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Curry leads Warriors to 104-91 win against Cavs

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Curry leads Warriors to 104-91 win against Cavs

By BRIAN MAHONEY

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Golden State Warriors are a win away from ending one long championship drought and extending another.

Stephen Curry made seven 3-pointers and scored 37 points, and the Warriors withstood another brilliant performance from LeBron James to outlast the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-91 on Sunday night for a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals.

With a sellout crowd rocking and roaring in their golden-yellow shirts, the newly minted MVP and his teammates took control of the game -- and possibly the series -- in the final minutes. Curry connected inside and out -- sometimes way out -- to help the Warriors pull away, and James and the Cavs had no way to counter.

The Warriors will try to win their first title since 1975 on Tuesday night in Cleveland, which hasn't won a major sports championship in 51 years. Game 7, if necessary, would be in Oakland on Friday night.

James carried Cleveland as far as he could. The four-time MVP had 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, slowing down the pace the way only he can.

James made 15 of 34 shots in 44 minutes.

There were 20 lead changes and 10 ties in a game that featured nearly as many bruises as baskets -- but few big men -- and the league's two biggest attractions trading thrilling scores.

James made a 34-footer with the shot clock about to expire midway through the fourth, and Curry answered with a step-back 3-pointer. Klay Thompson, who scored 12 points, followed with another from deep shot for the Warriors.

Andre Iguodala later hit a 3 and then grabbed a rebound, tossing in a left-handed put back while getting fouled by Tristan Thompson. Iguodala strutted back to midcourt, staring at the announced crowd of 19,596 -- just about all of them on their feet through the fourth -- before missing the free throw.

Curry added a cutting layup, then lost Matthew Dellavedova off the dribble and stepped back for a 3 that gave Golden State a 96-86 lead with 2:44 left.

James hit a 3-pointer, and the Cavs began fouling Iguodala -- a sub-par free throw shooter -- to try and extend possessions. But Curry never let the game get out of his hands, connecting on another 3-pointer with 1:12 left that had him pounding his chest and pointing to the sky.

The game followed a familiar formula.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr stuck with the small-ball lineup he used to win Game 4, starting swingman Andre Iguodala over center Andrew Bogut. Cavs coach David Blatt replaced 7-footer Timofey Mozgov with guard J.R. Smith -- sliding James to center -- after Cleveland fell behind 8-2 in the opening minutes.

Both teams lacked size. Neither lacked fight.

Smith made four of his first seven 3-pointers before going cold, but landed his biggest shot when he extended his right forearm and shoulder to plow through Draymond Green's screen, knocking the Warriors forward to the ground. Officials called a flagrant 1 foul on Smith after a review.

Dellavedova dragged Green down going for a rebound in the second quarter, and the officials assessed double fouls after the players got tangled up on the floor. James Jones also grabbed Iguodala with two arms from behind on a layup attempt, which the Warriors argued should've been a flagrant foul.

The physical first half ended with Harrison Barnes putting back Curry's miss for a dunk over James to start a three-point play that put the Warriors up 51-50. James scored or assisted on 16 of Cleveland's 17 field goals in the half.

James struggled to supply the same power in the third quarter, scoring just four points and handing out one assists. The Warriors closed on a 10-2 run to take a 73-67 lead entering the fourth.

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Wizards new GM Tommy Sheppard called Dwight Howard trade 'quickest trade I've ever done'

Wizards new GM Tommy Sheppard called Dwight Howard trade 'quickest trade I've ever done'

In early July, the Wizards dealt Dwight Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles. According to an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, new Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard didn't need much time to move on.

The Howard deal was "the quickest trade I've ever done in my life," Sheppard told Wojnarowski.

It was also a proving ground for Sheppard to show owner Ted Leonsis he could lead a new regime for the Wizards.

"I like [Sheppard's] dexterity to be able to deal with the existing NBA, but to also really look at it as a global enterprise," Leonsis noted.

Howard was signed to the Wizards in 2018 to a two-year, $11 million free-agent deal, and immediately made a lasting impact, including jokes about how he learned to be a Wizard after a circuitous NBA career.

Trading him away was a signal that Sheppard was trying to reset of the Wizards culture.

But since then, Tommy Sheppard has had his interim tag removed to mark him as the new GM of the organization. 

Sheppard's moves before he was named GM included not only the Howard deal, but also leading the Wizards' draft night where they selected Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, as well as signing Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal.

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Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard plans to offer Bradley Beal 3-year max contract extension, per report

Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard plans to offer Bradley Beal 3-year max contract extension, per report

Tommy Sheppard isn't wasting any time. The Washington Wizards' new general manager said the team will offer All-Star Bradley Beal a three-year, $111 million maximum contract extension Friday, when the guard becomes eligible to sign, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday

Once the offer is made, 26-year-old Beal will have until October 21 to sign the extension, which would begin with the 2021-22 season. He is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 25.6 points, 5.5 assists and five rebounds. 

More from Wojnarowski and ESPN:

There are moments in a career where there are big decisions to make, and Brad will work through everything and figure out the right thing to do," [agent Mark] Bartelstein told ESPN. "There are nothing but great feelings for Ted [Leonsis], Tommy and Scott [Brooks]. They've treated Brad wonderfully.

The news of the planned offer comes three days after NBC Sports Washington confirmed the Wizards are planning to announce Sheppard as the official new GM after months of working under the interim tag. 

The Wizards are also willing to offer Beal a one- or two-year extension as well, and if he passes altogether, the team does not have current plans to trade him, Sheppard told ESPN. 

Beal has two years and $55.8 million left on his contract. Should he be an All-NBA player in the 2019-20 season, he could become eligible for a five-year, $254 million supermax extension at this time next year. Without that stipulation, he's still eligible for a four-year, $155 million max extension next summer.

More per ESPN:

He's got two years left on his deal, and he's from Missouri and we are going to have to show him," Sheppard told ESPN. "We need to show him that we are about building this the right way, that we aren't going to have character-deficient guys around him. We are going to surround him with guys he wants to play with. He saw that right away in free agency with us bringing back Thomas Bryant.

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