Warriors are Champs Again
After the Golden State Warriors failed to finish off the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s NBA finals, they knew they needed to get better if they wanted to be back on top of the league. For the entire year, they were known as the team that “blew a 3-1 lead”. They have now relinquished that title and become NBA Champions for the second time in three years.
The Warriors definitely had a different look in this series. That will happen when you acquire one of the best players in the league, Kevin Durant. KD was widely criticized for his decision to come to Golden State last offseason. He joined a 73-win team that was already widely regarded as the best team in the league. But regardless of the team that he joined, Durant was everything as advertised and more.
He was a man on a mission in the Finals. He scored 39 points in a 129-120 Game 5 closeout win to give Golden State the title. For the series, he averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1 steal and shot over 50%. But in a year in which enormous stat lines have been common – and in a series in which LeBron James averaged a triple double – Durant’s effect on the series was even greater than those numbers suggest. He rose to challenge in almost every pivotal moment, and rightly deserved the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award.
It seems like the Warriors dynasty is just beginning. Steph Curry had his best Finals performance yet, but was overshadowed by Durant. I don’t think he minds though. When you look at the other stars on team like Draymond, Green and Klay Thompson, it all but seems like a lock for this Warriors team to win the Finals in the coming three or four years.
On the other side of the court, we saw another masterful performance from LeBron James, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the Warriors. They were just too talented and too deep for James alone to beat them. He logged the most minutes of any player in this series and constantly played at a breakneck pace he’d never experienced during the postseason. This summer will be key for Cleveland, as they appear to be the only team right now that has the slim chance of beating Golden State.