After holding off the Cavaliers, 129-120, in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals, the Warriors have solidified their standing as not only NBA champions, but one of the best-assembled teams in league history.
Golden State now threatens to become a dynasty, one signaled when the franchise signed Kevin Durant to a free-agent contract last summer. Their investment returned fruitfully when it mattered most, as Durant became the most efficient player in league history to average 30 or more points in the NBA Finals.
Golden State’s prized free-agent acquisition scored 39 points on an efficient 14-of-19 shooting. He hit shots over LeBron James, shots over J.R. Smith and shots over every defender Cleveland threw at him. But like the rest of the series, there was no answer for the four-time scoring champion.
James gave Durant a run for his money. He scored 39 points on 18-of-29 shooting and became the first player in NBA history to average a triple double in the Finals. That’s an incredible effort, regardless of the outcome.
But Durant’s versatility proved too much for the Cavaliers to overcome. He scored on every look the Cavaliers threw at him. He co-anchored the Warriors’ defense with Draymond Green, pushed the ball in transition and made the correct decision time and time again.
This was what Durant and the Warriors envisioned when they joined forces last summer. And now, with a championship in-hand, Golden State could be in the NBA driver’s seat for years to come.