OAKLAND — Stephen Curry dribbled out the clock of Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, pulled up in Kyrie Irving’s face and made a 3-pointer. Oracle Arena erupted as it became apparent of what just happened.
The Golden State Warriors were NBA Champions yet again with a 129-120 victory, clinching a 4-1 series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’re the first Bay Area team to win at home since 1974.
Curry had 34 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Kevin Durant scored 39, while grabbing seven rebounds.
And LeBron James and the Cavs would not be able to claim supremacy over the Warriors for a second-straight year.
The first quarter wasn’t a good start for the Warriors, who appeared to be playing with the tightness that precluded them from closing the deal last season. On the other side, the Cavs’ hot shooting had traveled with them from Cleveland.
The visitors made 15 of their first 24 attempts while the Dubs struggled to convert.
In a two-minute span, James personally went on an 8-2 run to give his team a degree of early hope.
Then Andre Iguodala entered the game for the first time. Before he stepped on the floor, James was 5-for-6 from the floor. Over the remaining six-plus minutes to end the period, LeBron was limited to 0-for-3 from the floor and 0-for-2 from the line to go with two turnovers.
The beginning of the second quarter was even worse for Golden State as sloppy play turned into easy baskets for Cleveland. But a great stretch from David West and Iguodala turned the game around and shots started falling.
And once they started, they didn’t stop.
By halftime, Kevin Durant had 21 points, Stephen Curry logged 20 and the Warriors bench were outscoring their counterparts 19-2.
Iguodala was the key. Gone were the memories of James pinning a crucial layup off the backboard and in was Iguodala streaking down an open lane for wide open, tomahawk dunks.
But, despite a lead that swelled to 17, the Cavs wouldn’t rule themselves out. JR Smith hit a couple of 3-pointers to head into halftime and didn’t cool down in the third, keeping the Cavs within 10.
In the fourth, Iguodala and Durant ensured the Warriors kept adding points to their total, keeping the Cavs at bay. Golden State took advantage of a brief period where James was put on the bench and expanded their lead to 10.
With LeBron back on the floor, it was a contest again as the best basketball player on earth attacked with little help.
And with 5 minutes remaining, Durant caught at the high post, turned and found a lane he exploited for an easy basket, giving the Dubs a 118-106 advantage. After another James layup, the Warriors were able to find Curry under the basket for consecutive wide-open layups, extending their lead even further.
With more than 2-and-a-half minutes remaining, Green found Iguodala for another dunk and it was all over. The Warriors had won their fifth title as an organization and second in three years.