NBA: CHAMPION NA? –

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Inaasahang todo-bantayan ang gagawin nina LeBron James ng ­Cleveland Cavaliers at Kevin Durant ng Golden State Warriors sa Game 4 ngayon ng NBA Finals na muling gagawin sa Quicken Loans Arena sa Ohio. Tiyak na ibubuhos nang lahat ng Cavs ang alam sa basketball para pigilan ang sweep ng Warriors. (AFP)

Cleveland, Ohio (AFP) — Hindi masi­sisi ang Golden State ­Warriors kung mas pinagtutuunan pang masikwat ang NBA crown kaysa sa maging first champion na may ­undefeated playoff mark sa 71st NBA.

Nakabantayog ang Warriors sa best-of-­seven NBA Finals sa 3-0 lead pa-Game Four ngayon (Manila time) rito at wagi na ng 15 consecutive playoff games, ang ­longest streak sa North American major pro sports history.

“It would be great to own a piece of history,” deklarasyon ni Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “Just because 16-0 means we’re champs. It wasn’t a goal of ours to start the postseason, but now that’s it’s attainable, we have our eyes set on it.

“All we have to do is come out with great focus and play as hard as we can and we should be in a position to win.”

Ang muntikanang maging 1st NBA champion na may playoff perfection ay ang Los ­Angeles Lakers sa 2000-01 season, tapos maka-15-1. Sa pagtrangko nina Kobe Bryant at ­Shaquille O’Neal, salto lang ang team sa finals opener kontra Philadelphia 76ers.

At umukit ng kasa­y­sayan ang Warriors bago nasunog lang noong isang taon, nanalasa ng record 73 regular-season games at hinarbat ang 3-1 lead laban sa Cleveland sa ­finals, pero tumiklop pa at naihulma ng Cavaliers ang  greatest comeback sa NBA Finals history.

Wala pa nga lang team na nag-rally mula sa 3-0 down upang mana­lo pa sa nakalipas na 126 NBA playoff series, pero ­giniit ni Thompson na mas ­mabigat para sa kanilang ­lahat na masakote ang ­korona kaysa sa makumpleto ang  playoff sweep.

“We still remember what happened last year. It’s fresh in our minds,” dagdag ni Thompson. “It doesn’t matter until we get that 16th one.

Ikasisiyang lubos din naman ni Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith kung magigiba nila ang perfect playoff run.

“I would love to put a dent in that record,” ­sambit niya. “I don’t ­really ­focus on it too much. That’s really for them, whether they get the record or they don’t.”



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