Kevin Durant gets first triple-double with Warriors in win over Mavericks (VIDEO)

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The way Kevin Durant does it all on both ends for Golden State, triple-doubles will certainly come. They may not be flashy, and coach Steve Kerr might not even notice as the numbers accumulate.

Durant either.

He notched his first one since joining the Warriors with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and first in more than a year, leading a 108-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

“I thought he already had one,” teammate Draymond Green said.

KD’s eighth career triple-double was his first since Dec. 10, 2015, against Atlanta. Klay Thompson scored 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter and finished with five 3-pointers and Stephen Curry added 14 points for the Warriors.

“He’s so effortless,” Thompson said. “He does everything great. He’s going to be huge for us. We expect him to play at that level the whole year. He’s been tremendous.”

Harrison Barnes, who spent the past four seasons in a key role with Golden State, scored 25 points for Dallas against his old team.

In the first quarter, Curry (11,903) passed Purvis Short (11,894) for seventh place on the Warriors’ all-time scoring list.

Green had 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Golden State’s ninth straight home win against the Mavericks, the Warriors’ longest streak ever.

There was some Curry vs. Curry in this one, with Stephen guarding brother Seth and vice versa for short stints.

Thompson has 78 3-pointers against the Mavs, his most against any opponent. The Warriors began 3 for 10 from long range but wound up 11 for 33. Durant didn’t even have his most efficient shooting night – 7 for 14 while missing 5 of 7 3s.

His stats sneaked up on Kerr.

“It’s just who he is. It’s just how he plays. He’s a great passer. Obviously he can score any time,” Kerr said. “He’s one of our best rebounders. A triple-double is just a byproduct of who he is.”

Durant didn’t realize it either until he took a glance up as he exited the court for good.

“It really means nothing to be honest,” Durant said. “Stats don’t really man anything. At the end of the game you want to play a great basketball game. … I felt like I didn’t force it. I wasn’t looking for it.”

Dirk Nowitzki, who had been questionable coming in with an illness, scored 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting in 23-plus minutes for Dallas.

“Once we started kind of getting out and running, it’s hard to outscore them,” Barnes said.

Reigning NBA Coach of the Year Kerr, for one, is ready for 2017 given his health issues following complications from two back surgeries last year that still affect him.

But he doesn’t need to change his routine. Nor his star-studded roster.

“I’m not a resolution guy,” he said. “I go to the gym every day, I don’t just go to the gym the first 10 days of January.”

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Ex-Warriors C Andrew Bogut was out for a rest day, not playing in back-to-backs right now. … Dallas is 4-9 on the road vs. the Western Conference.

Warriors: Golden State finished the calendar year 72-12 for the second straight time – the best two-year mark (144-24) in NBA history ahead of the 1996-97 Bulls at 136-30. … The Warriors had 13 turnovers after averaging 20.3 over their previous three games – and Kerr focused on it in recent days. … Rookie Patrick McCaw, brought back up after a day with the D-Leauge Santa Cruz Warriors, was home with the flu.

CURRY’S SNEAKER CAUSE

Two pairs of Stephen Curry’s special shoes were auctioned off to raise $45,201 to aid the Oakland Fire Relief fund following the deadly Dec. 2 Ghost Ship warehouse fire in nearby Oakland. The “Oakland Strong” shoes worn in a game by the MVP were taken for $30,101 by an anonymous bidder, while his pregame “Ghost Ship” graffiti-style pair went for $15,100 also to an anonymous bidder.

“I’m always very proud of Steph and all of our guys. They put some money together as a group, the team did, to donate to the fund,” Kerr said.

UP NEXT

Mavericks: Host Washington on Tuesday. The road team won both times during last season’s series.

Warriors: Host Denver on Monday, having won four straight at home against the Nuggets.

No motivational material: LeBron James, Cavaliers respectful when asked about Warriors

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The rubber match. The trilogy. Whatever you want to call the historic third meeting between the Cavaliers and Warriors in the Finals — never in NBA history have two teams met three years in a row in the Finals — it’s what fans have been waiting for. The inevitability of this Finals matchup sucked some of the drama and fun out of the postseason so far, but now these two teams are ready to go.

It’s the best rivalry in the NBA, two teams not afraid to mix it up with each other, but when Cavaliers players were asked about the Warriors after eliminating the Celtics Thursday night, there was nothing but respect.

