The Golden State Warriors capped off this storytelling NBA Finals in Game 6 defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97. It is truly historic as the Warriors win their first championship title since 1975. It is the longest gap in history between championships (40 seasons). Warriors win convincingly to close series 4-2 in NBA finals. LeBron may be the best player in the world, but the best team in the NBA is hoisting up the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and that’s not Cleveland. This ceremony may have taken place in Quicken Loans Arena, but the only thing Cleveland was awarded was a loss in grand fashion.
Cleveland fans were all in to witness history for LeBron’s homecoming season and ensure a title victory that has been missed since 1964. The curse continues to strike the title-stricken fans of Cleveland, as they will have to wait until next season if their wishes can be fulfilled then. Since, Golden State had a different agenda in store for them.
The Warriors insisted on allowing LeBron to get his numbers, but clamp down on the rest of the Cavaliers. For one man may be relied on to win a game for you, but not a series. The task is capable of being done, but the execution of that task is slim to none. As Cleveland was clearly outmanned, and the deeper you get in the playoffs the more you need your bench. In several possessions of the game, it was like his teammates just threw him the ball and just expected LeBron to make magic. Yes, King James is a master of wizardry on the court and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. But, even magicians need help to bring tricks to life. Otherwise, people would not see the mastermind’s plan.
Now LeBron still put up unfathomable stats despite the absence of his supporting cast, had nearly 36 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists throughout the finals. All this through only 35% shooting from the field amid defensive coverage by Andre Iguodala. LeBron is the first player in NBA Finals history to lead both teams in Pts, Rebs, and Asts. Cavs fan booed, thought LeBron would be finals MVP, and rightfully so, the numbers don’t lie.
Jerry West was the only player to ever to win the Finals MVP on a losing team, back in 1969. LeBron was incredibly close on being the second player to do so, receiving four of the eleven initial votes. The other seven votes going to Andre Iguodala, whose value winning Finals MVP was controversial to some. Now he was assigned the job of defending LeBron, the biggest task of them all.
Iguodala had never come off the bench before this season, which he had to sacrifice for the betterment of the team. “Iguodala is a true professional and accepted his role as a pro”, words expressed by teammate Klay Thompson after the game during the press conference. Warriors had won final 3 games after inserting Andre Iguodala after into the starting lineup.
Golden state also proved to doubters that jump-shooting teams could, in fact, win a championship. So-called analysts and experts have always believed it would be their achilles heel when the game was on the line and needed a basket. As fatigue sets in late for shooters, the power for jump shots comes from your knees. By the end of the game, their power is virtually depleted as shooters will the shot before it’s even released.
Warriors needed to reach 100 PTS to consistently win in the NBA Finals. Golden State scored 104.3 PTS per game in the final 3 games, only averaging 97.3 PTS in the first 3 games of the series.
Steve Kerr now becomes the 7th rookie head coach to win title, since Pat Riley in 1982. Doris Burke had asked Kerr what the Warriors needed to maintain their lead after the first quarter. “We have to keep the ball moving, they are a quick team.”
These words defined the unselfish play of Golden State always finding the opening man. There are multiple player makers on the team, they trap Steph Curry, and so it’s not a problem. Other teammates are understanding of playing team basketball. Draymond Green who had 16 Pts, 11 Rebs, and 10 Asts. Green becomes the 3rd player with a triple double in a series clinching victory. The most important playmaker of the series was none other than the Finals MVP.
Iguodala only averaged 16 Pts, roughly 6 Rebs, and 4 Asts. It doesn’t sound too appealing, but that’s without starting the first 3 games. That’s also including defending LeBron and his troubles at the free throw line. Doug Collins asked Andre Iguodala about his free throws struggles, Iggy responded, “I know I was 4-10 from the free throw (line) in the game. But they felt good to me.”
If you think about it, that takes a great player to continue playing well despite a serious impediment. Iguodola is the first player to win the NBA Finals MVP without starting every game in the entire series. Andre Iguodala simply saved the season for the Warriors after inserted into the starting lineup for Game 4, who replaced Andrew Bogut. Draymond Green had slid over to the center position and Harrison Barnes to power forward. Bogut, truthfully didn’t even play a second the last two games.
Draymond told Sage Steele about Bogut’s initial response on being benched for Games 5 & 6,”If we win, that’s all that matters”.
Even Steph Curry was content with not winning the Finals MVP because he’s a team player and understood that Iguodala deserved it for effectiveness throughout the entire series. Chef Curry was only present for Games 4-6. During the first 3 games, Curry was in pre-heat and at most, the burner was on low. He was only preparing to cook, basically getting all of his ingredients together before he starts grilling. Curry recognized that he is the best player on the team, but he was not the most valuable player to help them win the series. However, Curry becomes the 6th player to win his first MVP and NBA title in the same season. Curry had 24 Pts, 6 Rebs, and 8 Asts in the series finale.
LeBron had 32 Pts, 18 Rebs, and 9 Asts in 47 minutes. He has an overall 2-4 record in the NBA finals. Lebron is 7-8 during his career in elimination games. LeBron had seven consecutive 30pt games.
Cleveland is 0-2 in NBA Finals series all time. King James needs some more pawns in his team’s chessboard. They were losing key pieces every time they played a new game.
LeBron had the burden of creating offense, every single possession, which has never been done. No one has ever taken a team with so little, so far. LeBron has gotten more out of Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov, more than they thought they could ever give. The question will always be if they had a healthy Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, or Anderson Varejao, would the finals turn out differently? But, we’ll never know the answer unless a rematch is available.
LeBron was asked if he would rather miss the playoffs or lose in the finals, “At this point, I would much rather not make the playoffs. It would hurt easier.” This simply surmises his feeling about losing. He was in misery during the finals press conference, as this loss resonated deep in the mind of the best player in the world.
In a poignant matchup clashing the best team vs. best player, in what ended in dramatic fashion. The 76th NBA season comes to a close, as we remember a storytelling NBA Finals. Records that been broken, jerseys that have been sold, tickets that have been purchased. History has been rewritten on both teams: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. We’ll conclude this chapter of the 2015 NBA Finals and close the book of the 2015 NBA season. As we look on towards next year: will Golden State repeat, or will Cleveland bounce back in a mighty way with new pieces to the puzzle? Only time will tell.