40 Years Later, Curry and the Dubs Bring Larry O'Brien Back to the Bay
The Bay can finally celebrate.
40 years since their last title, Golden State sealed up what has been a fantastic finals series and claimed Larry O’Brien once again.
A jump-shooting team with zero finals experience on the roster overcame a ridiculous series by LeBron James and finished it off the only way it knew how, with contributions from everyone.
Think about it: the Dubs broke all the rules. Yes, they played fantastic defense throughout and were insane in terms of their team play, but up until this point, jump-shooting squads haven'tt had the greatest of times in the playoffs. Just ask Mike D’Antoni.
Golden State turned that concept on its head by having one of best shooters in NBA history and enlisting the help of selfless players. Stephen Curry led the way and made his mark in Game 6.
Does anything even need to be said?
Game 6 displayed all the issues that plagued Cleveland throughout and was a stark representation of what made the Warriors so good. Looking back, it was the closest that the Dubs got to playing a complete game, besides giving JR Smith his handy flamethrower with under a minute to play.
The Cavs started out with plenty of energy, and the building was rocking. Hard defense was the order, and LeBron looked like he had the Eye of the Tiger. Timofey Mozgov looked flat-out scary in some possessions as he charged through the paint. Would you get in the way if he was coming at you, full steam? Didn’t think so. Mozgov was active and even swiped a few attempts away.
Fatigue was a factor in the form of sloppy turnovers from the Cavs. Seriously, did people have butterfingers? When the wheels started falling off in the second half, they blew up. LeBron looked extremely tired -- chucking up treys and mid-range jumpers to keep the Cavs in it -- and the defense just lost its edge completely. Festus Ezeli was having a field day.
- Smith, once again, didn't make an impact until it was too late. Sometimes, it seems like he makes bets with himself on how many shots he can hit that are impossible. Well, don’t take him to Vegas; dude came up empty most of the time.
- Cleveland just ran out of all the gasoline they had. Blatt couldn't get any more out of his team to keep up with Golden State. He probably looked down his bench and hoped Kevin Love could suit up for a possession. The Cavs simply ran out of talent.
Dudes needed more creativity as a team than they showed. Gotta think outside the box when the rubber meets the road.
On the other side, there were key differences as to why the Warriors got a sudden burst of offense:
- Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green were all hitting their open treys. All series long, the Dubs have had sets where all three of those players got looks. Only problem's been that Barnes couldn’t even find the rim on his shots and Green refused to take them. Game 6 was a different story. Barnes and Iguodala in particular kept a steady pace of threes. Dudes kept Cleveland at bay and padded the lead on several occasions.
Speaking of Iguodala, he was masterful once again and won the Finals MVP, playing sound defense on LeBron while also hitting plenty of open shots. The Cavs basically dared him to pop mid-range jumpers; their only issue was that he made them. Hell, he even stole from LeBron:
- Shaun Livingston came out of the shadows and was a passing wizard. In the last two games, he kept the bench unit a-rolling and allowed Curry to play off the ball at times. Just think about that luxury! Half of the Warriors’ bench could be starters in this league. It’s like having two starting lineups. Turns out, it’s hard to beat.
What has been under the radar is Klay Thompson didn't exactly have a fantastic series, aside from Game 2. In fact, he fouled out in Game 6. Dude wasn’t even rolling and almost provided more on the defensive end than he did on offense. That’s a sign the Dubs have something special. At least, according to Curry and Thompson.
Despite the loss, Cleveland does have a bright future. Just look at some of these plays LeBron made. Imagine if he had Irving next to him:
Much can be said about Kevin Love’s future and the fact that most of their veteran players will zoom off to retirement and enjoy the warm beaches in the Bahamas. But the truth is this team discovered they have something in Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson. Question is, can they keep Thompson? There will be serious money shelled out in the next few weeks. Many crossroads lie ahead, but turns out having LeBron is a nice card to have in your hand.
One more dunk from James for good measure:
LeBron outran Iguodala and Curry. Cleveland will be just fine.
It was the perfect way to end a season. This series was more competitive than most expected, and each installment was like an episode of Game of Thrones, minus the heartbreaking deaths. Seriously, look back at each individual game; there were no boring moments. All were just that good.
See you in three months, NBA. Rest up and come back with more of the same.