Headline Sports podcast with Jessica Kwong: Snydergaard to wear a Halos hat for 1 yr at $21 million; Kyrie won’t take the shot Nets could make him trade bait; plus more

Former New York Met Noah Snydergaard will be winding up for the Los Angeles Angels during the 2021 season he’s signed onto a one year deal which was completed on Mon Nov 15, 2021 with the Angels (AP News file photo)

On Headline Sports with Jessica:

#1 Former New York Met pitcher Noah Syndergaard has signed onto a one year $21 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Snydergaard pitched for seven years for the New York Mets Snydergaard joins an Angels team that is struggling with starting pitching and hopes to shore that up joining forces with the face of baseball and new teammate Shohei Ohtani.

#2 Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving on Sunday sent out two tweets one showing a picture of the matrix and the other saying “God never fails.” The City of New York has a full vaccine protocol for employees, players, and fans and Irving can’t come into Barclay Center until he’s fully vaccinated.

#3 From all indications from his responses and convictions he will not take the vaccine. Kyrie is allowed to travel with the Nets but the Nets have elected to have him sit out for road trips until he is fully vaccinated which does not look likely.

#4 Former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan had some heavy criticism for Jets head coach Robert Saleh saying he has philosophical differences in his coaching abilities and Ryan added that he’s insulted when he’s compared to Saleh regarding defensive strategies. Saleh said if Ryan feels that personal about it he knows where to find me.

#5 Jessica the New York Yankees and Mets are looking to make some moves to acquire free agents Starling Marte and the Yankees have express interest in Matt Chapman both who were teammates on the Oakland A’s last season. Marte last season played with the Miami Marlins before being dealt to Oakland mid season and hit .310, 145 hits, 12 HRs, and 55 RBIs, Chapman hit .210, 111 hits, 27 home runs, 72 RBIs.

Join Jessica every other Wednesday for Headline Sports podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Jessica Kwong: Cole, Yankees hanging their heads after Wild Card loss; SF Giants avoided a huge concession stand strike for playoffs; plus much more

Losing pitcher of record Gerrit Cole delivers to the Boston Red Sox line up in the first inning during the ALWC game on Tue Oct 10, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston (AP News photo)

On Headlines with Jessica:

#1 Jessica, You had a chance to see last night’s Wild Card game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox just how shocked was this good hitting potent team the Yankees that they only could manufacture just two runs in the 6-2 one and done loss to the Sox in Boston on Tuesday night.

#2 Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole was pulled he coughed up a Kyle Schwaber home run in the third inning. Cole said that he’s sick to his stomach over his poor outing going two innings, four hits, three runs, two walks and three strike outs.

#3 The San Francisco Giants are in the NL Division Series playoffs and will be hosting the series at Oracle Park in San Francisco which starts on Friday. What made a national story was Oracle park concessionaires Bon Appetit were planning to walk out at the beginning of the playoff meaning this Friday. That was averted when both labor and Bon Appetit management came to an agreement giving concession employees a $3 retroactive raise which covers this and the last two years, a $1.50 in hazard pay that also covered the last two years and increases that will total $7 an hour by 2024. The concession staff currently makes over $20.00 an hour.

#4 The Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving is still unclear whether he will take the Covid 19 vaccine but the pressure is on with opening day for the regular season around the corner. If Irving does not get vaccinated he will not be allowed to play any of the Nets home games at Barclay Center in Brooklyn until he does gets that first shot.

#5 Jessica, the San Diego Padres fired manager Jayce Tingler after he served two seasons with the Padres. The Padres at one time were within striking distance to get the second spot in the Wild Card standings but ended up not being able to seal the deal. Strong possibility to replace Tingler is former San Francisco Giant manager Bruce Bochy who led the Giants three World Series championships.

