The Cleveland Cavaliers faced the Golden State Warriors in this year’s NBA Finals. The Warriors won the series four to one and defeated the Cavaliers in their victory. They redeemed themselves after facing defeat in the finals the year before. This is their third NBA Finals series in a row that the Warriors and Cavaliers have played against each other. The first time they clashed in the finals was in 2015 when the Warriors emerged victorious. In 2016, the Cavaliers beat them in a four to three loss.
This year, however, the Warriors added a key player to their roster. They signed all star small forward, Kevin Durant over the offseason. He gave them an edge over the Cavaliers as he scored at least 30 points in all five games in the series. He played at an elite level and made Golden State seemingly unbeatable. As a result of his incredible play in the finals, he was awarded the prestigious title of this year’s Finals MVP.
After game three, freshman Thomas Wolfson predicted that Durant would be the MVP of the finals as he had the largest impact in each game.
“[Durant] is having a huge impact on both ends. He’s playing great defense…he’s been the best offensive player. Right now, I think he’s gonna be the MVP of the series. And it’s obviously a huge difference from last year to this year when Cleaveland could kind of match up with them last year but now it’s impossible,” Wolfson said.
Despite Durant leading the Warriors to three straight wins earlier in the series, Cavaliers all star small forward Lebron James never goes down without a fight and the Cavaliers definitely put up a fight in game four. The Cavaliers annihilated the Warriors in game four, 137-117. The Cavaliers scored 49 points in the first quarter alone, which is the most points scored in any quarter in the finals in NBA history. Lebron James scored 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. This historic night showed that the Cavaliers hadn’t given up, but it didn’t mean that they could win the series.
The exceptional play of both Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Durant were clearly too much for this Cavaliers team to handle.
“Over the four wins, Curry and Durant never scored fewer than 57 points together. They combined for 73 points [on 40 shots] and 15 assists in the championship clincher. Their combined average of 62.0 was the third-most ever by a championship duo,” according to Bleacher Report.
Because of their consistency and skill level, the Warriors were able to cruise past the Cavaliers. However, as illustrated in game four, The Cavaliers could beat them in one game. In a long series, the Warriors had the edge over them. Durant was the main contributor to the Warriors’ finals wins, but he wasn’t the only factor.
Freshman Isaac Snow states that many Cavaliers players haven’t been playing their best in this series, which is allowing the Warriors to take the lead in this series.
“[Cavaliers power forward] Kevin Love [wasn’t] playing how he should [be] and the Cavaliers bench…just isn’t stepping up. Shooting guard Kyle Korver stepped up a little bit in the last game but he [wasn’t] playing well. Also in the first two games, [Cavaliers point guard] Kyrie Irving did nothing,” Snow said.
The combination of all of these factors led to the Warriors emerging from the finals victorious. Curry, Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, and Warriors power forward Draymond Green have another finals win under their belts, while Durant won his first NBA finals ever on his first season with the Warriors. Durant came to Golden State over the offseason because he wanted to win a championship. After Monday night, he got his wish.