Basketball

Stars turn up heat in NBA Finals

Emotions are running high in the NBA Finals, with superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant exchanging heated words while Golden State and Cleveland are locked in a familiar tension-packed position.

The Warriors lead defending champions Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and can capture their second crown in three years by winning at home tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

But Cleveland staved off defeat by ripping Golden State 137-116 in Game Four, sinking a record 24 three-pointers and scoring the most points in any half (86) or quarter (49) in Finals history.

"That's part of who we are," James said.

"We set a lot of records since we assembled this team the last couple years."

Last year, the Warriors squandered a 3-1 lead as the Cavaliers made the greatest comeback in Finals history to win Cleveland's first major sports title in 52 years.

It's a bitter memory for the Warriors, but an encouraging one for the Cavaliers. No Finals team down 3-0 have even forced a seventh game since 1951.

And it's all getting to be a bit much for James.

"I don't like it. It causes too much stress," James said. "I'm stressed out. Keep doing this every year. We've just got some resilient guys."

James and Durant received technical fouls in the third quarter after yelling at each other, two of seven technicals issued in the game, and five in a raucous third quarter.

"The game is supposed to be played physically," James said.

Durant was concerned about the foul calls draining the passion from the moment.

He said: "We weren't coming to blows. We were just talking. That's a part of basketball. It's like the aura of the game created trash talk.

"I'm sure it's going to continue. There's nothing malicious. Emotions are what keeps this game alive."

Warriors forward Draymond Green, though, feels that things may be getting out of hand.

He said of Game Four: "I think it did a little bit (get out of hand).

"The longer the series goes on, the more stuff like that happens." - AFP

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