By JOHN PAULO AGUILERA / FHM.PH
This Golden State Warriors entered the season with lofty expectations, and they delivered convincingly as the 2017 NBA Champions. After the Cleveland Cavaliers played spoilers to a Dubs postseason sweep in their last meeting, the latter was hell-bent on revenge. Game 5 started out as anybody’s for the taking, until Golden State pulled away during the fourth quarter and never looked back. The Cavs got everything from LeBron James (41 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists), Kyrie Irving (24 pts, 6 ast), and of all people, JR Smith (7-8 3pt, 26 pts), but still couldn’t prevent the Warriors from bringing the title back to Oakland. All GSW had to do was play to its strengths, which are these three factors: Stephen Curry The two-time MVP wasn’t going to let another cold-shooting night from deep (2-9 3pt) limit his game, contributing in other areas—10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. He wound up with 34 markers (12-15 ft), including a clutch 3 that has laid to rest the ghost of Irving’s dagger last year. The same could be said for Draymond Green (10 pts, 12 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl) and Klay Thompson (11 pts, 5 reb), who both made up for their respective poor field-goal percentages with timely plays. Bench Andre Iguodala once again performed when it mattered most and validated his spot in the Warriors’ ‘Death Lineup.’ The 33-year-old turned a robust 38-minute stint into an efficient 20-point outing (9-14 fg). Reserves Patrick McCaw, Shaun Livingston, and David West largely outplayed their counterparts while the starters rested. It felt like the Golden State’s 2015-16 second unit hasn’t left. Kevin Durant The only way a superstar could match LeBron’s historic triple-double average is if he becomes the fifth player to score 30+ pts in each of the first five games of the Finals. KD did just that: The unanimous Finals MVP didn’t get fazed even if his rival got the better of him in a couple of plays, putting up a cool 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, on his way to capturing his first NBA title.