Join Jessica for Headline Sports every other Wednesday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sacramento Kings game wrap: Too much Antetokounmpo Bucks hand Kings 7th straight loss 128-115

The Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) scores on Sacramento Kings defender Marvin Bagley III (35) during the first half Sun Feb 21, 2021 in Milwaukee (AP News photo)

By Jeremiah Salmonson

Flashback Saturday: The Sacramento Kings and their fans are going through a rough time right now. Entering the game on Sunday night, the Kings record sat at 12-17. The Kings had lost six in a row and were looking to get the season back on track. The Kings last game didn’t go well. The Kings took on the Chicago Bulls in Chicago. The Kings weren’t able to snap the losing streak as the defense suffered. The Kings lost 122-114.

Last night in Milwaukee: The Kings would look to snap the losing streak against the Bucks in Milwaukee on Sunday night. Tip-off was set for 6 PM PST. Unfortunately the Kings continued their long losing streak and  would fall to the Bucks 128-115 on the road.

In the first half, the Kings started off strong. The first quarter was a dog fight between both teams. Marvin Bagley started the game hot as the Bucks narrowly outscored the Kings 28-25 in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Bucks offense took off. If there was a meltdown quarter to point to this would be the quarter. The Bucks hammered the Kings defense as they were able to out score them 42-31. The Kings would head into halftime trailing the Bucks 70-56.

In the second half, it wasn’t much better for the Kings. The Bucks continued to outscore the Kings in the third as they put up 29 points compared to the Kings 26. The Kings would need a miracle last quarter to come back.

Unfortunately, that miracle quarter was no where to be found. The Kings did manage to outscore the Bucks 33-29 in the final quarter but it wasn’t nearly enough to erase the lead the Bucks had amassed in the previous three quarters. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in victory scoring 38 points.

A bright spot for the Kings was Tyrese Haliburton who scored 23 points and came alive in the fourth quarter. The Kings would look to their next game of the trip to try and right the ship.

Up Next: The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Kings. They head to Brooklyn to take on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and the Nets on Tuesday at 4:30 PM PST.

 

 

Kevin Durant signs four-year $164 million deal to play with the Brooklyn Nets

file photo from sfgate.com: Former Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant #35 gets help off the floor in his last hurrah for Golden State with the injured Achilles tendon in the first half of game 5 against the Toronto Raptors.

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The Golden State Warriors lost a key player to free agency on Sunday. Superstar forward Kevin Durant decided to leave the Warriors, a team that he won two championships with, to play for the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets were active Sunday signing point guard Kyrie Irving and center DeAndre Jordan. They will have to wait a year for Durant to play for them as he will be recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that will sideline him for the entire 2019-2020 season.

The big question is, why did Durant decide to leave the Warriors. Golden State offered him a five-year deal worth $ 221 Million. The answer has to be that he was unhappy here with the Warriors. He had a massive dustup with Draymond Green early in the season. The two players didn’t speak for a while, and that may have been a factor even though Green apologized to Durant. Another factor may have been the injury that he sustained in Game Five of the NBA Finals with Toronto. Durant had suffered a calf injury in the series with the Houston Rockets. The team may have asked him to return to action before that injury was healed. No one knows what the Warriors’ doctors told him about the possibility that he might make it worse if he played.

The Warriors did agree to terms with a five -year $190 million contract with Klay Thompson. Klay will be out for at least nine months as he recovers from surgery to fix a torn ACL in his left knee. The Warriors want to re-sign Kevon Looney.  Looney is being courted by the Houston Rockets. Looney proved his worth as he played inspired basketball in the Finals after suffering an injury to his collarbone. The Warriors may try to get DeMarcus Cousins back. The most the can offer Cousins is about 6.3 million. Cousins could help fill the gap left by Durant’s departure. Cousins may stay to get a better deal a year from now. Shaun Livingston may retire, and that is another hole that the W’s will have to fill.

