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Ultimate Warriors: Golden State sweeps Cavaliers

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND — There were still a few seconds left on the clock when the Golden State Warriors stormed off their bench to begin a celebration that wasn’t guaranteed.

They couldn’t wait any longer.

They had reached their destination: dynasty.

Stephen Curry scored 37 points, Kevin Durant added a triple-double and another NBA Finals MVP trophy and the Warriors won their second straight title and third in four years Friday night, 108-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete a sweep and perhaps drive LeBron James from his home again to chase championships.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there is no denying them.

“That’s how you know we’re a great team, is when everybody’s coming after us,” Durant said. “Whether it’s opponents, whether it’s different coaches panning for us, whether it’s the fans, the media that hate us, it feels good when you’re the team that everybody’s gunning for. It makes us better.”

No team is better.

Golden State. Golden standard.

Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors won their fourth straight finals matchup against James and Cleveland with ease.

“Looking at this playoff journey, we knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as last year,” Curry said. “Then the challenges that faced us. In October we wanted to be back in this moment, and a lot went into it. It’s a great feeling to be back here.”

It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one. His eighth straight appearance didn’t go well either, and now there’s uncertainty where the superstar will play next.

James, who said he “pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand” after injuring himself in frustration following Game 1, finished with 23 points and spent the final minutes on the bench, contemplating what went wrong and maybe his next move.

Following the game, he sat quietly in his corner locker with a towel draped over his head. He arrived at his postgame news conference with a large black brace on his right hand and explained the injury was “self-inflicted” following an overtime loss in Game 1, which included a reversed official’s call and teammate J.R. Smith dribbling out the clock to end regulation.

“I had emotions of you just don’t get an opportunity like this on the road versus Golden State to be able to get a Game 1, and I let the emotions get the best of me,” James said. “Pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand, so that’s what it is.”

Act IV between the Warriors and Cavs featured a drama-filled Game 1. But from there on, Durant, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of this California crew showed why they’re the game’s gold standard.

And they may stay that way.

Not wanting to give the Cavs or their fans any hope despite the fact that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs, the Warriors built a nine-point halftime lead when Curry ignored a closeout by James and dropped a 3-pointer.