Warriors defeat Cavs to win first NBA title in 40 years
MANILA, Philippines – The long wait is over.
The Golden State Warriors clinched the 2015 NBA championship after they closed out the Cleveland Cavaliers, 105-97, on the road in game 6 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, June 17 (Tuesday, June 16 in the US) at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
NBA MVP Stephen Curry finished with 25 points on 3-of-11 three-pointers with 8 assists and 6 rebounds for the Warriors, which last won an NBA title in 1975.
Andre Iguodala, whose corner three-pointer with 6 minutes left to play put Golden State comfortably on top 92-77, had 25 points, including 3 triples, along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Iguodala was also named Finals MVP as he started in 3 Finals games.
Draymond Green added a triple-double of 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Shaun Livingston and Festus Ezeli contributed 10 points apiece for the Warriors, who closed the season 58-0 when leading by 15 points.
Four-time MVP LeBron James, who averaged 36.6 points in the first 5 games of the Finals and had a 40-point night in game 5, exhausted himself to 32 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists.
Timofey Mozgov added 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Tristan Thompson also had a double-double of 15 markers and 13 boards. JR Smith sizzled late with 4 triples and 19 points off the bench, but the help came a little too late for Cleveland.
The inexperienced Warriors stood up to adversity in the grueling series and overturned an unexpected 2-1 deficit to sweep the Cavaliers since game 4 and claim the title.
The city of Cleveland's 51-year title drought across professional sports continues despite exceeding expectations and battling through injuries and with a depleted line-up in these Finals.
The Cavs lost All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to a broken kneecap in overtime of game 1 after a scintillating performance, and they survived to the Finals without starting big man Kevin Love who suffered a shoulder injury in the first round.
With sheer will, grit and desire from James, the revelation of Matthew Dellavedova and a short 7 to 8 men in rotation, the Cavs pushed the Warriors and gave them a real scare for the second time in the postseason.
Golden State turned the series around in game 4 as they played small ball with Iguodala starting for the first time in the season. The pace quickened and it's been much more difficult for an undermanned Cleveland to counter since.
The Warriors raced to build a 13-point edge in the opening period of game 6 with 4 triples collectively right away along with 11 assists. But the Cavaliers imposed a slower pace in the second to chop the deficit to just 45-43 at the half and take the lead 47-45 to start the third.
Golden State, though, responded with a 7-0 spurt for a 53-47 advantage which soon turned into a 15-point edge towards the end of that quarter.
The Cavaliers did not go down without swinging as they came to within 101-97 with 37.2 remaining on a Smith triple as they played the foul game but the Warriors hung on.
2015 NBA Finals:
- Game 1: Warriors dominate to take thrilling Game 1 win
- Game 2: Cavs even NBA Finals in second straight OT thriller
- Game 3: Clutch LeBron, Dellavedova hold off Warriors late in Game 3
- Game 4: Warriors bounce back strong to drub Cavs, level series 2-2
- Game 5: Warriors beat Cavs, one win away from NBA title