clearn.png
Wednesday July 17th, 2019 4:51AM

Warriors set to make their claim as NBA's best ever

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CLEVELAND (AP) — One victory left for the Golden State Warriors to claim another title.

Not the one as NBA champions. The one as the best team ever.

Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors will be able to make that boast if they win Friday to complete the most impressive postseason run in major sports history.

They moved to the brink of that with a 118-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors are 15-0 and can finish off the NBA's first perfect postseason with a victory here in Game 4.

Combine that with last year's 73-win season, and a second title in three years — which could have easily been three consecutive championships — and foundation of the case has been made.

The Cavaliers are no match for these Warriors, not even with arguably the best player on the planet in LeBron James. Golden State's only competition is with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and the Bulls, and other great teams from the past.

None won as dominantly as this team, which has four versatile All-Stars — including two former league MVPs — in their prime. These aptly named Warriors spent the last two months building big leads, then Wednesday wiped out a late deficit.

Some people may argue their greatness, but James won't.

"It's probably the most, most firepower I've played in my career," James said. "I played against some great teams, but I don't think no team has had this type of firepower. So even when you're playing well, you got to play like A-plus plus, because they're going to make runs and they're going to make shots and they got guys that's going to make plays."

The NBA's best postseason run is the 15-1 mark of the 2001 Lakers, while the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers went 12-1. Jordan's first title team in 1991 is one of three squads that went 15-2.

The Warriors thought they were carving out their place in history when they set a record with 73 wins last season. But history turned to infamy when they blew a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers, the biggest collapse in NBA Finals history.

They spoke openly of their desire to beat Jordan's 72-win team in 1996, but this time have downplayed the importance of 16-0.

"We obviously know how hard it is to win a championship, what all goes into it and how important each game is. And now that you can look ahead to Friday, all our focus is on that," Curry said. "And just we obviously — we want 16 wins; it doesn't matter how we get there. But now that we're in this situation, why not take care of business and finish the job?"

They were winning by 16.9 points per game through the previous 14, which would easily be another NBA record. And when they finally got a close one, they showed why their roster is the envy of just about every other team, with the long-range shooting of Durant, Curry and Klay Thompson, and the defensive wizardry of Draymond Green and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala.

That roster would give these Warriors a chance against any great team from the past — and gives most of their opponents no chance against them.

"They're definitely a different team than they were last year that's definitely in full effect that we're all fully aware of," the Cavs' Kyrie Irving said.

That's mostly because of Durant, the former NBA MVP who signed with the Warriors in July. Curry, winner of the last two MVP awards, is fully healthy after struggling through last year's Finals.

Neither will turn 30 until next year, while Thompson and Green are only 27. Should the Warriors stay healthy and together — and it would cost them enormously in salaries and taxes — they should be a title threat every year.

They very easily could be playing for a third straight championship.

They look ready to play for many more.

"Just the combination of offense and defense, the talent that they've been able to amass, it puts them in position where this is a dynasty to me," ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said before the NBA Finals. "They have their youth, they have their health. I see nothing preventing them from going to eight to 10 straight Finals. It will be a massive upset, I think, if they're not there each and every year."

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

  • Associated Categories: Sports, Professional Sports, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
North Korea fires suspected cruise missiles after US drills
North Korea fired several suspected short-range anti-ship missiles in a continuation of defiant launches as it seeks to build a nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental United States.
2:58AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Police increase patrols in Tehran after Iran terror attacks
Iran's foreign minister is rejecting U.S. statements about the attacks on Iran's parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader
2:54AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Warriors set to make their claim as NBA's best ever
Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors are on the brink of being able to proclaim themselves as one of the best teams ever
2:52AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Perfect shot: Durant's late 3 gives Warriors 3-0 Finals lead
Still perfect, poised for payback: Warriors rally for 118-113 win over Cavs to take 3-0 lead in NBA Finals.
2:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
Durant's shot sends perfect Warriors over Cavs in Finals
Still perfect, poised for payback: Warriors rally for 118-113 win over Cavs to take 3-0 lead in NBA Finals.
1:18AM ( 1 hour ago )
Cavs' best effort not good enough to beat the Warriors
The Cleveland Cavaliers were so much better than in the previous two games
1:17AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: James, Irving leading the way, Cavs lead 108-107
LeBron James is two rebounds and two assists shy of his ninth career NBA Finals triple-double
11:33PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Cavaliers lead 94-89 heading into 4th quarter
Warriors Draymond Green in foul trouble, Cavaliers trying to take advantage in Game 3
11:12PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Warriors trying to hold off Cavs in Game 3
Warriors Draymond Green in foul trouble, Cavaliers trying to take advantage in Game 3
10:58PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Polls open in UK election after campaign marred by attacks
Polling stations have opened across Britain in an election to choose a new government
2:08AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Iran rejects US statements on attacks in Tehran
Iran's foreign minister is rejecting U.S. statements about the attacks on Iran's parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader
2:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Alleged leaker's parents fear Trump will be tough on case
The parents of a young woman charged with leaking U.S. government secrets to a reporter say she poses no flight risk if she's released from pre-trial confinement
1:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Kuwait's emir meets with Qatari leader amid diplomatic rift
Kuwait's emir has traveled to Qatar and met that country's leader as part of his efforts to mediate an end to a crisis that's seen Arab nations cut ties to the energy-rich country and attempt to isolate it
11:31PM ( 3 hours ago )
Keith Urban wins big at CMT Awards, Underwood makes history
After walking away empty-handed at the Grammy Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this year, Keith Urban found redemption at the 2017 CMT Music Awards, picking up four honors including video of the year for "Blue Ain't Your Color."
10:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
Trump taps seasoned law enforcement attorney to head FBI
President Donald Trump surprised Washington on Wednesday with his choice to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey, tapping a white-collar defense lawyer with strong law enforcement background
10:54PM ( 4 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
The Latest: Kyle Korver says long breaks has his timing off
Kyle Korver has struggled with his shot through the first two games of the NBA Finals
8:05PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Warriors have chance at second-best record ever
Basketball season, football weather: Chilly weather not cooling off Cavs fans before Game 3 of NBA Finals
7:43PM ( 7 hours ago )
Lonzo Ball works out for Lakers, would love to be No. 2 pick
Lonzo Ball wants the Los Angeles Lakers to choose him with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft
7:42PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Sports - NBA
In Beijing, Perry promotes US-China clean energy cooperation
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says America and China have "extraordinary opportunities" to work together on clean energy
2:58AM ( 5 minutes ago )
North Korea fires suspected cruise missiles after US drills
North Korea fired several suspected short-range anti-ship missiles in a continuation of defiant launches as it seeks to build a nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental United States.
2:58AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Police increase patrols in Tehran after Iran terror attacks
Iran's foreign minister is rejecting U.S. statements about the attacks on Iran's parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader
2:54AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Myanmar navy ship, fishermen find bodies in search for plane
Ten bodies and aircraft parts have been found in the seas off Myanmar a day after a plane carrying 120 people disappeared
2:50AM ( 13 minutes ago )
NASA picks 12 new astronauts from crush of applicants
NASA has chosen 12 new astronauts from its biggest pool of applicants ever
2:36AM ( 28 minutes ago )