Saturday, June 09, 2018

Golden State Warriors: 2017-18 NBA Champions



Golden Still: Warriors sweep Cavs for second straight title
By TOM WITHERS | AP Sports Writer

Jun. 8, 2018 10:56 PM ET

CLEVELAND (AP) There were still a few seconds left on the clock when the Golden State Warriors stormed off their bench to begin a celebration that wasn't guaranteed.

They couldn't wait any longer.

They had reached their destination: dynasty.

Stephen Curry scored 37 points, Kevin Durant added a triple-double and another NBA Finals MVP trophy and the Warriors won their second straight title and third in four years Friday night, 108-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete a sweep and perhaps drive LeBron James from his home again to chase championships.

Love `em or hate `em, there is no denying them.

''That's how you know we're a great team, is when everybody's coming after us,'' Durant said. ''Whether it's opponents, whether it's different coaches panning for us, whether it's the fans, the media that hate us, it feels good when you're the team that everybody's gunning for. It makes us better.''

No team is better.

Golden State. Golden standard.

Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors won their fourth straight finals matchup against James and Cleveland with ease.

''Looking at this playoff journey, we knew it wasn't going to be as easy as last year,'' Curry said. ''Then the challenges that faced us. In October we wanted to be back in this moment, and a lot went into it. It's a great feeling to be back here.''

It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one. His eighth straight appearance didn't go well either, and now there's uncertainty where the superstar will play next.

James, who said he ''pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand'' after injuring himself in frustration following Game 1, finished with 23 points and spent the final minutes on the bench, contemplating what went wrong and maybe his next move.

Following the game, he sat quietly in his corner locker with a towel draped over his head. He arrived at his postgame news conference with a large black brace on his right hand and explained the injury was ''self-inflicted'' following an overtime loss in Game 1, which included a reversed official's call and teammate J.R. Smith dribbling out the clock to end regulation.

''I had emotions of you just don't get an opportunity like this on the road versus Golden State to be able to get a Game 1, and I let the emotions get the best of me,'' James said. ''Pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand, so that's what it is.''

Act IV between the Warriors and Cavs featured a drama-filled Game 1. But from there on, Durant, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of this California crew showed why they're the game's gold standard.

And they may stay that way.

Not wanting to give the Cavs or their fans any hope despite the fact that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs, the Warriors built a nine-point halftime lead when Curry ignored a closeout by James and dropped a 3-pointer.

Then the league's best team tightened the screws on Cleveland in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavs 25-13 and prompting Golden State fans to begin those drawn-out ''War-eee-orrss'' chants that provide a perfect musical accompaniment to their 3-point barrages.

By the start of the fourth, the only question was whether Curry would win his first NBA Finals MVP or if it would go to Durant for the second year in a row.

And again, it was Durant, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists - more satisfaction and validation for a player who couldn't beat the Warriors so he joined them.

After surviving a rougher-than-usual regular season and beating top-seeded Houston in Game 7 on the road in the West finals, the Warriors pushed aside James and joined an elite group of teams to win multiple championships in a four-year span.

Only Bill Russell's Boston Celtics, the ''Showtime'' Lakers and the Los Angeles squad led by Kobe and Shaq, and Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls have been as dominant in such a short period of time.

The Dub Dynasty.

The path to this title was more precarious than the first two for coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors, who overcame injuries, expectations, a built-to-dethrone-them Rockets team and the brilliance of James, who may have played his final game in Cleveland.

The 33-year-old, who came back to the Cavs and ended the city's 52-year championship drought in 2016, is expected to opt out of his $35.6 million contract and become a free agent.

''I have no idea at this point,'' he said when asked if he played his final game for the Cavs. ''The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.''

James averaged 34 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists in the series, but as has been the case in the past, he didn't have enough help.

Another Summer of LeBron is officially underway and there are already teams stretching from Philadelphia to Los Angeles hoping to land the three-time champion, who may have to go elsewhere to put together a cast strong enough - and as James made clear this week, smart enough - to bring down the Warriors.

Right now, Golden State is on another tier and with Durant expected to re-sign with them in weeks and Curry, Thompson, Green and the rest still young and hungry, their reign could last much longer.

''We've got a lot of three-time, two-time champs in there, and we'll have plenty of time in our lives to discuss that later,'' Curry said. ''So want to keep this thing going as long as we can.''

TIP-INS

Warriors: Curry made a 3-pointer in his record 90th consecutive postseason game and extended his mark for 3s in road playoff games to 44. . Became the ninth team to sweep the finals. ... Won a road game in 19 straight playoff series, tying the Heat's NBA record.

