|Title||By extending their season|
|Description||Here we go again. And again. And http://www.falconsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ito-smith-jersey , well, again. Round 4 – as many predicted, and others probably lamented – is happening. Cleveland and Golden State will meet for the fourth straight year in the NBA Finals, the Warriors looking for a third championship in that span and LeBron James and the Cavaliers trying to wrestle the crown away just as they did in the 2016 series. On one side, the best team of this era. On the other, the best player of this era and maybe any era. Game 1 will be hosted by the Warriors at Oracle Arena on Thursday night. ”You’ve got to appreciate the moment,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. ”Somebody asked, `Four years in a row getting to the finals, do you appreciate it?’ Yes.” Both teams are entering this title matchup with injury concerns. Cleveland’s Kevin Love is in the concussion protocol and will need to complete a series of tests before he’s cleared to return, and Golden State’s Andre Iguodala – a former NBA Finals MVP – wasn’t able to finish the Warriors-Rockets series because of a bone bruise in his leg. The Warriors hoped Iguodala would return to the Houston series, but his progress stalled. ”That’s just not an easy injury to predict in terms of recovery,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. There wasn’t a lot of similarity in Cleveland’s and Golden State’s seasons Tyquan Lewis Color Rush Jersey , but their last few days have been mirror images of one another – both teams had to win Game 6s at home to fend off elimination, then had to go on the road and prevail in Game 7s to win their respective conference finals. ”One of the most challenging seasons I’ve had,” said James, who may be playing the best basketball of his life right now at the end of his 15th season. Here’s some of what the Cavaliers have dealt with since Golden State-Cleveland III ended last June: Kyrie Irving got traded for Isaiah Thomas over the summer, coach Tyronn Lue had to miss time to deal with health issues, Love missed two months, they lost 11 games by 16 or more points, revamped their roster in February and spent much of the season unable to guard anybody. They’re in the finals again anyway, led by someone who will play in the last series of the season for an absurd eighth consecutive year. ”It’s been a roller coaster,” said James, who is seeking a fourth ring in his ninth finals appearance overall. ”It’s been good, it’s been bad. It’s been roses. There have been thorns in the roses. There’s been everything that you can ask for.” This wasn’t all peaches for Golden State Authentic Lamar Jackson Jersey , either. The Warriors didn’t get the No. 1 seed out West, lost Curry to a knee injury late in the regular season, lost 10 of their final 17 games and got pushed to the brink. ”I’m glad we’re going back,” Warriors forward Kevin Durant said. The Warriors swept the two regular-season meetings with the Cavaliers, winning by seven at home on Christmas Day (without Curry) and prevailing by 10 in Cleveland about three weeks later. Film-wise, those two games are meaningless now. Of Cleveland’s five leading scorers against Golden State this season, three no longer play for the Cavaliers. James and Love combined to score 100 points in the two games, but Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas were all shipped elsewhere by the Cavs in a series of trade-deadline moves. ”We obviously know what LeBron’s capable of,” Curry said shortly after the Warriors’ Game 7 win at Houston ended. ”It’s a new team over there, so the other guys, we’ve got to lock in on their tendencies. But we’ll worry about that when we get home.” If the Cavaliers win this championship Justus Annunen Blackhawks Jersey , it might be time to declare the regular season irrelevant. Cleveland was only 50-32 this season. Should James and his mates get it done, that would be the second-worst, regular-season record for an eventual champion in the last 40 seasons. Houston went 47-35 on the way to the 1995 title; to find another champion who was worse, go back to Washington in 1978 when the Bullets were a mere 44-38. ”Everybody doubted us,” Cavaliers forward Jeff Green said. ”Everybody had their opinions on what our team was, what we would do, what we can’t do, from the start. … And now, I mean, we’re where we want to be. We’re where we set out to be and where we knew we could be at this point.” Same goes for the Warriors. This season was no cakewalk for them, either. ”We’ve been through a lot with this team,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. ”Believe it or not Authentic Evan Bouchard Jersey , it’s not all success with the Warriors. We got our bumps throughout the season. But to get to this point again, we earned it.” And now it’s time for one of these teams to earn a title. Again. — Very little separated San Jose and Anaheim in the regular season, with the Ducks edging out the Sharks by one point for second place in the Pacific Division. Their first-round series wasn’t nearly as competitive. The Sharks rode their superior depth, potent power play and stellar goaltending from Martin Jones to the second sweep in franchise history, knocking out the Ducks with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. ”We’re playing well going into the second round,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. ”Everybody is contributing if it’s offensively, blocking shots, taking a hit. Everybody is doing what they have to for us to win.” After jumping on Anaheim early to win the first two games on the road, the Sharks earned a lopsided win in Game 3 thanks to undisciplined play by the Ducks and then withstood a strong push to end the series in Game 4. Jones kept Anaheim at bay for long stretches in the second and third period before finally allowing a tying goal to Andrew Cogliano. San Jose then took 1:16 to answer and scored the eventual series-clincher when Vlasic’s point shot deflected off Tomas Hertl and into the net. ”The response goal was huge,” coach Peter DeBoer said. ”We were on our heels. They were pressing. It’s tough to play an elimination game when you get an opportunity to sweep a really good team like that.” The Sharks were in control for most of the series, outscoring the Ducks 16-4 in their most lopsided series in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. San Jose got as many goals from its fourth line in the series as Anaheim had from its entire team with Marcus Sorensen scoring his third of the series to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead in the first period of the clincher. Eric Fehr also had a goal from the fourth line in the series. ”Every night they hopped over the boards with energy and grabbed momentum for us Byron Maxwell Color Rush Jersey , drew penalties,” DeBoer said. ”They were fantastic, but I’ve said from Day 1 we need to be a four-line team if we’re going to have success. And I think the teams that are moving through are. I watched Vegas a little bit last night. They’re a four-line team.” The expansion Golden Knights are also the next team in the Sharks’ way. The two will meet in the second round starting sometime next week in just the second series in the past 22 years featuring teams coming off sweeps in the previous round. Vegas finished off the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, part of a record-setting inaugural campaign that included a Pacific Division title in the regular season. The Sharks will likely need another strong defensive effort next round led by Jones. He was brilliant in the clincher, making several tough saves against Corey Perry. He also had a shutout in Game 1 and set a San Jose playoff record with 45 regulation saves in Game 3. He finished the series with a .970 save percentage, helping the Sharks earn their second sweep in franchise history after also doing it in the first round against Vancouver in 2013. ”Goaltending wins this time of the year,” forward Logan Couture said. ”He was fantastic. He made a lot of Grade A saves. He was our best penalty killer. They had some really good looks. Perry had a lot of chances that Joner made some big saves on.” By extending their season another round, the Sharks may be able to get star center Joe Thornton back in the lineup. Thornton has been out since injuring his right knee on Jan. 23. He has resumed skating and took part in warmups throughout the series but has said he doesn’t want to return until he knows he’s healthy enough to help the team and make it through what he hopes will be a run to the Stanley Cup Final. The Sharks have time now to figure that out. ”That’s all hypothetical,” DeBoer said. ”That doesn’t even cross our desk. Those decisions will be something if he is healthy we’ll make then. Sometimes those things sort themselves out. I’m just really proud of our group, the resiliency, the composure.” — .|
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