The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97, closing out the series 4-2 and winning their first NBA championship since 1975.

Golden State Warriors Win NBA Championship

This year’s final was always going to be interesting because it brought forward two teams that have put their fans through the ringer. After years of ineptitude and losing, either the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the city is currently stuck in a 51-year championship drought, or the Golden State Warriors, a team that has not won since 1975, were going to walk away with the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, injuries forced LeBron James to put the team on his back, resulting in him somewhat collapsing under the weight. Perhaps with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the outcome would have been different, but LeBron had to do too much and the rest of the team were too inconsistent to help. Simply, it is pointless to blame James for what transpired, especially when he averaged a ridiculous 35.8 PPG, 8.8 APG, and 13.3 RPG throughout the championship series.

On the other hand, credit needs to be given where it is due. After the media’s criticism that the Warriors came out flat and were not playing tough, they turned the series around by playing physical and winning three straight games: two of which were away. Steph Curry, who averaged 26 PPG and 5.2 APG over the six games, only showed glimpses of his regular season form and Golden State still ran away with this series.

And a lot was due to the great coaching of Steve Kerr, the way the team gelled and oddly Andre Iguodala’s surprise series-defining performance that earned him MVP.

Iguodala, who became the first MVP winner to not start a regular season game, delivered a career-defining performance on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Given the impossible task to guard James, he conceded 32 points, but Andre remained in the superstar’s face, resulting in him only shooting .394. And this is on top of the MVP’s 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in game six.

By the beginning of the fourth, it was clear that Golden State was starting to pull away: they outscored Cleveland 28-18 in the third. And though the Cavs showed some life in the fourth, Curry, Iguodala and Thompson hit back-breaking threes, which gave the Warriors a comfortable cushion for the rest of the game.

As for Steve Kerr, who became the first rookie head coach to win a championship since Pat Riley in 1981-82, this victory emphasized his team’s playing style: “What I think was probably overlooked all year long was that what really wins is the combination of great offense and great defense. We had the number one defense in the league. We had the highest scoring team in the league. We were number one in assists. We were number one in field-goal percentage defense. When you get that combination, then you’re going to be pretty good.”

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