x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Golden State Warriors rout Cleveland Cavaliers to complete NBA Finals sweep

Stephen Curry scores 37 points and Kevin Durant adds 20 as Warriors capture third NBA title in four seasons by defeating Cavaliers 108-85

The Golden State Warriors captured their third NBA title in four seasons Friday, routing the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 to complete a sweep in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry scored 37 points and Kevin Durant added 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as the Warriors inflicted the first 4-0 NBA Finals blanking since the Cavaliers were swept by San Antonio in 2007.

Golden State claimed the sixth crown in club history, matching the Chicago Bulls for third on the all-time list. The Warriors also won in 1947 and 1956 when based in Philadelphia plus 1975, 2015 and 2017 after their move to the San Francisco Bay area in 1962.

Cavaliers star LeBron James, playing in his eighth consecutive finals, scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and passed off eight assists but fell to 3-6 in the championship series for his career, having twice won with Miami and triumphed again with Cleveland in 2016.

James might have played his final game for the Cavaliers. He can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next month.

James' broken hand

James revealed on Friday that he played the last three games with a broken right hand. He said he had injured himself during the opening over-time loss in California.

"I let my emotions get the best of me and played the last three games basically with a broken hand," James said, displaying his soft cast.

James had become upset in the final seconds of regulation time in the 124-114 defeat, when a foul call was reversed to allow Golden State to equalise and JR Smith grabbed a late rebound with the score level but dribbled away from the basket, thinking the Cavaliers led.

Images of a frustrated James talking to Smith became an internet sensation.

ESPN reported James hit a blackboard in the locker room after that game and underwent two MRI exams that showed the fracture, a fact he kept hidden so the Warriors would not know.

"Obviously, I don't have a boxing hand," James said.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Results from the past 10 NBA Finals:

2018: Golden State bt Cleveland 4-0

2017: Golden State bt Cleveland 4-1

2016: Cleveland bt Golden State 4-3

2015: Golden State bt Cleveland 4-2

2014: San Antonio bt Miami 4-1

2013: Miami bt San Antonio 4-3

2012: Miami bt Oklahoma City 4-1

2011: Dallas bt Miami 4-2

2010: Los Angeles Lakers bt Boston 4-3

2009: Los Angeles Lakers bt Orlando 4-1

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

MVPs from the past 10 NBA Finals:

2018: Kevin Durant, Golden State

2017: Kevin Durant, Golden State

2016: LeBron James, Cleveland

2015: Andre Iguodala, Golden State

2014: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio

2013: LeBron James, Miami

2012: LeBron James, Miami

2011: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas

2010: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

2009: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Story of 2017/18 season

The Warriors and the Cavaliers met in the finals for the fourth consecutive season - the first time this had happened in league history.

It was also the first time neither of the teams ended up the top seed in their respective conference, with the Cavaliers finishing the season fourth in the Eastern while the Warriors took second in the West.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the story of the season:

Cavaliers (50-32)

The Cavaliers entered the 2017/18 season having lost the NBA Finals 4-1 to the Warriors before seeing Kyrie Irving depart in the close season. Irving, traded to the Boston Celtics for two players and two draft picks, cited playing in the shadow of James as one of the reasons he wanted out of Cleveland. The Cavs also signed Dwyane Wade before the start of the campaign to reunite him with James.

The Cavaliers went on to win the Central Division with a 50-32 record, securing play-off basketball on March 22 when the Houston Rockets beat the Detroit Pistons. Their record was enough for fourth seed in the Eastern, with the Toronto Raptors, Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers posting better win records.

The first round of the play-offs saw the Cavs face off against the Indiana Pacers, with the Pacers going in confident having beaten the Cavaliers three times out of four in the regular season. The Cavs went down by 18 points in the first game, and it was 2-2 going into Game 5 where James hit 44 points in a 98-95 win. Indiana took it to a Game 7, with James scoring 45 points in a 105-101 win.

The Conference semi-finals saw Cleveland face Toronto, with the Canadians being swept 4-0 including a 35-point win in Cleveland in Game 4, while the Boston Celtics took Cleveland to seven games in the Conference Finals. The best-of-seven series saw both sides winning on their home court until Game 7 when James hit 35 points, had 15 rebounds and nine assists at the TD Garden in an 87-79 win.

Warriors (58-24)

Reigning champions the Warriors re-signed stars Curry and Durant ahead of the start of the season but were edged out in their season opener by the Houston Rockets 122-121. It would be one of two occasions where Golden State would have a losing record as they put together a streak of seven wins between the end of October and start of November to take a hold of the Pacific Division.

Their 58 wins in the regular season saw the side easily clinch the divisional title, 16 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, but the Western Conference title would go eastward to the Houston Rockets with their 65-17 record. This was due, in part, to a collapse in form following injuries to stars leading to the side losing 10 in their last 17 games.

Entering the play-offs as second seed, the Warriors first matched up against the San Antonio Spurs with the only blot in their copy book a 103-90 loss as they took the series 4-1. The Conference semi-finals against the New Orleans Pelicans ended up with the same scoreline, with Klay Thompson and Durant on form to ensure another Conference Finals appearance.

The Houston Rockets took the Warriors to seven games, and dealt out the first play-off defeat for the Warriors at the Oracle Arena in 16. The seventh game of the series at the Toyota Center was a win-and-in affair and the Rockets led well into the third period. But a Warriors revival was sparked by Kevin Durant who had 34 points in a 101-92 win to book a ticket to the NBA Finals.