Golden State Warriors 2015 NBA Champions

In a hard-fought six-game series, the Golden State Warriors took down the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For the 1st time ever the 1st two games of the NBA Finals went into overtime.

For the 1st time since the very first Finals in 1947, as the Basketball Association of America, a rookie NBA head coach wins it all (though that was going to be the case no matter which team won).

For the 1st time since 1975 the Warriors can call themselves the NBA Champions.

For the 1st time since 1991 a team won the Finals without any players ever having played in a Finals game.

For the 1st time since 1999 one of the two Finals teams was not named the Spurs, Lakers or Heat nor had players named Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade.

For the 1st time since 2000 a player, Steph Curry, won his 1st NBA MVP and his 1st NBA Finals in the same year.

Curry is the 1st player to ever face and defeat all four members of the All-NBA First team, one in each of the match-ups through the Finals (Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, James Harden, LeBron James).

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six
Bill Russell and Andre Iguodala (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andre Iguodala became the 1st NBA Finals MVP who did not start every game in the series, being inserted as a starter at Game Four. He averaged 16.3 points, 4 assists, 5.8 rebounds and held James to 38% shooting when guarding him.

Some of the games were not the greatest to watch at times but there was spectacle to be had, such as the Cavs being able to initially contain the league MVP Steph Curry or watching LeBron James’ monster output (where he led both teams in total points, rebounds and assists averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists).

2015 NBA Finals
Scramble for the loose ball (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

There were nights of individual great performances from many players, too many to list. Suffice it to say after Game 3 it looked to be anybody’s series. However, in the end, the talent and depth of the Dubs was just too much for the Cavs to overcome, especially with their role players, trying to fill in for injured Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, running sometimes hot but mostly cold throughout the six games.

Game 1 Cavaliers 100 Warriors 108 (OT)
Game 2 Cavaliers 95 Warriors 93 (OT)
Game 3 Warriors 91 Cavaliers 96
Game 4 Warriors 103 Cavaliers 82
Game 5 Cavaliers 91 Warriors 104
Game 6 Warriors 105 Cavaliers 97

Golden-State-Warriors-Celebrate-Finals-Trophy
Golden State Warriors Celebrate Finals Trophy (NBA.com)

A very well fought series and well deserved championship for the Warriors. Congratulations!

Over For Now.

Main Street One

San Antonio Spurs 2014 NBA Champions

Revenge can be a sweet thing.

014 NBA Champion Spurs
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

For the San Antonio Spurs, who saw the 2013 finals slip away from them in the Game 6 heartbreaker and then lost Game 7 in Miami, these NBA Finals were a much different story. The Spurs took down the 2-time reigning champs, the Miami Heat, decisively, four games to one, with each win in double-digits and set an NBA record, winning by the largest average point differential ever (14).

Games 1 and 2 in San Antonio – Heat 95 Spurs 110 and Heat 98 Spurs 96. Games 3 and 4 in Miami – Spurs 111 Heat 92 and Spurs 107 Heat 86. Game 5 in San Antonio – Heat 87 Spurs 104.  In Game 2, Tim Duncan tied Magic Johnson with the most career playoff double-doubles (157). Game 3 saw the Spurs set a record 75.8% shooting effort in the first half, where they took a 71-50 lead at halftime. Games 4 and 5 saw Kawhi Leonard log double-doubles (22-14 and 22-10).

Kawhi Leonard 2014 NBA Finals MVP
REUTERS/Mike Stone

Though soft-spoken 22-year old sensation Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP, the entire Spurs cast put on a show of basketball greatness, especially the back-to-back slam dunks of the Heat on their home court.  Along with Leonard, teammates Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli and the rest of the Spurs play probably the most unselfish game in the NBA, always looking for the open man with the best shot.

Leonard joined teammate Duncan as one of three players to receive the MVP award at that age, though Duncan was a few months younger when he took home the trophy in 1999. The other 22-year old, the youngest, was Magic Johnson, who earned the trophy his rookie season, the only NBA player to ever do so. Leonard was extremely effective offensively, averaging 17.8 points on 61% shooting (including 57.9% from beyond the arc), and did, for the most part, keep 4-time NBA MVP and 2-time Finals MVP LeBron James in check.

San Antonio Spurs 2014 NBA Champions
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

For Duncan, a 14-time NBA All Star who has spent his entire NBA career with the Spurs, and coach Gregg “Pop” Popovich, a 3-time NBA Coach of the Year, this championship became No. 5, with previous banners earned in 1999 (4-1 over the New York Knicks), 2003 (4-2 over the New Jersey Nets), 2005 (4-3 over the Detroit Pistons) and 2007 (4-0 over the Cleveland Cavaliers). Only the Celtics (17), Lakers (16) and Bulls (6) have won more titles.

Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs, 2014 NBA Champions.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Miami Heat 2013 NBA Champions (Repeat)

The defending, and 2-time, NBA Champion Miami Heat and 4-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs provided an NBA Finals for the ages, filled with plenty of back-and-forth. From close games to blow-outs, the 2013 series was fun to watch, more so if the two teams, representing the Eastern and Western Conferences, were not the viewer’s favorites. If one of the two was a fave there was either, in the end, total elation or devastating heart-break.

The road to the 2013 Finals saw Miami post a league-best 66-16 record, during which time they went on an all-time NBA 2nd-best 27-0 run, and then saw them struggle against a very aggressive and much bigger Indiana Pacers squad in their Conference Final match-up taking all 7 games to win, while the Spurs (58-24) were tested in the semi-finals and then swept the Memphis Grizzlies in 4, which allowed them some much needed rest before the final games of the season.

This series saw: eclectic DWade pre-game wardrobes; Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli of old as well as an old Tim and and old Manu; a passive LeBron James and a seriously assertive game-changing LeBron; games where the Big 3 of both teams did not fare well; an NBA record-setting barrage of behind-the-arc pumps by an individual player in the Finals, Danny Green (27), as well as by a team in one game (SA-16) and in a series (SA-61); the 3rd largest beatdown in a Finals game (SA 113 – Heat 77); a lost King James headband; a one-shoed 3-pointer by Mike Miller; double-figure double-doubles; two triple-doubles by LeBron; and numerous wild and crazy blocks, steals, slam dunks, turnovers, and overall fast-paced play, without technical or flagrant fouls.

Way late in the 4th quarter of Game 6 (i.e., 30 seconds left, leading by 5) it seemed as though San Antonio had nailed it, so much so that Miami fans were leaving American Airlines Arena and there were activities occurring behind the scene to crown the Spurs as the 2013 Champions and award the trophy. However, the Heat were having none of that (which would have been a repeat of their painful 6th game, home court loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011) as the NBA all-time leader in 3-pointers, Ray Allen, forced an OT which saw the Heat survive and force Game 7. Perhaps Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said it best following Game 6: “They’re the best two words in sports: Game 7.”

In the end, during the final game 7 match-up, it was the Miami Heat taking advantage of unlikely, yet numerous, 4th quarter Spurs turnovers and an outstanding full-game performance by the eventual NBA Finals MVP LeBron James.  The onslaught of outside shooting by both James and Wade, strongly assisted by 6 for 8 3-point sharp-shooting by, previously-in-a-funk, Shane Battier, proved a potent offensive weapon for the Heat. For pure competitiveness, incredible passion and excellent sportsmanship this series, with games 6 and 7 in particular (either of which really could have gone either way), will go down as one of the best in NBA history and MVP LeBron summed it up neatly, “They pushed us to the limit.”

Quick recap: Game 1 Spurs 92 – Heat 88 with Tony Parker’s bank shot sealing the game with 4.2 seconds left; Game 2 Heat 103 – Spurs 84 with 5 Heat players scoring in double figures; Game 3 Spurs 113 – Heat 77 with the Spurs nailing 16 3-pointers; Game 4 Heat 109 – Spurs 93 with Miami’s Big 3 combining for 85 points; Game 5 Spurs 114 – Heat 104 with the Spurs team shooting 60% (42 of 70) from the floor; Game 6 Heat 103 – Spurs 100 in OT with Chris Bosh providing 2 very key blocks; Game 7 Heat 95 – Spurs 88 as Wade and James go a combined 23 for 34 (68%).

LeBron James 2013 NBA Finals MVP
LeBron James 2013 NBA Finals MVP (Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
All in all, a tremendously enjoyable series for fans (always much better when it goes all 7 games), resulting a disappointing loss for the runner-up San Antonio Spurs, and a great victory for the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat.

As a note, with their victory, the Heat join only 7 other franchises to garner at least 3 NBA Finals Champion trophies. Far and away the leaders remain the Celtics and Lakers, with 17 and 16 respectively. Following those 2 are the Bulls with 6, Spurs with 4, and, at 3 apiece, the 76ers, Heat, Pistons and Warriors.

Now it’s on to the draft and then free agency as all 29 teams place Miami in their cross-hairs in order to foil a possible Heat 3-Peat.

Until next year.

Over For Now.

Main Street One