Golden State Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals with a dominating performance against Cleveland Cavaliers and now look good to win their third crown in four seasons.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson played the game while nursing an ankle injury that almost ruled him out of action. When asked about it, Thompson said: “I didn’t realise how much you use your ankle until you hurt it.”
Stephen Curry, who registered a record nine 3-pointers in the game, teased Thompson he should have asked him about it given he has battled ankle injuries throughout his career.
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Rallying twice in the second and fourth quarters, Houston held on to put the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
The Warriors got off to a flying start with a 12-0 raid on the visitors who trailed 28-19 by the end of a first quarter that saw Kevin Durant score 10.
But the Rockets fired into action in the second quarter, rallying to go 53-46 up at half-time.
After scoring nine in the first period, Harden brought his first-half total to 24 by the break as Houston rose above the Warriors.
But Curry came back with five triples on the way to 17 as Golden State hit back in the third quarter to retake the high ground.
The Warriors went into the fourth with a sizeable 80-70 lead on the Rockets, but Houston were not down and out.
On a Paul assist Trevor Ariza lifted the Rockets over the Warriors 85-84 with 6:03 left on the clock, Harden kept dunking and the Rockets kept the Warriors at bay.
British boxer Anthony Joshua was courtside and shared a video of him giving Curry an “assist” of his own.
The former player, who won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, feels Durant has to win two more championships with the Warriors before earning the type of recognition the other Golden State players will receive if they raise a third banner in four years.
The Warriors’ core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston already won a title and a regular-season record 73 games before Durant arrived in the summer of 2016.
“I don’t see Kevin Durant being part of that dynasty,” said Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest. “I say Kevin has to win this year or next year, and then another one.”