Warriors ready for third straight NBA Finals appearance

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kevin Durant does not need to be told that Golden State should have a muted celebration after winning the Western Conference Finals.

Durant is fully aware a tough challenge waits for them. It’s why Durant signed with the Warriors and why Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green embraced him at the expense of their own stats.

“We have a bigger goal in mind,” Durant said.

Golden State has a chance to earn their second championship in three years after sweeping the San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night.

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The Warriors became the first team in league history to open the playoffs 12-0, which provides them with a week of rest prior to their third straight finals appearance.

Golden State will host Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 1 against either Cleveland or Boston. The Cavaliers hold a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Curry alluded the Warriors are expecting a rematch with LeBron James and company.

“We all know, obviously, who we’re going to play,” Curry said. “We’ll be watching the Eastern Conference Finals to see how that unfolds. But it will be easy to start this new chapter and really just lock in on what’s in front of us.”

Facing Cleveland will resurrect chatter of Golden State’s collapse in last season’s finals, which saw the Cavaliers rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the franchise’s first championship.

“This year is a totally different year, different group, different journey,” Curry said.

The biggest difference is the addition of Durant, who left Oklahoma City in the offseason to sign with Golden State.

His presence has given the Warriors a deep and talented roster headlined by four All-Stars in Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. But Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said to credit talent as the sole reason behind Golden State’s current run is…

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