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Desperate Warriors beat Thunder to stay alive

Desperate Warriors beat Thunder to stay alive

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after a play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points as the defending champion Golden State Warriors kept their record-setting season alive with a 120-111 win over Oklahoma City in game five of their Western Conference playoff.

Curry, who has been plagued by injuries throughout the postseason, saved his best game of the series for Thursday night as he also had seven rebounds and six assists.

“We did what we are supposed to the do — win at home,” said Curry.

After a record-setting 73 regular season wins, desperation set in for Golden State on Thursday as they trimmed the Thunder’s lead to 3-2 in the series.

The Warriors have a daunting task ahead of them when the teams square off for game six Saturday in Oklahoma City as just nine NBA teams have rallied from being down 3-1 to win a playoff series.

Game seven, if necessary, would be Monday in Oakland.

“We know they are not going to quit. It is going to be the toughest game of our lives in game six. We got to be ready,” Curry said.

Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes drained three-pointers on consecutive possessions during an eight-point flurry that opened a 12-point lead early in the fourth quarter

Curry went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line, as the Warriors overcame a 40-point performance by Thunder star Kevin Durant to keep their hopes of a title repeat alive.

Prior to Thursday’s game, media reports listed Curry as being 70 percent healthy, saying his injuries were one of the main reasons the Warriors were on the brink of elimination.

91 PER CENT

“I though he looked like 91 percent,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr joked after the game.

Klay Thompson supported Curry with 27 points for the Warriors, who are now 4-1 after losses in the playoffs.

“He came out and played a really good game. He is going to compete every night,” said Kerr of Curry.

The Warriors won despite making just nine of their 24 three-point attempts.

Andrew Bogut tallied 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Draymond Green had an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double performance for the Warriors.

The Warriors led just 81-77 before backup guard Shaun Livingston opened the fourth period with a short jump shot.

Iguodala and Barnes then nailed their three-pointers, opening an 89-77 advantage, Golden State’s largest lead of the game to that point.

Curry’s biggest basket of the night came with the Warriors holding a 103-98 lead with 4:34 to play. He made a driving left-handed floater while being fouled. He converted the three-point play, pushing the lead to eight.

The Golden State’s solid defense took over from there, holding the Thunder without a field goal until a Durant dunk with 56 seconds remaining.

Russell Westbrook finished with 31 points to go with seven rebounds and a team-high eight assists for the Thunder.

Serge Ibaka had 13 points and Steven Adams a team-high 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who were able to eliminate Dallas and San Antonio in earlier series.

May 27, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:
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Lowry, DeRozan star as Raptors stun Cavs to tie series

 

DeMar DeRozan #10, Bismack Biyombo #8, Patrick Patterson #54, Kyle Lowry #7 and DeMarre Carroll #5 of the Toronto Raptors celebrate late in the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the Eastern Conference.

DeMar DeRozan #10, Bismack Biyombo #8, Patrick Patterson #54, Kyle Lowry #7 and DeMarre Carroll #5 of the Toronto Raptors celebrate late in the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the Eastern Conference.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan scored more than 30 points each as the Toronto Raptors withstood a ferocious Cleveland Cavaliers fightback to level their Eastern Conference final series on Monday with a 105-99 victory.

Lowry scored 35 points while DeRozan weighed in with 32 as Toronto completed a victory that leaves the best-of-seven series tied at 2-2 with three games to play.

The win continues a remarkable transformation in fortunes for Toronto, who had lost the opening two games of the series heavily to trail 2-0.

The Canadian franchise — playing in its first Eastern Conference finals — held its nerve to hang on for a thrilling win on Monday.

With Lowry and DeRozan in imperious form, the Raptors had surged into an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter.

However, the Cavs rallied superbly through LeBron James, who finished with 29 points, and Kyrie Irving to haul themselves back into the contest.

With just over five minutes of the fourth quarter remaining, the Cavs had wiped out the deficit and taken a 92-89 lead.

