Warriors Blow Out LeBron and the Cavaliers en route to Second-Straight Championship in 108-85 Win
After riding a historically great performance from Kevin Durant in a Game Three win, the Golden State Warriors (15-5) faced off against the Cleveland Cavaliers (12-9) to try and win their second-straight NBA Championship. LeBron James was potentially playing his last game as a Cavalier, and was looking to avoid being swept in the Finals for a second time. For the Warriors, the Splash Brothers would be looking to make a massive impact after a disappointing Game Three, to help take some of the load off of Kevin Durant. The Cavaliers were in the same position they were last year, and in last year’s game four, they not only got the benefit of a VERY friendly whistle, but they also had Kyrie Irving, who scored 40 points. This year, without Kyrie Irving, were the Cavaliers up to the challenge?
No, they most certainly were not.
The first quarter got started with a tip-in from Stephen Curry on a missed layup from JaVale McGee. JR Smith got the first points for the Cavaliers with a three, but those were the only points the Cavaliers scored in the opening minutes. The Warriors went on a 10-3 run to open the game. That run saw the Warrior's drive to the basket with relative ease, as Stephen Curry got a layup to fall just before Ty Lue called timeout with 9:23 remaining in the quarter. Steph also got sent to the free throw lines for his first free throws (outside of garbage time) since Game Five of the Western Conference Finals. Kevin Durant got a signature Durk-like fadeaway to fall, and the Cavaliers defense was nowhere to be found in the opening minutes as the Warriors led 10-3 at the time of the first timeout. Stephen Curry got a ridiculous three to fall immediately after the timeout. The Cavaliers answered that three with an 8-0 run that was capped-off with a three from Kevin Love. The run forced a timeout from Steve Kerr, who was visibly upset, as the Warriors led the Cavaliers 13-11. Andre Iguodala hit a three out of the timeout, which was his first of the Finals, and Stephen Curry followed that up with a three in transition on the next possession. Draymond Green then hit a three on the following possession, so the four signs of the apocalypse all appeared early in this game. Kevin Durant then threw down a dunk to force Ty Lue to call timeout with 5:07 left in the quarter and the Warriors winning 24-13. LeBron got a layup to fall after the timeout to get the Cavaliers going again, but Kevin Durant answered with a dunk on the other end. Kevin Love had a 5-0 run by himself that saw him hit a three and two free throws, but the Warriors looked more determined than they had in a first quarter in a very long time. The rest of the quarter saw Nick Young make a wide-open three on a blown switch by the Cavs, and Andre Iguodala make his second three of the night. The Cavaliers only scored one more points in the quarter, and it was when JR Smith went 1/2 from the free throw line. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 56.5% from the floor and 60% from three, while the Cavaliers were shooting just 32% from the floor and 33.3% from three. Stephen Curry led all scorers with 12 points, and Kevin Durant was close behind with eight of his own. Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with nine points, and LeBron James added eight. At then end of the first quarter, the Warriors led the Cavaliers 34-25.
Jeff Green got the scoring started in the second quarter with an open three, and that was the beginning of an 8-2 run to open the quarter by the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers had a lot of energy to open the quarter, and it showed as they outscord the Warriors 14-4 in the first half of the quarter. The Warriors just couldn’t get anything going on offense, and the Cavaliers were getting a lot of offensive rebounds, as well as getting away with some questionable defense. Halfway through the quarter, the Cavaliers led the Warriors 35-34 and the Warriors had somehow out-fouled the Cavaliers 11-5. After the timeout from Kerr to try and stop the run, the Warriors were able to score on a layup and jumpshot from Jordan Bell to grab the lead back. Andre Iguodala hit his third three of the half, and because Stephen Curry never wants to be outdone, he drilled a deep three in the face of LeBron James to extend the lead. The Cavaliers were still hanging around thanks to their ability to draw fouls, but despite the fact that they spent the majority of their media availability in the last several days talking about the margin for error, had missed six free throws by the time Ty Lue called timeout with 2:50 left in the half. At the time of the timeout, the Warriors led the Cavaliers 52-47. Draymond Green got a layup to fall off of an outstanding pass from Stephen Curry for the first points after the timeout, and the Warriors scored two more times before the next timeout, and they scored on a finger-roll layup from JaVale McGee and two free throws from Kevin Durant. The Cavaliers also got some more scoring from JR Smith, who nailed hi third three of the game. The Warriors called without with 15 seconds left, and after that timeout, Stephen Curry drilled an incredible deep three in the face of LeBron James with five seconds left. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 52.3% from three and 52.9% from three, while the Cavaliers shot 38.9% from the floor and 40% from three. Stephen Curry still led all scorers with 20 points, and was 4/6 from three. Kevin Durant added 12 for the Warriors, and Andre Iguodala hit three pints en route to his nine first half points. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 16 points, JR Smith hadded 10 of his own, and Kevin Love only had nine after cooling off following ihs scorching-hot first quarter. At the half, the Warriors led the Cavaliers 61-52.
