Golden State wins NBA ti­tle

The War­riors claim their first ti­tle in four decades

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Bres­na­han

The War­riors elim­i­nated the Cleve­land Cava­liers in Game 6 of the NBA Fi­nals, 10597, con­tin­u­ing the same shoot-at-will style that car­ried them to 67 reg­u­lar-sea­son vic­to­ries and a 16-5 play­off run.

CLEVE­LAND — The 40-year bas­ket­ball drought fi­nally ended, the Golden State War­riors f lush with their first cham­pi­onship since 1975.

Cham­pagne sprayed like gey­sers in the locker room Tues­day af­ter the War­riors elim­i­nated the Cleve­land Cava­liers in Game 6 of the NBA Fi­nals, 105-97, con­tin­u­ing the same shoot-at-will style that car­ried them to 67 reg­u­lar-sea­son vic­to­ries and a 16-5 play­off run.

Stephen Curry grabbed the game’s fi­nal re­bound and heaved the ball high into the air as his team­mates be­gan cel­e­brat­ing at a qui­eted Quicken Loans Arena. The War­riors didn’t face a Game 7 in their four play­off se­ries and should be con­sid­ered one of the best teams ever, “top to bot­tom,” Curry said.

“I wish I had 1,800 more ways to ex­plain this, be­cause this is pretty amaz­ing,” he said with the Larry O’Brien Tro­phy perched next to him on a ta­ble.

The Cava­liers, on the other hand, claimed in their plas­tered-ev­ery­where-in-Ohio mantra they would be “ALL IN,” but missed a key com­po­nent, the “ALL” part.

The War­riors were the ones with con­tri­bu­tions from many play­ers, Curry and vet­eran An­dre Iguo­dala each scor­ing 25 points Tues­day while Dray­mond Green had 16 points, 11 re­bounds and 10 as­sists.

Iguo­dala didn’t start once in the reg­u­lar sea­son but was pro­moted from the bench

last week for Game 4. He played tough de­fense against LeBron James through­out and re­ceived the Fi­nals MVP award af­ter av­er­ag­ing 16.3 points, 5.8 re­bounds and four as­sists.

James tried his best with an unim­pres­sive cast of char­ac­ters.

It wasn’t his fault in­juries took out Kevin Love in April and Kyrie Irv­ing in the Fi­nals opener.

He acted ac­cord­ingly, tak­ing a lot of shots and miss­ing plenty but also cre­at­ing breath­tak­ing stats such as ac­count­ing for 26 of his team’s 32 field goals in Game 5. He had 32 points on 13-for-33 shoot­ing, 18 re­bounds and nine as­sists in Game 6.

For drag­ging along a dam­aged team, he de­served much re­spect. Cleve­land fans booed when he wasn’t cho­sen as the Fi­nals MVP, which would have made him the first from the los­ing team since the Lak­ers’ Jerry West in 1969 (against Bos­ton).

James fin­ished with numb­ingly im­pres­sive stats (35.8 points, 13.3 re­bounds, 8.8 as­sists) but fell to 2-4 in the Fi­nals, fur­ther away from the king of the ’ 80s (Magic John­son, 5-4 in NBA Fi­nals), the ’ 90s (Michael Jor­dan, 6-0) and in­fant years of the 2000s (Kobe Bryant, 5-2).

“I’ve been on the short end of this four times,” James said. “I’m a guy who just tries to be suc­cess­ful in ev­ery­thing I do. When you fall short, it hurts. It eats at you. I wish I could have did bet­ter and done more. It just wasn’t our time.”

For Curry, it was the first cham­pi­onship of a 27-yearold’s bur­geon­ing ca­reer. If he’s not the best player in the world right now, to steal James’ self-procla­ma­tion from a few days ago, he’s very close.

For Steve Kerr, it was an unimag­in­able run in his first sea­son as an NBA coach af­ter ditch­ing TV an­a­lyst head­sets to turn the War­riors into a force at Or­a­cle Arena (48-4) and, re­ally, any­where.

For West, a War­riors con­sul­tant and sound­ing board, it was the first cham­pi­onship he’d been part of since leav­ing the Lak­ers’ front of­fice af­ter the 2000 sea­son.

For for­mer UCLA player Bob My­ers, it meant the com­ple­tion of a wildly suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion from upand-com­ing player agent to War­riors gen­eral man­ager in 2011.

For the Golden State play­ers them­selves, al­ready record-set­ters for three­p­oint­ers per game in a play­off sea­son, there was a huge as­cen­sion from just one year ago, when they fin­ished sixth in the Western Con­fer­ence and lost in the first round.

They quickly be­came the first team since 1991 to win a cham­pi­onship with no play­ers with pre­vi­ous NBA Fi­nals ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cleve­land Coach David Blatt scrapped his onegame trial of match­ing the War­riors’ small lineup, al­low­ing cen­ter Ti­mofey Moz­gov to re­turn to quasi-promi­nence Tues­day (17 points and 12 re­bounds).

But the Cava­liers’ guards were off the mark, Iman Shumpert, Matthew Dellave­dova, J.R. Smith and James Jones mak­ing only seven of 29 shots.

The Cava­liers’ cham­pi­onship drought con­tin­ues, 45 years and count­ing now.

“I’ve been watch­ing bas­ket­ball a long time, I’m a his­to­rian of the game. I don’t know any other team that’s got­ten to the Fi­nals with­out two [in­jured] All-Stars,” James said be­fore adding dou­ble-dou­ble threat An­der­son Vare­jao, who went down with a sea­son-end­ing Achilles’ ten­don rup­ture in De­cem­ber. “We had three play­mak­ers in suits.”

Not that the War­riors were pre­oc­cu­pied by the Cava­liers’ in­juries or missed shots. The Bay Area had it­self a bas­ket­ball cham­pion, four decades af­ter the last one.

Ti­mothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Im­ages

STEPHEN CURRY, the MVP of the reg­u­lar sea­son, and An­dre Iguo­dala, the MVP of the Fi­nals, em­brace af­ter the War­riors’ se­ries-clinch­ing vic­tory over the Cava­liers. Iguo­dala av­er­aged 16.3 points, 5.8 re­bounds and played tough de­fense on LeBron James.

Tony Dejak As­so­ci­ated Press

L eBRON JAMES can only hang his head de­spite a 32-point, 18-re­bound ef­fort.

Paul Sancya As­so­ci­ated Press

AN­DRE IGUO­DALA of the War­riors scores two of his 25 points the easy way as James Jones, J.R. Smith and LeBron James of the Cava­liers can only watch.



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