Congratulations Golden State Warriors! First championship in 40 years!
For the third game in a row, David Blatt and the Cavaliers didn't have an answer for the Warriors' small lineups.
Andrew Bogut didn't play, and was surpassed in the rotation again by Festus Ezeli (11 min), against a young and athletic Timofey Mozgov. While Bogut would obviously rather be out there, this lineup adjustment allowed for other players (Andre Iguodala, Festus Ezeli, Shaun Livingston) to get more minutes, showcasing the depth of this team.
Ultimately this makes the victory sweeter, as it represents an effective group effort.
The Class of 2012
After being a bit hesitant to shoot semi-open 3's, Harrison Barnes started shooting confidently again (3 of 4 from distance).
With the Cleveland defense trapping Stephen Curry a good amount, Draymond Green got his fair share of running 4-on-3 blitz offense, which he's had a good deal of practice in. Along with his eleven rebounds and sixteen points, he racked up an impressive triple double in the clinching finals game. After admitting to an uncharacteristic start to the series, Draymond finished. Strong.
Festus Ezeli came to play in his eleven minutes. With his size and energy, he provided competition to the rebounding prowess of Thompson and Mozgov. He also had a good block, and a few good finishes in the paint.
He deservedly won the Finals MVP. Not only did he play great defense on LeBron James, he did a little bit of everything on offense, between athletic drives (3/6), midrange shooting (3/6), threes (3/8), and playmaking (5 ast). The Hack-A-Dala strategy did rear its head for a moment again (4/10 FTs).
LeBron posted another dominant line, 32/18/9 (pts/reb/ast), but only 2 of 10 from distance.
When Iguodala was in, LeBron shot 38% and the Cavs were -55. When he sat, LeBron shot 44% and the Cavs were +30— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) June 17, 2015
The Heart and Soul of the Warriors
Draymond Green and Stephen Curry logged the most minutes for the Dubs (41 and 43). Being the heartbeat and best player on the team respectively, this doesn't come as that much of a surprise. They both showed up in the biggest moment. Curry didn't push it trying to be the hero, but still impressed. He gladly made the right basketball play over and over again, passing to the open man and relying on the depth of his team.
As usual, rebounding proved to be an issue, as the Cavs brought down 17 more rebounds than the Dubs, including 16 offensive boards. On the other hand(le), the Warriors only committed nine turnovers all game, while stealing the ball eleven times. That's an absurd ratio. Furthermore, those same small lineups that had trouble keeping Mozgov, Thompson and LeBron off the glass also scored 21 points more on 3's.
With two of their better perimeter defenders (Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert) battling foul trouble, James Jones got a decent amount of playing time (27 min), and was the lone positive in the team's plus/minus column (+4).
Jones and Shumpert were dry from outside (0 of 7), but J.R. Smith showed off his range last night (4 of 9).
On our side, Klay Thompson was disappointingly also in foul trouble. Held to just 25 minutes, he never played a big enough chunk to get in rhythm. Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa chipped in with some valuable minutes in his absence. Despite inconsistent shooting, Klay can be proud of the consistent level of energy and toughness he brought to the floor this postseason. He responded on an iconic play in this game, draining a three from a Curry assist in a classic Splash Brother moment.
The coaching staff deserves credit
The coaching staff deserves a good deal of credit for the postseason success. They faced 1-2 deficits twice, and responded with audacious adjustments that proved highly successful. In both cases the Warriors won the next 3 games. It will be sad to see Alvin Gentry depart for New Orleans, but we will wish him the best there, and hope to find a worthy replacement.
It's hard to imagine being down in the series such a short time ago, and now with the season over, the championship is firmly in the hands of the Golden State Warriors.There's always time to jump into the offseason, but make sure to take some time to set your parade plans and enjoy this victory!
For more on the Warriors' championship-clinching win, check out our Game 6 storystream.