Christian Fuentes, Sports Journalist for Metro Puerto Rico
Redemption, thy name is the Warriors. The Golden State Warriors recapture the NBA championship and win it for the second time in three years. Thus ending a year-long journey that began with a soul-crushing Game 7 loss last year and the ensuing signing of Kevin Durant and ended with raising the fifth championship in franchise history. Say what you want, but this is a special run by this team in the three years since they became serious title contenders under head coach Steve Kerr and in the five years since they returned to the playoffs with Mark Jackson as the coach.
Durant had his shining moment. Ever since tip-off of Game 1, he was loose, aggressive and simply extraordinary. You can say all you want about him “joining an already great team” or “chasing a ring”, but make no mistake that this title was earned. Sure, Durant is this superstar player that joined the team that was a ball bounce or two away from winning it all for the second straight year last year. But, they didn’t. Durant was a free agent and Golden State did what they had to to get him. He didn’t ride anybody’s coattails. Were they a great team on paper? Absolutely. But in sports, you have to play the games. And they did. Durant led the team in scoring, battled injuries (missed over a month with a leg injury), and averaged 35.2 points per game in the NBA Finals on his way to his first ever NBA championship. That doesn’t sound like riding a great team’s coattails. Indeed he was, as Draymond Green said, the “consolation prize for losing last year”.
Something else that I have to take away from this series is that the ultimate redemption was made by Stephen Curry. He finally played like the two-time MVP in an NBA Finals and it’s electric to watch. He was the most important key before the series started and he delivered; no one can take that away from him. Many don’t like his tyle, because “he only shoots 3s”, but damn-it-all, he is all-time great at it.
As for the Cavaliers, it’s back to the drawing board. LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double in the Finals. Kyrie Irving played his heart out in this series. What can they do to match the Warriors? Would they go after Dwyane Wade (LeBron’s ultimate Thunder-Buddy, who has an opt out on his Chicago Bulls contract)? Could Chris Paul take less money to play with LeBron in Cleveland? Will they trade Kevin Love for pieces? Many questions regarding this team, that has the highest payroll in the NBA.
The Warriors have staying power. The mission for them should be repeating. They have the firepower to do it.