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NBA FINALS: raptors repeat mastery of Warriors

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By Ponciano Melo Jr. 

OAKLAND, California — The Warriors cast was nearly complete albeit for former NBA MVP Kevin Durant on the floor, but the maiden trophy-seeking Toronto Raptors still came out on top to make it one game less towards a date with destiny.

With all-star Klay Thompson making his return after missing his first-ever playoff game due to an injury, and Kevon Looney receiving green light despite fracturing his collarbone, the Golden State looked to bounce back from the unlikely defeat on their home floor, only to spoil a single-digit lead in the first half and eventually bowing to the hungry Raptors from Canada.

Toronto denied the two-game home court advantage at the Oracle Arena with a 105-92 takeaway Saturday, to lead the series 3-1, one more triumph could mean they win it all. 

Kawhi Leonard was once again spectacular, putting a game-high 36 points and 11 rebounds including 17 third quarter points that changed the complexion of the game in its entirety at that point.

“Kawhi’s two big threes to start the half really changed the whole feel of everybody. Everybody was like, ‘Okay, man, we know we are here, let’s go,’ and we just kind of kept going from those two threes,\” rookie head coach Nick Nurse said after the game.

Leonard also got a boost from Serge Ibaka, who poured 20 points off the bench and Pascal Siakam with 19 markers to claw their way back overcoming a misfiring first half to deal the Warriors its first back-to-back home court defeat in the Finals.

Kyle Lowry as well had 10 points while Fred VanVleet, who lost a tooth and walked off a bloodied face in the fourth quarter after receiving an inadvertent elbow, added eight points with six dimes.

The splash brothers, Thompson and Stephen Curry\’s, 28 and 26 points respectively were put to waste due to the swarming defense and excellent pick-and-roll plays by the Raptors.

Head coach Steve Kerr, however, stayed defiant with their backs against the wall in a familiar, but not-so-good, 1-3 series deficit.

“We have got to lick our wounds tonight. It’s a tough loss,” he said.

“We’re not thinking about winning three games. We’re thinking about winning one game, and that’s the task. I know we’re capable.”

The service of the former MVP Kevin Durant will greatly help the Warriors\’ cause but that\’s if he will be available to play already in Game 5.

Durant\’s return in game 4 was once again ruled out for the ninth-straight playoff game as his right calf injury recovery has now lasted longer than expected, the team says.

The Raptors will have the chance to finally end the Warriors dynasty and record a first NBA title in Canada come game 5 to be played in Toronto.

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LeBron James drops triple-double in MSG, passes Steve Nash in all-time assists leaders

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LeBron James drops triple-double in MSG, passes Steve Nash in all-time assists leaders

LeBron James made history once again, and this time he got all the reasons to celebrate as his Los Angeles Lakers got an overtime road win against the New York Knicks, 129-123.

The 38-year old superstar moved up fourth all-time in the assists department, surpassing the great Steve Nash, while dropping a triple-double as well.

James finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists with a +22 efficiency.

Along with it, he also inched closer to become the all-time scoring leader as he is now less than a hundred points away from breaking the 39-year record of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Supporting LeBron in the dub was Anthony Davis with 27 points, nine rebounds, and two steals.

Rui Hachimura made his presence felt in his second game in Lakers uniform with 19 markers, and nine boards.

Russell Westbrook continued to shine off the bench with 17-6-8 and three steals.

For the Knicks, Jalen Brunson had a night scoring a game-high 37 points, Julius Randle added 23 but it wasn’t enough to take down the purple and gold in overtime.

Next stop for the Lakers is at Indiana while the Knicks remain at home to welcome Miami.

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Celtics wins in OT after controversial regulation ending vs. Lakers

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Celtics wins in OT after controversial regulation ending vs. Lakers

The Boston Celtics had the last laugh against the Los Angeles Lakers after a 125-121 overtime win in the NBA’s rival week.

Jaylen Brown went take over mode in the extra period before finishing with 37 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

Jayson Tatum supported with a double-double of 30-piece, 11 boards along with four assists plus the no-call on his foul on LeBron James potential game-winning layup at the end of regulation.

With four seconds left, game tied at 105, James got the inbound pass and went straight to the basket where he was challenged by Boston’s defense and Tatum clearly hit him in the forearm.

James was furious with the no-call and was on his knees full of frustrations.

Patrick Beverly, who made an insane putback slam in the clutch, brought out a DSLR camera to show the referee the obvious foul and got T’d up for it.

With the emotions running high, Boston took advantage and sealed the win.

James delivered another 41-point performance but it was not enough to carry the Lakers to a win.

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NBA All-Star 2023 starters revealed

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NBA All-Star 2023 starters revealed

The 10 players from the Eastern and Western Division that will start the 2023 NBA All-Star has been named.

As expected, LeBron James will spearhead another game as he dominated in the voting.

Joining him in the west are Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and Zion Williamson.

Out East, Giannis Antetokounmpo topped Kevin Durant for being the captain. Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell completed the five.

James and Antetokounmpo will do the honor of drafting hours before the actual ASG.

The festivities in Utah will mark James’ 19th All-Star appearances in his 20-year career. 

Curry will made his ninth All-Star, fourth for Luka Magic, fifth for the reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic and second All-Star for Williamson.

The Greek Freak will see his seventh ASG, Durant with his 13th, Kyrie with his eighth, and Tatum and Mitchell both their fourth appearances.

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