A Dynasty is Made
When the Golden State Warriors started winning with their first recent NBA title in 2015, they were envisioning a dynasty with their youth. Then a year ago when Kevin Durant came, a dynasty was the least they could do.
Last night, the Warriors completed that dynasty with their third NBA championship in four years and back-to-back titles with many more to probably come. And they did it against the same opponent of the past four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will probably no longer be that opponent since LeBron James will most likely leave, giving the Warriors the 3–1 defeat of title matches.
They won this one in a dominant fashion that was honestly pretty boring since people knew they had it won early on. They did it in a sweep, giving LeBron his second time to be swept in an NBA Finals and a 3–6 record in that round.
Let me recap what happened.
In Game 1, it was a back-and-forth battle. Cleveland briefly had an 11-point lead in the second quarter before Golden State came back. LeBron had a remarkable game with a Finals-high 51 points, but the defining moment was what happened at the end of regulation.
George Hill missed a free throw that would have given the Cavs the lead with 4.7 seconds left, but he missed it, J.R. Smith rebounded and almost dribbled the clock out as he brought it near midcourt, thinking his team had the lead or that he was trying to find LeBron or that he was going to try to get a timeout.
Whatever explanation he tried to make, it didn’t matter as it was a costly and infamous blunder. The Warriors blew it open in overtime and won 124–114.
In Game 2, people could smell a blowout. The Cavs were trying to play catchup the entire game, but the Warriors and Stephen Curry, who hit an NBA Finals-record nine three-pointers, were too much. Golden State won, 122–103.
Then in Game 3, with his fellow All-Stars Curry and Klay Thompson struggling, Durant took it upon himself, going off for 43 points, including a long, clutch three-pointer in almost the same fashion and place he hit in Game 3 of last year on Cleveland’s home court. This one like last year gave the Warriors a commanding 3–0 lead as they erased a nine-point deficit at halftime, winning 110–102.
So with a series that everybody knew was in the books and what looked like LeBron’s last game in Cleveland, people were curious what kind of fight he and his team would have. And the answer was not much of one unlike last year’s Game 4 where they won. The Warriors jumped out to a 15-point lead at halftime and never looked back. Curry had 37 points as his team blew out the Cavs, 108–85, in an otherwise boring game, giving them the sweep and title.
Some people ask what would have happened had Cleveland not blown Game 1, which they still could have easily lost had Smith made the right decision. It wouldn’t have mattered. The Warriors were a better and much deeper team and were going to win anyway. It would have gone to Game 5, possibly 6 if they got lucky.
Durant won back-to-back Finals MVPs although Curry came in a close second. Durant is the reason they’re this dominant right now. They were able to overcome injuries this year, including one where they were without Curry until the second round of the playoffs, because of KD.
He gives them that edge when all are healthy that makes people hate the Warriors because of how good they are and will continue to be for some time.
The Warriors were the NBA’s darlings a couple of years ago, relying on draft picks and solid veterans, but now they’re a monster that’s a bit on the arrogant side, making it bad for the NBA with how easy and boring it can be for them. However, Houston really could’ve beaten them if it wasn’t for Chris Paul getting hurt, which tends to be a thing of luck for the Warriors, who did though lose Andre Iguodala for a majority of that series.
Will LeBron go to a team where he has a better chance to stop them or will Houston stay healthy enough to give them a better chance next year?
We’ll have to wait. Free agency starts in 22 days. The weight of the rest of the NBA teams stopping the Warriors waits on LeBron James.