Friday night they are confronted with the grandest closeout of them all because if they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers one last time, they will become (a) National Basketball Association champions, (b) the best playoff team ever, (c) the dynasty best positioned to threaten the 1960s Celtics, (d) the team that broke the National Basketball Association, and (e) the new galactic standard in all sport.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) argues with referee Monty McCutchen (13) during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 7, 2017. It gave the Warriors a cushioning 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Finals, and brought them one step closer to the championship.
As for his own future, James, who is averaging 32 points, 12.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists in the Finals, said he hasn't decided how much longer he'll play. In fact, according to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, the hope was because both players were so hot that at some point they'd get exhausted of carrying their team.
Irving missed an off-balance 3-pointer and Durant and Curry each made two free throws on the next Golden State possessions to seal Cleveland's fate.
The Warriors, with multiple scoring machines at their disposal, went on an 11-0 run in the last three minutes of the hotly-contested match en route to the 118-113 victory on Thursday at the Quicken Loans Arena in Ohio. But there was something else too, something that might have had more to do with the Warriors losing the finals than an aching knee: mentally, Curry wasn't there. While other teams strengthening their roster, the Wizards had to balance making improvements while limiting themselves to players who were willing to take short-term deals.
Durant scored a team-high 31 points for the Warriors, who will get a chance today in Cleveland to become the first team to go undefeated all the way to a title. They have thus far swept away the Portland Trailblazers, the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs in the first three rounds of the playoffs, winning the first four games in each best-of-seven series. Fourteen minutes of leading the game meant nothing. Nine seconds later, a Durant made cuts the lead to two. The Cavs played an nearly ideal game and they still came up short, and that's hard for Cavs fans to admit, but it's true.
"I said it after we won the Eastern Conference finals that we (were) getting ready for a juggernaut", James said.
Klay Thompson added 30 points and Stephen Curry had 26 for the Warriors.
"It's The Finals", Irving said after the game. Both teams felt the pain of losing big leads past year. 'It's on you, ' Green told Myers. "The best thing with Golden State's situation is a lot of their guys are drafted".
The Warriors are closing in on an unprecedented 16-0 playoff record, but they have cause to be wary after the Cavs became the first side to come from 3-1 down to steal last year's title from their grasp.
Durant has been a tremendous in these finals and yet the Warriors' biggest addition to this year's title round might be that they have the old Steph Curry back again.