NBA: Warriors display golden touch

Above: Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant goes to the basket against San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green (left) during the 129-115 victory to close out the Western Conference Finals series 4-0. Left: Stephen Curry (with his back to the came
Above: Stephen Curry (with his back to the camera) of the Golden State Warriors hugs veteran Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs after the game. Ginobili, 39, said he would take his time before deciding on his playing future.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant goes to the basket against San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green (left) during the 129-115 victory to close out the Western Conference Finals series 4-0. Left: Stephen Curry (with his back to the came
Above: Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant goes to the basket against San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green (left) during the 129-115 victory to close out the Western Conference Finals series 4-0. PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Curry, Durant lead clean sweep against Spurs, enter Finals 12-0 in post-season

SAN ANTONIO (Texas) • Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant led the way as the Golden State Warriors sealed a clean sweep of the San Antonio Spurs to reach their third consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals on Monday.

Curry scored 36 points and Durant weighed in with 29 as the Warriors powered to a 129-115 win to complete a 4-0 victory in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series.

It was the third consecutive series sweep of the 2017 post-season for the Warriors, who are now 12-0 in the play-offs heading into the Finals.

Golden State have also won 27 of their past 28 overall games (including the regular season) and have won six straight road play-off games, a franchise record.

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Durant, who attracted controversy after his blockbuster move from Oklahoma City Thunder last year to the Warriors, was delighted to be back in the NBA Finals once again.

The 28-year-old forward, who also pulled down 12 rebounds and contributed four assists, had previously played in the 2012 Finals for the Thunder, but lost to LeBron James' Miami Heat 4-1.

He admitted that he and Curry had rediscovered their understanding following the mid-season injury that sidelined him for around 20 games.

"Our chemistry is getting better and better and we're going to need it even more, whoever we play in the Finals," Durant said.

"It's great to be one of the last two teams standing - we'll see what happens."


Above: Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant goes to the basket against San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green (left) during the 129-115 victory to close out the Western Conference Finals series 4-0.  PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESS PHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Spurs fans meanwhile, bade what looked like a farewell to 39-year-old Argentinian legend Manu Ginobili, who was given a rousing ovation as he left the court following rumours of his impending retirement.

"I started him tonight out of respect. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to honour him in front of our fans," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters.

"He deserves to have that night of respect to feel we appreciate everything he has done over the years."

Ginobili, however, said that he would take his time before deciding on his future and was adamant he could still continue to play at the highest level.

"I do feel like I can still play. But that's not what is going to make me retire or not," he said.

"It's about how I feel. If I want to go through all of that again. It felt like they (the fans) wanted me to retire. Like they were giving me sort of a celebration night."

The depleted Spurs, missing the injured Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, were always chasing the game as the powerful Warriors offence dominated almost from start to finish.

Draymond Green added 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Golden State in the easy win at the AT&T Centre. Ian Clark tallied 12 points and Klay Thompson scored 10 points for the Warriors.

Kyle Anderson led the Spurs with 20 points while Ginobili added a valuable 15, Patty Mills and Pau Gasol scored 14 apiece and Jonathon Simmons contributed 13.

Golden State move on to play either the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers, in a repeat of last year's title series, or the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers lead the Eastern Conference Finals 2-1.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2017, with the headline 'Warriors display golden touch'. Print Edition | Subscribe