The NBA Finals came to an end last night. As the Golden State Warriors locked up their first championship in forty years, I was instead watching a last-place baseball team in action. A family outing to Miller Park for a Brewers-Royals game was on the agenda. So as luck would have it, the clinching game is the one of the Finals I happen to miss. After looking through the boxscore, here’s what stands out…
*From a lineup standpoint, I thought Cleveland did the right thing and went big. Timofey Mozgov got his minutes and produced, with 17 points/12 rebounds. The Cavs crushed the Warriors on the glass, 56-39. Golden State won by using pace and turnovers to get more shots. The Warriors only turned it over nine times, while the Cavs had sixteen. Golden State took more shots from the field (85-82) and more from behind the arc (34-26) to make up the difference.
*Everything comes back to LeBron on an individual basis and in spite of the 32 points, he was 13-for-33 shooting. That’s just too many misses. He got a nice outing from J.R. Smith who drilled four treys, but it was LeBron who committed six turnovers and LeBron who went 2-for-10 from three-point range. And the turnovers combined with poor shooting behind the arc are the reason Cleveland lost this basketball game.
Yes, he needs help—a lot of it–but as harsh as it sounds to say this about a 32/18/9 stat line, the numbers behind that glittering façade weren’t’ superstar-like.
*Can we finally stop the national lovefest for Matthew Dellavedova? A decent player who battles hard somehow got turned into a national celebrity because Steph Curry had some off-shooting nights at the right time.
Dellavedova, who has a good outside shot and should have been able to loosen up the lane for LeBron a bit, did not attempt a three-pointer and scored just one point. Curry meanwhile shot a respectable 8-for-19 and scored 25 points. The MVP closed the Finals with 62 points in the final two games. No, Matthew Dellavedova does not have his number and on offense, he’s not exactly the next Chris Mullin.
Okay, how about we talk about the champs? Andre Iguodala scored 25 points and was named MVP of the Finals. For the time being we’ll set aside whether LeBron deserved the award and just say that of the Golden State players, Iguodala was clearly the most deserving choice. The voters agreed, as he got seven of the eleven votes, and LeBron got the other four.
Iguodala was the one Golden State player who was engaged from the moment the Finals began. They fell behind by 15 points in the first quarter of Game 1 and it was Iguodala who came off the bench, started taking the ball to the rack, started harassing LeBron and got his team going. He did it repeatedly throughout the series. The only thing he didn’t do was make his free throws, but that’s picking nits right now.
Draymond Green took three games to get going, but once he found his rhythm, the Michigan State product was on a roll. He went for a triple-double last night, 16/11/10.
I was a Golden State doubter all year, right to the end. But there’s no room for doubt anymore. 67 wins and an NBA title, and winning the Finals in spite of a poor series form their second-best player in Klay Thompson. That’s team-wide excellence.
And for the Bay Area it continues a run of excellence in sports. While Golden State is located in Oakland, they’re also the chosen team of the city of San Francisco, which now has the World Series champs and the NBA champs, Madison Bumgarner and Steph Curry. If fans of the troubled 49ers are looking for hope going into the NFL season, they can hope some of the good mojo rubs off.
Congrats to the Warriors and to the fans into the entire Bay Area.