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.
Finals MVP LeBron James Delivers An NBA Championship To Cleveland As Cavs Win Dramatic Game 7 Over Warriors
Yahoo Sports Dan Wentzel on LeBron who fulfills his promise to Cleveland in delivering it’s first sports championship in 52 years:
OAKLAND, Calif. – When the improbable, seemingly impossible, was done, when Cleveland’s championship was, at long, long last, won, LeBron James simply went to his knees and wept. There was nothing else to do.
Wept for the accomplishment, his Cleveland Cavaliers defeating the Golden State Warriors here Sunday, 93-89 in Game 7 to become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit. Wept for the performance, 27 more points, 11 more assists and 11 more rebounds to cap a three-game stretch (averaging 36.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 9.7 assists while facing elimination) as great as any player, ever.
Wept, too, because of Cleveland, because of Akron, because of The Decision and because of The Return, because of the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, because of Jose Mesa and Rocky Colavito, because the people and places back home made this bigger than him, bigger than a single team, bigger than it even should be, a basketball game understandably meaning so much to so many.
NBA: Stephen Curry wins his 2nd straight Most Valuable Player award this time becoming the 1st NBA player to win unanimously:
Via Reuters Sports:
Stephen Curry on Tuesday scaled heights never reached by NBA greats such as Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James when he became the first unanimous winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
A day after returning from injury to playoff action with an explosive performance for the Golden State Warriors, Curry swept all 131 first-place votes to earn the game’s highest individual honor for a second straight season.
He joined Johnson, Jordan and Steve Nash as the only guards to win the honor in consecutive campaigns, having dazzled NBA fans during the regular season with one astonishing display of shot-making after another.
NBA: The Defending Champion Warriors remain unbeaten setting a new NBA record with the most wins to start the new season:
Via NBA dot com’s Scott Howard Cooper:
Will it be 34 wins in a row, in any stretch of the schedule?
Seventy wins in all in 2015-16, maybe even 73 for the full-season record?
Or this NBA stuff has become too easy and the Warriors will search for outside challenges? Stephen Curry will break 18 at Pebble Beach. The San Francisco 49ers will name Luke Walton coach — interim coach — and win the Super Bowl. Suddenly, nothing seems impossible.
They play without coach Steve Kerr nearly the first quarter of the season and minus center Andrew Bogut for six games, and wins pile up in historic ways. They fall behind the Clippers by 23 points on the road and not only rally to win late, but then play a good team — the Bulls — on the second night of the back-to-back in Oakland and win that too.
The Warriors let the possibility of the best start ever in the NBA build for several days … and then quickly end the suspense Tuesday night, letting the Los Angeles Lakers hang around Oracle Arena to watch the show. Read the rest of this entry
Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver on the 2015 Golden State Warriors; From Best Record All Season To NBA World Champs:
CLEVELAND—A season in which everything always seemed to fall perfectly into place ended in perfectly charmed fashion, with the proper button being pushed at the right time and every shot falling once the championship was in reach.
The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 105–97 in Game 6 on Tuesday to claim their first title since 1975, following up a franchise-best 67-15 regular season with a spectacular 16-5 jaunt through the playoffs. Lacking in Finals experience before it entered the series, and facing the daunting task of slowing LeBron James, Golden State was nevertheless well-prepared for this series, having faced multiple superstars earlier in the playoffs, having won matchups by playing both fast and slow, and having climbed out of a 2-1 hole against the Grizzlies in the second round.
Those experiences, coupled with Golden State’s talent-laden, healthy and unselfish roster, fueled the Warriors. Golden State coach Steve Kerr expertly drew on the lessons he learned along the way. In defending James, as in dealing with Anthony Davis and especially James Harden, Kerr used multiple defenders and regularly changed his help coverage before sticking with Andre Iguodala once the veteran wing proved he could consistently make James work hard for his numbers. Read the rest of this entry
A look at the top NBA Finals storylines & matchups including this season’s MVP Steph Curry facing former MVP LeBron James:
Via NBA dot com:
LeBron James satisfied ? Never. Not with four more wins needed to finish the story properly. Same goes for Stephen Curry.
Grinding your way to The Finals, for the fifth straight year for LeBron and for the firs time ever for Curry, is just another step on the path to bigger things … a place in history and the chance to bring a parade to streets that have either never seen one or at least haven’t seen one in decades. The goal for LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers has always been to crown his homecoming with a Larry O’Brien Trophy. Curry and the Warriors laid out their plans in training camp, a Larry O’Brien Trophy or bust.
So it’s fitting that the four-time MVP and the reigning KIA MVP would square off for supremacy after traveling two very different paths to get here. The Warriors looked like a lock for months, running roughshod over the league nearly all season, while the Cavaliers had to survive an early season transition period, with so many new faces in the mix, before emerging in the playoffs as the true beasts of the Eastern Conference.