But just when it looked as if the Cavs might score a vital road victory — and open up a 3-1 series lead — the Raptors rallied again, going on an 11-3 scoring run in the closing minutes to claim the win

“I thought we had control of the game, built a three-point lead, but we just made some defensive mistakes that you can’t make down the stretch,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “Each time we made a mistake they made us pay.

“We had an opportunity to not play well and win that game. They executed every time we made a mistake.”

Toronto’s defensive giant Bismack Biyombo produced another towering performance near the rim, mopping up 14 rebounds to keep the Cavs at bay.

The Raptors had led 27-24 after the first quarter after opening up an eight-point lead at one stage.

DeMarre Carroll had seven first-quarter points to lead the Raptors scoring while Cavs got seven points from Kyrie Irving.

Toronto went 13 points clear with 4:35 left in the second when Patrick Patterson laid up before Lowry drained a three.

Toronto were comfortably ahead 57-41 at half-time and early in the third led by 18 after another DeRozan basket.

However two Irving three-pointers helped trim the deficit for the Cavs while J.R.Smith’s three cut the lead to seven.

The Raptors hung on however to lead 78-69 at the end of the third.

But Cleveland then reeled off the first five points of the fourth quarter to narrow the gap and soon trailed by one point after Channing Frye made his second straight three-pointer.

James then gave Cleveland a fleeting one-point advantage before the lead changed hands several times in a frenzied finale.

The crucial passage came when first Lowry and Biyombo sank free throws to put Toronto five points ahead with 2:22 left.

Irving’s three-pointer put the Cavs within two, but Toronto held on.

AFP

 

May 24, 2016 By : Category : Uncategorized 0 Comment

Patriots edge IPRC-South to win Hoops league title

Patriots players celebrate their first league title.

Patriots players celebrate their first league title.

Patriots Basketball Club were on Saturday crowned national basketball league champions for the first time after edging their rivals and close challengers Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC-South) 52-45 Saturday in Huye.

The decisive game attracted attracted hundreds of fans for both sides with IPRC South going into the game as favorites with Henry Mwinuka’s side that helped them lead the first two quarters 9-7 and 17-8 respectively.

However, following the break after the first two quarters, Patriots managed to come back into the game and won the third quarter 16-8 and the last one 21-11 hence winning the game on a tally of 52-45 points.

Patriots’ Jean de Dieu Ntagunduka was the best scorer on his side netting 12 times while Olivier Ikishatse scored 13 times for IPRC South.

Patriots finished on top of the table with 34 points followed by four time winner Espoir, third is IPRC South followed by IPRC Kigali each with 32 points.

May 23, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:,
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Westbrook stars as Thunder stun Warriors

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Russell Westbrook inspired a second-half fightback as the Oklahoma City Thunder came from behind to beat the Golden State Warriors 108-102 in the opening game of the Western Conference finals on Monday.

Westbrook poured on 27 points as the Thunder overturned a 60-47 halftime deficit to snatch victory in a pulsating clash between two of the most potent attacking units in the NBA.

Westbrook also chipped in with 12 assists and six rebounds while team-mate Kevin Durant finished with 26 points as the visitors silenced the Golden State home crowd at the Oracle Arena.

“It’s a game of two halves, man,” Westbrook said after the win. “We’re a great team. We didn’t play our best game but we came out with a win.”

Westbrook played a pivotal role on defence, time and again using his blistering speed to pounce on stray passes by the Warriors.

“He’s probably the quickest guard in the league,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Westbrook.

“I thought when we lost our aggressiveness and our momentum offensively in the second half, a lot of that had to do with his speed and aggressiveness,” the Warriors coach added.

Golden State looked to be sprinting away to a one-sided victory after blasting into a commanding early in the first half, converting a series of rash Oklahoma City turnovers into points.

NBA MVP Stephen Curry — who finished with 26 points — rubbed salt into the wound on the stroke of half-time with a trademark long-range three-pointer to give the Warriors a 13-point lead.

But the Thunder re-emerged after the halftime interval a different side, with Westbrook leading the charge to slash the Warriors’ advantage with a virtuoso third quarter performance.

