The Golden State Warriors won a second consecutive championship by completing what they failed to last year — sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Durant had a triple-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the 108-85 victory, earning another NBA Finals MVP Award.
It was mildly surprising the hardware didn’t go to Stephen Curry, who rebounded from a subpar shooting performance by leading all players with 37 points, to go along with six rebounds and four assists in the Game 4 rout. Curry went 7-for-15 behind the arc after making just one of 10 attempts in Game 3.
That came on the heels of Curry setting an NBA Finals record with nine 3-pointers made, breaking a mark Ray Allen set against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010.
Even if he played second fiddle in Curry in the clinching win, it can’t be overlooked that Durant averaged 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game in the series on 52.6 percent shooting from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range.
Durant joined James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as players in NBA history to win back-to-back Finals MVP Awards.
James was stellar in defeat, averaging 34 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists in the series. It was revealed after the loss that he played through a right hand contusion, which was a byproduct of punching a whiteboard following a heartbreaking Game 1.
James finished with 23 points Friday night, and immediately faced questions about free agency and his future but largely pushed those aside. Only Kevin Love (13 points) and J.R. Smith (10) scored in double-figures in Game 4.
While the Warriors are at the top of the NBA mountain with a third championship in the past four years, they face some free agency questions of their own. While Durant is expected to re-sign, JaVale McGee, David West and Nick Young are among those who no longer will be under contract.
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