June 28, 2017

James spectacular again, but his efforts not enough for Cavs

14 June 2017, 07:30 | Jackie Morgan

After rocking the NBA previous year with his decision to leave Oklahoma City as a free agent and sign with the Warriors, Durant's dream came true Monday when Golden State beat Cleveland 129-120 to win the best-of-seven NBA Finals four games to one.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 on Monday to win their second National Basketball Association championship in three seasons and cap a near-perfect run through the playoffs.

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 26 points, was already turning the pain into passion for another run at the finals.

"I have no reason to put my head down", said James, who finished with averages of 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists in the five-game series.

He was vilified in 2010 when he left the Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat where he won two National Basketball Association titles before returning to Cleveland four years later and delivering the city their first National Basketball Association championship in 2016.

Golden State claimed its second championship in two years on Monday night by defeating the Cavs in five games in the 2017 NBA Finals. Golden State in 2015, the Cavaliers past year, the Warriors again this time. The 10.4 local rating for the Penguins series clincher in Game 6 moved the local series average up to 8.9. "Like I said, tried to be myself, be aggressive and sacrifice as well".

"These guys are so gifted and committed to each other and so unselfish", Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

Before the final buzzer sounded, the Warriors shoveled the ball over to Kevin Durant, allowing him to dribble out the clock and bask in the moment, beginning an emotional celebration of the first major sports title won by a Bay Area team at home since 1974. But that should take absolutely nothing away from LeBron James' incredible efforts. To be back here, bring ol' Larry back home, I'm just excited to do something special.

The 2014 MVP's length and shooting ability was too much for Cleveland's overmatched defence.

James ranks third in all-time Finals scoring with 1,247 points, trailing only Jerry West with 1,679 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, just 70 points ahead of James.

"We're obviously just getting started", Curry said. "I've been so lucky to be part of so many championship teams as a player and now as a coach, and it never gets old".

A few more notes: The ABC announcing trio of play-by-play man Mike Breen and analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy makes good games even better.

Durant drove left, right and down the middle, knocked down 3-pointers, dished and dunked. Green shot 34.5 percent for the series and never got around to having the kind of statement game he had in Game 7 of last year's Finals.

If you are the best player, you are charged with making everyone else on the team better and James does not do that or needs better teammates. He totaled 25 points, a remarkably efficient night for a player who has been chided for inefficiency throughout his career.

But James did not want to weigh into the discussion about whether the necessary pieces needed to build a true challenger to the Warriors are out there.

For a while it looked like that run might just continue and the Warriors would put this one away early until Smith, the streakiest of streaky shooters got it going.

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