Durant exceeding Warriors expectations in NBA Finals

Durant exceeding Warriors expectations in NBA Finals
By Reuters

08/06/2017 at 08:30Updated 08/06/2017 at 08:32

By Frank Pingue

CLEVELAND, June 7 (Reuters) - Kevin Durant was the biggest prize of last year's offseason and on Wednesday he showed why the Warriors were so keen to get him, draining the shot of his career to put Golden State on the cusp of an unprecedented perfect postseason.

Durant had ice in his veins late in Game Three of the NBA Finals as he sank a three-pointer over Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James to put Golden State ahead with 45 seconds to play, a lead they would never relinquish.

Cleveland led for most of the second half and looked ready to hand the Warriors their first loss of the playoffs but Durant picked his team up off the floor and delivered the victory with 14 fourth-quarter points.

"He took over," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

"You can tell, he knows this is his moment. He's been an amazing player in this league for a long time, and I think he senses this is his time, his moment."

The three-point dagger over James was exactly the type of play the Warriors must have had in mind when they signed Durant last July in hopes of avenging their 2016 NBA Finals loss to the Cavaliers.

"I've been working on that shot my whole life," said Durant, who has averaged 34 points through the first three games of the Finals. "To see that go in, that was liberating, man. We've got one more to go."

Golden State's victory has Durant one win away from an NBA title, which is the very reason the four-times scoring champion joined the team last year after only reaching the Finals once before.

Durant took his former Oklahoma City Thunder team to the NBA Finals in 2012, where they fell in five games to a Miami Heat squad that featured James.

He was also one win away from returning to the Finals last year with Oklahoma City but they squandered a 3-1 series lead to Golden State, who he joined a little over a month later.

Durant's team mates were singing his praises after the game and said there was no doubt in their minds whose hands the ball should be in with the game's result hanging in the balance.

"We know in that situation to get that man the rock. He's seven foot, can shoot over almost anybody and has amazing shooting touch," said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. "We're confident in him taking that shot every time." (Editing by Peter Rutherford; )