The Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. Here are the five most memorable moments from the series.
Cavaliers-Warriors III. In trilogies, the third part typically never lives up to the hype left by the first two parts. That wasn’t the case in this year’s NBA Finals between Golden State and Cleveland. Two franchises that bottomed in irrelevancy for long periods of time are now the faces of the NBA. These Finals featured highlight dunks, stretches of unstoppable 3-point shooting, the much-anticipated trash talking and beautiful basketball.
There were seven All-Stars between the two teams and benches full of experienced veterans hungry for a championship. It was an arms race all season long for the NBA Finals and it was on display from the opening tip of Game 1.
Both the games in Oakland went to the home team, behind MVP-worthy performances from Kevin Durant. In Cleveland, Kevin Durant closed the deal in Game 3 and LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were unstoppable in Game 4. The Warriors came back home for Game 5 and secured their second NBA Championship in three years over the Cavaliers.
All eyes across the world were on these NBA Finals, as they were the highest-rated championship series since 1998. Although the final scores may not show it, the Cavaliers and Warriors showed fans everywhere why they are the two best teams on the planet. Let’s take a look at some memorable moments from this five-game series.
5. Stephen Curry puts LeBron James in the blender
Let’s set the scene, shall we? It was the third quarter of Game 2. The Warriors were starting to pull away from the Cavaliers, as LeBron and Co. were starting to look gassed out there.
Stephen Curry found himself isolated on LeBron James and immediately cleared out space on the right wing. In that second, it was the two faces of the NBA for the past few years going at it in a brief one-on-one sequence. Curry remembered the LeBron James’ block from Game 6 in last year’s NBA Finals and was seeking revenge.
Chef Curry had about 13 different moves in this single sequence and credit to LeBron for staying with him throughout the process. One final shake-and-bake at the 3-point line and Curry was able to drive past James for the easy layup. It could’ve easily been a double-dribble on the Warriors’ point guard, but the referees swallowed their whistle here.
It was a play that signified how the first two games in Oakland went. The first halves of both games were close and the Cavaliers managed to hang for their dear lives — similar to how LeBron did for about 10 seconds. Then, Golden State puts it in overdrive and blows right by Cleveland — similar to how Curry took it right to the hole by James.
It had NBA Twitter buzzing about how the two-time MVP just cooked the King. It signified the excitement that fans have whenever Curry and James are able to play one-on-one against each other. They are the two most polarizing basketball players on the planet and whenever they go head-to-head, the buzz just gets amplified. Cavaliers’ fans will say it’s a double-dribble and Warriors’ fans will say that Curry just owned LeBron. It’s two of basketball’s biggest stars on the game’s biggest stage. Doesn’t get any better, does it?