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Golden Still: Warriors sweep Cavs for second straight title

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.''

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Key Players
K. Durant
35 SF
L. James
23 SF
42.0 Min. Per Game 42.0
34.5 Pts. Per Game 34.5
9.0 Ast. Per Game 9.0
9.2 Reb. Per Game 9.2
48.7 Field Goal % 53.9
48.7 Three Point % 53.8
90.1 Free Throw % 74.6
  24-second shot clock violation turnover 0:16
+ 2 Ante Zizic made dunk 0:40
  Rodney Hood missed turnaround jump shot 0:41
  Team rebound 0:52
  Cedi Osman missed jump shot 0:54
  Defensive rebound by Jose Calderon 1:00
  Kevon Looney missed jump shot, blocked by Rodney Hood 1:07
+ 2 Ante Zizic made jump shot, assist by Rodney Hood 1:25
+ 1 Zaza Pachulia made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:40
  Personal foul on Larry Nance Jr. 1:40
  Bad pass turnover on Zaza Pachulia, stolen by Jose Calderon 2:00
Team Stats
Points 108 85
Field Goals 39-86 (45.3%) 30-87 (34.5%)
3-Pointers 14-38 (36.8%) 8-27 (29.6%)
Free Throws 16-16 (100.0%) 17-25 (68.0%)
Total Rebounds 56 56
Offensive 10 17
Defensive 34 27
Team 12 12
Assists 25 21
Steals 7 5
Blocks 13 5
Turnovers 8 11
Fouls 24 22
Technicals 2 1
37 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST
23 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST
1234T
away team logo Warriors 4-0 34272522108
home team logo Cavaliers 0-4 2527132085
Team Stats
away team logo Warriors 4-0 110.4 PPG 45 RPG 26.0 APG
home team logo Cavaliers 0-4 101.1 PPG 41.4 RPG 19.2 APG
Key Players
S. Curry PG 26.4 PPG 5.1 RPG 6.1 APG 49.5 FG%
L. James SF PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
S. Curry PG 37 PTS 6 REB 4 AST
L. James SF 23 PTS 7 REB 8 AST
45.3 FG% 34.5
36.8 3PT FG% 29.6
100.0 FT% 68.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
S. Curry 38 37 6 4 3 3 2 4 12/27 7/15 6/6 2 4 55 +18
K. Durant 37 20 12 10 1 3 2 3 7/17 0/3 6/6 1 11 54 +30
K. Thompson 28 10 6 0 0 0 2 3 4/10 2/5 0/0 0 6 14 +19
D. Green 38 9 3 9 1 3 1 5 4/8 1/5 0/0 1 2 33 +15
J. McGee 16 6 3 0 0 1 0 1 3/4 0/0 0/0 1 2 10 +21
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
S. Curry 38 37 6 4 3 3 2 4 12/27 7/15 6/6 2 4 55 +18
K. Durant 37 20 12 10 1 3 2 3 7/17 0/3 6/6 1 11 54 +30
K. Thompson 28 10 6 0 0 0 2 3 4/10 2/5 0/0 0 6 14 +19
D. Green 38 9 3 9 1 3 1 5 4/8 1/5 0/0 1 2 33 +15
J. McGee 16 6 3 0 0 1 0 1 3/4 0/0 0/0 1 2 10 +21
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
A. Iguodala 22 11 2 0 2 2 0 3 4/8 3/6 0/0 1 1 17 +11
J. Bell 18 4 4 1 0 1 0 0 2/3 0/0 0/0 2 2 11 +4
N. Young 8 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/4 1/4 0/0 0 1 4 +7
K. Looney 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1/2 0/0 0/0 1 0 3 -2
Z. Pachulia 2 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 2/2 0 1 2 -2
D. West 7 2 0 1 0 0 0 2 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 4 -6
S. Livingston 14 2 4 0 0 0 0 2 0/1 0/0 2/2 0 4 6 +2
P. McCaw 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 0 1 -2
D. Jones - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Q. Cook - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Boucher - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 232 108 44 25 7 13 8 24 39/86 14/38 16/16 10 34 214 +115
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
L. James 40 23 7 8 0 1 6 5 7/13 0/1 9/11 1 6 41 -21
K. Love 27 13 9 2 1 0 1 2 4/13 2/5 3/4 3 6 26 -26
J. Smith 26 10 2 1 0 0 0 3 3/8 3/5 1/2 0 2 14 -18
T. Thompson 16 6 4 0 0 1 0 0 3/5 0/0 0/0 2 2 11 -21
G. Hill 25 3 3 1 0 0 1 3 1/7 1/4 0/2 1 2 7 -26
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
L. James 40 23 7 8 0 1 6 5 7/13 0/1 9/11 1 6 41 -21
K. Love 27 13 9 2 1 0 1 2 4/13 2/5 3/4 3 6 26 -26
J. Smith 26 10 2 1 0 0 0 3 3/8 3/5 1/2 0 2 14 -18
T. Thompson 16 6 4 0 0 1 0 0 3/5 0/0 0/0 2 2 11 -21
G. Hill 25 3 3 1 0 0 1 3 1/7 1/4 0/2 1 2 7 -26
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
R. Hood 26 10 8 2 2 1 2 2 4/14 1/3 1/1 3 5 23 -1
L. Nance Jr. 23 7 8 4 1 1 0 4 3/7 0/0 1/2 6 2 25 0
J. Green 23 5 0 1 0 1 0 1 2/8 1/3 0/0 0 0 8 -9
A. Zizic 1 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 2/2 0/0 0/0 1 0 5 +4
C. Osman 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1/3 0/0 0/0 0 0 2 +2
K. Korver 20 2 1 1 0 0 1 2 0/6 0/5 2/3 0 1 4 -1
J. Calderon 4 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 1 4 +2
J. Clarkson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
O. White - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Perkins - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 85 44 21 5 5 11 22 30/87 8/27 17/25 17 27 170 -115