In the end, the most dominant team in the NBA season was crowned champions and you will not find many people, if any at all, who will deny that the Golden State Warriors were anything but the best team all season. They may have taken a while to get up to speed in the 2015 NBA Finals but once they got moving, they really motored home and in the end, they were convincing winners after 6 games against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team from the Western Conference grabbed their first title in 40 years, and this was the fourth win in the history of the franchise. One notable aspect of the victory came in the fact that none of the players in the Warriors team had any experience of the NBA Finals. This was the first time that a winning team could boast this statistic since 1990/91 when the Chicago Bulls achieved glory on the back of no experience.
The Warriors had home advantage in Game 1, Game 2 and Game 5 while the Cavaliers were at home in Game 3, Game 4 and Game 6. If there was to be a 7th game, the Warriors would have hosted it, but as it was, there was no need for the last game of the series to be played, with the Warriors clinching the title at the home of their rivals at the end of the sixth game in the series. This meant that the series got underway on the 4th of June and it was concluded on the 16th of June.
Game 2 saw history made in the NBA Finals
History was made at the end of Game 2 with this being the first time that the opening two games of the Finals went to overtime. For many fans, the turning point of the series came after the end of Game 3, when the Cavaliers held a 2-1 lead. There were feelings that perhaps the Cavaliers had developed a game plan to shut down the Warriors and that there was a need for the Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, to step up and change the pattern of play for his team. He took the bold move of providing Andre Iguodala with his first start of the campaign and the Warriors never looked back.
One surprising aspect of the series for many people was who won the MVP. Before the Finals began, and in many of the games, it was LeBron James and Stephen Curry who had all of the attention and focus placed upon them. In the end though, it was Andre Iguodala from the Golden State Warriors who grabbed the MVP Award for the 2015 NBA Finals. Iguodala offered up an average of 16.3 points, 4 assists and 5.8 rebounds, while also playing a key role in minimising the impact of LeBron in the final three games of the series. LeBron was still good, and if you go by statistics he was the main man of the series but for the impact on a team that lost their way and the key role in winning the series, it is hard to argue with the award going to Iguodala.
LeBron James was magnificent in the 2015 NBA Finals
It was tough to take for LeBron. It was a series where he became the youngster player to grab 5,000 points in the Play-offs and his triple-doubles illuminated the series. If the Cavs can build a stronger team around him next year, there may still be a chance for LeBron to lead his team to glory.
Over the course of the campaign, the Warriors held an 83-20 record, which is the third best record in the history of the NBA. Only the Chicago Bulls had bettered this record, with an 87-13 record in 1995/96 and an 84-17 record in 1996/97. This meant that the Golden State Warriors had rightly written their name in the NBA record books and regular season MVP Stephen Curry is written all across the story.
Curry became only the sixth player to pick up his first league MVP and his first NBA title in the same campaign, with the last player to have achieved this feat being Shaquille O’Neal, who grabbed it in 1999/00.
This was a different NBA Finals compared to recent times
With LeBron James and James Jones making their fifth Finals in a row, even though Jones didn’t participate in the 2011 Finals, there was a sense of familiarity about the series, but there was also a notable sense of change. This was the first Finals since 1998 where there was no representation from the Lakers, the Spurs or the Heat. It was also the first Finals since 1998 where there was no representation from Kobe Byrant, Tim Duncan or Dwyane Wade. This indicates the level of domination that some teams and players have had at the top of the NBA in recent times, so the fact that there were two less fancied, historically if not this season, playing in the showcase game, was welcomed by many basketball fans.
- Game One: Cleveland Cavaliers 100 – Golden State Warriors 108 (OT)
- Golden State Warriors lead 1-0
- Game Two: Cleveland Cavaliers 95 – Golden State Warriors 93 (OT)
- Series tied at 1-1
- Game Three: Golden State Warriors 91 – Cleveland Cavaliers 96
- Cleveland Cavaliers lead 2-1
- Game Four: Golden State Warriors 103 – Cleveland Cavaliers 82
- Series tied at 2-2
- Game Five: Cleveland Cavaliers 91, Golden State Warriors 104
- Golden State Warriors lead 3-2
- Game Six: Golden State Warriors 105, Cleveland Cavaliers 97
- Golden State Warriors win series 4-2
In the deciding game, the Warriors got off to a convincing start, leading 28-15 at the end of the 1st quarter but by half time, the Warriors lead was down to two points, with the score standing at 45-43. The Cavaliers took the early in the third quarter but this was the wake-up call that the Warriors needed, pushing on and grabbing a 15 point lead at some point. The Cavs fought back well, reducing the lead to 4 points in the final minute but the soon to be champions rallied and saw the game, and series, out without too much danger.
The Golden State Warriors were worthy winners and they can look back on the entire season with a great deal of pride. There is no doubt that they will be in contention for the 2015/16 crowd and the Warriors will know that if they want to be considered as a team that is recorded in the history books of the NBA, they will need to add to their NBA title tally.