I remember being so happy. Forty years ago, when our 1975 Warriors beat the Washington Bullets in a four-game sweep, I could hardly contain my joy. On Tuesday night, I felt the same way.
The 2014-15 Golden State Warriors are the NBA champions! Forty years is a long time to wait, but well worth it. I am truly elated for Peter Guber, Joe Lacob and the entire organization.
I am especially happy for the coaching staff and the players. These guys may not realize it now, but winning a championship will be something that defines them for the rest of their lives. When the history of NBA basketball is written, their names will be included. To this day, I have fond memories of the championship season. I am still friends with my teammates and coaches, and I wear my championship ring proudly.
In the end, the Warriors simply had too much depth and versatility for the depleted Cavaliers. Basketball is a team game and a good team will almost always beat one great player. LeBron James was sensational throughout the series, almost single-handedly taking his team onto his shoulders and willing them to win. The Cavaliers never gave up. They fought hard to the very end. Who knows what the result would have been had their key players been healthy.
I loved how the role players for the Warriors stepped up to contribute to the championship. Draymond Green ended up with a triple-double, and no doubt Andre Iguodala was the difference-maker and deserved to be chosen as the Finals Most Valuable Player. His consistency on defense, his toughness, his ability to force an up-tempo pace and his shooting — well, OK, everything except his free-throw shooting — lifted the Warriors to victory.
Of course, regular season MVP Steph Curry was sensational as well. He was a scorer and a facilitator. But for a few situations where he disappeared and did not play aggressive offensively, I thought he did an outstanding job of leading his team.
What was so amazing to me is that this team was able to win the final series and become the NBA champions without ever playing a complete game on both ends of the floor. Their offense was erratic throughout the Finals, and Klay Thompson never found his shooting touch.
As they say, however, defense wins championships, and the Warriors defense was tremendous, carrying them through their offensive struggles.
Forty years ago, legendary Coach John Wooden’s UCLA team won the NCAA Championship, and one of his famous quotes says, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” First-year head coach Steve Kerr did an outstanding job of taking care of the little details all season long. He made sure the team was prepared. He fostered a loose, yet disciplined atmosphere. He was not afraid to surround himself with strong people. He was willing to make changes, even drastic ones like going to a small lineup. He was calm on the sideline, which translated to a team that was confident and steady. He stressed defense. And because of these little details, big things happened.
The Warriors are the NBA champions at last. Congratulations on a job well done!