Kevin Durant’s three-game performance in the NBA Finals – he’s averaging 34 points and 10 rebounds and hit the fourth-quarter 3-pointer that essentially ended the series last night – has made him the frontrunner for series MVP.
Paul Pierce, the former Celtics great who is working as an analyst for ESPN during playoffs, ignited a social media firestorm when he suggested the Golden State star has overtaken Cleveland’s LeBron James as the planet’s No. 1 player.
That’s a bold statement considering James has played in the last seven NBA Finals and eight of the last 11, and is averaging 32 points, 12.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists in the first three games of this series.
James and the Cavs have no shot to win the rubber-match between the teams – Golden State beat Cleveland in six games in 2015 and the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit to stun the 73-9 Warriors last season – but don’t tell that to guard J.R. Smith.
The Warriors became the 13th team in NBA history to take a 3-0 lead in the championship series. No team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit in the Finals, though three teams forced a Game 6 and one – the 1951 New York Knicks – managed to reach a Game 7.
Golden State’s last four-game losing streak was more than four years ago. The Warriors are looking to become the first team ever to go undefeated in a single playoffs and can wrap up a 16-0 run with a win Friday in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.
The game tips at 6 p.m. on ABC.