AP Photo/Tony Dejak
By Matthew T.F. Harrington
Has the dawn of a Golden State Warriors Dynasty arrived? Will the Splash Brothers be on the front float of many a victory parade? Only time will tell, but for now Title number one is under the Dubs’ belt. But one can’t help but think of the future while watching Stephen Curry toss the rock into the crowd in the closing minutes of his first title reign.
The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 Tuesday night in Cleveland to win the NBA Finals four games to two. The World Champions overcame a 12-point first quarter deficit before riding a 60-54 point second half to handedly top the Cavs for the Bay Area and it’s ardent supporters the first Larry O’Brien Trophy since 1975. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said it right when he said “You’ve waited a long time” in his post-game speech.
The Warriors led the NBA from wall-to-wall, notching countless franchise records on the way to a 67-win season. They then swept the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs, rallied from a 2-1 series deficit against the Memphis Grizzlies to win the Conference Semifinals and broke the wills of the Houston Rockets to claim the Western Conference crown in one of the most dominant playoff runs the league has seen.
Despite boasting the reigning Most Valuable Player in Stephen Curry, the Warriors were deemed the best team facing the best player in the World, LeBron James. The Warriors proved that team always wins out after receiving meaningful contributions up and down the bench Tuesday night.Head Coach Steve Kerr dialed all the right buttons in becoming the first rookie head coach to win the championship. No egos stood in the way, with former All-stars like David Lee and Andrew Bogut accepting diminished roles as the playoffs wore on.
Andre Iguodala went vintage after being given the starting nod, scoring a team-high 25 points. For his efforts, he was named Finals MVP, a feat special but not as great as being a champion for the first time in an 11-year career. Draymond Green, a star in the making after having to wait till the second round of the 2013 draft, converted the triple-double with a 16 point/11 rebound/ 10 assist line. The MVP scored 25 points as well on 8 of 19 shooting, earning his signature moment by hoisting the biggest trophy in the land. Shaun Livingston and Festus Ezeli earned their rings by contributing 10 points apiece off the bench.
James did his best to will the title-starved City of Cleveland to a game 7, coming an assist short of another NBA Finals triple-double. The King scored 32 points with 18 rebounds, but couldn’t will his ragtag troupe of title hopefuls. Despite losing both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the playoffs, James still proved the toughest challenge for the Warriors.
What does the future hold for the Champs? First and foremost comes the parade. Then after that, it’s all about locking down Draymond Green, an upcoming free agent. After that, the Kerr will need to replace assistant coach Alvin Gentry. Gentry accepted the New Orleans head coach slot after the Warriors bounced the birds from the playoffs. If Kerr’s proven anything after his rookie year, it’s that the team is in good hands.
With general mananger Bob Myers building a young core that will keep Oracle Arena roaring for years to come and owner Joe Lacob committed to winning, the dark days of the Baron Davis-Gilbert Arenas Warriors are over. With one banner already on its way to the rafters, the Warriors are looking to claim the crown as the latest NBA dynasty, following the footsteps of the showtime Lakers, Russell or Bird’s Celtics and the Parker-Duncan-Ginobli Spurs. Perhaps in a few years these Warriors will be spoken of in similiar tones.