Connect with us

Basketball

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

Published

on

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.”

Basketball

Sacramento Kings embrace Indian following

Published

on

 

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Diya TV) —Hoping to capitalize on and embrace a Global market, the Sacramento Kings announced new jerseys, court emblems and decor that honors India and China.

Believed to be the first major sports franchise to include Hindu letters in any attire or decor, part of the Kings alternative court design for the 2017-18 season “reflects the design elements of the team’s global marks, including new logos specific to India and China.”

A team press release says, “as part of the franchise’s mission, the team strives to make basketball the premier sport of the 21st century beyond traditional borders.”

The team will use the customizable floor through the season when wearing the Global Uniform at home, geared at creating an “authentic connection with emerging international basketball audiences, from the court up through jerseys, apparel and more.”

During the team’s biggest global celebrations, Bollywood and Lunar New Year theme nights, interchangeable panels featuring a new regional logo – a Kings crown featuring the team’s name in Hindi or Mandarin – will be added to the floor. The Kings will also use these marks, in addition to the primary logo in future India and China endeavors.

For other games, the team’s global crest – a heralding lion, a symbol of leadership and strength recognized around the world – will remain at center court. The granite “S”, inspired by the city’s flag showing the inseparable link between the community and team, will wrap around the floor along the apron.

Bay Area software tycoon, Indian-American Vivek Ranadive is co-owner and chairman of the Kings. Prior to that, he was co-owner and vice chairman of the Golden State Warriors.

Continue Reading

Basketball

Will the Warriors pull off a historic 16-0 sweep at the NBA Finals?

Published

on

Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers  getting ready for a layup during Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals.

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Diya TV) — With one more victory, the 2017 Golden State Warriors will forever be in the discussion as the greatest team in NBA history. All that’s standing in their way is LeBron James, a man trying to secure his own legacy, and the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Leading the charge is Kevin Durant, the Warriors’ prized offseason acquisition, who is likely to win his first NBA Finals MVP award.

“All I was looking at was the bottom of the net. I saw he (James) was playing his heels behind the 3-point line. I’ve been working on that shot my whole life. To see that go in, that was liberating, man,” said Durant after his game-winning shot in Game 3.

Game 3 featured the high drama we expected in this series: the most lead changes (19), and the closest game so far in the 2017 NBA Finals (5 point Warriors win). The question now is if the Warriors can reach 16-0 this postseason, the first one in NBA history.

For the Cavaliers, Durant’s shot from downtown was a wake up call, reminding them that no game is out of reaching for the hungry Warriors. Icing out the Cavs, the Warriors went on an 11-0 run throughout the last few minutes of the game, despite stellar performances by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

The Warriors took the lead in the first quarter and maintained that until halftime. After James went to rest late in first quarter, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run. In the first two games of the series, the Warriors increased their lead in the third quarter. But in Game 3, it was the Cavs who shined in the 3rd. When the Warriors led 67-59, the Cavaliers came back to take the lead heading into the 4th. Kyrie Irving had 16 points in the third quarter, while Cleveland held Golden State to 22 points.

The Cavs nursed that lead until the final stretch of the 4th quarter, when KD and 2015 NBA Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala made their presence felt. Iguodala blocked James in the game’s final minute, forcing a turnover on a possession when the Cavs were down three.

History is Made

LeBron James is now 4th place on the NBA Finals scoring list (1,175 points), behind Michael Jordan (1,176 points). He also became the first player to play in 20 or more Finals games with two franchises. The Warriors are the 13th team with a 3-0 record in the finals. The have set the longest postseason record for most wins in America’s 4 major sports, breaking the record set by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, (14-0). Stephen Curry has hit at least one 3-pointer per game in his 73 career postseason games. Golden State also broke the record for most 3-pointer made in a quarter of the finals, with 9 in the first quarter.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on the court with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.

What’s next?

The Cavaliers are trying to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the Finals, something that’s never been done before. When asked about the Warriors, LeBron said, “I’ve played against some great teams, but I don’t think no team has had this type of firepower.”

James and Irving played extended minutes in Game 3, and many believe fatigue played a role down the stretch. Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted, “I think Kyrie and LeBron both played the entire second half. Maybe they got a few seconds’ rest, and that’s a hard thing to do.”

