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International watch, NBA Finals 2016: Verejao plays cameo as Warriors take commanding 3-1 lead

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (right) talks with forward Anderson Varejao (left) against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The international class were once again kept quiet but Golden State Warriors are on the verge of back-to-back NBA titles after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-97 to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Game five takes place in Oakland in the early hours of Tuesday with the Warriors looking to wrap up the series while Cleveland look to become the first team to attempt to overturn a 1-3 deficit in the Finals with the current record being 0-32.

Brazilian Anderson Verejao pulled down three rebounds and hit two points to lead the internationals as his fellow countryman Leandro Barbosa did not play.

Stephen Curry finally came into life in the series as he led all scorers with 38 points for the Warriors. Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 34.

Australia’s Andrew Bogut started but was quickly replaced by Warriors coach Steve Kerr who went for a smaller, quicker line-up in the first quarter to compliment the game’s flow, which, naturally was free and up-tempo.

Thanks to a consistent showing from Harrison Barnes helped by Curry and Thompson, the latter scoring his first opening quarter points in the Finals, the Warriors led 29-28.

That’s when Cleveland ran the floor and gained a 55-50 lead at half-time despite avoiding a possible four-point swing when it looked like Andre Igoudala was fouled going for a desperation three on the half-time buzzer.

Cleveland enjoyed the lead for the majority of the third until Curry and Thompson hit back for the Warriors and three-pointers from the two in-between a blocked shot from Bogut handed Golden State a 72-69 lead with 4:04 to play.

The Warriors settled for a narrow 79-77 lead after three and as the final quarter progressed, the Warriors were getting it done at both ends, taking a nine-point lead mid-way through the fourth to force Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue into calling a timeout.

Irving ended a cold streak for the Cavaliers, which was followed by a big three from Curry that extended the Warriors’ lead to 96-86 and ultimately took home court away from Cleveland.

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