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Kevin Durant vs. Stephen Curry for MVP was the only NBA Finals suspense left. Durant won

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Durant was ahead in the running after Game 3 and held on despite a 37-point Game 4 for Curry.

2018 NBA Finals - Game Three Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

No team had ever come back down 3-0 in the NBA Finals before, and 2018 wasn’t the outlier. The Warriors won Game 4 as expected, finishing off a series that lacked drama after Game 1.

That left just one competition to keep an eye out for in the final game: Stephen Curry vs. Durant for Finals MVP.

Both were far happier they shared the NBA title, but there was some intrigue involved for the neutrals. Despite winning back-to-back regular-season MVPs, one via a unanimous vote Curry had never claimed a Finals MVP. The first went to Andre Iguodala in 2015, and the second, last year’s, went to Durant.

Was 2018 the year for Curry? Turns out, it wasn’t. Durant won it again with seven votes to Curry’s four.

But not without a fight.

Durant had the leg up entering Game 4

Durant was absolutely brilliant in both Game 2 and Game 3. Though he played second fiddle in an uber-efficient Game 2 to Curry, he was the alpha of Game 3.

He scored 43 points on 15-of-23 shooting, hitting shots from close, from far, with hands in his face and without. He scored on every Cavalier who touched the court aside from Tristan Thompson, and that’s just because he didn’t have any attempts against him.

Golden State won narrowly by eight points in a game that was closer than that, and Curry’s 3-of-16 shooting night did no favors. He botched layups, bricked open threes, and for the most part was a favor to Cleveland.

Through all three games, Durant was averaging 32 points on 56 percent shooting (47 percent from three), 11 rebounds, and seven assists. He isn’t supposed to have such gaudy numbers on a team with three other all-stars, but here we are.

Steph Curry had his signature moment, too

Curry’s Game 2 breakout was breathtaking. He made 9-of-17 three-point shots, both a record for takes and makes, and was absolute vintage Curry.

With Curry at the helm, everything felt right about the Warriors again. There was little iso-ball, and instead, the quick passes and infinite range that made Golden State so lovable in the pre-Durant era returned.

There were enough ridiculous makes from deep to go back and rank them by difficulty.

Game 3 was a stain for his MVP chances. He was totally out of sorts and needed Durant to save him. That set back the narrative that had him winning the award easily through two games.

But he recovered beautifully in Game 4

It didn’t take long for Cury to rediscover his shooting touch. He hit four of his first six shots, including this heave on an attempt to draw a foul.

He finished with 37 points, spearheading a dominating Warriors performance. With Durant having a quiet game by his standard, it looked like enough to reclaim the Finals MVP award.

But nope, not so fast. KD won anyway

Ultimately, KD’s “bad” game resulted in 18 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Steph’s resulted in 3-16 from the field. That was enough for KD to win it for the second year in a row.

Curry had to be magic and play with enough zest in Game 4 to make us look past Durant’s dominance in Game 3. He was magic, and yet, it wasn’t enough.

He’ll just have to settle for his third ring.