The Warriors should be competitive next year with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala still on the roster. Players such as Damian Jones, Jordan Bell, Alonzo McKinnie, and Quinn Cook will have to step up if the Warriors are to be successful next season. The fans are hoping the GM Bob Myers might have something rolled up in his sleeves to help make the team better. It will be a very different season for the Warriors as they start to play next year at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason: Will Irving reunite with LeBron in L.A.?; Leonard’s 4-bouncer rim shot gets Raptors in the semi Finals; plus more

Photo credit: @AFordTaurus

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury on That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 What about all the talk from ESPN radio that they can see a LeBron James and Kyrie Irving reunion at the Los Angeles Lakers especially if Jason Kidd had come on board as head coach but Frank Vogel got the job as Lakers head coach? Stephen A Smith says that not going to happen that his sources tell him that Irving is going to the Knicks and Brooklyn is trying to weigh in on Irving, but Irving is focused on going to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

#2 The Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard sunk a four-bouncer on the rim and got the Raptors into the next round defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 92-90 on a buzzer beater. Leonard had himself a game finishing with 41 points in a Game 7 elimination contest to advance to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

#3 The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lilliard will be all the rage as the Blazers are coming off a narrow 4-3 win past the Denver Nuggets. It took seven games for the Blazers to advance. Do the Blazers have enough to go deep with Golden State? In game one the Warriors rolled past Portland 116-94.

#4 In hockey, the San Jose Sharks and St Louis Blues played Game 2 Monday night in the best of seven in this third round of the NHL Stanley Cup Western Conference Final. The Sharks have been getting help from all around, but the Sharks’ Timo Meier has been on fire with two goals scored in Game 1. The Sharks had home ice in game for the first two games.

#5 The Oakland A’s opened up a two-game series in Seattle on Monday night the A’s got five homers but couldn’t win it in the end. The A’s and M’s are battling for that third place spot in the American League West and are two games out of second place but eight games behind Houston. The A’s and M’s have almost identical records in a short series that could prove to test the A’s on the road and the M’s against an A’s team who’s capable to break out the bats and get good pitching.

Barbara does That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary every Tuesday night and is a freelance writer for Area Grande Spanish papers at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason: Do the Giants have a shot at being viable this season?; Puig tries to take on the whole Pirates team in brawl; plus more

Photo credit: @BruceBochy

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury Pi Gonzalez:

#1 It’s early in the season, but do the San Francisco Giants (4-8) have the players it takes to get out of the cellar and make this a viable season?

#2 The Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig wasted no time making things happen between himself and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. After Chris Archer Pirates pitcher hit the Reds’ Derek Dietrich in the backside, Dietrich took exception to getting hit and started jawing at Archer at that point both benches emptied and Reds star Yasiel Puig tried to take on the entire Pirates team.

#3 Talk about the Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant paring at the New York Knicks for next season. How will this important would a tandem like this be for the Knicks and how will it impact Golden State?

#4 The Oakland A’s, who won three of four from the Boston Red Sox, went out on the road and got swept in three games from the Houston Astros. The A’s still made the third game competitive with a one run loss. The Astros played catch up ball in order to win. The A’s lost the first game 12-4 of the four game series in Baltimore. In game two the A’s got a 13-2 win on Tuesday night.

#5 Oracle Arena is the home of many memories for fans, reporters, players and coaches Sunday. Was the last regular season game for Golden State what did you take away from 47 years of sports events at the arena in Oakland?

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury Pi Gonzalez, who does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

The playoffs are “slip, sliding away”: Kings lose to Boston 126-120

atbosscore
Photo/graphic: @NBCS

by Charlie O. Mallonee

On Thursday night, the Sacramento Kings record fell under .500 for the first time since January 8th when they lost to the Boston Celtics 126-120. The Kings are now 33-34 on the season after this loss on the road. They are now 1-2 on the four-game road trip with one game to go in Philadelphia on Friday night

This was once again a battle of the tiers. There are three tiers in the NBA. Tier one is the upper one-third of the teams that are guaranteed a playoff spot and have a relatively realistic chance to go deep into the playoffs.

