OAKLAND, USA – Five things we learned from the NBA Finals, which ended Monday, June 12 (Tuesday in Manila) with Golden State beating Cleveland 129-120 to win the best-of-7 series 4-1:
1. Beers make Durant blabby…
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant enjoyed a hefty locker room celebration before speaking to reporters after scoring 39 points in his team’s victory, which brought him his first NBA crown.
“I can’t wait to celebrate for the rest of the night, well, maybe the rest of the summer,” Durant said.
After answering one final question following an extended stay at the podium, the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player felt like he might have said more than he should.
“I’m talking too much at this point,” Durant said. “I had a couple too many beers. I haven’t had a beer since February. So to have a beer right now and come talk to you guys, it feels great.”
2. … but he earned every drop
Durant averaged 35.2 points and 8.4 rebounds a game in the finals to claim the MVP award unanimously, joining Rick Barry and Andre Iguodala as the only Warriors to win the award.
His playoff scoring career average of 28.8 points a game ranks fourth all-time behind Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Jerry West. His 5 games in a row with 30 points is the first in a finals since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.
3. Almost perfect playoff run
The Warriors won their first 15 playoff games, sweeping out Portland, Utah and San Antonio and seizing a 3-0 lead on Cleveland before the Cavaliers snapped the longest playoff win streak in North American sports history by winning game 4 Friday in Cleveland.
Although not perfect, the 16-1 playoff record for Golden State (.941) is the best win percentage of any team in NBA history, edging the 15-1 effort by the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers.
No unbeaten champion’s playoff run in Major League Baseball has gone beyond 7 wins and none in the National Hockey League went past 8 wins.
4. LeBron adds to his legend
Cleveland star LeBron James played in his seventh consecutive finals and eighth career finals, falling to 3-5. But in this year’s playoff run, he surpassed Michael Jordan as the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader.
Only 5 players from the 1960s Boston Celtics dynasty have played in 8 or more consecutive finals, so James could share fourth on the all-time finals in a row list by making it next year.
Bill Russell has the record with 10 in a row. James ranks third in all-time finals scoring with 1,247 points, trailing only Jerry West with 1,679 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, just 70 points ahead of James. And with 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists a game in the finals, James became the first player to average a triple double in the finals.
5. NBA Finals trilogy thrills
This marked the first time that the same two teams met in the NBA Finals for a third consecutive year, with the Warriors owning a 2-1 edge in the trilogy.
It was the first time in 61 years that any major North American sports league had such a trilogy play out, the most recent being the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings in 1954-56.
Others were the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions from 1952-54 and Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and New York Giants from 1921-23. – Rappler.com