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  1. NBA Finals 3

    It takes 16 victories to capture the Larry O?Brien trophy that goes to the National Basketball Association (NBA) titlist.

    For the 2008 Boston Celtics, however, it did not matter how many games were needed to be played so long as the travelogue led to an NBA championship.

    And indeed, the Celtics, who were bannered by the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and others like Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Glen (Big Baby) Davis and Tony Allen, made a league-record 26 playoff appearances that year before taking down their arch rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, via a 4-2 count in the NBA Finals.

    The Green was pushed to the maximum seven games by both Atlanta and Cleveland in the first two rounds of the playoffs, surrendering all three road contests each time against the Hawks and cavaliers, before registering a 4-2 verdict (including 2-1 away from home) over the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern finals.

    While the Celtics coach Glenn (Doc) Rivers? charges won 16 postseason games overall, they also were on the short end of the stick on 10 occasions ? the most by any champion in NBA annals ? for one of the lowest playoff winning percentages by an NBA titlist in league history at .615.

    During the early sixties, only six of the eight or nine clubs overall qualified for the playoffs and the postseason only consisted of thee rounds with the division winners from the east and West drawing first-round byes.

    In 1962, with nine member teams in the league, Boston snared the NBA diadem with a paltry 8-6 record, defeating the Philadelphia (now Golden State) Warriors in the Eastern finals and the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals via the maximum seven games each time for a .571 winning clip.

    It was the lowest playoff winning percentage by an NBA champion ever.

    In 1960 and 1963, the Celts also annexed the NBA crown with identical 8-5 records (.615).

    Six of the eight member clubs earned a playoff ticket during the 1959-60 season and Boston knocked off the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks, 4-3, during the NBA Finals.

    In 1962-63, six of the nine teams secured a playoff berth and the Hub City squad conquered the LA Lakers in seven games to capture the NBA crown that year.

    It is worthy to note that those three aforementioned teams were part of the renowned Celtics dynasty that ruled the NBA for eight consecutive years from 1959 to 1966.

    Meanwhile, the 1988 LA Lakers of Earvin (Magic) Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy went 15-9 (.625) and needed 24 of a possible 26 playoff games (the first round was a best-of-five series at the time) to successfully retain their NBA title.

    It marked the first time in 19 years that there was a repeat champion (following the 1968- and 1969 Celtics). Those Lakers also were the first and only NBA team ever to win three consecutive seven-game duels in a single playoff campaign en route to the championship.
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  2. NBA Finals Trivia 2

    All-time Boston Celtics great Bill Russell romped away with 11 championships during his illustrious 13-year (1956-69) tenure in the National Basketball Association, the most by any player in league history.

    Russell was not perfect, though. He was beaten once in 12 trips to the NBA Finals in 1958 when co-future Hall of Famer Bob Pettit and the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks exacted revenge against the Celtics with a 4-2 victory in a best-of-seven Finals rematch. Russell suffered an ankle injury in Game Three (a Hawks win) and was limited to just 20 minutes in the finale in St. Louis as the injury stripped the 6-10 center of his mobility. Pettit wound up with a then-NBA playoff record of 50 points in a 110-109 success in the sixth game. The Celtics owned homecourt advantage but lost twice (Games One and Five) in the old Boston Garden.

    San Antonio icon Tim Duncan, who along with another all-time great Kobe Bryant hung up his jersey last summer, registered a 5-1 ledger in the NBA Finals. The Spurs won in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 but were defeated by LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2013 after enjoying a 3-2 Finals advantage. Note that ?The Admiral? David Robinson partnered with Duncan during SA?s title finishes in 1999 and 2003.

    Like Russell and Duncan, Bryant, too, was not perfect in the NBA Finals. The all-time leading scorer in Lakers history lost twice (2004 vs. Detroit and 2008 vs. Boston) in seven appearances in a championship series. Bryant?s rings came from a title ?three-peat? (2000-01-02) and a repeat (2009-10).

    That being said, however, there have been six instances of NBA Finals perfection by a player with at least six championship-series appearances during the league?s 70-year existence.

    Interestingly, not all were turned in by players of lofty stature.

    The six players are John (Hondo) Havlicek, K.C. Jones, Tom (Satch) Sanders, Robert Horry, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
    Havlicek, Jones and Sanders were Boston Celtics teammates at one time or another. All three were an unblemished 8-for-8 in NBA Finals trips with the Green anywhere from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s.

    Horry, a one-time Manila visitor, was 7-for-7 in Finals assignments with three franchises ? the Houston Rockets (1994 and 1995), Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2001-2002) and San Antonio Spurs (2005 and 2007).