Westbrook piled up 19 points in the third quarter to help put the Thunder within three points of the Warriors at 88-85 heading into the fourth quarter.

With Oklahoma City’s defence successfully neutralising the threat posed by Curry, it was left to Durant and Westbrook to take control.

Oklahoma City opened up a 101-93 lead in the final few minutes but the reigning NBA finals champion Warriors clawed their way back to within one point at 101-100.

Just when it looked as if Golden State were poised to pull off another Houdini act, the Thunder regrouped and edged clear once more.

The visitors received a fortunate call when Westbrook avoided being called for traveling at 105-102 with 17 seconds remaining, and three more points sealed the win as time ran out for the Warriors.

Kerr bemoaned a loss of composure in the final quarter, when the Warriors made only one of 10 attempted three-pointers — way below their normal levels of shooting accuracy.

“There were a lot of quick shots, way too many quick shots,” Kerr said.

“Five minutes left in the game and we’re down four points or whatever and we were acting like we had 20 seconds left.

“Five minutes is an eternity. We know how we have to play. We have to pass and move and create rhythm for ourselves.

“I just felt we took way too many quick ones which took us out of our rhythm.”

Curry said the Warriors were ready to respond after the opening loss.

“It’s a long series,” Curry said. “It will be a different situation for us to try to bounce back at this point in the series having a deficit. So I think it’s fun to be able to have this opportunity and show what we’re made of.”

Thunder head coach Billy Donovan meanwhile praised his side’s problem-solving abilities after a first-half littered with errors.

“I thought in the second half we did a much better job, took much better care of the basketball which enabled us to get back in transition and play better defence,” Donovan said. “It’s one game and we’ll have to take a look at the film and figure out how we can play better on Wednesday.

“We’re not a perfect team but these guys really battle and fight and compete — when they see something that’s a problem they really try to correct it.”

Game Two in the best of seven series takes place in Oakland on Wednesday.

AFP

May 17, 2016 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment

Rwanda Junior Side heads to US for FIBA U18 preps

Head coach Moise Mutokambali gives instructions to his players in a league match against Espoir last week.

Head coach Moise Mutokambali gives instructions to his players in a league match against Espoir last week.

 

Rwanda’s national junior basketball team leaves for United States on Sunday to enhance preparations for the FIBA Men’s Africa U-18 Championships slated for August 25-4 September in Kigali.

The tournament, was initially supposed to be held in July was shifted to August because of the Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil around that time.

The head coach Moise Mutokambali told KT Sports on Friday that the Junior Hoops will play friendly games against Cameroon and Mali, and the Colleges of Arizona, Phoenix and Tucson.

He said, “We have planned for a ten days training camp in USA and will also play against some teams there, it is good that the team will have enough warm-up matches and we will have time to assess our level of playing,”

He further added, “For us we want to play many matches which will raise the fitness levels of our players before taking part in such a competitive tournament.”

The Junior Hoops have been playing in the national basketball league so as to give the youngsters more experience and confidence. They are in eighth position with 21 points in the 10 league team championship.

At least 12 teams will take part in FIBA Men’s Africa U-18 Championships with the top two qualifying for the 2017 FIBA U19 Men’s World Championship that will take place for the first time in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

May 13, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:,
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Thunder edge San Antonio to set up Warriors showdown

 

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder slides past Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs two points during the second half of Game Six of the Western Conference Semi-finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder slides past Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs two points during the second half of Game Six of the Western Conference Semi-finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

Kevin Durant scored 37 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder completed a 4-2 series victory over the San Antonio Spurs to advance to a Western Conference finals showdown with the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

He left the game to a standing ovation after a superb personal contribution that also included nine rebounds and two assists.

“We’re not done yet,” Durant said. “We have to keep improving. Keep getting better and get ready for the next series.”

The host Thunder punched their ticket to their fourth Western Conference finals in six years with a 113-99 victory in front of a crowd of 18,200 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The finals will be a chance for Oklahoma City to avenge their regular-season record against the Warriors, where they lost all three games.