Two tier teams are the ones that are battling for the number seven or eight slots in the playoffs and may wind up in the draft lottery with very late selections. Tier three teams are tanking to get the best shot at one of the top three picks in the draft lottery in order to turn their team around as soon as possible.

Boston is a tier one team. The Kings have made the jump from tier three to tier two this season. That has been exciting for fans, but ultimately, it is going to be painful because each loss drops the Kings further out of playoff contention.

Why did the Kings lose?

  1. The first reason the Kings lost was the play of Kyrie Irving. Irving is a closer. He is a legitimate superstar. Irving posted a triple-double scoring 31 points, dishing out 12 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds. As they said in the classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross, “Coffee is for closers.” Kyrie can have the whole pot.
  2. The Kings also lost because they did not convert their opportunities at the charity stripe into points. Sacramento went to the free throw line 23 times but put only 13 shots through the hoop. A 56.5-percent free throw shooting percentage is just unacceptable for professional basketball players. This has been an on-going problem for the Kings this season, and it is a problem that the team must address in the off-season if they are to take their game to the next level.

Kings top performers

atbos3
Photo:@NBCS

  • Buddy Hield was the game’s leading scorer with 34 points. He hit 14-of-24 shots overall and went 6-for-10 from long distance. Mr. Hield also distributed seven assists while turning the ball over just one time.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. WCS added four assists and made zero turnovers.
  • Marvin Bagley III returned to the court and scored 14 points in just over 19 minutes of playing time. It is reasonable to believe that MB35 was playing with a minutes restriction in place. After the game, Dave Joerger said it was unfair to expect too much from Bagley having to come back in a “playoff game”.
  • De’Aaron Fox turned in another strong performance scoring 19 points while dishing out nine dimes and hauling in seven rebounds.
  • Harrison Barnes put 20 points up on the board.

Boston top performers

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Photo:@NBCS

  • Kyrie – see point 1 on why the Kings lost.
  • Jaylen Brown came off the bench to score 22 points. His play proved to be a real “back-breaker” versus the Kings.
  • Marcus Morris posted a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Where the teams stand after the game

With the loss, the Kings remain in sole possession of ninth-place the NBA Western Conference, but they are now five games back of the eighth-place LA Clippers. The Kings have 15 games left to play in the regular season. The projection has been that they would need to win a minimum of 43 games to make the playoffs. That would mean going 10-5 in the final 15 contests.

The Celtics record improves to 42-27 on the season and Boston has a very secure hold on fifth-place in the Eastern Conference. They have a 6.5 game lead over sixth-place Brooklyn. Boston is chasing Philadelphia for fourth-place. The Sixers currently have a 1.5 game lead over the Celtics.

Up next

The Kings made the short flight to Philly and will play the very tough 76ers on Friday in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. The tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 PM PDT.

Boston will host the scrappy Atlanta Hawks on Saturday afternoon.

The Kings playoff dreams take a hit as they lose to the Celtics 111-109

BOS buddy
Photo: @NBSCA

By Charlie O

SACRAMENTO– Wednesday night began with great hope for the Kings as they learned Kyrie Irving would not be playing for the Celtics due to a left thigh contusion. The betting lines immediately changed making the Kings the favorites minus two points.

The other advantage the Kings had going into the game with Boston was it was the second game of a back-to-back set on the road for the Celtics. Statistically, that also gives the home team a higher percentage chance of winning the game.

Things were going the Kings way before the game ever tipped-off. Unfortunately for Sacramento fans when the final buzzer sounded, Boston had defeated the Kings 111-109.

Why did the Kings lose?

There were two key factors that cost Sacramento the game:

  • Too many turnovers – The Kings have done an excellent job of taking care of the ball this season. In fact, it has been one of the keys to their success. On Wednesday night, Los Kings turned the ball over 18 times which resulted in 21 points for Boston. For the season, Sacramento has averaged 13.9 turnovers per game.
  • Not taking advantage of the free throw bonus – The Kings put the Celtics into the penalty in the fourth quarter with 8:25 left to play. That should have created a great advantage for Sacramento to exploit by driving to the basket and picking up a bonus free throw by getting fouled. The Kings were unable to do that. After putting Boston in the penalty, the Kings would not shoot a free throw until there was just 3:36 remaining to play. That five-minute gap without a free throw attempt may well have cost Sacramento the game.

