Warriors cement place in NBA history
The Golden State Warriors have cemented their place in NBA history, completing a 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 108-85 Game 4 win that puts them alongside the Boston Celtics of the ‘60s, Los Angeles Lakers of the ‘80s and Chicago Bulls of the ‘90s as one of the best dynasty’s ever.
Kevin Durant was named Finals MVP for the second consecutive year, averaging 28.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 7.5 assists over the four-game series. His high points were a career-high 43 points in Game 3 and a first ever triple-double in the NBA Finals in Game 4.
Durant finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the closeout game, proving too much for the Cavs who offered little resistance on the way to being swept in the Finals for the second time in franchise history.
Steph Curry topped his Game 2 performance with 37 points, hitting seven threes and seemingly scoring as he pleased, Golden State going up by as much as 28 in the fourth before cruising to the 23-point win.
Cleveland’s best run came in the second quarter when they went up by one on multiple occasions, but they held the lead for just 43 seconds total as the Warriors ended the quarter on a 17-9 run.
Golden State had its best third quarter of the series, holding Cleveland to just 13 points and not relenting until the final buzzer of the 2017/18 season sounded.
LeBron James led the Cavaliers once again but didn’t have his usual impact, hindered by a right-hand injury suffered after Game 1 that wasn’t revealed until a postgame press conference following the Game 4 loss.
James had 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, but added six turnovers and five fouls as the Cavaliers showed little fight, looking tired and out of answers.
The Warriors second straight title puts Curry and Durant in historic company; Curry becoming the eighth player to win multiple MVPs and three championships while Durant became the sixth player to win back-to-back Finals MVPs.
Golden State are $2.25 favourites to win next season’s title according to bookmaker Sportsbet for good reason. The core of the team is under contract for at least the next two years, with Durant indicating that he’ll re-sign in the offseason and Klay Thompson stating that he’d be willing to take a pay cut to stay with Golden State when he becomes a free agent in 2019.
The disappointing finish caps a historic postseason run for James and the Cavaliers but leaves Cleveland with thoughts of what could have been had it not suffered a devastating finish in Game 1.
Despite four straight Finals finishes, the Cavs enter the offseason with more questions than answers, revolving around James’ pending free agency decision.
No one will forget James’ run over the postseason, but in the end, it was the Golden State Warriors who came out ahead as they move to equal third with the Chicago Bulls on six NBA championships.