OAKLAND (KRON) — When Kevin Durant departed from Oklahoma City to join Golden State last summer, this was precisely why he did it, to win at the highest level, the NBA Finals.
Durant efficiently powered the Warriors to their second title in three years as they beat the Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5.
“It was 55 seconds left, and I went other over to half court line and I bent down, and I’m like, is this really happening?” Durant said, describing the final moments of the game. “And Draymond was like, ‘keep playing to the end.’ Andre is like, ‘keep playing, we have like 50 seconds left.’ And I’m like, ‘bro, we’re about to win the title.’”
The Bill Russell Finals MVP winner averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks in the five-game series and easily eclipsed the 50/40/90 percentages for field-goal, three-point and free-throw shooting.
A key contributor to the Warriors win Monday was sixth man Andre Iguodala who scored 20 points off the bench on 9/14 shooting in 38 minutes of action. He also knocked down two timely threes in the second half and had a handful dunks including a first-half rimrocker that sent Oracle Arena into a frenzy.
“That’s what Andre’s been doing all year. You’ve seen his bounce — it’s unbelievable,” said Klay Thompson of Iguodala’s performance. “He’s one of the best professionals I’ve ever been around. And two years ago, he went to the bench and it rewarded him — he was Finals MVP.”
It is the second ring of Iguodala’s 13-year career, but for veterans Javale Mcgee, Matt Barnes and David West, it was their first.
Two years prior, West opted out of the final of year of his Indiana Pacers contract and left $12 million on the table in pursuit of a dream, an NBA championship, that is.
After a one-year stint with San Antonio in the 2015-16 season, he joined Golden State last summer and validated his decision with a win on Monday.
“I understand that,” West told NBA TV’s David Aldridge when reminded that he gave up a lot of money. “But look, you can’t take it with you. The Egyptians learned that. So it’s about the small things in life. The accomplishments, man. It’s about winning.”
Reigning two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry had himself quite the series as well, posting 26.8 points, eight rebounds and 9.4 assists a game, counting his 34-point, 10-assist line in the Game 5 closeout win.
He was asked postgame to compare the 2015 Finals win to the current one.
“It’s different just because of what happened last year to be honest,” Curry said. “We went through for lack of a better term, basketball hell, in that sense of just being so close to getting the job done and not realizing that goal and having to think about that for an entire year and compartmentalize and just try to keep the right perspective about this season and learn the lessons that we learned.”
Curry’s backcourt partner Klay Thompson was phenomenal on defense last night, forcing an array of Cavaliers players including Kyrie Irving, Lebron James and Kevin Love all to miss multiple shots.
Irving finished 9/22 from the floor with 26 points and four turnovers after a 40-point night in Game 4.
For Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, the title comes after season-long battle with a back injury that ultimately caused him to miss extended time in the playoffs before he came back in Game 2 of the Finals.
After the buzzer sounded and the Warriors clinched their title, Kerr began to tear up in what has been an up-and-down season for him.
“I’ve been so lucky to be part of so many championship teams as a player and now as a coach, and it never gets old,” said Steve Kerr. “But tonight was a little different, just based on the things I’ve had to go through during this time.”
Golden State finished the 2017 postseason 16-1, the best mark by any team in NBA history.
But more important to the Warriors was finishing the season among the top of the world, and they did, with an NBA championship.
WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:
- VIDEO: KEVIN DURANT GETS OUT OF CAR TO CELEBRATE WITH WARRIORS’ FANS
- WARRIORS CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE HAPPENING THURSDAY
- KEVIN DURANT, STEPHEN CURRY LEAD WARRIORS TO NBA TITLE
- DUB NATION CELEBRATES WITH ROWDY STREET PARTY
- 30 CARS TOWED DURING SIDESHOW IN OAKLAND AFTER WARRIORS NBA TITLE WIN
- OAKLAND PD: MOTORCYCLE OFFICER STRUCK BY DRUNK DRIVER
- DIDDY, SNOOP DOGG AMONG CELEBRITIES AT ORACLE FOR GAME 5 OF NBA FINALS
- SOMEONE PAID $133K FOR TWO COURTSIDE TICKETS TO GAME 5 OF NBA FINALS