It only took 40 years to perfect a team that had fallen in the playoffs for three years straight. It took a coaching change that left many speechless, a few teaks in the starting lineup and one point guard to come into the 2014-15 season more hungry than any other player.
LeBron James made a statement after the Cavaliers lost in Game 5. He said that he was the "best player in the world." On Tuesday night, he watched the best NBA team in the world hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy on his own home court. The Warriors won their first NBA Championship in four decades, beating Cleveland 105-97 and they did it with great defense followed by a range of 3's.
"It makes it so much more special to have gone through some down years and injuries and transition from a roster standpoint, and to be able to sit here six years later from my rookie year and hold this trophy, this is an unbelievable experience," said Stephen Curry.
The NBA MVP had been completely outstanding throughout the playoff run, his were teammates superb and Andre Iguodala was phenomenal in shutting down the league's best player. You have to tip your hat to James who carried the Cavs on his back despite the injuries, leaving his team short-handed throughout the year. What he did alone should be in the history books.
"Tried as much as we could to try to make up for those guys, but it's a lot of talent sitting in suits," James said. "I've had a lot of playoff runs, been on both ends, and I know on thing that you've got to do during the playoff run, you've got to be healthy. You've got to be healthy. You've got to be playing great at the right time. You've got to have a little luck. And we were playing great, but we had no luck and weren't healthy."
But on Tuesday night, the celebration belonged to the city of Oakland who had to take a backseat to teams across the bridge. The San Francisco Giants and the 49ers have tasted the champagne. Both teams have had the pleasure of winning championships for years. Now we cross the bridge over to Oakland, to a city where teams have taken turns looking for a new location.
The momentum has shifted, the curse lifted, Oakland has a new champion and guess what? Maybe more victories can follow suit because two more professional teams have a chance to make history just like the Warriors did.
One year of dedication, no expectations other than winning every game during the regular season. First-year head coach Steve Kerr didn't know what to expect when he took over the team this year. But he had confidence that his team had the ability to play hard everyday.
"I was well aware of the versatility that the roster had," said Kerr. "But as I got to know the players, I realized they had what it took spiritually, emotionally. They were united. They wanted to win. They were close."
The chemistry the team had last season was certainly an accomplishment of former head coach Mark Jackson. He taught them the faith of God can bring victory anywhere. Especially to a young talented team that saw each individual as an equal. Everyone wanted to be good and compete, that's when one player stepped up as a leader so others can follow. Curry who loves playing basketball, perfected his shooting ability and the entire team took advantage in practice everyday.
"We played hard competing with one another in practice and I think that helped us carry it over to games," the series MVP Andre Iguodala said. "Starting those games in practice helped me in the Finals."
"My mind was working so many ways. Like what's going to happen if you win? What's going to happen if you lose? How do you approach the game starting? Do you come out firing? Do you let it come to you? For me it was just playing my game and what has helped me in my career so long."
Iguodala never started a game during the regular season but that changed in the Finals. And it was his defense that shut down James forcing him to shoot only 38.1 percent from the field. He finished the series averaging 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds. In Game 6, Iguodala scored 25 points and added five rebounds. He was the best player in the playoffs and deserved to be named the Finals MVP.
"He was great the entire series. But he saved this season for us," said Draymond Green. "I always say Andre's a pro's pro. He's a professional guy, and it showed, and that's why he's the MVP of the series, and that's why we're champions."
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