Coach Dave Joerger was proud of his team

Kings Top Performers

  • Harrison Barnes came up big for the Kings again as he put 24 points in the book to go with eight rebounds. Barnes hit 8-of-14 field goal attempts including three 3-point baskets.
  • Buddy Hield added 23 points in the game. It was an odd game for Hield. He scored 14 points in the first half, zero points in the third quarter and nine points in the final period. In hustling Hield fashion, he also hauled in eight rebounds.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein scored 19 points, pulled down seven rebounds and added three assists in a very nice game for the center.
  • De’Aaron Fox had a 16 point game to go with his seven assists.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic had an active night recording 14 points against the Celtics. “Bogi” shot 5-for-9 from the floor and four of those buckets were 3-pointers.

De’Aaron Fox said it is always hard to lose a game like this one

Boston Head Coach Brad Stevens on the game

“They (the bounces) weren’t going our way. We had plenty of chances late offensively that just didn’t go down too. (Jayson) Tatum made a huge play – getting foul(ed) and a huge shot. But, we had a number of other possessions that you felt pretty good about that just didn’t go down. (Marcus) Morris made big plays and everybody stepped up to get up a huge win.”

Celtics Top Performers

  • Jayson Tatum had a team-high and tied for the game-high scoring 24 points. He shot 8-for-17 from the field and hit 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
  • Al Horford put 21 points up on the board and made it a double-double game by grabbing 11 rebounds. Horford scored 17 of those points in the second half.
  • Marcus Morris added 19 points for Boston in just over 33-minutes on the floor.
  • Terry Rozier scored 16 points. He put up 10 of those points in the first half and was a real key the Celtics success on offense in the first 24-minutes.
  • Gordon Hayward added 12 points coming off the bench and dished out five assists as well.

The game’s effect on the playoff races

The loss dropped the Kings record to 32-32 for the season and keeps them mired in ninth place in the Western Conference. The Spurs and Clippers are now tied with identical 37-29 records and both hold a four-game lead over the Kings in the standings.

The Celtics record improved to 40-26 with the victory. Boston now has sole possession of sixth-place in the East with a very comfortable 6.5 game lead over seventh-place Detroit. The Celtics are 1.5 games behind fifth-place Philadelphia.

Same two teams next week

The Kings and Celtics will have a rematch next Thursday in Boston. The Celtics could well determine the Kings fate when it comes to making the NBA Playoffs.

Up next

Both teams are off until Saturday.

The Kings will play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden with a 9:00 AM Pacific time tip-off. The early start is necessary because the Rangers have a hockey game that night in the Garden.

Boston is off to Atlanta to face the Hawks to wrap up their road trip.

 

On to Game five if you’re Golden State

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots past Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) during the second half of Game 4 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Cleveland, Friday, June 9, 2017. Cleveland won 137-116. (Ronald Martinez/Pool Photo via AP)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

CLEVELAND, OH — The closeout games are always the toughest to win.

The Golden State Warriors were 48 minutes from basketball immortality when they entered Game 4  of the NBA Finals with a chance to send the Cleveland Cavaliers home for the summer, but the Cavaliers used lead wire-to-wire for a 137-116 win Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena to force Game 5 in Oakland on Monday night at Oracle Arena.

The loss snaps Golden State’s postseason record 15 straight wins, denying the Warriors of becoming the first team in NBA history to go through the postseason undefeated at 16-0.

Give the Cavaliers credit, they weren’t ready to see the Warriors celebrate another championship on their home floor as Golden State did back in 2015 when they defeated Cleveland in six games to capture the franchise’s first championship in 40 years.