The Warriors, on the other hand, are looking to secure their fifth NBA title in franchise history.

With last year’s loss still fresh in mind, the Warriors are not getting ahead of themselves.. “We talked about it since the Finals last year that the last season was a very unique year, for a lot of different reasons, and we learned a lot. I think we have grown and matured just mentally of how to just pace yourself through this long year and take every day as a new experience and something that you can kind of take control of.” said Curry on last year’s loss.

Durant, so close to winning his first NBA finals said, “I never been in this position before. I don’t want to relax. It’s not over. This is a crazy game. Anything can happen. So I don’t want to relax or feel like it’s over, it’s not.”

Continue Reading

Basketball

Warriors crack the code to Cavs defense in Game 2, can they do it in Game 3?

Published

on

Lebron James tries to guard JaVale McGee at the basket, Game 3 NBA Finals 2017

Lebron James tries to guard JaVale McGee at the basket, Game 3 NBA Finals 2017

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — In Sunday’s game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Warriors slowly disarmed the Cavaliers, finishing them off 132-113, thanks to a NBA Finals record 18 three-pointers. Steve Kerr set the tempo for the Warriors, after missing eleven postseason games with an illness, ensuring the offensive sets would create more open looks for mad bombers Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

The Cavaliers took the lead early in the game, but it fell out of their grasp halfway through the period and they were never to regain it. The Cavs did pull within 3, 67-64, at halftime. But the Warriors claimed the third quarter for themselves. In the end, the Warriors balanced attack was too much and the 2015 NBA Champions now have a 2-0 series advantage in this best of 7 game battle against the defending champs.

Steve Kerr returns

Steve Kerr returned to the bench after missing eleven games, with a warm welcome from the Oracle crowd. Kerr requested Curry, “to play with passion and play with joy.” Curry said, “We love his presence. We love his voice. And we’re a full group when he’s out here, so that means a lot.” LeBron James also paid respect to Steve Kerr, welcoming him back before the game began. Kerr has been dealing with back problems for 2 years, but has persevered through it. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year said he plans to coach for the rest of the finals, though his future is uncertain.

Making History

There was more history made on Sunday night. LeBron James tied Magic Johnson for most triple-doubles in the finals with 8. He is also only a few points behind to getting sixth place on the all-time NBA Finals scoring list. James had never had more assists in a half during a postseason game than on Sunday, with 10 assists, also becoming the first person in 20 years to have double-digit assists in a first half of a playoff game.

LeBron James of the Cavaliers drives to the hoop against Andre Iguodala of the Warriors.

The Warriors made history, becoming 14-0 in the postseason, the longest postseason winning streak in the history of the NBA. Curry had his first career postseason triple-double. Kevin Durant had 3 steals and 3 blocks in the 1st half, the highest the first half of a postseason game since Shawn Marion in 2006. Golden State had their first Finals game where they scored at least 40 points in 50 years, the last one being in 1967 in game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Klay Thompson has played in 78 postseason games now, the highest in franchise history.

Moving forward

“I thought for the most part with the game plan that we had we tried to execute it as close as possible. Much more physical today than we were in Game 1. And we forced them to 20 turnovers and they still beat us pretty good, so we’ve got to be much better, too.” said LeBron James, after the game. The Cavaliers played much better during game 2, forcing the Warriors to twenty turnovers (Curry with 8).  Yet, they could not pull the win off, losing their lead about halfway through the first quarter. Defense is the difference. Cleveland had a much better offense than last game, with 113 points, but still lost because they had no answers to stop the Warriors. Still, as James said, the Cavaliers were more aggressive during Game 2 than Game 1 and you can expect more of the same in Game 3.

The Warriors now need to cut down on turnovers. Klay Thompson, who broke out of his slump with 22 points and four 3-pointers, will need to keep up that level of production as the series moves to a hostile Cleveland environment. Curry and Durant have been nothing short of outstanding, combining 65 points, 24 rebounds, and 17 assists in Game 2.

Kerr says with the Warriors loss in the 2016 NBA Finals after being up 3 games to one, they have their series lead in perspective.

Continue Reading

Trending

Diya TV , Inc. © 2017 All Rights Reserved