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Warriors reinvented “3-1” and built a dynasty at LeBron James’ expense

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The GoldBloodedKing muses the transformed symbolism of “3-1,” the luxury of having two Finals MVP candidates, the DubPeat, and the death of the LeBron James-era Cavaliers

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

It is finished. Again.

The Golden State Warriors humiliated the rival Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4, 108-85. They are STILL your reigning, defending, back-to-back National Basketball Association champions.

We’ve been called arrogant, lucky, and cheaters by the millions of irrelevant jabronis who have seen their franchises drowned inside the deep, cold waters of the Splash. Here’s a new adjective for those failures to add to their lexicon when speaking of the Warriors’ greatness: greedy.

The Golden Empire capped off their arduous 2017-2018 campaign by devouring their Finals opponent in a mere four games. This is the first Finals’ sweep of the Splash Bros era, and it came at the expense of LeBron James and his bumbling cohorts in “The Land.” The bloodbath was effectively complete after Golden State unleashed their usual third quarter artillery barrage to turn the normally raucous Quicken Loans Arena into a hushed burial ground for their overmatched heroes.

I have three gold-blooded musings on the BACK2BACK champs and one thoughtful soliloquy on the inevitable burial of the LeBron James era in Ohio.

CLEVELAND! THIS BROOM IS FOR YOU!

The “3-1 Prophecy” has now been fulfilled.

Brothers and sisters, the outcome of these Finals was preordained years ago. Day after day, article after article, I tried to share the good news via Golden State of Mind. But how did I know the title was in the bag? Come, my dear friends, as I tell you of the “3-1 Prophecy.”

The 73 win, 2015-2016 Warriors broke at least 30 NBA records that season. Unfortunately, one of those records included the largest blown lead in Finals History, as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving’s Cavs overcame a “3-1” disadvantage. The dream season crashing to such a tragic end was especially painful considering the Warriors were one quarter away from repeating as NBA champions, a feat only six franchises had accomplished at the time.

“3-1” became the mocking, venomous meme of derision that was used to torment Dub Nation. It was the sun that burned off the wings of Icarus for daring to fly so high. The injuries and mysterious suspension that plagued the roster during the Finals was written off by thirsty detractors as irrelevant whining.

The Cavaliers championship rings had a “3-1” reference. LeBron James threw a Halloween party with dummy versions of the Splash Bros laying in the doorway entrance so people had to step over their bodies, with “3-1” decorations everywhere.

“3-1” was also the lead Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder blew against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals the same year. The collapse opened the door for him to leave the dysfunctional partnership he had with Russell Westbrook, and also serve a dire need at the small forward position for the wounded Warriors. The Splash Bros added the “Slim Reaper” to create the Splash Continuum, the greatest collection of basketball talent in the history of the universe.

Since then, the Warriors have destroyed the Cavaliers in two straight championship rounds. If you’re keeping score, that brings the series tally to....

“3-1.” I’ll pause as your minds explode.

That firey taunt which was originally meant to humiliate us was converted into the fuel necessary to incinerate every other team in the league with gold-blooded fury. That former roadblock is now the foundation by which our dynasty stands.

Thanks, haters. You just played yourselves. Now, bend the knee before the one, true, DYNASTY.

Unanimous and The Slim Reaper fused into a two-headed monster

The Warriors’ two MVP’s seemed to be playing a game within the game against the Cavs in Game 4. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant took turns assaulting Cleveland’s porous defense, dominating in the flow of the offense, occasionally seeking to land a SportsCenter worthy highlight.

Cleveland’s crowd fell into a stunned silence as their proud team, facing elimination, became the practice dummy that “Unanimous” and “The Slim Reaper” demonstrated finishing moves on. Meanwhile, Dub Nation speculated on a potential Finals MVP that hung in the balance.

Curry delivered 37 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. He shot 12-for-27 from the field, and 7-of-15 from beyond the arc. For the series, he averaged 26 points, 6 rebounds, and just under 7 assists while shooting 40% from the field, 41% from downtown, and a perfect 100% (14-of-14) from the line.

While Curry gobbled up points like Pac-Man, Durant flexed the power of his all-around capabilities. He served up 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, and 3 blocks of his own. I wonder how Westbrook felt watching KD get a triple-double AND win at the same time.

Russ doing the math on how to win a playoff series and get a triple-double

Durant was 7-of-17 from the field, and missed all three shots from deep range. It was quite delightful to watch him in full command, surveying the court, and calmly muscling his way to his favorite spots on the floor. For the Finals, Durant averaged 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2 blocks.

In the end, KD won the Finals MVP, much to the chagrin of NBA Twitter. It amused me that Coach Steve Kerr and both superstars were grilled in the postgame availability about how Curry felt about failing to garner the FMVP honors in his fourth opportunity. It seemed as though the media throng was trying to find any glimmer of envy in Curry’s eyes or to find any crack in the selfless “Strength In Numbers” facade the Warriors carry so proudly.

