The Golden State Warriors are the 2017-2018 National Basketball Assn. champions, blowing out the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight 108-85 at Quicken Loans Arena in what may be LeBron James’s last game for the Ohio team.
The Warriors completed their second straight championship victory by inflicting the ninth sweep in NBA history and first since 2007, when the San Antonio Spurs swept the Cavaliers and a young LeBron James. The Bay area team did it in convincing fashion, leading by as many as 21 points at the end of the third quarter, then toying with the Cavaliers the rest of the game, silencing the home crowd.
James once again gave a heroic effort, but it was not enough to stem the overwhelming and balanced talent of Golden State, which came into the series looking for a sweep after Cleveland denied them the opportunity last year for a perfect playoffs run. Forward Kevin Durant had a triple double and won his second straight finals MVP, while Warriors team leader Stephen Curry had 37 points, including seven three pointers.
Throughout the playoffs, James tried to will his team to victory, averaging 37.7 points, 10.7 assist and 9 rebounds a game heading into the last game. James finished with 23 points before being taken out with four minutes left in the game. He was accompanied by chants of “MVP” from the Cavs crowd, an homage to his series and potentially his career.
Now James, a free agent, has a difficult off-season decision. Will the aging superstar leave the Cleveland Cavaliers a second time, as he did earlier in his career when he joined the Miami Heat and won two championships? The Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and other teams are hoping that happens, but James hasn’t publicly indicated he’s made up his mind, other than to reiterate that his goal is championship victories.
After eight straight trips to the NBA finals (with three victories), greener pastures may appeal, particularly if the Cavs can’t do much to upgrade the talent on their roster.