San Antonio, NBA finals champions as recently as 2014, were always struggling against a powerful Thunder team led by Durant and Russell Westbrook, who finished with 28 points.

“We just came out with great intensity,” said Westbrook, who had two back-to-back strong performances against the Spurs. “We knew how important this game was.”

“They been a great team for years,” he added. “Tonight was a tough game but we came out with the win.”

Oklahoma City showed that when either Durant or Westbrook get in a groove, they are tough to beat and when both get going at the same time, it’s almost impossible to stop them.

“We know what we can do as a team,” Westbrook said. “We are confident in ourselves.”

The Spurs had trailed by as much as 26 points at one stage in the game, but despite narrowing the gap in the fourth quarter, were always struggling to overhaul the deficit.

The Thunder continued their rebounding dominance with a 50-40 advantage. They turned the ball over 12 times, while the Spurs gave the ball away just 10 times. Oklahoma City outshot San Antonio from the floor, 47 percent to 43 percent.

“Game one they just outplayed us,” Durant said of the Spurs, who won the series opener by 32 points. “Game thee, I think we gave the game away, and we didn’t want to do that again. Russell (Westbrook) was huge last game. I think that propelled us into having a good game tonight.

The semi-final exit could conceivably mark the end of the road for at least two of San Antonio’s long-serving veterans, with Tim Duncan, 40 and Manu Ginobili, 38, in the twilight of their NBA careers.

The evergreen Duncan finished with 19 points, while Kawhi Leonard was the top scorer for the Spurs with 22.

 

DUNCAN’S LAST GAME?

Duncan turned 40 last month and hasn’t made it clear whether he plans to return for another season. He has a player option on his contract.

Although Duncan’s minutes were reduced this year, he still came up with some turn back the clock moments and played a big role in helping lead the veteran Spurs squad to their best regular season in franchise history.

Asked in the Spurs’ dressing room what the future holds for him, Duncan said, “I will get to that when I get out of here.”

In order to reach the finals, Westbrook said, they must beat Golden State on their home court — which he believes they can accomplish.

“Very confident we can beat them,” he said. “They are a good team. They are the defending champs. We are going to go there to take care of business and try to move on.”

“It is time to knuckle down.”

 

May 13, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:,
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Warriors edge Trail Blazers to storm Western Conference finals

Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, gives the MVP Award to Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors before their game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Five of the Western Conference Semi-finals.

Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, gives the MVP Award to Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors before their game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Five of the Western Conference Semi-finals.

 

Stephen Curry was honoured with his second-consecutive league MVP award before leading Golden State to a 125-121 victory over Portland as the Warriors advanced to back-to-back conference finals.

The night started with Curry’s award for the first unanimous MVP trophy and ended with the superstar capping his 29-point performance with four free throws in the final 18 seconds to give the Warriors a 4-1 series victory over the Trail Blazers.

Asked if he ever dreamed he would be the NBA’s first unanimous MVP selection Curry said, “never in my wildest dreams. I grew up watching the game and a lot of legends.”

“I am proud to be part of that group and to have that honour is unbelievable,” he added.

The Warriors advanced to their first back-to-back NBA semi-finals since the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons by winning their eighth consecutive series clinching game at home.

Golden State now awaits the winner of the Oklahoma City Thunder-San Antonio Spurs series.

If Oklahoma City eliminate the Spurs in game six on Thursday, the best-of-seven Western Conference finals would begin Monday in Oakland.

“We knew it would be a dog fight every game,” Curry said. “We had to grind it out.”

“Last year we came out for the ceremony and then lost on home floor,” he added. “It wasn’t easy, but we found a way to get it done.”

The fifth-seeded Trail Blazers made the Warriors work for their win on Wednesday.

Portland led by as many as 11 early and got to 118-115 in the final minute of the contest.

Warriors Klay Thompson forced Portland star Damian Lillard to miss a shot from 17 feet. Curry then busted loose and nailed a 25-footer for the clutch basket that put Golden State up 121-116.

