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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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2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

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USA Today Sports

2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

The NBA officially announced a list of 20 players invited to the Green Room at the 2018 NBA Draft. Provided that all attend, here's a list of who'll be there.

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Mikal Bridges, Villanova
  • Marvin Bagley III, Duke
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
  • Lonnie Walker IV, Miami
  • Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
  • Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
  • Aaron Holiday, UCLA
  • Deandre Ayton, Arizona
  • Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
  • Luka Doncic, Slovenia
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
  • Kevin Knox, Kentucky
  • Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
  • Robert Williams, Texas A&M
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Jerome Robinson, Boston College

There are two players each invited from Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

The 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN. The Wizards have Nos. 15 and 44 picks.

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The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario

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USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA Doomsday Mock Draft: A comical look at every team's worst-case scenario

The 2018 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, June 21 and once again provides a glimmer of hope for even the most downtrodden franchises.

The NBA Draft is where teams can prepare for the future; where teams can rebuild and reload.

But the NBA Draft is often a crapshoot. Teams waffle on taking the best fit versus the best available player. Teams often panic and rest on laurels of draft years past. Fans like to build draft stereotypes for individual franchises, and while a lot of that is stupid Internet conjecture, it's fun to talk about and is often some actual truth to it.

So what follows is a look at the Doomsday Mock Draft. What your favorite team is likely to do if all else fails, which it often does.

1. Phoenix Suns: A franchise center who spends his first contract working with the Suns' medical staff more than his teammates.

2. Sacramento Kings: Someone who won't be a member of the Kings by the time 2022 rolls around.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Someone that will make Dennis Schroder unhappy.

4. Memphis Grizzlies: A Mike Conley Jr. repair kit.

5. Dallas Mavericks: Not the heir apparent to Dirk Nowitzki.

6. Orlando Magic: A reach that won't pan out.

7. Chicago Bulls: Someone from Iowa State, probably.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers: ANYONE YOU WANT LEBRON JUST PLEASE DON'T LEAVE US AGAIN!!

9. New York Knicks: /inserts .GIF of Spike Lee looking disappointed/

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Another big man because HINKIE 4 LYFE.

11. Charlotte Hornets: A North Carolina Tar Heel.

12. Los Angeles Clippers: A playmate for the head coach's son.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan 2.0.

14. Denver Nuggets: Yet another athletic guard.

15. Washington Wizards: Nope. Not touching this one.

16. Phoenix Suns: Someone to pass Devon Booker the ball.

17. Milwaukee Bucks: Wingspan. Nothing but wingspan.

18. San Antonio Spurs: One of the Space Jam villains who conveniently falls to the Spurs (See: Leonard, Kawhi. Anderson, Kyle. Murray, Dejounte)

19. Atlanta Hawks: Someone to replace Dennis Schroder.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Someone who Tom Thibideau can play 60 minutes of a 48-minute game.

21. Utah Jazz: A real glue guy. A gym rat. A high-motor guy. Intangibles. Grit. Moxie. 

22. Chicago Bulls: A two-way player who will ultimately get punched in the face by Bobby Portis.

23. Indiana Pacers: DRAFT ANOTHER UCLA PLAYER. WE DARE YOU.

24. Portland Trail Blazers: DRAFT ANOTHER MID-MAJOR GUARD. WE DARE YOU.

25. Los Angeles Lakers: The subject of Lonzo Ball's next diss track.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: A pallet of knockoff burner phones.

27. Boston Celtics: A draft night trade for more draft picks they probably won't use.

28. Golden State Warriors: An unfairly good player.

29. Brooklyn Nets: An unfairly bad player.

30. Atlanta Hawks: We ran out of Dennis Schroder jokes.

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