CLEVELAND, United States – Although the Golden State Warriors made it all look so easy, that wasn’t exactly the case, at least for coach Steve Kerr.
“This was the hardest one we’ve had by far,” said Kerr.
An overpowering Warriors squad captured a 3rd NBA title in 4 seasons Friday, June 8 (Saturday, June 9 in Manila), routing the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 to complete a sweep in the best-of-7 NBA Finals.
The Warriors inflicted the first 4-0 NBA Finals blanking since the Cavaliers were swept by San Antonio in 2007.
“This is so hard to do and to do it 3 years out of 4 years is incredible,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said.
Stephen Curry scored 37 points and Kevin Durant, the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, added 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the first finals triple-double of his career.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to come here with a mission and get the job done,” Curry said. “They made some mini-runs, but over the course of 48 minutes our will took over.”
Golden State claimed the 6th crown in club history, matching the Chicago Bulls for a 3rd on the all-time list. The Warriors also won in 1947 and 1956 when based in Philadelphia plus 1975, 2015 and 2017 after their move to the San Francisco Bay area in 1962.
It was the 4th year in a row the Warriors met Cleveland in the finals.
“We used the experience last year to our advantage,” Curry said. “We knew they were going to come out with a tough first punch and we answered it and ran right back at them, set the tone for the whole game.”
All about the journey
Curry, who set an NBA Finals record with 9 triples in Game 2, hit 12-of-27 shots from the field and 7-of-15 from 3-point range.
“We just know how to win,” Curry said. “We keep waking up every day and trying to get better and we end up here. For us to be able to be here again, we can’t get enough of this feeling.”
Durant, who had a playoff career-best 43 points in Game 3, became only the 6th back-to-back finals MVP.
“This is about the journey. All season, getting up, going to work with these guys is amazing,” Durant said.
“It’s good for you to be around guys like this, it makes you a better basketball player and a better man.
“It’s a journey that’s better than the destination. I’m happy to be part of this group.”
An 11-2 Warriors run put Golden State ahead 24-13 on the way to a 34-25 lead after the first quarter.
A LeBron James slam dunk capped a 14-4 Cavs run to open the second quarter, putting Cleveland ahead 39-38, but Golden State answered with a 11-4 run and stretched the half-time lead to 61-52.
Curry scored 20 points in the first half, hitting 4-of-6 3-point shots, as Golden State seized a 61-52 half-time edge.
The Cavaliers would come no closer in the second half.
Golden State outscored Cleveland 25-13 in the 3rd quarter, James managing only 4 points – all on free throws – in the period, and the Warriors rolled through the final minutes to another coronation.
James was removed with 4:03 remaining and congratulated the Warriors before taking a seat on the bench.
“When you play one of the best it brings the best out of you as well,” Durant said of playing against James.
James, 33, is the oldest finals leader in points and minutes, having struck for 51 points in the opener, the 5th-best game total in finals history. – Rappler.com
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