North Carolina

5 players in the NBA Finals with ties to North Carolina

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Check out Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry's ambidextrous dribbling warmup before a game against the Bobcats in Charlotte.
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Check out Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry's ambidextrous dribbling warmup before a game against the Bobcats in Charlotte.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals for a third consecutive time. The series starts Thursday at 9 p.m., and all games will be broadcast on ABC.

The Warriors won the championship two years ago, and the Cavs took it last year. The Warriors will start the Finals undefeated in this year’s playoffs, while the Cavs have lost only once.

Both teams feature players with connections to North Carolina.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Steph Curry, Charlotte (Charlotte Christian); Drafted 2009, 1st Round (7th overall by Golden State Warriors)

The 6-foot-3 star of the Warriors has averaged 28.6 points in the playoffs. Golden State has a 12-game winning streak heading into its third straight Finals.

The seventh-year point guard out of Davidson scored at least 30 points in each of the Warriors’ close-out games (37 vs. Portland, 30 vs. Utah, 36 vs. San Antonio).

Along with averaging 5.6 assists and 3.3 turnovers in the playoffs, Curry is shooting 43.1 percent from three-point range.

Curry shot 56.4 percent from the floor against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals to raise his postseason average to 50.2 percent.

David West, Garner (Garner); Drafted 2003, 1st Round (18th overall by New Orleans Hornets)

The 14-year veteran forward is in his first season with the Warriors and will be headed to the Finals for the first time in his career. Through 68 games this season, he’s averaged 12.6 minutes and 4.6 points; he’s averaged 14.3 minutes in the playoffs.

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Golden State Warriors forward David West reacts to win against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio on March 29, 2017. Darren Abate AP

West, a 6-foot-9 forward who played at Xavier from 1999 to 2003, has often passed up open shots or found his teammates in the playoffs; he threw an outlet to Ian Clark to beat the first-quarter buzzer against the Spurs and contributed to Kevin Durant’s 19-point third quarter, also against the Spurs.

The two-time All-Star played for Garner high school in the late 1990s and sponsors Garner Road Basketball Club, an AAU team.

West has previously played with the New Orleans Hornets, the Indiana Pacers and the Spurs.

James Michael McAdoo, attended North Carolina (2011-14); Undrafted, 2014

McAdoo joined the Warriors during the 2014 summer league after going undrafted; the 6-foot-9 forward has been to the Finals each year of his career (3-for-3). He also spent time in the D-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

He started two games this season, averaging 2.8 points and 8.8 minutes.

In three seasons with the Tar Heels, McAdoo played in 108 games while averaging 11.4 points and 5.9 boards. He was a two-time All-ACC selection and finished his UNC career with 18 double-doubles.  

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Kyrie Irving, attended Duke (2010-11 season); Drafted in 2011, 1st Round (1st overall by Cleveland Cavaliers)

After the Cavaliers’ first postseason loss (a 111-108 defeat to the Boston Celtics in Game 3), the 6-foot-3 point guard put the team on his back; Irving scored a playoff career-high 42 points in a come-from-behind effort the next game to propel the Cavs to their third straight Finals. It’ll be LeBron James’ seventh straight Finals run, as the former Rookie of the Year and the Cavs try to repeat.

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Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the second half against the Boston Celtics during Game Five of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25 in Boston, Mass. Elsa Getty Images

Cleveland overcame a 3-1 deficit to win last year’s championship, where Irving averaged 27.1 points a game. He scored 41 in Game 5 in Oakland, Calif.

Irving suffered a season-ending injury in Game 1 of the 2015 Finals against the Warriors and was sidelined three months with a fractured kneecap.

Irving has averaged 24.5 points and 5.6 assists in the playoffs this season.

He played in 11 games as a one-and-done at Duke, sitting out the majority of the season with a toe injury. He averaged 17.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Cavs.

Dahntay Jones, attended Duke (2001-03); Drafted 2003, 1st Round (20th overall by Boston Celtics)

The 12-year veteran has spent the last two seasons with the Cavs, and he has contributed 23 minutes in this year’s playoffs.

The 6-foot-6 shooting guard was drafted out of Duke in 2003; he played there from 2001 to 2003 after transferring from Rutgers.

Earlier this month, a Game-1 ejection against the Toronto Raptors cost him two-thirds of his salary. Since he signed with the team so late, he had made about $9,000 and was fined $6,000 for two technical fouls and the ejection.

Jones has made stops in Memphis, Sacramento, Denver, Indiana, Toronto, Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles (Clippers).

NBA Finals start Thursday on ABC

Warriors vs. Cavaliers

Game 1: June 1 at 9 p.m. in Oakland

Game 2: June 4 at 8 p.m. in Oakland

Game 3 June 7 at 9 p.m. in Cleveland

Game 4 June 9 at 9 p.m. in Cleveland

Game 5 (if necessary) June 12 at 9 p.m.

Game 6 (if necessary) June 15 at 9 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary) June 18 at 8 p.m.

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