Warriors complete dream season, win their first NBA championship in 40 years

CLEVELAND – In the end, the Warriors left no doubt.

The Warriors, a complete and consistent team experiencing a dream season, crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday with a methodical 105-97 win in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and found themselves at the pinnacle celebrating a new title.

These Warriors can now be called NBA champions.

Golden State captured its first championship trophy since 1975, using the formula it had relied upon all season long. With the leadership and historic shooting of Stephen Curry and contributions from up and down their roster, the Warriors dazzled teams with the highest-scoring offense. With smarts and toughness, they banded together to form a swarming, top-ranked defense under coach Steve Kerr, a five-time champion as a player who became the first rookie coach to win a title since 1982.

“I think what was probably overlooked all year long was that what really wins is the combination of great offense and great defense,” said Kerr, his shirt wet from celebrating with sparkling wine.

“Whether you’re shooting threes or twos, it’s about the balance. To win a title, you have to be able to make stops.”

LeBron James, despite averaging 35.8 points per game in the series for the injury-plagued Cavaliers after a 32-point night, was no match for such an opponent as Cleveland’s 51-year major professional sports championship drought continues.

Klay Thompson smiled with the Larry O’Brien Trophy beside him and pointed at Curry, saying the Warriors are “the best team in the world with the best player in the world.”

Curry, who toiled for years and turned around a losing culture, led the Warriors with 25 points and threw the ball toward the heavens as the final buzzer was about to sound. He embraced Kerr and what the coach preached.

“Every decision he made, I think everybody bought into it,” Curry said. “Whether you understood it or not, you bought into it. Because he’s a champion.”

When Kerr stood on the stage at Quicken Loans Arena, the first two players he mentioned were Andre Iguodala and David Lee, former All-Stars who had accepted bench roles in the regular season.

Iguodala ultimately became the Finals MVP after his insertion in the starting lineup turned around the series, and he scored 25 points in the clinching win. Kerr said the award was fitting given all that Iguodala had sacrificed.

Draymond Green, whose indomitable spirit propelled the team, notched a triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

“They can still say, ‘Oh, he’s too small, he’s too this, he’s too that,’” Green said of the doubters. “They can never take this away from me.”

“Ever,” added owner Joe Lacob, who had promised to deliver a championship after buying the team in 2010.

Even on a night when Thompson was held to five points and fouled out, the Warriors could not be stopped and showed just how well-rounded they were with what Iguodala called “a team of believers.”

The Warriors clinched the championship with a decisive victory much like the ones they had all through a 67-win regular season.

The Warriors dominated the first quarter and led 28-15, with Iguodala serving as the sparkplug in the Warriors’ small lineup.

This time, the Cavaliers kept Timofey Mozgov in the game to guard Iguodala, who missed his first three attempts with the 7-foot-1 center daring him to shoot before finding his rhythm.

Iguodala hit three of his next four jump shots, including a 3-pointer that started an 8-0 run to finish the quarter.

The Cavaliers committed a whopping nine turnovers in the quarter, including three shot-clock violations in the first eight minutes as the Warriors made them pay for attempting to slow down the pace of the game.

James, who was 13 for 33 from the field while being guarded by Iguodala, kept coming. He hit a 3-pointer to start an 8-2 run that cut the Warriors’ lead to 45-43 at halftime.

“Every time I’d get past (Iguodala), another guy would step up – Draymond Green or whatever the case may be,” James said.

The Warriors gave major minutes to Shaun Livingston after Iguodala committed his third foul, as he took on the defensive assignment against James. Leandro Barbosa also played as much in the first half as Thompson, who committed three fouls in 10 minutes.

The Cavaliers took the lead briefly with back-to-back baskets to start the second half, but Harrison Barnes hit his third 3-pointer of the game to put the Warriors back on top. Iguodala had a dunk, and Green hit a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 53-47 lead.

The Warriors ran away from the Cavaliers, pushing the ball in transition off missed shots and turnovers. Curry himself grabbed a rebound and sprinted the other way before feeding Iguodala for a dunk that made it 61-51.

Festus Ezeli, who got the minutes over center Andrew Bogut, completed an alley-oop dunk and then threw down a vicious putback for a 3-point play that pushed the lead to 14 points.

Green scored inside again and flexed as the Warriors led 73-58. The Warriors entered the game 57-0 when leading by at least 15 points, and there was never a chance they would ever let there be a blemish to that mark.

More than an hour after the game ended, the usually reserved Thompson returned to the locker room and screamed.

“We won the championship! We did it!”


Mark Jackson would vote for Cavaliers’ LeBron James as Finals MVP over Warriors Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala

CLEVELAND – Ex-Warriors coach Mark Jackson picked James Harden for Most Valuable Player, and hours before his old team potentially wins the NBA title in Game 6, he supported LeBron James for Finals MVP.

