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NBA Finals: Warriors Win in 5

After an incredibly dominant performance by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4, the Golden State Warriors bounced back and dropped the Cavs in Game 5, 129-120 to win the 2016-2017 NBA Championship

The two teams exchanged the lead just nine times, none of which came after the halfway point of the second quarter.  Despite the Warriors maintaining their lead, most statistical categories were consistent for both teams across the boards. The main difference came from the foul line, where the Warriors outshot the Cavs by nearly 17%. That alone stood for an eight point differential in the matchup.  The Warriors were also able to capitalize on many 2nd and 3rd chance points, which helped them separate themselves further. 

Kevin Durant capped his spectacular first season with the Warriors by bringing home the NBA Championship that he was so determined to get. He scored 39 points in a fast-and-furious, Finals-clinching 129-120 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 on Monday night.

KD shot 14/20 from the field, 5/8 from three-point range, and 6/6 from the foul line in closing out the series. His play earned him the Finals MVP honors: Averaging 35.2 points (55.6% shooting), 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals per game.

LeBron James led Cleveland all season, and the final game was no different. He wound up with 41 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.  That was enough to allow him to average a triple-double in the Finals -  the first-ever triple-double in NBA Finals history. His line read: 33.6 points per game (56.4% shooting), 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 1.4 steals. He led all players in minutes played, assists, and rebounds in the Finals.  

In addition, Stephen Curry's Game 5 performance stood out, as he added 34 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. 

Kyrie Irving followed up his 40-point gem in Game 4 with 26 points but shot 9 for 22.

NBA Playoffs Leaders:

Russell Westbrook helped his MVP race campaign by averaging 37.4 points in his five playoff games this postseason. He added nearly 12 rebounds and 11 assists per game to that line. His downside is that he shot an abysmal 39% from the field, and averaged six turnovers per game. Also, it's impossible to forget that he recorded 42 triple-doubles this seaon 

Westbrook's MVP race competitors (James Harden and Kawhi Leonard) both placed in the top 10 for 2017 playoff scoring averages as well.

 

Harden's line, like Westbrook, featured a less-than-stellar shooting percentage despite high scoring averages. Harden placed fourth, behind Durant and LeBron, with 28.5 points per game. He averaged 5.5 rebounds, and about nine assists, but he also coupled that with over five turnovers per game.

Leonard balanced his scoring with quality and efficiency. While scoring 27.7 points per game (on 52.5% shooting), he grabbed about eight rebounds per game, dished out nearly 5 assists, and only recorded 2.2 turnovers per game. He was a phenomenal 45.5% from three-point land, and 93% from the charity stripe in 12 games. 

While Durant and Lebron aren't the MVP race front-runners, their play in the NBA playoffs (the Finals especially), is the stuff of legend. 

 

 

Here are some of the top plays of the historic playoff run that Warriors made in 2017:

 

Who do you think wins the NBA MVP Award on June 26th?