Warriors seize spot among NBA’s iconic championship teams


OAKLAND, CA - MAY 31: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors blocks a layup attempt ...
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 31: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors blocks a layup attempt by JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 31, 2018 in Oakland, California. PHOTO: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

In Summary

  • With Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant setting the pace, the Golden State Warriors secured their place among the all-time iconic NBA champions Friday with their third title in four seasons.
  • Golden State's 108-85 rout over the host Cleveland Cavaliers gave the Warriors back-to-back crowns and six in club history, matching Michael Jordan's 1990s Chicago Bulls for third on the all-time championships list.
  • Only Cleveland's rally from 3-1 down to beat the Warriors in 2016, the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, kept it from being four in a row, a feat only seen in the Boston Celtics' 1959-1966 title run.

 

 

With Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant setting the pace, the Golden State Warriors secured their place among the all-time iconic NBA champions Friday with their third title in four seasons.

Golden State’s 108-85 rout over the host Cleveland Cavaliers gave the Warriors back-to-back crowns and six in club history, matching Michael Jordan’s 1990s Chicago Bulls for third on the all-time championships list.

Only Cleveland’s rally from 3-1 down to beat the Warriors in 2016, the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, kept it from being four in a row, a feat only seen in the Boston Celtics’ 1959-1966 title run.

Three titles in four years still puts Golden State in rarified company: the 1950s Minneapolis Lakers, Boston’s 1960s dynasty, the 1980s Magic Johnson “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers who had five titles and three runner-up efforts in the 1980s, Jordan’s Bulls and the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers teams that won five titles and lost two other finals from 2000-2010.

Curry took a modest tone when asked about his team’s place among the all-time greats.

“Not for me to answer that question,” Curry said. “I just know what we’ve been able to accomplish is really meaningful and something that not many players have been able to experience.

“So wherever that puts us in the conversation in the history of the NBA or titles around dynasty and all that type of stuff.”

Curry’s deadly 3-point sharpshooting and Durant’s power inside and clutch shotmaking, together with aggressive defending sparked by Draymond Green and another outside threat in Klay Thompson have allowed the Warriors to carve out their own spot among all-time greats with four All-Star players.

“Being on a team with four All-Stars is unheard of,” Warriors center JaVale McGee said. “Being a part of it behind the scenes and seeing how unselfish these guys are is amazing.”

The Warriors are 63-20 in the playoffs over the past four years, the top win percentage in any such span in NBA playoff history, eclipsing Jordan’s Bulls.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against Kevin Durant #35.PHOTO/AFP

“I’m a three-time champ,” Curry said. “We’ve got a lot of three-time, two-time champs in there and we’ll have plenty of time in our lives to discuss that later. Want to keep this thing going as long as we can.”

 Foes ‘gunning for’ them 

Rivals have started assembling superteams to try and challenge the Warriors, Boston and Houston each coming one game from the finals after such moves last season. More clubs figure to try such moves when free agency opens next month.

“That’s how you know we’re a great team, is when everybody’s coming after us,” two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Durant said. “Whether it’s opponents, whether it’s different coaches panning for us, whether it’s the fans, the media that hate us, it feels good when you’re the team everybody is gunning for.

“It makes us better. It makes us come to work and try to play at that championship level every single day, and that’s the hardest part. I’m glad we were able to lock in, especially in the playoffs, and do what we were supposed to do to win this thing.”

Durant, who had a playoff career-best 43 points in game three, became only the sixth back-to-back finals MVP.

“We all want something that’s bigger than oursevles,” Durant said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that don’t care about anything but just being better. And we care for each other. We’re doing something good in the world.”

Curry said Golden State’s trick is to meld a relaxed fun atmosphere with a disciplined work ethic.

“You’ve got to blend that carefree attitude with discipline and hard work,” Curry said. “I don’t think any of us take ourselves too seriously. We just appreciate what we get to do for a living.”

 

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