Cavaliers: James scored 748 points in the playoffs, the second most in a postseason behind Jordan, who scored 759 in 1992. Appeared in their 26th NBA Finals game, moving past Atlanta/St. Louis into 10th place all-time. ... James averaged 34 points in his 13th postseason, his second-highest total.

LUE BACK

James' future isn't the only one in question. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who took a medical leave this season while battling anxiety, said he intends to return.

''I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn't going to do that,'' he said. ''I knew that even if I wasn't feeling a hundred percent, I had to get back for the playoffs. That's my time. That's my moment. I had to fight through it. That's what champions do. I gave everything I had.''

ISML 2018: The Saimoe Dozen In The Aquamarine

ISML 2018: The Saimoe Dozen In The Aquamarine

By Jo-Ryan Salazar
The Bedlam on Baltic Avenue
June 9, 2018

Match Day 12 in the 2018 International Saimoe League Aquamarine Period is history. In the Female Division, Sora Kasugano thumped Aria Holmes Kanzaki 4489-3134, Kurumi Tokisaki defeated Nagisa Furukawa 4762-4113, C.C. routed Suzune Horikita 4612-3429, Satanichia McDowell Kurumizawa pounded Rena Ryuuguu 4080-2716, Chtholly Nota Seniorious dismantled Megumin 5391-2391, Mikasa Ackerman defeated Shinobu Oshino 4126-3585, Yuuki Konno prevailed over Elf Yamada 4062-3776 and Yukino Yukinoshita eased past Chiyo Sakura 5877-2804.

Yuki Nagato slayed Akame 5160-2732, Jibril flew past Keiko Ayano 4596-3150, Shouko Nishimiya obliterated Yoshino 7141-2690, Nayuta Kani leveled Hitagi Senjougahara 4115-3279, Yui cruised past Chihiro Hashima 4449-3139, Schwi Dola whipped past Umaru Doma 5036-3598, Origami Tobiichi shot down Kokomi Teruhashi 5063-2793 and Reina Kousaka tore down Nephren Ruq Insania 6373-2657.

Wrapping up Female Division action, Sagiri Izumi blew past Utaha Kasumigaoka 5181-3446, Diamond defeated Chitoge Kirisaki 3889-3587, Kaede Kayano won a 3779-3103 pillow fight against Tsubaki Sawabe, Tooru roared past Sakura Kinomoto 7169-4117, Kirino Kousaka defeated Phosphophyllite 4196-3378, Kazusa Touma prevailed over Antarcticite 3761-3156, Kamui Kanna pumped Eriri Sawamura Spencer 7822-2582 and Madoka Kaname scored a 3966-3358 scalp of Holo.

In the Male Division, Keima Katsuragi won a 3334-3200 snoozer over Sebastian Michaelis, Kiyotaka Ayanokouji rumbled past Li Syaoran 4605-3354, Ryuunosuke Akasaka defeated Tsukasa Mizugaki 3634-3134, Seijuurou Akashi eased past Makoto Naegi 3422-3299, Riku Dola made it another Dola sweep with a 3820-3169 victory over Tomoya Okazaki, Tomoya Aki thrashed Victor Nikiforov 4405-2307, Katsuki Bakugou prevailed over Tomoe 3336-3005 and Shirou Emiya pumped Gintoki Sakata 4210-3328.

Shuu Ouma defeated Son Goku 3710-3319, Rentarou Satomi shot down Dio Brando 3570-2545, Rintarou Okabe made light work of Kousei Arima 4207-3125, Taihei Doma defeated Osamu Dazai 3734-3234, Inuyasha slashed past Yuuichirou Hyakuya 3666-3093, Karma Akabane scored the Upset of the Round, a 3988-3640 stunner over Yuzuru Otonashi, Akihito Kanbara barreled past Ren Amamiya 3961-2530 and Tatsuya Shiba routed Erwin Smith 4331-2879.

Wrapping up Male Division action, Saitama punched Kazuma Satou 4021-3134, Tatsumi defeated Izaya Orihara 3405-3161, Ayumu Aikawa prevailed over Kotarou Tennouji 3198-2954, Lancer impaled Kiritsugu Emiya 3605-2075, Meliodas got past Light Yagami 3326-3189, Astolfo whipped past Kyousuke Kousaka 4236-3086, Yato defeated Ken Kaneki 3822-3572 and Hei defeated Alphonse Elric 3425-2901.

In Winter Season action, Ginko Sora obliterated Arisa 6024-2066 and Mei Aihara routed Juri Yukawa 4806-1936.

Match Day 13 of the 2018 International Saimoe League Aquamarine Period is scheduled for June 10, 2018. Vote for your favorite characters at InternationalSaimoe.com and join the ongoing debate.