• Durant powers Warriors past slumping Spurs

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    Kevin Durant (right) of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball against LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs in the second half during Game Three of the 2017 NBA Western Conference Finals at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
    AFP PHOTO

    LOS ANGELES: Kevin Durant scored 19 of his 33 points in the third quarter on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as the

    Golden State Warriors took a stranglehold lead in the NBA Western Conference finals with a 120-108 blowout of San Antonio.

    “I love where my game is at,” Durant said. “I work hard every day I know what I can do in this league. I just try to put my head down and go.”

    The Warriors now lead the Spurs 3-0 in the best-of-seven series with game four set for Monday in San Antonio.

    The victory appears to put the Warriors on a collision course to meet the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals.

    No NBA team has ever come back to win a series after losing the first three games.

    The Cavaliers are up 2-0 in their NBA semi-final series and have an impressive 247-192 scoring advantage against the Boston Celtics, who lost star player Isaiah Thomas to a season-ending injury on Saturday.

    Stephen Curry tallied 21 points for the Warriors, who are now a perfect 11-0 in the post-season to match the best start in NBA playoff history. They have won 26 of their past 27 games.

    Curry expects to see a different Spurs team on Monday night.

    “Game four is going to be even tougher,” he said. “It is a chance to close it out and they are going to come out swinging.”

    The host Spurs trailed by nine points at the half in game three and came within 69-65 two minutes into the third quarter before Golden State seized command with another incredible scoring performance.

    It was the Spurs’ chance to claw their way back into the series, but by the middle of the fourth quarter at AT&T Center arena, they appeared spent.

    “They did a great job and competed really well,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Golden State. “Every time you look up, you are playing against four all-stars. We turned it over too much and we have got to make more shots.”

    San Antonio players began settling for shots early in possessions and missed the majority of them as the Warriors compiled an 18-point lead in front of a displeased San Antonio crowd of 18,700.

    “Fans want to see a buzzer beater every game,” Durant said. “It is not like that sometimes. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”

    The Spurs’ hopes were severely damaged earlier Saturday when the team announced that star forward Kawhi Leonard would not play in game three because of a sprained left ankle.

    Leonard originally injured it in game five of the second round against Houston and reinjured it in the series opener against the Warriors.

    Thomas out for rest of playoffs
    Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas will be sidelined for the rest of the postseason after aggravating a hip injury during game two of the Eastern Conference finals, the NBA team announced.

    The 28-year-old Thomas initially injured his hip in the third quarter of a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 15 and then aggravated it during game six of the second round series against the Washington Wizards.

    “Isaiah has worked tirelessly to manage this injury since it first occurred,” said Celtics team doctor Brian McKeon. “The swelling increased during the first two games against Cleveland, and in order to avoid more significant long-term damage to his hip, we could no longer allow him to continue.”

    Thomas has been diagnosed with a femoral-acetabular impingement which affects the ball joint in the hip socket.

    Thomas did not travel with the team to Cleveland for game three on Sunday. The Cavaliers lead the series, 2-0.

    AFP

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