“We just got to play defense,” LeBron James said in a televised postgame interview. “We’re going to face adversity. That’s been the best team in our league the last three years, and they added an unbelievable player in Kevin Durant this year, so that makes it even more difficult. So they’re gonna challenge us a lot: offensively, defensively, mentally, physically, but we’re going to have to be ready for that challenge.”

LeBron stuck to that theme in his postgame press conference.

“I’ll be honest, I’m not really in the right mind to even talk about Golden State right now. It’s too stressful, and I’m not stressed right now,” LeBron said cracking a smile. “Golden State, they’ve been the best team in our league the last three years, then they added an MVP. That’s all I can give you right now, because I’m happy and I don’t want a lot of stress, and they cause a lot of stress.”

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said he had yet to start any prep for the Warriors.

“Of course I watch every game, because I’m a basketball junkie, and they’ve been playing great,” Lue siad. “But you can’t get too far ahead of yourself.”

“The Celtics and Brad Stevens, the team they have, they throw a lot of different lineups at you and a lot of different stuff on the offensive end, so as far as how they play I think it definitely prepared us for what’s ahead,” Kevin Love said, discussing how the Celtics prepped the Cavaliers for the next round.

The Cavaliers are veterans on this stage, and they both respect the Warriors and don’t need the distraction of a war of words, so they stayed on message all night.

But with a week to go before Game 1, you can bet someone will say something inflammatory. We’re looking at you, Draymond Green.

Watch 36-year-old James Jones throw down a putback dunk vs. the Celtics (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is on his way to his 7th-straight Finals after the Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics, 135-102, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night.

The game was out of hand from the beginning, with the Cavaliers scoring a franchise playoff high 75 points in the first half.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Tyronn Lue emptied out his bench and we got to see some of the Cavaliers garbage time guys get run. One of those guys was James Jones, 36, who has been around so long he was a rookie with Reggie Miller in Indiana.

He also dunked!

Via Twitter:

Let’s all just bask in the glory that is that putback dunk and in our little vacation until the Finals start on June 1.

LeBron James, Cavaliers advance past Celtics to meet Warriors in 2017 NBA Finals

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Let’s line it up and run it again. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are going to meet in the 2017 NBA Finals after LeBron James and the Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 5 on Thursday, 135-102.

It wasn’t much of a contest from the outset as Cleveland looked determined to put away their opponent. The Cavaliers played strong, shot well from 3-point range, and forced the Celtics into 18 turnovers over the course of the game.

The Cavaliers set a franchise playoff record in the first half, scoring 75 points in the first two periods. LeBron had 20 before the third quarter started, putting him just inches away from passing Michael Jordan to top the list for most points scored in NBA playoff history.

That moment came in the third quarter, with James dropping in a sweet 3-pointer from the left side of the arc to push him past Jordan. LeBron finished the game with 35 points, going 4-of-7 from 3-point range will adding eight assists, eight rebounds, and three steals.

Kyrie Irving was another bright spot for the Cavaliers, scoring 24 points to go along with seven assists. Kevin Love added 15 points, and Deron Williams had a rejuvenation off the bench with 14.

For Boston, yet another game without Isaiah Thomas forced their offense into stagnation. Avery Bradley — who had a considerable series in an effort that should not be overlooked — scored 20 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Gerald Green was Boston’s second-leading scorer in a bench role, adding 14 points.

Now we get to wait until June 1, when what seemed an inevitability way back in training camp has indeed come to pass. The Warriors get their shot at redemption after the worst breakdown in NBA playoff history, and the Cavaliers get a chance to solidify themselves over their peers and galvanize LeBron’s position as the best player of a generation.

The Finals don’t start for anther week. We’ll all be champing at the bit to see if Cleveland really does have what it takes to guard the Warriors offense. Likewise, a top defensive team in Golden State will need to prepare themselves for the LeBron that showed up against the Celtics in Game 1 and 2.

LeBron James on passing Michael Jordan: “I fell in love with the game because of Mike” (VIDEO)

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LeBron James passed Michael Jordan for most points scored in NBA playoff history on Thursday night during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win over the Boston Celtics, 135-102.

After the game, LeBron and his teammates took to the podium to speak on their accomplishment of making it to yet another Finals as they settle in for a rematch with the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron was humble about his accomplishment, crediting Jordan for driving him to play the game of basketball as well as shaping his own game.

“I wear the number [23] because of Mike. I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike,” said James. “When you’re growing up and you’re seeing Michael Jordan, it’s almost like a god.”

James and the Cavaliers will take on the Warriors in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 1.