Courtesy of Golden State Warriors via Twitter @Warriors
Durant Leads Warriors Over Cavaliers to Fifth Championship is Franchise History
As time slowly went down to zero, the Golden State Warriors were crowned champions of the 2017 NBA season defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120, clinching the series 4-1. As Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Draymond Green embraced their victory with each other on the court another scene developed behind the scenes. Kyrie Irving waited for LeBron James as they exited the tunnel for the final time this season for one more of their patented dap. James would simply nod towards Irving and ensure him ‘We’ll be back, we’ll be back,’ with the conviction that this feud is far from over between the land and the bay.
Durant who is noted predominately as the second or third best player in the NBA has jolted up some leaderboards as the new face of the league. At the moment that does not matter. Durant averaged 35 points per game in the series, earned the NBA Finals MVP, and is etched in stone forever as a champion. Durant becomes the third player all-time to win four scoring titles along with a championship, joining Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlin. The Warriors outscored opponents by an average of 13.5 points per game over the course of the playoffs leading them to the best record of an eventual champion at 16-1.
With the loss, James falls to 3-5 in finals matchups after averaging a triple-double this series. James notched 33.8 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists over the five games, but wasn’t enough to knock off the mighty Warriors. Many will script the narrative for James that he will never be the greatest of all time, but it’s purely objective. Fortunate for James careers aren’t assessed until they’re completed, but he still must climb an uphill battle to cement himself alongside legends like Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant. Yes, Kobe Bryant. James is not perfect, he’s not the chosen one, but he is an all-time player and the greatest Small Forward in league history, don’t be ignorant.
The Warriors celebrate their fifth championship overall and the second in the last three seasons because of their culture. The unselfish nature of the Warriors compliment their win now mentality and their personal accolades will be second to the only meaningful statistic, wins. As Green stated postgame, “If Kevin Durant was the consolation prize for losing, thanks for that loss,”. A fitting statement for the redeem team, as they retrieved their crown back from the King of Akron.
As the NBA season comes to an epic conclusion, where does the league go from here? I figure every organization can get better from this scenario, that is if they want to win. As contenders analyze how they’ll dethrone the Warriors, just remember they’re the champs and it will not be easy. Expect Cleveland to reload with another piece and for other teams to wheel and deal throughout the offseason, but again, the Warriors are built to last and yes, this is just the beginning.