The Golden State Warriors are the NBA champions.
The four-headed monster of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green set out on a mission to avenge the previous year’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers led by Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The team had a record-breaking start to the NBA playoffs going 15-0 before losing in Game 4 of the finals.
This year, Durant earned the NBA Finals MVP after his stellar play while being guarded by James for most of the series. Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks.
Durant’s greatest moment of the finals and perhaps of his career came in the final moments of Game 3. KD scored the last seven points for the Warriors and guided them to victory over the Cavaliers in the closest game of the series. He drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with under a minute remaining with James guarding him on the play.
The Finals may have ended shortly in five games, but they were filled with record breaking performances. James was the first player ever in NBA history to average a triple double with 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 10.0 assists per game. The Cavaliers also broke the record for most 3.pointers in a single game with 22 in Game 4.
“It would be the same if you wrote the best column of your life, and somebody picked another one over you. How would you feel? So, you wouldn’t hold your head down, but you would be like, OK, it’s just not my time” said James after Game 5.
The road to redemption for the Warriors began after the painful loss in the Finals last year after leading the series 3-1 against the Cavaliers and failing to win another game. The loss in the Finals made the team feel as though all their accomplishments were discredited. In that year, the team broke the record for most wins in a season with 73 and hailed the first ever unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry.
These were the Warriors’ finals to lose as they have been the league’s favorite all year to win the championship. Ever since landing KD in the free agency the team had been compared as one of the greatest if not the greatest team of all time. It is hard to argue this statement after the team’s performance this year and dominance in the playoffs.
Regardless of how badly the Warriors wanted to redeem themselves, this Finals was most important for all-star Durant. After receiving heavy criticism for joining Golden State and many calling the move “weak” and bad for the NBA, the star had to perform and excel on the biggest stage, and he did just that.
“He’s the only one I’ve been looking at since 2012. He’s the one who looked me eye-to-eye. I told him we tied up now, and we going to try to do this thing again” said Durant on facing James again.
Durant has succeeded in gaining the elusive championship ring that he has sought his entire 10-year career. He should feel no shame for joining the Warriors because at the end of the day the NBA is a business. To not capitalize on your success and to not do what’s best for yourself in any industry is quite unreasonable.
The NBA is in a strong state and is reminiscent of the golden days when the 1980s Lakers and Celtics teams would constantly play each other in the finals. The Warriors and Cavaliers have recreated a similar rivalry, and there is no reason to believe these teams will not see each other next year as well.