11:44 p.m.-GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS WIN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP WITH GAME 5 VICTORY OVER CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
For the second time in three years, the Golden State Warriors are NBA champions.
Courtesy of a 129-120 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Warriors earned the third title in franchise history in front of the home fans at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California Monday night.
On the way to his first NBA Championship, Warriors forward Kevin Durant scored 39 points on 14-of-20 shooting, including a five-of-eight showing from three-point range, to go along with seven rebounds, five assists and one steal.
Additionally, the Warriors got double-digit scoring efforts from shooting guard Stephen Curry (34 points), shooting guard Klay Thompson (11), power forward Draymond Green (10) and reserve forward Andre Iguodala (20).
Durant averaged 35.2 points over the five-game series against the Cavaliers.
Four of Cleveland’s five starters reached in double figures, led by small forward LeBron James. James converted 19 of his 30 attempts from the field en route to a game-high 41 points. James added 13 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one blocked shot over 46 minutes of play.
Point guard Kyrie Irving (26 points), shooting guard J.R. Smith (25) and center Tristan Thompson (15) also finished in double figures.
11:11 p.m.-CAVALIERS CUT WARRIORS LEAD DOWN TO FIVE AFTER THIRD
Needing a run to get back into the game, the Cleveland Cavaliers outscored the Golden State Warriors by six points out of the halftime break, which cut the deficit down to five, 98-93, after the third quarter of Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Point guard Kyrie Irving emerged as the Cavaliers’ offensive leader early in the third quarter, as he used his mid-range game to score a game-high 10 points in the period on four-of-six shooting mixed in with a pair of free throws.
Small forward LeBron James and shooting guard J.R. Smith added six points each, while center Tristan Thompson converted two looks from the field and three of his four attempts from the free-throw line on his way to seven points.
As a team, the Cavaliers knocked down 12 of their 20 looks from the field, while they limited the Warriors to nine of 19 in the third quarter.
For the third straight quarter, Smith buried a three-pointer in the final 20 seconds of play, as he connected on an off-balance, contested triple from the left wing with just 18 seconds remaining in the period.
10:26 p.m.-WARRIORS LEAD AT THE HALF
The Golden State Warriors put together a monster run in the second quarter, and by virtue of a 15-point edge in scoring, took a 71-60 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers at halftime of Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Cavaliers started the second quarter with a pair of baskets from small forward LeBron James, including a dunk over the outstretched arm of Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who appeared to smack James in the face on his way toward the rim.
During a timeout from Golden State, James took umbrage with an official about the lack of a call on Durant, but the complaints went for naught, and the Warriors used that break in the action to settle themselves.
Down by eight points, the Warriors responded with a 30-8 scoring run over the next seven-plus minutes of play.
Golden State started the run with six straight points, including an 18-foot jumper and second-chance bucket from forward David West. West missed a short jumper as it rolled off the rim, but after the Warriors hustled after the offensive rebound, West got the short-range jumper to fall.
Following a steal off of Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, reserve forward Andre Iguodala threw down an uncontested dunk and forced the Cavaliers to use a timeout with their lead down to two points, 41-39, with 7:58 to play in the first half.
Out of the break in the action, Durant hit a pair of three-pointers, which put the Warriors in front, 45-43, and then, point guard Stephen Curry hit his first triple of the game at the 6:13 mark of the second quarter.
Shooting guard J.R. Smith broke the Cavaliers out of their slump with a deep two-pointer from the right wing, but Warriors power forward Draymond Green answered with a three-pointer from the left corner of the floor that Durant followed with a triple of his own from the right wing.
Down by as many as 16 points, the Cavaliers outscored the Warriors, 8-2, over the final minute of play thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Smith, who buried the first from the right wing, and then, with the final seconds ticking off the clock, pulled up from well beyond the arc on the left side of the floor and sunk his third triple of the half.