Klay Thompson got the Warriors going in the third quarter with a floater, and those points were his first of the game. Stephen Curry followed that up with a mid range jumper to give the Warriors a 13-point lead, their largest of the night. JaVale McGee then got an incredibly tough tip-in to fall to cap off the quick 6-0 run and force Ty Lue to call a timeout after just 1 minute and 44 seconds of game time, and the Warriors leading 67-52. The Cavaliers then went on a 6-2 run to get them closer, slow down the Warriors’ third quarter of death, and force a timeout from Steve Kerr with 7:50 left in the quarter and the Warriors leading by 69-58. Kevin Durant got the Warriors going after the timeout with an incredibly tough mid range jumper over JR Smith. Klay Thompson then made his first three of the game. The Warriors were making a run again, and they scored on a driving layup by Stephen Curry, and a midrange jumper from Klay Thompson. The Cavaliers did get some scoring, and they got it on a Jeff Green layup and a three from Rodney Hood (!!!). The Warriors run forced a timeout from the Cavaliers, who were down by 16 points with four minutes left in the third. Kevin Durant scored the first points after the timeout on two free throws. Klay Thompson then made another three. The Cavaliers looked defeated to end the quarter, and it became increasingly clear that this season was over for them. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 47.8% from the floor and 39.3% from three, while the Cavaliers were shooting 34.4% from the floor and 33.3% from three. Stephen Curry led all scorers with 25 points, Kevin Durant had 18, and Klay Thompson had 10. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 20 points. After the third quarter, the Warriors led the Cavaliers 86-65.
Rodney Hood got the fourth quarter started with an easy layup, which Stephen Curry responded to with a corner three. George Hill then scored his first points on a wide-open corner three, which Steph responded to with ANOTHER deep three. Steph then got fouled while shooting a three, and made all three free throws before Rodney hood got a tough and-1 shot to fall from the free throw line. The teams were playing pretty evenly to open the quarter, with the Warriors outscoring the Cavaliers 11-9. The first time out of the quarter was called with 7:07 left in the game, and the Warriors winning 97-74. Draymond Green got a layup to fall after the timeout, and Stephen Curry then drilled a corner three. LeBron James then checked out of the game with four minutes in the game. The game was officially in garbage time, as Steve Kerr called timeout with 2:47 left with the Warriors winning 104-79. Both teams emptied their benches for the final two minutes, and the celebrating commenced during the timeout. The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 to win their third NBA title in four years.
Stephen Curry led all scorers with 37 points on 17/27 shooting. He nailed seven threes and was absolutely incredible. Kevin Durant got his first ever triple-double in the NBA Finals with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. Andre Iguodala had 11 points, made three threes for the third time this season, and played outstanding defense. Klay Thompson had 10 points, Draymond Green had nine, JaVale McGee had six, Jordan Bell had four, Nick Young had three, David West, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, and Zaza Pachulia each had two points. The Warriors finished the game shooting 45.3% from the floor, and 36.8% from floor, and swept the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the 2018 NBA Championship.
LeBron James finished with 23 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Love had 13 points and nine rebounds. JR Smith and Rodney Hood both added 10 points. Larry Nance Jr had seven points, Tristan Thompson had six, Jeff Green had five, Ante Zizic had four, George Hill had three, and Cedi Osman and Kyle Korver both had two points. As a team, the Cavaliers finished the game shooting 34.5% from the floor and 29.6% from three.
Kevin Durant won his second-straight Finals MVP, and deserved it. His Game Three performance was one for the ages, and was certainly the best game I had ever seen him pay. Stephen Curry had an incredible series, despite his dud in Game Three. Both players were deserving candidates, and they were the driving forces in the four wins.
LeBron James has now been swept in the finals two times. The first time was in 2007 when he basically carried the Cavaliers on his back to get through the Pistons, only to get swept by the far superior San Antonio Spurs. After that series, Tim Duncan famously was caught on camera telling LeBron that this league will be his in a couple of years, and Tim was correct. LeBron had a run for the ages, tormenting every team in the Eastern Conference for eight straight years. He won three championships in those eight years, but has now found himself on the wrong end of a sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. No one knows where he will end up after this season, but he truly had a season for the ages, and gave us one of the greatest individual performances of all time in Game One. He had a truly great performance, and came up short in his pursuit of another championship.
Now, a new group of players has the same amount of rings as LeBron James. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston all have three rings. They have done enough to officially put the “3-1” jokes to end, as they are now 3-1 against LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Finals.
There are no more games this season, there is nothing more to prove. After a relatively lackluster regular season, and a postseason that saw them face more pressure than last year did, the Golden State Warriors stand alone. The 2017-18 NBA Champions are the Golden State Warriors.