Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

Warriors have 'eyes set on' 16-0 playoff perfection


They became the first team to triumph after falling into a 3-1 finals deficit when they beat the Warriors in seven games a year ago.

This term they have become the first team from the United States' four major professional sports leagues - the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL - to win 15 successive post-season games.

The Golden State Warriors have crushed Cleveland's dreams of cutting into their NBA Finals lead, staging a late comeback in game three to make it 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.

If Kyrie Irving hits a 3, or if Durant's shot rattles out, or if LeBron steps up to defend that KD 3, we're talking about how the defending champions responded with their back against the wall.

Of course, James' confidence is part of what makes the Cleveland Cavaliers star so great.

"Kevin Durant is a once in a lifetime player", Thomas said, "I don't think our league has ever seen a player like a Kevin Durant who is so unique".

But Cleveland's LeBron James admitted his side would have to play a ideal game on Friday to avoid being on the wrong side of a new landmark.

If you include the driving layup he made at the buzzer to end the first half, he made 8 of 11 shots to get back into the game. Without Green in the lineup, the Cavs took Game 5 on the road behind 82 combined points from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

"You can tell, he knows this is his moment", Kerr said.

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"They made shots and we didn't", LeBron said afterwards.

Durant finished 31 points and eight rebounds, with guard Klay Thompson adding 30 points in a breakout performance after two weak games to start the series.

He scored seven straight points while the Cavaliers remained scoreless in the game's final 3:09, the biggest three coming on that 26-footer with 45.3 seconds left.

From clutch heroics to poise under pressure, the Golden State Warriors used lessons learned in last year's heartbreaking National Basketball Association finals loss to Cleveland to take care of business this time. "I think that was a much tougher transition because you're talking about two guys who generally in their careers to that point had been kind of point forward types, neither one was really a 3-point shooter at the time".

"We had a game that we had won that we let slip away", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. He's worn down like that in every game, and the idea of getting him more rest just means bigger deficits.

The Warriors small ball "death lineup" ripped the heart out of the Cleveland with an 11-0 run that closed out the game and gave the Warriors a 3-0 advantage.

But until the Cavs did it past year, no team had ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win the Finals. We will never know if the Warriors would have gone on to win the championship if Iguodala had made his shot in Game 7 a year ago, when the Warriors were in the same kind of late-game freefall the Cavs were in late Wednesday night in Cleveland. The Cavaliers went on to win Game 6 comfortably at home and edged the Warriors out in Game 7 at Oracle Arena.

"That was a great feeling to kind of overcome their run, the crowd's energy and just find a way to win", Curry said on the closing stretch of the game.

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