9:44 p.m.-CAVALIERS LEAD AFTER FIRST QUARTER
The Cleveland Cavaliers came out like a team with its back against the wall, and their hustle on both ends of the floor, as well as unselfish passing and ability to attack the rim led to a 37-33 advantage over the Golden State Warriors after the first quarter of Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors started the game on a 9-4 run, including back-to-back three-pointers from power forward Draymond Green and shooting guard Klay Thompson, but the Cavaliers had an answer in the form of a 9-0 run in just 95 seconds that forced a Golden State timeout with 8:44 to play in the period.
Shooting guard J.R. Smith got the run started with a driving layup on a pass from center Tristan Thompson, and then, small forward LeBron James continued the spurt with a driving layup of his own, which Smith set up with a pass in the lane.
Fouled on his drive to the hoop, James made it a three-point play with a free throw, which tied the score at 9-9, but it would not remain that way for long.
Point guard Kyrie Irving picked the pocket of his Warriors counterpart, Stephen Curry, and raced toward the hoop for a layup. Then, James intercepted a pass from small forward Kevin Durant and took it in for the basket.
Out of the timeout, the Warriors got a layup from Durant, but the Cavaliers answered that with a layup from Thompson and a pull-up three-pointer from James from the left wing, which gave Cleveland a 20-11 advantage.
Although the Warriors made it a two-point game, 22-20, with a 9-2 scoring run over the next two minutes, the Cavaliers outpaced the home team, 15-13, for the remainder of the quarter.
With the Cavaliers down, 31-30, with inside a minute left, Irving sunk a pair of free throws, and then, hit an off-balance two-pointer from 21 feet away. Then, in transition after a steal from reserve guard Deron Williams, Smith caught a pass from Irving and buried a three-pointer from the left wing with 4.7 seconds left.
7:30 p.m.-GAME INFORMATION
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers fought their way to a 137-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals Friday night, which forced the best-of-seven series back to Oracle Arena in Oakland for tonight’s Game 5 matchup.
And in order for the Cavaliers to force The Finals back to Cleveland for Game 6, small forward LeBron James knows it will take a maximum effort against the best team in the league for the third straight season, who will go for the close-out win in front of its home fans.
“We have to bring our best game every game against this team,” James said. “Like I said before, they create so many different problems out on the floor, so much firepower, that we always have to play great in order to win.”
The last three times the Cavaliers played at Oracle Arena, including a regular-season game on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day back in January as well as Games 1 and 2 of The Finals, the Warriors dominated the pace of play and won by an average of 25.33 points.
“We didn’t play well in Game 1 or Game 2,” James said. “We have watched the film, we see what we didn’t do well, and if you don’t do something well, they will make you pay for it. So we have to be 20 times better in this building, and we understand that.
“If we don’t protect the three-point line and if we turn the ball over, then we don’t stand a chance. So we know what our keys to victory are that are going to give us the best possible chance to go back home with a Game 6. And if we don’t stick to that game plan, then we’ll be going back home without a game.”
After the Cavaliers won the Eastern Conference Championship at TD Garden in Boston late last month, James talked about how stressful it was to think about The Finals so quickly after clinching their third straight trip to the championship round.
But as the series continues, James is able to process the stress by focusing on the task at hand.
“The Playoffs (are) stressful and just the preparation, things of that nature, but that’s just from how I prepare,” James said. “There’s no added stress going on playing basketball. Your coaching staff is giving you a game plan, you just try to execute it. There’s no added stress of that.
“If you’re able to get a win or get two, get three, get four, you don’t win, I guess I’ve been a part of all of it. I don’t think you have more stress. You know what you need to do. If you’re prepared, then you’re prepared. There’s no reason to add more to it.”
And as for which team has the most pressure on it heading into Game 5, the Cavaliers, who are one win away from elimination, or the Warriors, who could win a championship in front of the home fans, James knows what he and his teammates are focused on.
“I feel like this is the game we’ve got to get, or it’s over with,” James said. “I think everybody’s feeling that way.”
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