And they found nothing. Per Mark Medina of the Mercury News, KD was effusive in his praise and dismissed the possibility of his point guard being jealous of his second FMVP:

“Steph knows he played a great game. Without him, we don’t win. He knows that. I know that. We all know that,” Durant told The Bay Area News Group. “We stand firm in that. So trophies and accolades and praise, that doesn’t matter when we win. We know we’re all contributing something in a special way.”

Curry himself spoke on his legacy in relation to the Finals MVP that he was so close to winning yet again:

“At the end of the day, I’m not going to let a [Finals] MVP trophy define my career,” Curry said. “Three titles. … Wherever that puts us in the conversation in the history of the NBA … I’m a three-time champ.”

From Yahoo Sports

He is truly a gracious man on a selfless team. HE recruited Durant to come here, knowing he was sacrificing individual honors for championships.

But, let’s zoom out a bit and take a look at the bigger picture. If you have two guys who are legit Finals MVP candidates on the same team who love each other and respect the game...your team is probably dominating the Finals. I implore you, brother and sister of Splash, to appreciate the level of greatness the Warriors are displaying year after year. It is rare to have two leading superstars be as unselfish as they are deadly.

Fear us, NBA. The Golden Empire is immune to the disease of pettiness that destroys most championship runs in their infancy.

Dubpeat seals Dynasty

I’ve been preemptively calling the Warriors a dynasty the whole season, much to the chagrin of many virtue signaling worry warts who misguidedly scolded me for my complete faith in this team. (Clearly, they were too blind to read the markings of the “3-1 Prophecy,” but I digress).

To actually have sealed the repeat puts the Splash Continuum into rarefied air. They are now the seventh franchise to have won back-to-back championships in NBA history, joining:

Crazy how the San Antonio Spurs aren’t on there, huh? Weird. It’s pretty hard to do; can’t blame them for not getting it done, I guess.

Anyways, as an Oakland kid who went to Joe Smith’s basketball camp and watched Adonal Foyle speak to the group of children about following their dreams from a wheelchair because his foot was broken...I just wanted the Warriors to make the playoffs!

I hated that so many good players came to our team, showed potential, and either bailed or were traded by inept management. I remember reading the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle with as much furrow that my tiny brows could muster, wondering why Chris Webber was leaving or why Gilbert Arenas didn’t resign. When the Warriors couldn’t maintain the We Believe core and Baron Davis (who is my Twitter avatar @OriginalGBK) jumped ship, it felt like the floor dropped out from under me.

All that scar tissue has been healed by this current Warriors run. Watching Stephen A. Smith scream about how the Dubs broke the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers was like morphine straight to my bloodstream.

Still, don’t forget, this was the year many pundits jumped the gun and tried to predict the Warriors’ demise. Check the gamethreads here at GSoM after some of the Warriors losses in April. Some folks thought they were too injured, too bored, and didn’t have enough Ian Clark to survive THE FIRST ROUND.

It was laughable then, and it’s even more hilarious in retrospect. Trust, I will gold-bloodedly dissect that foolishness real soon in a piece that currently has the working title of “If You Thought The Warriors Weren’t Going To Win, You Clearly Don’t Know Basketball.”

Now, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston have as many rings as Larry Bird and Dwyane Wade! I’m trying to think of other great players who have three rings....

Cleveland and their Chosen One

Ah yes, the “greatest player alive” LeBron James also has three rings. He was the only Cavalier with a consistent pulse this series, and for most of the series he forced the Warriors to account for his phenomenal greatness. He averaged a preposterous 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists for the Finals. He is a once in a lifetime type of talent, and Cleveland is lucky to have him.

Watching all his herculean efforts to protect Cleveland’s honor go down the drain as he was swarmed by the multi-faceted Golden State attack was like watching a mother blue whale desperately protecting her helpless baby from a pod of hungry Orcas. You have to admire the will, but at the end of the day, odds are those Orcas are too smart, too relentless, and too hungry to be denied.

His Game 4 effort of 23 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 turnovers was nowhere near enough to lift his hometown team against the Golden Dynasty.

There was a pivotal moment midway through the fourth quarter when, down 25, a physically and emotionally battered James stood at the free throw line. The Warriors, either well aware of James’ ability to comeback, or looking to make an emphatic statement, had the Hamptons 5/Super Death Lineup employed despite the game being a blowout.

As James steadied himself to pad some more his stats for his devout followers to rattle off in a “LeBron vs Jordan” debate, the mourning Cleveland crowd mustered up the strength to rally an “MVP” chant. James would miss the free throw.

The Cavaliers have had King James for over a decade in total playing time, and have only one championship to show for it. He is a free agent now, and I can’t imagine him giving that underachieving franchise anymore chances to squander his window of opportunity.

Bizarrely, immediately there came a report after the game ended that he had actually broken his hand in Game 1 after he punched a blackboard out of frustration. At the podium for his final postgame interview of the season, he wore a black cast that covered his right hand.

He made sure to let everyone in the room know he played the series with an injury.

Luckily, as a hobbled Curry said post-2016 Finals, no one cares about injuries as an excuse. I’ll see y’all at the parade in Downtown Oakland on Tuesday! Shout out to the fans who never lost the faith! #back2back