    Jordan and Pippen were a perfect 6-for-6 in the Finals, pulling off a pair of title ?three-peats? with the Chicago Bulls in 1991-92-93 and 1996-97-98.
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  3. NBA Finals Trivia 1

    The King LeBron James and his seldom-utilized friend James Jones of the Cleveland Cavaliers are the seventh and eighth players to play in seven straight National Basketball Association Finals

    The two were teammates with the Miami Heat from 2011-14 and have been together with the reigning NBA titlist Cavaliers since 2015.

    Both are 3-3 in those previous six Finals ? earning championship rings with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 and with the Cavs a year ago.

    Overall, James is appearing in the eighth Finals of his storied 14-year NBA tenure. He first reached the championship round in 2007 ? a 4-0 loss to the San Antonio Spurs ? during his initial tour of duty with the Wine and Gold and fourth year in the pros out of high school.

    James, whose Cavs missed the playoffs in his first two seasons (2003-5) in the league, is currently averaging 32.5 points (on .566 field shooting, including .421 from three-point territory), 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.15 steals and 1.38 shot blocks in the NBA playoffs for the 12-1 Cavs. He leads the team in minutes played (40.9 mpg), points, assists, steals and blocked shots.

    The other six men that saw action in seven consecutive NBA Finals all accomplished the feat with the Boston Celtics.

    They are Bill Russell (10, 1957-66), Tom Heinsohn (9, 1957-65), Sam Jones (9, 1958-66), K.C. Jones (8, 1959-66), Frank Ramsey (8, 1957-64) and Bob Cousy (7, 1957-63).

    +++

    Golden State and Cleveland, which are facing each other in the Finals for the third year in a row, split their two-game head-to-head series during the regular season with each winning at home.

    December 25, 2016
    Golden State 108 @ Cleveland 109

    LeBron James 31p, 13r and 4a. Kyrie Irving 25p, 6r and 10a. Kevin Love 20p, 6r, 3a. Stephen Curry 15p, 3r and 3a. Kevin Durant 36p, 15r and 3a. Klay Thompson 24p. Draymond Green 16p, 4r and 4a.

    January 16, 2017
    Cleveland 91 @ Golden State 126

    LeBron James 20p, 8r and 2a. Kyrie Irving 17p, 2r and 2a. Kevin Love 3p, 3r and 1a. Stephen Curry 20p, 2r and 11a. Kevin Durant 21p, 6r and 5a. Klay Thompson 26 points. Draymond Green 11p, 13r, 11a and 5b
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  4. NBA Playoffs: Cavs, Warriors in Historic Finals Matchup

    ?Gaano man kahaba ang prosesyon sa simbahan rin ang tuloy.?

    What most prognosticators had declared prior to the start of the 71st renewal of the National Basketball Association in late October has finally come to fruition.

    Yes, it will be the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers against the unblemished Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for a historic third consecutive year.

    By virtue of their league-best and West-leading 67-15 record during the regular wars, the Warriors will enjoy homecourt advantage in the best-of-seven Finals against the Cavaliers, who were seeded No. 2 in the East at 51-31 but defeated top-seeded Boston, 4-1, in the conference finals.

    In the series-clinching Game 5 today at the TD Garden in Boston, the Cavaliers routed the Celtics, 135-102, behind ? who else but ? LeBron James. The King, who along with seldom-used reserve James Jones reached the NBA Finals for the seventh consecutive year in stints with Miami and Cleveland , chalked up 35 points en route to surpassing the eminent Michael Jordan as the all-time leading scorer in NBA playoff history. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out eight assists in just three quarters of action.

    James? sidekick Kyrie Irving netted 24 points and seven dimes and Kevin Love secured a double-double in each of the five games in the East finals and got 15 points and 11 reebies. Late-season acquisition Deron Williams came off the pines to tally 14 points ? all in the first half ? as Cleveland took a 75-57 lead at intermission for the highest halftime score by one team in the NBA playoffs since 2003 and the most points ever in the first half of a postseason contest in franchise history.

    Avery Bradley topscored for Boston with 23 points but his backcourt partner Marcus Smart was held to a single-digit score for a second straight game with six points. Gerald green came off the pines with 14 points. Al Horford only had eight points and three reebies.

    Cleveland and Golden State each triumphed once in their past two head-to-head Finals duels.

    This one has been described as the ?three-match? ? a trilogy that is unprecedented as no two teams in NBA had ever faced each other in the Finals in three straight years until now ? to decide who gets to move ahead in their three-leg run and romp away with Larry O?Brien championship hardware.

    This year?s Finals also feature what is the best-ever titular showdown ? record-wise ? in NBA history.

    The two high-powered combatants have combined for a mind-boggling 23-1 playoff record heading into the Finals. At no time in the past had there been two finalists combining for just a single loss. (In 1989, the Los Angeles Lakers were 11-0 and the eventual titlist Detroit Pistons were 11-2 entering that year?s Finals.)

