Warriors clash in one game winner-take-all for title
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[June 18, 2016]
By Frank Pingue
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An 82-game NBA
regular season followed by four best-of-seven playoff series has
boiled down to a one game 'winner-take-all' title clash on Sunday
between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
"It's two of the greatest words in the world, and that's 'Game
Seven'," gushed LeBron James after his Cavaliers forced the decider
on Thursday with a ruthless 115-101 Game Six win over the Warriors.
Far from two of the NBA's glamor franchises, Cleveland and the
Warriors offer more grit than glitter but will play for basketball's
crown jewel in a matchup that features two of the game's greats,
four-time league most valuable player James, and Warriors guard
Stephen Curry, the two-time reigning MVP.
Game Seven could be a classic. Betting agencies have the Warriors
moderate but by no means overwhelming favorites.
The Cavs will be tipping at historic windmills trying to become the
first NBA team to overturn a 1-3 series deficit in the Finals and
give Cleveland its first professional sports championship since the
1964 Cleveland Browns of the National Football League.
The defending champion Warriors, after a record smashing regular
season (73-9), are rewarded with Game Seven at home at Oracle Arena
in Oakland, where they have lost just four times all season.
"We get one game at home to win the NBA Championship, I'll take it
every time," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "So I can't wait for
Playing on the road does not rattle the Cavaliers, who will ride a
wave of confidence into Oakland having taken back-to-back wins from
Golden State, including a big Game Five victory there.
James, who returned to Cleveland after winning a pair of titles with
the Miami Heat, with the goal of bringing Cleveland its first NBA
championship has put the challenge on his massive shoulders, leading
the way with two magnificent 41 point displays in back-to-back wins
in Games Five and Six.
"I try to be the best player I can be for this team every night,
lead these guys out," said James. "Those guys have home-court
advantage but at the end of the day my whole mindset is how I can
put myself in position to help these guys be successful."
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Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) blocks a shot by Golden State
Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in game six of the NBA Finals at
Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mandatory Credit: Ron
Schwane/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
The Warriors, who have begun to show frustration at their inability
to deliver the knockout punch, will be wary of the Cavs having
erased a 1-3 deficit to see off the Oklahoma City Thunder in the
Western Conference finals and earn the right to defend their crown.
"It's a great opportunity for us at home in front of our fans to,
again, try to win a championship," said Curry, who fouled out of
Game Six late in the fourth quarter and then, in a rare fit of anger
threw his mouthguard into the stands to earn the first ejection of
"We were in adversity the last series down 3-1, and had to rattle
off three straight wins.
"The Playoffs hasn't been easy.
"It's frustrating, but the work we've put in and the opportunity
we've given ourselves with a Game Seven to win the Finals at home,
you've got to be excited about that."
(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both)
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