In every series prediction all season long, the chance that the Cleveland Cavaliers had lied in the notion that they would assuredly knock down the Golden State Warriors in crunchtime. The Warriors, in the meantime, did nothing to alleviate those concerns as they struggled in games within 5 points in the last 5 minutes as they did not know what to do, with whom to shoot, and how to pass. And then on the biggest stage, against LeBron James, and taking the King’s and Kyrie Irving’s greatest shot yet, they found themselves in the situation everyone had presumed was their only weakness. Then Rucker Park Kevin Durant showed up.
With the Golden State Warriors comes a conscious effort to stay self-aware. With Stephen Curry, he wants everyone involved at all times. It starts with the head coach and the Strength in Numbers. Draymond Green might talk a lot but he directs everyone on defense and gets the offensive stars their touches where they need them. Klay Thompson might jack anything up at the rim but doesn’t hijack the team off the court by complaining. And with Kevin Durant, he’s also the different type of superstar like Steph where he wants to fit in, wants everyone happy, and just wants to win.
But in the waning moments of a barnburner that featured some of the worst Warriors moments, including Draymond’s continued absence from the series, Kerr’s rotations, and reckless turnovers; the greatest Warriors stepped up.
The Death Lineup that was ripped to shreds in last year’s final three games added Kevin Durant and polished off an 11-0 run that tipped the scales to a 118-113 finish. Andre Iguodala pulled off his patented swipe on LeBron, forcing a TO in the game’s final stop. Klay Thompson carried the offense with 30 points and a 3 in transition to cut the Cavs lead down to 1 just when they were pulling away. Draymond Green was nonexistent most of the night but came up with one stop against James in isolation. Stephen Curry grabbed 12 boards to go with 26 points and stabilized the Warriors in scary moment. And finally, Durant nailed a Splash Brothers-range 3, dropped in an isolation floater over Tristan Thompson, and then capped it off with a transition bomb right over a fatigued LeBron James that barely played up enough to contest.
It was a perfect moment, for the perfect team, and a 15-0 playoff record now going for the perfect season.