LeBron James, who passed former Los Angeles Lakers great and hall of famer Magic Johnson for the most triple-doubles in the Finals with his 31-point, 10-rebound and 11-assist effort, finished 11-for-22 from the floor.

James led Cleveland with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in Cleveland’s heartbreaking loss to the Warriors 118-113 in Game 3  on Wednesday night after Cleveland led by six with three minutes left in the game before Golden State went on an 11-0 run to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

But don’t blink now, but the Cavaliers find themselves in the same predicament this year as they did last year: down 3-1 heading back to the West Coast trying to stave off elimination and we all know what happened.

The Cavaliers won Game 5 in Oakland, Game 6 in Cleveland, and the clinching Game 7 on the Warriors’ home floor for the Cavaliers’ first championship in franchise history, and the first major championship for Northeast Ohio since 1964.

Cleveland obliterated the record book for the Finals in Game 4, having the highest-scoring first quarter (49 points) and first half (86 points) and the most 3-pointers (24) in Finals history.

Kyrie Irving turned in another spectacular game, scoring a game-high 40 points on 15-for-27 shooting, including 7-for-12 from beyond the 3-point line.

But Game 4 was a lot closer than the final score indicated.

Both teams got 87 shots up, but Cleveland shot a blistering 52.9-percent (46-for-87) from the floor, compared to Golden State’s 44.8-percent (39-for-87).

Cleveland slightly out-rebounded Golden State 56-52, thanks largely to Tristan Thompson’s 10 rebounds after having just nine in Games 1-3 combined. The Warriors made keeping Thompson off the boards in the series a priority after averaging double-digit rebounds in the two previous Finals meetings between the teams.

For Golden State, you gotta turn the page from Game 4 and focus on Game 5 after letting the opportunity for a sweep slip through their fingers.

Kevin Durant, one victory away from his first championship, finished with 35 points on 9-for-22 shooting. It was Durant’s fourth-straight 30-point game of the series, but the Splash Brothers picked a bad night to have their quietest game of the Finals, combining for only 27 points on 8-for-24 from the floor (6-for-19 on 3s)

Cleveland did a great job of harassing Curry in Game 4, double-teaming and trapping the two-time league MVP whenever he got the ball.

Curry never got in a groove offensively, shooting 4-for-13 from the floor and a putrid 2-for-9 from the 3-point line while recording 10 assists after finishing with 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Game 3.

Klay Thompson finished with 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting. All of Thompson’s makes were from beyond the 3-point line, converting 4-for-10. Thompson’s 30 points were instrumental in Golden State’s Game 3 win.

Draymond Green had 16 points and 14 rebounds and was part of a crazy set of events in the third quarter that led two technical fouls, and a friend of James being escorted from the arena.

It was announced in the third quarter that Green had assessed his second technical foul, prompting security onto the floor to escort Green back to the locker room. But the officials confirmed that Green’s technical foul in the first half was actually given to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, which was even more confusing.

Then, Warriors center Zaza Pachulia was involved in a pileup where he appeared to swipe Cavaliers forward Iman Shumpert int he groin area. Pachulia should’ve been ejected from the game, but was given a technical foul along with Shumpert.

A total of seven technical fouls and one flagrant foul were handed down in Game 4.

There will be a lot said and written about the Cavaliers dominance over the Warriors in Game 4 over the next 48 hours, whether its opinions or jokes. Cleveland were the aggressor from start to finish for 48 minutes and that can’t be glossed over. Golden State knows what type of team that the Cavaliers are.

The Cavaliers were simply the better team Friday night, a rarity for the opponent to be better than Golden State.

Keep this in mind: one loss isn’t the end of the world for Golden State. The Warriors are still firmly in control of the series and are 31-1 in their last 32 games dating back to the regular season. Golden State is still the superior team and most people don’t expect a sub par performance from the Warriors’ core in Game 5 on Monday night.

