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Warriors close out Cavaliers in Game 6 to win NBA title

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Warriors close out Cavaliers in Game 6 to win NBA title

CLEVELAND -- Revived by a fresh-faced shooting superstar and a first-year coach who made them believe, the Golden State Warriors again reign supreme.

Their 40-year NBA championship drought is finally over.

A half century of misery in Cleveland drags on. LeBron James just didn't have enough help.

Stephen Curry and finals MVP Andre Iguodala scored 25 points apiece,Draymond Green recorded a triple-double and the Warriors -- using a barrage of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter -- won their first title since 1975 by finishing off James and the Cavaliers 105-97 on Tuesday night in Game 6.

For the first time since Gerald Ford was in the White House, disco was in vogue and Rick Barry was flicking in free throws under-handed, the best pro basketball team resides in the Bay Area.

And these Warriors are a lot like Barry and his old crew: fluid, balanced, together. Just like coach Steve Kerr hoped.

After falling behind by two points early in the third quarter, the Warriors took control with Curry, the league's MVP, and Iguodala, who made his first start of the season in Game 4, leading the way.

"This was awesome," Iguodala said. "We talked about staying strong, stay with it. That was Coach's motto the whole playoffs. Stay with it. They kept fighting. This is unreal."

Golden State allowed the Cavaliers to creep within eight points in the fourth before unleashing a flurry of 3s to ensure they would be taking the Larry O'Brien Trophy back to California. Curry's step-back 3 made it 78-68, and after the Cavs closed within seven on J.R. Smith's trey, Iguodala, Curry and Klay Thompsoneach drained one in a span of 81 seconds to make it 89-75.

Iguodala added another long shot for good measure before he strutted back on defense holding out three fingers on each hand.

He could have shot an index finger into the air at that point -- Golden State is No. 1.

James returned from Miami to deliver a title to his home region, but the 30-year-old, left to do most of the work by himself after All-Stars Kyrie Irving andKevin Love were injured in the postseason, came two wins shy of giving Cleveland its first pro sports championship since 1964.

They city's three pro teams -- the Cavs, Browns and Indians -- have gone a combined 144 seasons without one of them winning it all.

James had 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists and was superbly dominant during the series, showing why he's the world's best player.

The Warriors were simply the better team.

James was replaced in the final seconds, but before he left the court, the four-time MVP shook hands with Curry and offered congratulations to Kerr and the rest of the Warriors.

"The sacrifice every guy made from Andre and David (Lee) stepping away from the starting lineup, we just played," Kerr said. "And they were all in it just to win. That's all that mattered. This is an amazing group of guys."

This series, which opened with two overtime games in Oakland, flipped when Kerr employed a small lineup in the fourth quarter of Game 3 and the Warriors nearly overcame a 20-point deficit before losing.

Kerr stuck with revamped lineup in Game 4, giving Iguodala a start, switching Green to center and benching the ineffective Andrew Bogut. The move was as golden as the Warriors, who finished with 83 wins, the third-highest single-season total in history.

Only the 1995-96, and 1996-97 Bulls won more, and Kerr was on both of those teams.

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2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

GAME 5: WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT TORONTO RAPTORS

Series: Series tied 2-2
Where: Air Canada Centre
Tip-off: 7:02 p.m. (earlier tipoff than usual)
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Pivotal game

The Wizards have done their part in winning both games at home to even up this series at 2-2. Now comes Game 5, which could very well determine who takes this series.

Winners of Game 5 in a seven-game series tied at 2-2 hold a 164-34 (.828) record all-time. That means teams that lose Game 5 come back to win the final two games and the series only 17.2 percent of the time.

The Wizards need to get this one and they know all too well why. Last year they were in this same position in their second round series against the Boston Celtics. They went down 0-2, won the next two games but then lost Game 5 and ultimately the series in seven games.

Road warriors

The Wizards will also have to do something they have yet to do in a while in Game 5 and that is win on the road. Though they have won eight straight home postseason games, they have lost their last six on the road. It goes back to that Celtics series when Washington lost all four games in Boston. The last time they won on the road in the playoffs was Game 6 last year against the Hawks.

The Raptors are particularly tough in Toronto. They were 34-7 this season at home, tied with the Houston Rockets for the best record in the NBA. 

The recent historical odds are also in Toronto's favor. Since 2003, the home team has won each of the first four games in a seven-game series 35 times. In those series, the home team has held a Game 5 record of 22-13 and a series record of 26-9. If the Raptors get Game 5, history will be on their side to go on to win the series.

Can Otto get going?

Games 3 and 4 in Washington saw All-Star Bradley Beal break out to score 28 and 31 points. Will we see the same from Otto Porter before this series is over?

Game 4 seemed to suggest that is possible. After scoring only one point in the first half, Porter erupted for 10 points in the third quarter alone. Though he only scored 12 points in the game overall, it was the most aggressive we have seen him all series.

Porter is averaging just 10.3 points per game through four playoff games. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three, and as long as the Wizards are winning he won't complain, but Porter can do much more than that on offense. If he starts scoring more, the Wizards will be tough to stop.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WALL HAS REACHED PEAK FORM AMAZINGLY QUICK

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Julie Donaldson reset the series and looked ahead to Game 5.

They were joined by TSN Sports anchor Kayla Grey to find out the Toronto perspective. The Wizards have all the momentum in this series, now they just have to keep it going.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!