We’d been here before.
It’s Game 5 in Oakland with Cleveland Cavaliers down 3-1 in the series against the Golden State Warriors. Although they might be the same organizations, these are 2 very different teams that that of last year’s NBA Finals, and this 3-1 lead felt a lot different.
To this point it had been a series of runs. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant owned the floor when it came to the first 3 games of the series, while Kyrie Irving and LeBron James took over in Game 4.
It came down to who wanted it more, Curry and Durant, or James and Irving. On their home floor, Durant and Curry were on a mission to make Game 5 their game as they walked away the 2017 NBA Champions.
In the end, it was the second quarter that set up the game, and set the Warriors in motion to take out their second championship in 3 years.
Coming into the second period, things did not look good as Golden State began taking rushed shots, forcing themselves into corners, and committing basic turnovers, while the Cleveland offense took advantage running up the scoreboard and building a handy lead.
Mid way through the quarter something clicked as the home team hit 5th gear blowing the roof off Oracle Arena.
Golden State exploded with a 21-2 run knocking down the three ball, and running their transition offense to perfection as they capitalized on shutting down the Cavs’ scorers.
It was only when Tristan Thompson got into an altercation with Warriors veteran David West – causing a long delay for review – when both teams settled back into their regular games. But that’s all it took, but this point the Dubs lead was blown out to 17 points giving them the upper hand heading into the half.
A see-sawing third quarter saw Cleveland to make up some ground heading into the final period down 5, with the usual suspects of James and Irving carrying the weight of load – and JR Smith draining some huge shots as he continued his impressive offensive Finals run.
From there The Warriors held strong as Durant continued his dominance and willed his team to a 9-point victory over the defending champions.
As the champagne flowed in the locker room post game, the common talking point for all players young and old was how much they respect and trust in their team mates. Patrick McCaw reinforced this as he spoke about how lucky he was to be a part of the organization, while veteran David West talked about the season long commitment from every player on the roster.
“Andre (Iguoldala) was unbelievable. You know he was in the gym at 8am this morning. Everybody was in the gym this morning, we had optional shoot around. Everybody wanted it, that’s what we do.” West continues, “That’s why we won. Even when coach said you do what you need, everybody’s still working.”
“That’s what this group is about. That’s why we got to the top. We stayed out of the streets, we stayed in the gym and won – that’s why.”
The Golden State Warriors might have 2 championships under their belt during this run, but don’t expect them to fade out any time soon. Even LeBron James commented that the biggest challenge for everyone in the league over the coming years will be figuring out how to take down the Dubs.
The question is now, how many more championships can they add to their trophy cabinet over the next few years.
Feature Image: Slam Online