An ESPN broadcaster calling the game for ABC, Jackson indicated on Mike & Mike on Tuesday that the Cleveland Cavaliers star would be his MVP pick even if Warriors won the championship.

“He is the MVP of this series thus far,” Jackson said. “There’s no question about it. When you take a look at what he’s doing, this Warrior team is a superior team. They have great depth, 67 wins, talent and versatility to throw at you. To have a chance to win, LeBron James has got to be spectacular, and he’s been that.

“Up until last game, Andre Iguodala would have been the MVP for the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry exploded, and he’s in the discussion right now for Warriors MVP. But there’s no question in my mind, the MVP of these Finals has been LeBron James, and he would get my vote.

Asked if he would vote for James if Warriors were to win the series in six games, Jackson said: “We are watching an incredible, incredible individual performance that has allowed this team that’s not very talented to have a chance to win it all.”

James has averaged 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists in 45.6 minutes in the series that the Cavaliers trail 3-2.

Curry, who won the MVP in a landslide over Harden, has averaged 26.2 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in 42.4 minutes in the series. Iguodala has helped the Warriors win two Finals games in a row since being inserted in the starting lineup and has been the primary defender on James while averaging 14.6 points, 6 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 37 minutes.

Jackson coached the Warriors to 51 win regular-season wins and a playoff appearance last season before being fired.


Warriors: Stephen Curry is recovered from dehydration, will play in Game 6

CLEVELAND – Warriors guard Stephen Curry is expected to play in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in a potential championship clincher after recovering from dehydration, a team spokesman said Monday.

Curry traveled with the team to Cleveland and did not receive additional treatment for dehydration after taking in fluids to address lightheadedness following the Warriors’ win in Game 5 against the Cavaliers on Sunday.

Curry after scoring 37 points and conducting a press conference returned to the locker room for treatment after the game.


Warriors’ Andre Iguodala replaces Andrew Bogut in lineup for Game 4

CLEVELAND — Warriors forward Andre Iguodala replaced struggling center Andrew Bogut in the starting lineup for Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr had indicated less than two hours before tipoff the lineup would not change.

But Iguodala made his first start of the season for the Warriors after he accepted a bench role under coach Steve Kerr. He had started every game of his 10-year NBA career until this season.

Bogut averaged 3.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in the first three games of the series.


Mychal Thompson on Matthew Dellavedova: ‘That’s a joke to think he can stop Steph Curry’

Mychal Thompson, the father of Warriors guard Klay Thompson, thinks Stephen Curry was off on his shot and it wasn’t the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova who stopped the MVP.

“Dellavedova, he couldn’t stop Steph if Steph was asleep,” Mychal Thompson said on the ESPN LA radio show he co-hosts on Thursday before Game 4. “Steph is that good of an offensive player, that great of a shooter, that great of a ball-handler.

“So giving him credit for stopping Steph Curry, people who are doing that don’t understand that Steph Curry is one of those kind of guys – Kevin Durant, Kobe (Bryant) when Kobe was in his prime. There’s nothing you can do with guys like that. They’re going to score. You’re just trying to make things as difficult as possible for him. And Dellavedova’s scrapping, and he’s hustling. I give him credit for that. And he’s trying his little heart out. But no, come on. That’s a joke to think he can stop Steph Curry.”

After Dellavedova took over for Kyrie Irving in the starting lineup, Curry in Game 2 had the worst playoff shooting performance of his career before bouncing back in the fourth quarter of a Game 3 loss.

According to SportVU, Curry was 0 for 7 from the field while being defended by Dellavedova in Game 2. In Game 3, Curry was 3 for 9 from the field going up against Dellavedova, missing each of his six 2-point attempts.

“He’s a scrappy guy, man,” Mychal Thompson said of Dellavedova, the undrafted Saint Mary’s product who has turned into a sensation in the Finals.

“The way he’s playing Steph, he’s being physical. He’s grabbing, clutching. He’s just going after guys’ knees and stuff. Did you see him go after Draymond (Green’s) knees the other night, by the way? The league sort of didn’t notice that.”


NBA Finals links: Sorting through the aftermath of Game 3

First, the biggest news coming out of Wednesday’s team availabilities:

Warriors’ Draymond Green suffering from back spasms

Despite fatigue, Dellavedova expected to play in Game 4

Cavaliers’ Iman Shumpert has shoulder bruise

A collection of opinions about this series after Cleveland’s Game 3 win on Tuesday:

Mark Purdy: Warriors in mega-trouble after Game 3 loss

Tim Kawakami: Stephen Curry shows much-needed late spark

Marcus Thompson: Warriors need to match heart, hustle of Cavaliers

Chris Haynes: Eating crow on the issue of Delly

Bud Shaw: LeBron’s big minutes paying off big for Cavaliers

Terry Pluto: Gritty turns out pretty in Game 3 victory

Marla Ridenour: What LeBron James is doing is simply staggering