s Reign At Manchester United Cleveland held Toronto to just 34 points in the opening half while building a 31-point halftime lead — the largest in conference finals history. Since their expansion arrival in 1993, the Raptors had never been down by 30 points before in any game — regular or postseason — at halftime but they have rarely seen a defense like this either.The Cavs were all over the court, swarming and stifling DeRozan and Lowry, who combined for 67 points in Game 4.