Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 10:49 AM
THE NBA FINALS - WARRIORS NAB THE TITLE IN 5 GAMES, BUT NOW WHAT'S NEXT FOR G-STATE AND CLEVELAND LOOKING AHEAD TO THE 2017-18 SEASON?
So "Ol' Larry" is back home in the Bay Area.
That's the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, that is.
Maybe you didn't hear Golden State Warriors megastar G Stephen Curry following Monday night's king-sized 129-120 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers as he talked up "ol' Larry" ... sure seemed as if all the Warriors were uber-joyous upon capturing their second championship within the past three years while following that old axiom that "you don't know what you're missing until it's gone."
Well, last year Golden State unceremoniously blew a three games-to-one NBA Finals lead against the Cavs in what many folks considered one of the all-time choke jobs by a professional sports franchise.
So, Golden State - thanks in large part to the very high-profile addition of NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant (39 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in the Game 5 clincher) - climbed back into the winner's circle for yet another title and, depending on whether or not you got in with the Warriors minus the 8.5 points or (very late) at minus 9.5 points, they slam-dunked this hoops season shut with a resounding performance that could well get repeated at this very time next June.
Meanwhile, Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will wave bye-bye to the NBA Finals with a reminder that you can go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day for all the Major-League Baseball winners. Pile up those profits all summer long, friends!
NBA FINALS - Game 5 Recap
GOLDEN STATE 129, CLEVELAND 120 - Warriors win series 4-1
If there was a snapshot of just how good these Warriors could be, then it happened during a prolonged second-quarter stretch when Golden State outscored a beleaguered Cleveland club 22-2 and 27-4 ... Durant (14-of-20 FG shooting) was bagging a bunch of points during this run and everyone on G-State was hot, hot, hot.
Better believe that the cushion built up during the 38-point second quarter came in handy when LeBron James (41 points, 13 rebs and 8 assists) and mates made their runs at Steve Kerr's club the remainder of the way. Okay, so an out-of-his-mind J.R. Smith -- see 7-of-8 shooting from three-land and the dude that canned the game's final hoop that smudged any/all Golden State minus 9.5-point backers -- really was the force that allowed the Cavs to hang around but you never really got the sense that Cleveland was gonna come all the way back to win Game 5 though the Cavs must be kicking themselves for not defending a few pick-n-rolls that turned into easy Warriors' points.
In the end, Durant and Curry (a quiet 34 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists) and ace reserve Andre Iguodala (20 points and some staggering defense - note the Warriors were a + 18 with Iguodala on the floor in Game 5) survived the futile runs that Cleveland made following halftime and it really was no big surprise considering Golden State entered this Finals series as a monstrous 3-to-1 betting favorite.
Go ahead, Warriors, give "ol' Larry" a great big hug!
Here's how the Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals series went in game chart form (all home teams are in CAPS below):
|6-1||GOLDEN ST.||- 7.5||Cleveland||113-91|
|6-4||GOLDEN ST||- 9||Cleveland||132-113|
|6-7||Golden St||- 3.5||CLEVELAND||118-113|
|6-9||CLEVELAND||+ 5||Golden St||137-116|
|6-12||GOLDEN ST||- 9.5||Cleveland||129-120|
Here's the NBA Playoffs Pointspread Breakdown chart for the two Finals teams:
NBA REPORT - SO WHAT'S NEXT FOR WARRIORS, CAVS?
We know, you all think there's gonna be a Golden State versus Cleveland Part IV on the horizon for next year's NBA Finals but better hold off the predictions for just a moment.
If you happened to listen to James at the podium following his fifth NBA Finals loss (against three championships) than you heard more than a tint of resignation that Cleveland was not better armed for this '17 battle. All the talk about "super teams" and such, well, James shrugged that stuff off but if Cleveland is gonna make it back to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals than James and sidekick Kyrie Irving (26 points in Game 5 but on just 9-of-22 FG shooting) probably need another dependable scoring option - Kevin Love (scoreless for the first half of Game 5) just isn't consistent enough on that end of the floor.
On the flip side, all the talk's about how the Warriors' key players are all under 30 years of age with Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green really just hitting their primes now plus that Warriors' bench wound up being a whole lot better than anyone could have forecast but won't there be a physical toll that this team will pay following three straight trips to the Finals.
Sure, the NBA regular season has become exhibition games for the likes of the Warriors - remember Durant missed 19 regular-season games with a knee injury but it didn't slow down this bunch - and the Cavaliers but something tells us there could be a fresher/bouncier team out there that breaks up this Golden State vs. Cleveland monopoly in the NBA Finals.
Perhaps Boston? Maybe Washington? Or maybe Golden State gets unseated out West by a slightly revamped San Antonio or Houston squad ... stay tuned.
Still, ask us to post odds to win it all right now and gotta say Golden State's even money; Cleveland is 3-to-1.
Sound about right to you?
NOTE: Lots of Major-League Baseball and NBA Draft Notes coming your way later this week here at Jim Sez.