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Warriors again best in the West

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-05-24 07:17

Curry, Durant on target as Golden State sweeps Spurs

SAN ANTONIO - The Golden State Warriors made sure the inevitable was unavoidable on Monday night.

Heavily favored to beat the Spurs, especially once Kawhi Leonard sustained a series-ending injury, the Warriors completed a dominant sweep in the NBA's Western Conference final.

Stephen Curry scored 36 points as Golden State beat injury-ravaged San Antonio 129-115, becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0.

Warriors again best in the West

Stephen Curry (left) celebrates with Andre Iguodala after leading the Golden State Warriors to Monday's 129-115 victory over the San Antonio Spurs and a sweep of their NBA Western Conference final at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez / AFP

"Being 12-0 is great, but it doesn't mean anything going into the next series, and we understand that," Curry said.

Golden State led by as many as 22 points in cruising to its third straight NBA Finals. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lead Boston 2-1 in the East final.

"It's great to be one of the last two teams standing; we'll see how it goes," said Kevin Durant, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds.

San Antonio's only lead came on the opening possession when Manu Ginobili tossed in a left-handed scoop shot.

The Spurs started Ginobili in what could be his final game with the team. The 39-year-old said he wouldn't ponder whether to retire or return until after the season.

"We started him tonight out of respect," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

"That was the whole reason for starting him. Before the game, you think it might or might not be the last game he ever plays in, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to honor him in front of our home fans for his selflessness over the years."

Unsure if the beloved veteran will return, the crowd serenaded Ginobili with chants of "Manu! Manu!" as the game came to a close.

"He kind of worked us pretty good these four games," said Draymond Green, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.

"I think Manu's got quite a bit left in the tank. Obviously, it's up to him how much longer he wants to go. But one thing about it, he's definitely not a liability on the floor."

Ginobili finished with 15 points in 32 minutes.

Kyle Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who were without Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee.

"Obviously it stinks that Kawhi wasn't there and Tony wasn't there and David wasn't out there," Green said. "But at the end of the day, a win is a win and you have to beat whoever is out there against you."

San Antonio didn't go down without a fight.

Anderson dove for a loose ball that the Spurs had tipped away defensively, pushing the ball upcourt to Patty Mills, who fed Ginobili for a 3-pointer that pulled San Antonio to 108-94 with seven minutes remaining.

The effort made Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors' depth and talent proved too much for shorthanded San Antonio.

"It's the second time we've gotten swept in 15 years, and those are the easiest to digest because you've been overplayed," Ginobili said. "The opponent was better than us, and in this case, way better than us."

Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge closed out a disappointing series with his second eight-point effort against the Warriors. He entered Game 4 averaging 18 points, but was held to 4-for-11 shooting in 22 minutes in the series finale.

Aldridge didn't address his own personal struggles, but praised the team's effort.

"No excuses, but a lot of unfortunate things happened. We still tried to compete and do the best we could do," Aldridge said.

"They've been the best team in the West for the last few years and they proved it again. They came out and competed, they had a good game plan to beat us."

Associated Press

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