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Henry Liao

Warriors One Win Away From NBA Title and Playoff Perfection

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?And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain? ? the defending National Basketball Association champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

?I did my best, but my best was not good enough? but still ?I did it my way? ? a duet by the Cavaliers? LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

Nobody?s perfect but we are ? the Golden State Warriors, 15-0, and just one win away from scoring the first playoff perfection in NBA history.

The rampaging Golden State Warriors look to whitewash the reigning NBA titlist Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday June 10 (Manila time, 9:00 a.m.) in Game Four of the 2017 NBA Finals at the Quicken Loans Arena for a 4-0 series sweep and attain playoff perfection for the first time ever in the 71-year existence of the league at 16-0.

If ever, the Bay Area squad will take the NBA crown for the second time in three years and turn in the trick on the Wine City outfit?s home floor. In 2015, Golden State whipped Cleveland, 4-2, in the Finals for its first Larry O?Brien championship hardware in 40 years. The Warriors grabbed the title in Game 6 also at the Quicken Loans Arena.

In yesterday?s Game Three in Cleveland, the Warriors absorbed the Cavaliers? best punch, scoring the game's final 11 points, including the last five from Kevin Durant, to pull out a stunning come-from-behind 118-113 victory and seize an insurmountable 3-0 series lead.

Durant drilled in 31 points - his third straight 30-point effort in the series - along with eight rebounds and four assists for the Warriors, who lifted their playoff record to 15-0.

Klay Thompson went 11-of-18 from the field, including 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, to tally 30 points and Stephen Curry netted 26 markers, 13 rebounds and six assists. Draymond Green chalked up eight points, eight boards and seven dimes.

With Cleveland ahead by two points, 113-111, in the final minute, do-everything LeBron James opted to be a passer. He dished off the rock to Kyle Korver for a corner triple that went blank.

Question: Did James purposely set up Korver for a corner three that could have gotten him a 10th assist and second straight triple-double in the Finals instead of hoisting a shot himself as the team?s meal ticket?)

Korver?s miss led to a trey by Durant at the other end that gave the Warriors a 114-113 edge. Kyrie Irving then wasted so much time before pulling a three-point attempt that went awry. To stop the clock, the Cavs were forced to foul Durant, who meekly went 2-for-2 from the foul line.
Down by three, 116-113, with 10.4 seconds left, James stepped on the baseline, a miscue that sealed the deal for the Dubs. Curry finalized the count with two successful trips to the charity stripes.

James collected 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists (a Korver three off LJ?s pass would have given him a triple-double). Irving had 38 points, including 16 in the third quarter that gave Cleveland a 94-89 lead. Kevin Love grabbed 13 boards but was held to nine scores on 1-of-9 field shooting. JR Smith finally came out of a slump with 16 points on 5-10 floor shooting, all from the three-point area.

The series is over as no team in NBA Finals history has ever rallied from a 0-2 deficit to win the title. Only once in NBA history has a team rallied from a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven Finals to deadlock the count at 3-all with three straight victories.That team, however, eventually lost in Game Seven.

The Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) squandered a 3-0 lead in the 1951 Finals before beating the comebacking New York Knicks in Game 7 on home territory.

The Warriors' playoff perfection beckons.

A road win by Golden State in Game Four on Saturday June 10 Manila time (9 a.m.) will make the Bay Area squad the first team in NBA history to go unbeaten in the entire playoffs at 16-0.

If it's any consolation, the motivation for the Cavs in Game 4 is to win if only to prevent the Bay Area squad from attaining a historic playoff perfection.

James also might not want to be swept a second time in a Finals in his storied career. In his first tour of duty with Cleveland, James? Cavs dropped a 4-0 decision to the San Antonio Spurs.

Despite James? gaudy numbers in the Finals (32.0 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 10.3 apg, 1.33 spg and 1.33 bpg), it will be a travesty if Golden State's Kevin Durant is not declared the runaway winner of the Bill Russell hardware that goes to the NBA Finals MVP in balloting by the media.

After three games in the series, Durant is averaging 34 points on .561 (37-of-66) field shooting, including .524 (11-of-21) from beyond the arc, along with 9.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.00 blocks and 1.33 steals for the Warriors.


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