The Golden State Warriors completed a finals sweep of Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning their third title in four years.
This year’s postseason remained entertaining as we saw several young players, such as Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum, claim spots as upcoming stars in the league. However, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy came down to a matchup most fans predicted before the season even started: the best team in the league versus the best player in the world.
A championship for the Warriors seemed like the inevitable conclusion to this NBA Season. The team with four all-stars and two former MVPs overwhelmed Lebron and the Cavs at every turn during the series. The poor performance of Cavaliers surrounding the number 23 jersey seemed to cancel out what might have been the best playoff performance in James’ 15-season career.
This was evident from first game of the series when George Hill missed a go-ahead free throw and JR Smith, unaware of the tied score, took the ball out to the perimeter in an attempt to run the clock out. It was the story of the Cav’s season all in one game. 51 points from James wasn’t enough to beat the Warriors and one could see that the game took a toll on James emotionally and physically.
With a popped blood vessel in his eye, James stormed out of the post-game press conference after being asked repeatedly about the final seconds of regulation. It was also revealed that James suffered a right-hand injury when he punched a whiteboard in the locker room after the game.
The Warriors demonstrated the many ways they could win and why they might be one of the best basketball teams we’ve ever seen through the rest of the series. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant took turns with great performances and the most competitive question of the series was which of the two would win the finals MVP award.
Curry’s 33 points in game two were highlighted by a fourth quarter show that featured a moonshot from eight feet beyond the arch. Kevin Durant dominated game three with 43 points and one of his signature pull-up jumpers from three to put the game away that mirrored a shot he hit in last year’s finals. In the final game of the season, both players were key as Durant posted a triple-double and Curry hit seven threes on his way to scoring 37 points.
Durant was awarded the finals MVP for the second straight year and the Warriors are entering dynasty territory.
The end of the season marks the start of what will be a busy summer for the NBA. While Durant has already signed on for another season with Golden State, big free agents like Paul George and Boogie Cousins will be looking for a new team. It’s likely Lebron James will leave Cleveland a second time and whichever team he chooses in “The Decision Part III” could be punching its ticket to the finals for years to come.