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NBA: Crowning moment for Durant

CLEVELAND (AFP) — Kevin Durant had been waiting his whole life to sink the 3-pointer that lifted Golden State over Cleveland and put him on the brink of an NBA championship.

The 28-year-old forward hit the go-ahead shot with 45 seconds remaining to put the Warriors ahead to stay in game three of the NBA Finals, giving Golden State a 3-0 edge in the best-of-seven series that could end Friday in Cleveland.

Durant left Oklahoma City last July to join Golden State hoping to become a champion. The Warriors are 15-0 in the playoffs and would complete the first unbeaten post-season run in NBA history by winning game four.

“I’m not even thinking about that,” Durant said Thursday. “I’m just trying to go out there and play hard every second I’m on the floor, play with passion and energy and joy. That’s all I’m concerned about.

“I didn’t envision anything but just being around good people and getting better every single day. That’s exactly what happened throughout the season.”

It’s a maturing process that Warriors coach Steve Kerr can see in Durant seeking the ball in clutch moments and blending his skills with his teammates rather than trying to force his style upon them.

“It just looks like he understands this is his moment, this is his time,” Kerr said. “He’s earned it. He has been in this league for a long time and he’s, I think, at the top of his game at the biggest time.”

Durant’s key basket over Cleveland’s LeBron James could be the first signature moment in a possible dynasty run for the Warriors, seeking their second title in three seasons after falling one win shy of a crown last year.

“I don’t think about years from now. Try not to think too far past today,” Durant said. “I don’t want to get too far off of the goal at hand and the task at hand. I’m just trying to stay in this moment and not worry about the future.”

Warriors guard Stephen Curry was impressed to see Durant seize the moment and swing momentum in the game and series heavily in Golden State’s favor.