Golden State Warriors sweep LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers to win back-to-back championships in NBA Finals
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant star again as Warriors complete 4-0 rout of Cavs to retain title
The Golden State Warriors became the NBA’s first back-to-back champions since 2013, gradually pulling away from the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete a four-game sweep in the Finals with a 108-85 romp in game four in Cleveland.
Stephen Curry poured in 37 points, including 20 in the first half, during which the Warriors took a commanding lead, helping Golden State capture their third championship in the four-year Steve Kerr coaching era.
All three championships have come against the Cavaliers, with the series clincher coming in Cleveland for the second time.
The sweep was the second in Warriors history, duplicating their 1975 feat, and the first in the NBA since the Cavaliers were beaten in four straight by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.
LeBron James, perhaps playing his final game for the Cavaliers, had his least productive outing of the series, recording 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in his eighth consecutive trip to the Finals.
Kevin Durant supplemented Curry’s big scoring night with the first Finals triple-double of his career with 20 points, 12 rebounds and a postseason-career-high 10 assists.
It was Durant’s 28th consecutive playoff game with 20 or more points.
A majority of Curry’s 37 points came from outside the 3-point arc. He buried 7 of 15, and Golden State connected on 14 of 38, including 9 of 17 en route to a 61-52 halftime advantage.
The Warriors buried the Cavaliers in the third quarter, holding them to 13 points on 4-for-17 shooting. James did not have a field goal in the period, going 0-for-2, as Cleveland saw their nine-point halftime deficit balloon to as many as 21.
Klay Thompson had all 10 of his points in the period, during which Golden State outscored the Cavaliers 25-13.
Draymond Green added nine points, nine assists and three blocks in the win, which gave Golden State six all-time championships, tying Chicago for the third-most in NBA history behind Boston (17) and the Los Angeles Lakers (16).
Andre Iguodala, playing for just the second time in the Finals, contributed 11 points to the win.
James left to a standing ovation after playing 41 of the game’s first 44 minutes. The three-time champion, including 2016 when the Cavaliers beat Golden State in seven games, can opt out of his Cleveland contract this off season.
Kevin Love had 13 points, while JR Smith and Rodney Hood chipped in with 10 apiece for Cleveland, which shot just 34.5 per cent from the field and 8-for-27 from behind the 3-point line.
The fourth consecutive NBA Finals between the two rivals proved to be the most lopsided as the Warriors won the latest best-of-seven series in four games.