The Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night in Game Five of the National Basketball Association championship, nabbing their third victory.
Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and JaVale McGee will be among many Golden State players in the free-agent waters, and Kevin Durant will likely join them. His Pacers exited the playoffs in a first-round sweep against the Cavaliers, he refused to commit to in when asked during his season-ending press conference, he was stuck with a new coach and a new point guard this season, and team president Larry Bird abruptly retired back in April.
The Warriors provided proof that things are still allowed to make sense, that it's possible to win a championship without surmounting the seemingly unsurmountable.
The Warriors started the game lackluster and trailed at the end of the first quarter.
Durant didn't really need a hard sell that day in the Hamptons. They led at the half by 11.
LeBron James may be the game's greatest player but the manner in which his Cleveland Cavaliers were dispatched in the NBA Finals on Monday may have signaled that his championship window has been slammed shut.
Warriors GM Bob Myers was lingering in the back of the photo room last night with his wife and father when a call rang out, "Get Bob!"
Golden State outscored Cleveland 38-23 in the period on Monday night. He fell to 3-5 in eight NBA Finals appearances, 1-2 against the current Warriors core. "Steve will be our coach".
But the Warriors look like they're on the brink of something dynastic. The team's four All-Stars shared the scoring wealth and played tough defense.
Kerr still found time to crack a joke on the stage afterward: "Well, we had very little talent, actually, it was mostly coaching".
Durant, in accepting the Final's MVP Award, agreed.
Championship celebrations at the White House have become a tradition in American sports, with the first believed to have occurred in 1925 when President Calvin Coolidge hosted the Washington Senators.
Durant: I'm ready. Let's do this.
However he likes to remember it, Kerr was truly the hero for the Bulls in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals. It's what you want, you want to have a team you think can win. "I thought we played well, got better each game, but against good teams you can't give away games", he said. Milwaukee clobbered teams by 12.2 points per game and increased that to an NBA-best 14.5 per game in the postseason. Both teams breezed through the playoffs.
But as many have pointed out, it's not working.
There will be one question inevitably asked this offseason by most of the 29 other teams in the National Basketball Association whose fingers didn't get to smudge the golden surface of the Larry O'Brien Trophy this year.
Now without a pick in the June 22 NBA Draft and well over the salary cap, this is much easier said than done, but Griffin has shown a tremendous ability to swing key deals. That's all good news for Warriors fans.
"We're obviously just getting started", Curry said. "We're going to keep you safe".
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website. The All-Star forward has been the subject of trade rumblings in the past and his name is certain to surface this summer as contending teams look for that missing piece to close the gap on Golden State.
There was no shame in falling for the second time in three years to the Warriors, a 73-win team that needed Durant to dethrone James.
There are many good reasons for the Cavaliers to seek major roster improvements in the coming weeks, but none more pressing than this: They don't have an answer for Kevin Durant. NPR's Eric Westervelt has more from Oakland.
Durant also had the second most points in a five-game NBA Finals with 176, only passed by Allen Iverson's 178 in the 2001 Finals. The Cavs and Warriors have been to three straight Finals. Shocking. So, now that the Warriors are the league's "Big Bad", what comes next for the association? After an extended review of the confrontation, officials Danny Crawford and Ed Malloy assessed technical fouls to Thompson and Smith as well and did not give West a second technical, which would have resulted in an ejection. And the packed crowd at Oakland's Oracle Arena got to sing along with Queen as it rained yellow-colored confetti. "But we come together and we're the champions now". No time for losers 'cause we are the champions. Indeed, sometimes lost in all the chatter about a possible Warriors dynasty is the fact that Golden State plays attractive, often generous team ball.
LeBron James has 21 points and J.R. Smith kept the Cavs in it with two big 3-pointers in the final minute, including a 28-foot heave just before the halftime buzzer. They blew through the playoffs, winning 16 of 17 games. "So for me personally, I have no reason to put my head down". California knows how to party.