    The Warriors are lily-white at 12-0 in becoming the first playoff team ever to sweep three straight best-of-seven series and enter the Finals with 12 straight losses without a loss, having whitewashed Portland, Utah and San Antonio in the first three rounds. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, are 12-1 with 4-0 sweeps versus Indiana and Toronto in the first two segments and a 2-0 lead over Boston in the East finals before dropping a 111-108 home decision in Game 3 then winning the final two outings of the series against the Celtics.

    My fearful forecast: Cavaliers over Warriors in six games to retain their NBA crown.
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  5. NBA Playoffs: Warriors in Finals, Cavs Ahead 3-1 vs. Boston

    The red-hot Golden State Warriors whitewashed the injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs, 4-0, in their best-of-seven West final playoffs in the National Basketball Association (including a 129-115 cakewalk in the series-clinching Game Four where the Spurs did not have the services of three injured players in franchise cornerstone Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee) to become the first team in league annals to open the postseason 12-0 and enter the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year.

    The Warriors also are the first team in league annals to sweep three best-of-seven series in the same postseason.
    In the past, there were two 11-0 starts through the first three rounds of the four-tier playoffs ? both registered by the 1989 and 2001 Los Angeles Lakers ? albeit with contrasting results in the Finals. The first round was a best-of-five at the time before it was stretched to a seven-game affair in 2003.

    The Lakers reached the 1989 Finals against Detroit but were swept in four games by the Pistons due to injuries to starting backcourters Byron Scott (before the series opener) and Earvin (Magic) Johnson (after Game 1). In the 2001 edition, El-Ay dropped the opening game of the championship series against Philadelphia but eventually beat the 76ers, 4-1, to retain the NBA crown and complete the playoffs with a 15-1 record, the closest to NBA playoff perfection.

    In the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the New York Knicks, 4-1, in the Finals and accomplished something that hoop fans are remembering them by. En route to the first of five titles in franchise history and a 15-2 overall record, the Spurs won 12 straight playoff games at one stretch (victories in the final two games of a first-round 3-1 decision over Minnesota, 4-0 sweeps against the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers in the West semifinal and final series, respectively, and a 2-0 lead in the Finals against the Knicks).

    That team mentored by Gregg Popovich was led by Twin Towers Tim Duncan (the Finals Most Valuable Player recipient) and David Robinson and valuable substitute guard Steve Kerr, now Golden State?s third-year bench tactician whose availability for the 2017 NBA Finals remains in doubt after missing the team?s last 10 playoff assignments (since Game 3 of first-round series vs. Portland) due to complications arising from a pair of back surgeries he underwent in the summer of 2015.

    As Golden State?s associate current associate head coach, Mike Brown, who had had a pair of tours of duty with potential Finals rival Cleveland and was the first NBA coach of LeBron James in the mid-2000s, has temporarily taken over the Warriors? reins from Kerr.

    In sweeping Portland, Utah and San Antonio in the ongoing NBA playoffs, the Dubs have posted an average winning margin of 16.3 points an outing.

    Two-time reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry is averaging a team-high 28.6 points on .502 field shooting, 5.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.92 steals in the postseason for the Warriors. Kevin Durant, who missed a pair of games due to an injury, owns per-game clips of 25.2 ppg on .556 floor shooting, 7.8 rpg and 3.7 apg. Two-guard Klay Thompson is struggling offensively, making a frigid .383 of his attempts from the field and tallying just 14.4 scores every time out. Do-everything frontliner Draymond Green is the straw that stirs the Warriors? drink with norms of 13.9 ppg (.500 FG shooting), 8.7 rpg, 7.2 apg, 1.92 spg and 2.08 blocks. The energetic Green leads the team in rebounding, assists and shot blocks and is tied with Curry in steals.

    Golden State awaits the winner of the East final series between reigning NBA titlist Cleveland and upset-conscious Boston, which the Cavaliers lead, 3-1, following today's 112-99 victory in Game 4 at the Quicken Loans Arena behind a playoff career-high 42 points from Kyrie Irving; 34 points, five rebounds and six assists from LeBron James (who had 10 points and four fouls in the first half but never fouled thereafter); and a fourth straight double-double from Kevin Love, who collected 17 points, 17 boards and five dimes. (Boston?s Game 3 hero Avery Bradley topped the Celtics with 19 points but his backcourt partner Marcus Smart, who knocked in a team-high 27 in the Game 3 win, was held to eight scores.)

    With a 3-1 series lead, the Wine and Gold go for the jugular in Game 5, which is set for Friday May 26 (8:30 a.m. Manila time) at the TD Garden in Boston. If necessary, the sixth game will be held in Cleveland on Sunday May 26 (8:30 a.m., MT).

    Meantime, Golden State will have nine days off before the 2017 NBA Finals commence on June 1 (June 2, 9:00 a.m., Manila time). The Warriors will enjoy homecourt advantage against Cleveland or Boston by virtue of their league-best 67-15 mark during the regular campaign.

    The Dubs have posted a 207-39 ...
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