Confetti falls as the Golden State Warriors celebrate beating the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 5 of the NBA Finals to become NBA Champions at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on June 12, 2017. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Confetti falls as the Golden State Warriors celebrate beating the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 5 of the NBA Finals to become NBA Champions at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on June 12, 2017. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

From Hamptons to Champions: Key dates that made the 2016-17 Warriors what they are

At this time last year, general manager Bob Myers was admitting to drinking whiskey to help him cope with the worst collapse in NBA Finals history. Now, it’s all celebratory champagne for the Golden State Warriors.

Losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 set off a chain of events that turned a great group into one of the best pro basketball teams of all time.

Or, as Draymond Green put it after winning Game 5 and eliminating the Cavs on Monday, failing to repeat allowed the Dubs the best “consolation prize” of all time, signing Kevin Durant.

Here are the key dates that led to today, when the Warriors will hold their second championship parade in the last three years:

July 4, 2016

Days after Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson met with Durant in the Hamptons, the former Oklahoma City Thunder superstar announced he would be joining the Warriors in a much maligned article in the Players’ Tribune.

During that meeting, Curry convinced KD he was ready to share the spotlight with another big-time scorer, emboldening Durant in the decision to join a 73-win team.

He announced his decision on Independence Day, setting the NBA world on fire with smoldering takes.

Oct. 25, 2016

The first game for the new-look Warriors was finally upon them … and the outcome wasn’t pretty.

The San Antonio Spurs bullied the Dubs inside, out-rebounding the home team 55-35 en route to a 29-point victory.

“I think the guys were embarrassed tonight, I know I was,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game.

Everyone who proclaimed during the offseason “there is only one ball” rejoiced.

Dec. 25, 2016

The Warriors entered their first game against the Cleveland Cavaliers of the season with a 27-5 record.

Golden State held a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter but couldn’t convert it into a win as Kyrie Irving hit a difficult, turnaround shot over Thompson to seal the Cavs’ fourth-straight victory over their rivals.

“We’re mad, man,” Thompson said. “The way we lost that game, we gave them a gift, shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Kerr would later point to this game as a turning point for the Warriors’ offense. After it, Curry would throw more assists while maintaining his scoring pace.

Jan. 16, 2017

The Warriors were finally able to dish out some revenge to LeBron James and the Cavs.

During the second quarter, Green hit James with a foul in the open floor. LeBron flopped effectively, convincing officials to hit Draymond with a flagrant foul. The Warriors couldn’t believe it.

But, instead of that ruling derailing the Dubs, as it did in the 2016 Finals, it only made them stronger as they cruised to a 126-91 blowout win at home.

As was the case for the whole season, Golden State preferred to look at the big picture: “What happens in January generally doesn’t affect what’s happening later on,” Kerr reminded.

Feb. 4, 2017

Durant was struggling through his worst game of the season during a Saturday night game in Sacramento. Green took it upon himself to get in his friend and teammate’s head in an attempt to get the former MVP back on track.

The loud argument from the Warriors bench during their 109-106 loss to the lowly Kings made for great television. Many thought Green’s abrasive nature would alienate Durant and this show of emotion was their proof.

Sitting at the podium with his Finals MVP trophy on Monday, Durant said that couldn’t be more untrue.

“I was struggling at that point. And to have teammates that encourage you, that lift you up, that’s what we all need in life,” Durant said, referencing how Green helped him after that episode in Sacramento.

Feb. 28, 2017

Zaza Pachulia was thrown to the floor one minute, 33 seconds into the Warriors’ game against the Washington Wizards. On the way down, his head collided with Durant’s knee. Durant went down in obvious pain.

He would exit the game and wouldn’t return. His prognosis was uncertain at first — ranging from being out for a few games to being done for the season.

The Warriors would lose that game, and the next one at Chicago. Suddenly, the team that was so good as to be unfair for the rest of the league looked vulnerable.

March 11, 2017

The Warriors finished a brutal road-trip of eight cities in 11 days with a nationally televised game against the Spurs. Steve Kerr started Patrick McCaw, Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes, Kevon Looney and Pachulia.

The move appeared to be a quasi-protest of the league scheduling the Dubs for such an unreasonable trip. As you would assume, San Antonio won 107-85.

The loss marked the first time Golden State dropped three-straight with Kerr as head coach. The Warriors would win 15 of their next 16 games to finish the regular season. And over that span — most of it without Durant — the team showed it could dominate games on the defensive side of the floor as well.

April 21, 2017

After experiencing flare ups of the symptoms from a botched back surgery in 2015, Kerr removed himself from the Warriors’ sideline. Assistant coach Mike Brown moved over a chair to assume lead duties while Kerr was out.

The absence of their head coach proved to be the only uncertainty for the Warriors during their romp through the Western Conference playoffs.

“This is not going to be a case where I’m coaching one night, not coaching the next,” Kerr said from the team hotel in Portland. “I’m not going to do that to our team, our staff.”

Kerr returned June 4 before Game 2 of the Finals. Brown’s record as acting head coach of the Warriors: 11-0.

June 12, 2017

The Warriors shut down any “Cavs in 7” talk with a decisive Game 5, eliminating Cleveland 4-1. Durant wins Finals MVP in a unanimous decision.

Celebrations break out throughout the Bay Area as it becomes apparent just how powerful this young dynasty can be.

For his part, Durant soaks in the moment unlike anyone else on the team. It’s his first NBA Championship and he’s determined to share the moment with those who made it possible, including a group of fans outside Oracle Arena who he joins in celebration — much to the concern of his bodyguard.

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

Andre Iguodaladamian jonesDavid WestDraymond GreenGolden State Warriorsian clarkJames Michael McAdoojavale mcgeeKevin DurantKevon LooneyKlay ThompsonMatt BarnesMike BrownNBANBA FinalsNBA Playoffspatrick mccawStephen CurrySteve Kerrzaza pachulia

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Scenes of The City, as San Francisco prepares to fully reopen from COVID-19 pandemic closures on June 15, 2021. (Al Saracevic/The Examiner)
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Youth activists with the Sunrise Movement march along a rural road during their two-week trek from Paradise to San Francisco to call attention to an increase in deadly wildfires as a result of climate change on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Brooke Anderson)
Weeks-long climate march culminates on the Golden Gate Bridge

Lola’s alarm goes off most mornings before dawn. The 17-year-old high school… Continue reading

Most Read