By Steve Keating
CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson generated a wave of momentum that will carry the Golden State Warriors home one win from another NBA title after a crucial victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.
Thompson and Curry broke out of their Finals scoring funk by combining for 63 points as the Warriors pushed the Cavs to brink of elimination heading into Monday’s Game Five in Oakland.
Of the 32 teams that have faced a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals none have ever come back to win the championship.
Curry once again led the way for Golden State, dropping a game-high 38 points that included seven three-pointers, while Thompson chipped in with 25.
“I thought Steph was a little bit in a hurry. He wanted so badly to break out,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “I don’t know that the shots were that much better than they’ve been, I just think they got going.
“I mean, sooner or later it’s going to happen.
“With guys like that, you can’t keep them down forever.”
The Cavaliers, however, until Friday had been able to keep a lid on the Warriors sharpshooters for much of the Finals, limiting them to a combined average of just 28 points over the first three games of the best-of-seven series.
Curry, the NBA’s two-time reigning most valuable player and regular season scoring champion, was averaging just 16 points a game against the Cavs and Thompson 12.
“I had to be assertive and decisive with what I was doing,” explained Curry, after coming close to matching his career playoff high of 44 points.
“When you have obviously Klay knocking down threes on the wing, (Harrison Barnes) the way he stepped up and made some timely buckets for us, it kind of softens the defense because they’ve got to be aware of everybody, and then lanes open up and that’s when we’re at our best. So just kind of feeding off of that rhythm.”
After two dominating wins at home the Warriors stumbled into Cleveland and were embarrassed by the Cavs in a 120-90 Game Three during which Curry misfired all night.
But for the Cavaliers there was no way to defuse the Curry and Thompson time bomb that exploded again on Friday.
“Well, (Curry) hit an incredibly tough baseline shot right in front of our bench that was, I don’t know many people on the planet who could make that shot,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
“So when he made that shot, that was a good indication he was feeling better about himself and about the way the game was going.
“But, again, he’s Steph Curry. He’s the MVP for a reason.
“He has a lot of faith in himself, and he trusts his shot and he just kept firing, and tonight they went in.”
(Editing by Frank Pingue)