Tuesday, 12 January, 2016

Golden State wins Finals rematch

Steph Curry to bring'Messi mindset as he uses soccer-style shin guards for protection
Benjamin Gardner | 09 January, 2016, 00:22

So this 89-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at Oracle Arena was sweet revenge for the defending champion Golden State Warriors, right?

It was just a six-point victory, but what the Warriors exhibited was dominance. It's one continuous narrative, like Jack Kerouac's famous typewriter-scroll manuscript of "On The Road".

The ultimate holiday achievement for the Cavaliers would have been the successful delivery of a second loss into the Christmas stockings of the Golden State Warriors. Green racked up 22 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and seven assists, putting away the Cavaliers with two free throws with 8.2 seconds left after having helped contain the threat of LeBron James.

Unlike the Finals, the Warriors leaned on centers Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli. The Warriors weren't able to jump start the game's overall pace, but they were ready for the wrestling (Andre Iguodala's response to Matthew Dellavedova's knee-risking takedown was Wrestlemania worthy). Not making just five 3-pointers. That sort of defense was a continuing theme in a 89-83 victory over the Cavs, the same team Golden State defeated in the NBA Finals last summer.

"It was one of those nights", Love said. Against the Cavaliers' trapping defense, Curry attempted just four three-pointers and made one.

James had slam-dunks on consecutive possessions, then had a driving miss tipped in by Kevin Love.

Though the Cavaliers came into Oakland with a fully healthy squad (which is the opposite of what they had in last year's Finals), much of their strategy wasn't about maximizing their own weapons, but instead trying to neutralize those of Golden State. He came back and played the rest of the way with no complaints.

"I'm kind of mad at Scott for calling that foul", Green said in jest, "because I would have been on the highlights with that if he didn't call it. It may still make the highlight reel". If the Blazers get Lillard back, they'll have a chance to pull off the upset.

In Miami, Chris Bosh had 30 points and 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade added 19 points to move into No. 3 on the NBA's Christmas Day list and Miami survived some shaky moments to beat New Orleans, 94-88, in overtime. The Cavaliers had 17 offensive rebounds, but was only 6 of 18 for 14 points after getting them.

Curry, who played 37 minutes, had 19 points in the game with seven assists and seven rebounds. The Warriors fought the Cavs to a draw on points in the paint (46-46) and hit the same number of threes (Warriors 5-18; Cleveland 5-30), but the Warriors won the fast break points 14-4.

The average audience for the Oklahoma City Thunder-Chicago Bulls game on ABC also was up from the previous year, averaging almost 6 million viewers.

The 2014-15 NBA MVP, who helped the Warriors win their first championship in 40 years, has revolutionized the game with his three-point shooting, ball-handling skills and court vision.

He would finish the game with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes despite his injury.