Warriors Durant not simply along for Finals ride

UNTV News   •   June 9, 2017   •   5047

 

Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates after making a three-point basket during the fourth quarter in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant faced plenty of backlash last year when he joined a ready-made title contender but has proven that he is not simply along for the ride as he closes in on a maiden NBA championship.

Durant’s sheer talent and uncanny ability to hit shots at key moments has been the difference maker for a Warriors team that have raced out to a 3-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

“We knew how good he was, but just how clutch he’s been, how many big shots he’s hit for us … it just looks like he

understands this is his moment, this is his time,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on Thursday.

“He’s earned it. He’s been in this league for a long time, and he’s, I think, at the top of his game at the biggest time.”

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, Durant will finally become an NBA champion in the coming days and likely be named Finals MVP, less than a year after ripping out the hearts of Oklahoma City fans by leaving the Thunder.

That move by the four-times scoring champion drew criticism as it came just weeks after the Warriors denied Durant and the Thunder a trip to last year’s Finals by storming back from a 3-1 series deficit.

Added to the fact that he joined a Warriors team that won the NBA title in 2015 and followed that up by winning a record 73 games last season before falling to Cleveland in seven games, Durant was considered a villain by many.

Durant’s current team mates, however, call him unselfish when it comes to understanding how he can impact the game each night.

“It took a while for it to kind of reveal itself consistently as the regular season went on,” said Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

“But once it clicked and the habits started to become second nature, it was kind of beautiful to watch and an amazing kind of style to play and watch unfold.”

Durant hit the game-winning three-pointer in the closing stages of Game Three on Wednesday and the former league MVP said he remains focused on just playing hard.

“That’s what we always talk about, we all just want to have some fun but play disciplined,” said Durant.

“And so that’s a battle I’m trying to go through more so than worrying about how I’m playing, how great I’m playing. I’m just trying to be solid for my team mates.” — By Frank Pingue | CLEVELAND

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Larry Fine)

Cavs let big lead vanish but hold off Wizards

UNTV News   •   January 30, 2019


Jan 29, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers center Ante Zizic (41) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Clarkson scored 28 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers squandered most of a 25-point fourth-quarter lead before holding on to defeat the Washington Wizards 116-113 for their second straight win.

Washington cut the deficit to three points in the final minute and had a chance to tie when it inbounded with 10.8 seconds left but Cedi Osman knocked the ball away from Troy Brown, who was attempting a 3-pointer, and the Cavs held on despite missing nine fourth-quarter free throws.

Osman had 26 points for Cleveland and Ante Zizic had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Bradley Beal had 31 points for Washington but was on the bench during the fourth-quarter rally. Reserve Jordan McCrae had 15 points and Trevor Ariza added 13 for the Wizards, who have lost two straight.

Cleveland led by six at halftime and pulled away in the third quarter when it outscored the Wizards 35-22.

Matthew Dellavedova’s 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers an 82-61 lead late in the quarter.

Clarkson’s second straight 3-pointer made it 94-69 with 10:44 left to play and Cleveland still led by 25 with 6:58 to play before Washington rallied.

Gary Payton’s layup capped a 13-2 run that brought the Wizards within 109-99 and McCrae’s jumper made it 112-103 with 1:42 left to play.

Washington cut it to 115-108 on Brown’s layup with 35.1 seconds left. After Cleveland’s Collin Sexton missed two free throws, McCrae hit a 3-pointer with 30.7 seconds remaining.

Clarkson’s free throw extended the lead to 116-111, but McCrae’s two free throws pulled Washington within 116-113 with 18.5 seconds left.

Osman missed two free throws and Washington had the ball with 10.8 seconds remaining before Brown’s failed 3-point attempt.

The Cavaliers took their largest lead of the first half, 53-44, on Clarkson’s layup with 8.3 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but Ariza hit a 3-pointer with one second left.

—Field Level Media

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Harden drills OT winner as Rockets nip Warriors

UNTV News   •   January 5, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Feb 10, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) points to the sky against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

James Harden capped his second consecutive triple-double by sinking a 25-foot 3-pointer with one second remaining in overtime Thursday night, giving the Houston Rockets a 135-134 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif.

After Stephen Curry put Golden State up by two with an 18-footer with 23.1 seconds to go, the Rockets got possession after a kicked-ball violation on the Warriors with 5.5 seconds left.

The ball was inbounded to Harden, who was able to get off — and make — a heavily contested 3-pointer to provide the game-winning points and cap a game-high, 44-point night.

Kevin Durant’s desperation 40-footer caromed off the rim at the buzzer, allowing the Rockets to win their sixth straight and 11th in their past 12.

In scoring 40 or more points for the fifth consecutive game, Harden also found time for 10 rebounds and a game-high 15 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season. He turned the ball over seven times.

Curry led the Warriors with 35 points.

The Rockets forced the extra session by scoring the last six points of the fourth quarter on a three-point play by Clint Capela with 1:03 to go and a 3-pointer by Harden with 51.4 seconds left.

After Durant misfired for Golden State, Harden had the last shot of regulation but couldn’t connect from 32 feet, sending the game into overtime tied at 119-all.

Thirty of Harden’s points came on 10 3-pointers as the Rockets went 21-for-54 from beyond the arc and outscored Golden State 63-42 on threes.

Capela recorded a 29-point, 21-point double-double for Houston, which beat Golden State for the second time this season after falling to the eventual champion Warriors in seven games in last year’s Western Conference finals.

Austin Rivers added 18 points, Danuel House Jr. 17 and Gerald Green 16 as the Rockets rallied from as much as a 20-point, third-quarter deficit.

Curry managed his 35 points despite just 5-for-15 shooting from 3-point range. The Warriors were 14-for-37 from long distance as a team.

Durant and Klay Thompson finished with 26 points apiece for the Warriors, while Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double of his own with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

The loss was Golden State’s third straight at home.

—Field Level Media

Jefferson retires from NBA, pays tribute to father

UNTV News   •   October 15, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Jan 10, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson (24) dunks against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images

 

Richard Jefferson, who played 17 years in the NBA, has officially retired. Planning to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, the small forward announced Saturday on Instagram that he has made the decision to “move on from basketball.” He also offered a tribute to his late father.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Richard Jefferson Sr., 65, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Sept. 19 in Compton, Calif. He was known as “Big Rich.”

The 38-year-old Jefferson, a member of the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, played 20 games with the Denver Nuggets last season, averaging just 1.5 points in 8.2 points per game. He previously played for the then-New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 1,181 career games, 809 of them as a starter.

On the Instagram post, he wrote: “In the last month I’ve dealt with two life changing events back to back. My decision to move on from basketball and the tragic passing of Big Rich. The support of my family and friends have been huge.”

The post included a video clip showing Big Rich at a barbecue he hosted for about 20 people, and Jefferson added, “He really was a true OG. I’m going to miss all his one-liners, his cooking and his ability to make a whole room laugh.”

Jefferson played at the University of Arizona from 1998-2001, and was the 13th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets.

—Field Level Media

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