Thompson led the Warriors with 33 points, hitting 13 of 17 from the field and six of nine three-point attempts.

Curry’s 29 points were a result of 10-for-20 shooting, including five-for-11 on three-pointers.

In his first start since spraining a ligament in his right knee during the first-round series against the Houston Rockets, he went 36 minutes and tallied a game-high 11 assists.

Curry admitted Wednesday he is feeling mentally and physically tired.

 

WILD THREE DAYS

“It has been a wild three days,” Curry said. “From the first game I came back when I gave everything I had that night. Then I came home and with the festivities yesterday. But in the playoffs there are no excuses.”

In the earlier game Wednesday, DeMar DeRozan tallied 34 points as the Toronto Raptors seized a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference series with a 99-91 win over the Miami Heat.

Toronto guard Kyle Lowry scored 25 points, including five in the final minute as the Raptors fended off a late Miami surge.

The Raptors started quickly and led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter and were ahead by 20 in the second quarter before the Heat mounted their attack.

The Raptors took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Heat cut it to five with just under five minutes remaining at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre arena.

The margin was down to one after Dwyane Wade converted two free throws with just under two minutes to play. Wade finished with a team high 20 points for the Heat.

DeRozan made two free throws with 1:33 left, and Toronto led by three points.

DeRozan also made two free throws with 21 seconds left and made two more with nine seconds remaining to increase the lead to eight points and clinch the win.

Bismack Biyombo added 10 points and six rebounds for Toronto.

Goran Dragic and Josh Richardson each scored 13 points for the Heat, and Joe Johnson added 11 points and eight rebounds.

May 12, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:,
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Curry named MVP for second straight year

m_Curry named MVP for second straight year

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after hitting a shot during overtime of Game Four of the Western Conference Semi-finals against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

Golden State superstar Stephen Curry was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight year on Tuesday following his record-breaking contribution to the Warriors’ historic season.

Curry, who returned from injury on Monday to score 40 points in Golden State’s overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers, earned the MVP award in a landslide, sweeping all 131 first place votes to earn 1,310 points, a statement said.

It is the first time in the National Basketball Association’s 61-season history that a player has been the blanket first pick for the award, the league said.

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard was a distant second with 634 points while the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James was third with 631 points.

Curry is the 11th person to win back-to-back MVP awards and joins an illustrious club which includes the likes of James, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

The award caps a remarkable year for the 28-year-old guard, who played a starring role as Golden State compiled a 73-9 record, surpassing the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls’ 72-win campaign for the most victories in the regular season.

Curry’s personal statistics for the season rewrote the record books.

He shattered his own record for most three-pointers, which had stood at 286, with 402. He also led the NBA scoring charts with an average 30.1 points per game and extended his own record for scoring at least one three-pointer in consecutive games to 152.

AFP

May 11, 2016 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment

Cavs advance to Eastern Conference NBA finals

Kevin Love (left) of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a three-point basket against Mike Scott of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 8.

Kevin Love (left) of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a three-point basket against Mike Scott of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 8.

The Cleveland Cavaliers punched their ticket to the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, holding off a desperate Hawks team 100-99 in Atlanta to complete a sweep of their second-round play-off series.

Kevin Love scored 27 points and tied his career-high with eight three-pointers to help Cleveland wrap up the 4-0 series victory.

The Cavs, who fell to the Golden State Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals, will play either Toronto or Miami for a chance to return to the championship series.

Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and handed out eight assists. LeBron James added 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists — and came up big defensively on Atlanta’s final possession.

The Cavaliers were up 100-99 with 10 seconds to play when James tied up Atlanta’s German point guard Dennis Schroder on a drive inside the paint.

James won the ensuing jump ball as Cleveland held on for the win.

Once again Cleveland were on fire from three-point range. They hit 16 three-pointers on Sunday, 10 in the first half, taking their tally for the final three games of the series to 62.

“We’re in a great rhythm right now,” said James. “We know where everyone is on the floor and exactly where we should be.”