But Golden State’s first lost this postseason does leave the door slightly ajar for Cleveland heading back to the 510 area code.

 

 

Durant and Warriors one win away from title

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) passes around Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the first half of Game 3 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

CLEVELAND, OH — Kevin Durant’s 31 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 45.3 left in the fourth quarter propelled the Golden State Warriors to within 48 minutes of their second title in three years with a 118-113 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Durant signed with Golden State last summer after nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder for an opportunity to finally capture that elusive championship ring that he so desperately seeks.

Trailing by six with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter, Golden State closed out the game on a 11-0 run with Durant scoring 14 points in the final quarter. Golden State tightened up the defense during that stretch, holding Cleveland to 0-for-8 from the floor.

When you combine the 16-1 finish to the regular season, and the NBA-record 15 straight postseason victories (including tonight’s come-from-behind victory), Golden State is 30-1 in their last 31 games. Golden State owns the longest postseason winning streak among the four major professional sports.

That sounds great and all, but that is not the ultimate prize that the Warriors are playing for with a commanding 3-0 lead in hand over the Cavaliers in the best-of-7 NBA Finals.

If the Warriors can close out the series in Friday night’s Game 4, Golden State will become the only team in NBA history to finish the postseason unblemished at 16-0 and denying Cleveland their second-straight championship. Cleveland engineered the greatest comeback in NBA Finals’ history when they stormed back last year and won the title from Golden State after the Warriors claimed a 3-1 lead.

The Warriors haven’t forgotten that sickening feeling of seeing Cleveland celebrating on Golden State’s home floor in Game 7 last year. Cleveland denied Golden State (who also won an NBA-record 73 games) the opportunity of winning back-to-back titles after Golden State won the 2015 NBA Championship over the Cavaliers in six games.

Now, Golden State is looking to return the favor and drive a stake through the Cavaliers’ heart by potentially sweeping them this year. No team has ever come back to win the NBA Finals when trailing 3-0.

Durant finished 10-for-18 from the floor, to go along with 4-for-7 on 3s, and joined Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players in league history to average 25-plus points per game in their first eight games in the Finals according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Klay Thompson scored 21 of his 30 points in the first half and Stephen Curry finished with 24 for Golden State. Curry finished with six assists, and had 13 of the team’s 44 rebounds out-rebounding Cleveland (37) in the process.

Golden State knocked down a Finals’ record nine 3-pointers in the first quarter. After making a Finals’ record 18-of-43 3-pointers in Game 2, Golden State remained hot on 3s going 16-for-33 in Game 3. Thompson made a team-high six 3s.

Golden State shot 48-percent (40-for-83) from the floor on the night.

Ditto from the free throw line.

As in Game 2 when the Warriors shot 22-for-24  from the free throw line, Golden State hit the replay button and shot 22-for-24 in Game 3.

Cleveland finds themselves on the brink of a sweep after giving Golden State their best punch of the series in Game 3.

LeBron James, who is averaging a triple-double so far in the series, nearly had another triple-double with 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. James tied his personal best for points in a Finals half with 27 points, while Kyrie Irving resurfaced his game, scoring 16 of his 38 points in the third quarter.

James and Irving left everything on the court in Game 4 for Cleveland, combining to shoot 31-for-56 from the floor and helped Cleveland out-score Golden State 33-22 in the third quarter, but it still wasn’t enough for a Cavaliers team that shot a 44-percent from the field (40-for-90).

J.R. Smith added 16 points after scoring just three points total in the first two games of the series, while Kevin Love struggled in Game 3 mustering just nine points on 1-for-9 shooting.

Cleveland was an iceberg from the 3-point line, shooting a dismal 12-for-44 (27-percent) on 3s, and allowed Golden State to rack up 29 assists to Cleveland’s 17.

After winning the first two games of the series by a combined 41 points and not yielding a second half lead until Cleveland took a 71-69 in the third quarter, Golden State needed all 48 minutes to outlast Cleveland Wednesday night.