Kevin Durant wins his 1st title & Finals MVP in his 1st season w/ Warriors as Golden State defeats Cleveland to regain NBA throne:
Via SI’s Ben Golliver:
OAKLAND — Steve Kerr’s wet hair was spiked into a mohawk, Kevin Durant’s champagne goggles still hung around his neck, and Stephen Curry’s championship hat was still perched backward on his head, and yet the painful memories from last year and the jubilation of the present moment had already given way to a different conversation: Dynasty.
Golden State defeated Cleveland 129-120 in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday, claiming their second title in three seasons and avenging last year’s unprecedented 3–1 collapse. On the final night of their near-perfect 16-1 run through the postseason, the Warriors did it with nearly equal measures of their two MVPs, one returning and one recruited, who ultimately proved able to share control of one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.
Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis & DeMar DeRozan named All-Star starters for 1st time as NBA officially names ASW starting lineups:
Via NBA dot com:
East Starters: DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler
West Starters: Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden
Russell Westbrook might be the most dynamic player in the NBA this season, scoring a league-best 30.6 points and averaging a triple-double through his first 44 games. But unless an injury occurs, Westbrook will not be a starter in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
The starting lineups were revealed Thursday for the 66th NBA All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday, Feb. 19, in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center. And apparently Westbrook’s first-half performance wasn’t impressive enough to crack the Western Conference’s top five.
Then again, the West’s starting guards each have a pretty good case for inclusion. Golden State’s reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry will make his fourth All-Star appearance. Alongside Curry will be Houston’s James Harden, who is second in the NBA in points (28.9) and first in assists (11.6) in his role as point guard for the Rockets.
Free Agent Kevin Durant Leaves OKC Thunder; Joins Rival Golden State Warriors Creating New Super Team
NBA Free Agency: Kevin Durant shocks the NBA by leaving the OKC Thunder, signs with Western rival Golden State Warriors:
Via The New York Times:
The biggest question of the N.B.A. off-season was answered Monday when Kevin Durant, one of the best players ever to hit unrestricted free agency in any sport, agreed to join the Golden State Warriors.
Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors, who won an N.B.A-record 73 games in the regular season, lets the rich get richer. Although Durant nearly led the Thunder to a stunning upset of the Warriors in the Western Conference finals this spring, the Warriors ultimately prevailed before losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the N.B.A. finals.
Now the Warriors, regrouping, have added the 27-year-old Durant, creating a virtual Dream Team out of a starting unit that also includes the All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors now become the overwhelming favorites to win next season’s N.B.A. championship, which would be their second in three years.
NBA Playoffs: OKC Thunder Collapse After 3-1 Series Lead As The Warriors Win Game 7 To Advance To NBA Finals
Defending Champion Warriors defeat the OKC Thunder in Game 7 setting up a NBA Finals rematch vs LeBron’s Cleveland Cavs:
Via NY Times:
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors entered the N.B.A. playoffs having spent months chasing basketball magic. As they overwhelmed a conga line of opponents, the Warriors went about the uncharitable business of obliterating records, each new number more impressive than the last.
Yet the Warriors have remained aware that all their feats would be meaningless without an opportunity to vie for another championship, their victories consigned to the dustbin of near renown, their records reduced to footnotes of almost greatness. They have always wanted the whole package: the wins, the records and the trophy.
Golden State sustained the dream on Monday by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 96-88, in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena. The Warriors, the defending champions, are bound for the N.B.A. finals, where they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second straight year. Game 1 is here on Thursday.
KD easily wins the NBA Most Valuable Player Award; his 1st MVP:
Via The NBA — Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2013-14 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today. It is the first MVP award for Durant, who captured his fourth scoring title in five seasons, joining Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin and Michael Jordan as the only players to accomplish this feat. Despite teammate Russell Westbrook appearing in only 46 games, Durant guided the Thunder to the NBA’s second-best record at 59-23.
Durant totaled 1,232 points, including 119 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote, making for 125 total ballots. Read the rest of this entry
Michael Wilbon looks at Team USA’s dominance at Olympic Basketball after being forced to regroup with top NBA stars:
LONDON — You see the back-to-back Olympic gold medals, the 50 straight Team USA victories in international play the past six years. You see the return to dominance of the United States in men’s basketball and it’s easy to forget how depressingly far down the program was in 2004, when the Americans lost three times in the Athens Olympics, and in 2006, when the U.S. lost to Greece.
LeBron James didn’t forget. He was on those teams that lost, that were humiliated. But Jerry Colangelo and then Mike Krzyzewski told LeBron that Team USA needed him to be part of the country’s effort to reclaim international basketball. “It was the lowest point, 2004 … a long road,” LeBron said Sunday, eight years — and basketball light-years — later. “I’m happy to be able to say I was a part of us being able to get back on top.” Read the rest of this entry
Johnny Ludden of Yahoo Sports on the Thunder’s NBA Finals run lead by superstar Kevin Durant:
OKLAHOMA CITY – Everybody wanted a picture with the NBA’s greatest young star. Friends, family members, the NBA’s omnipresent and eternally leather-clad fan, Jimmy Goldstein – even Kevin Durant’s own mother. Thursday morning was closing hard on Wednesday night, and Durant had wandered onto the court to find his mom for one more kiss. As they hugged, the arena’s overhead video scoreboard, lowered for some maintenance work, continued to flash the Oklahoma City Thunder’s newest title: Western Conference champions.
The parade of well-wishers met Durant the moment he emerged from the arena’s tunnel and stepped onto the floor. For nearly 20 minutes, Durant obliged them all, taking pictures, signing autographs, no one wanting the night to end. Neatly dressed in sea-foam slacks, plaid belt and blue sportsjacket with a flower on the lapel, Durant looked like he was headed to the prom instead of the NBA Finals. Read the rest of this entry