HITTING ITS STRIDE

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said the team was hitting its stride at the right time.

“The last three or four weeks of the season we really started playing good basketball on both ends of the court, and it’s carried over,” he said. “Team’s playing well right now.”

Schroder, who finished with 21 points, led a balanced Hawks attack, with five Atlanta players scoring in double figures.

The Hawks led by as many as 12 in the second quarter, but they couldn’t hold off the eventual onslaught and the Cavs can now catch their breath as Miami and Toronto battle on in a series in which the Raptors lead 2-1.

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant tied a play-off career high with 41 points to lead the Thunder to a 111-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs that knotted their Western Conference second-round series at two games apiece.

Down by four after three quarters, Oklahoma City outscored the Spurs 34-16 in the fourth quarter.

“They out-toughed us. They deserve credit. They out-played us in the fourth quarter,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who pointed to the Thunder’s 40-34 advantage in rebounding as well as a solid contribution from the Thunder’s role players in backing up Durant.

Oklahoma City were up by four when Durant scored four straight points to stretch the lead to 105-97 with 2:04 to play. Spurs host game five on Tuesday.

AFP

May 10, 2016 By : Category : English featured 0 Comment

Cavaliers use long-range 3 point onslaught to pound Hawks

Cavaliers use long-range 3 point onslaught to pound Hawks

Jeff Teague #0 of the Atlanta Hawks drives around Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 4.

The Cleveland Cavaliers fired a record-setting 25 three pointers as they pummelled the Atlanta Hawks 123-98 to seize a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference playoff series on Wednesday.

Cleveland produced 18 first half three pointers which propelled them to a 74-38 halftime lead. JR Smith led the barrage from beyond the arc with seven overall as 10 Cleveland players made three pointers in the second round postseason game.

“When he’s making shots, it becomes contagious,” said Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said of Smith.

Dahntay Jones’ three-pointer with 2:24 remaining in the fourth gave Cleveland the all-time record, surpassing the 2009 Orlando Magic and the 2013 Houston Rockets, who each made 23 threes.

Mo Williams added the final three-pointer on the Cavaliers’ next possession.

“We were getting open shots and taking open shots and we were making them,” Lue said.

The Cavaliers also broke the record for most threes in a playoff game of 21, which was set by the Golden State Warriors last month.

The Cavaliers have won their last nine games against the Hawks and all 10 playoff games between the two teams.

The series shifts to Atlanta for game three on Friday and game four on Sunday.

“We will just continue to keep sharing the ball. Our guys have a lot of trust. They trust each other on the defensive end and they trust each other on the offensive end. If a guy is open he knows he is going to get the ball,” Lue said.

Cleveland’s halftime lead of 36 points is the largest in the NBA during a playoff game since 1987. The Cavaliers also led by as many as 41 points in the third quarter.

Lue said he also credited his defence with helping secure the dominating victory.

“Outside of the threes I thought our defence was great,” he said. “That was our best defensive effort in a long time. If we compete and we play great defensively we can get out and run and pretty much get anything we want.”

LeBron James scored 27 points, Smith scored 23 while shooting seven-of-13 from three-point range, and Kyrie Irving had 19 points.

Kevin Love added 11 points and 13 rebounds. Cleveland began the night averaging an NBA-best 14.4 three-pointers.

Despite their success Wednesday, James insists that making threes isn’t their identity.

“We’re not a three-point shooting team. We don’t want to be labelled that,” he said. “We’re a well-balanced team that’s capable of making threes.

“Obviously, we’ve got guys that can knock down shots from the perimeter. It’s been key to our success, but we have to continue to understand that we have to be very balanced offensively.”

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said the Cavs’ three-point shooting was a big concern after Cleveland made 15 three-pointers in a game one victory. On Wednesday, Cleveland had 15 three pointers by the second quarter.

Paul Millsap had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta. Jeff Teague scored 14 points and Kris Humphries had 12.

May 5, 2016 By : Category : English featured Tags:
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