After scoring 39 points in Golden State’s series-clinching 129-120 win over Cleveland in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, Kevin Durant was named Finals MVP in unanimous fashion. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in the Finals – all while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. He also hit the game-winning shot in Game 3 and hit big shot after big shot after big shot as the Cavs mounted a fourth-quarter comeback in Game 5.
It was dominance, pure and simple. And now he’s a champion.
“He had an epic season,” NBC Sports Bay Area TV analyst Kelenna Azubuike said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I thought we saw the best of Kevin Durant as far as him as an all-around player goes. We knew he could score, and he did that pretty much at will this season getting to the basket. Just in this Finals series, he was absolutely unguardable. He was so consistent and so efficient offensively in this series and throughout the whole season.”
Durant shot 14-of-20 in Game 5, including 5-8 from three, and set the tone defensively.
“One of the things was his commitment to work hard on the defensive end and to maybe plug up the hole that a lot of pole thought was going to be one of the Warriors’ weaknesses in the middle and the rim protection aspect of it,” Azubuike said. “He took that over, he blocked shots, he was a great help defender, he was wonderful on the defensive side, he’s unselfish, he’s a great passer – so he really did it all for the Warriors. . . . KD just had it all tonight – like he has the whole season. I think he made a great decision to join the Warriors.”
Steph Curry, meanwhile, had the best Finals of his career. He averaged 26.8 points, 9.4 assists, 8.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals and shot 38.8 percent from three. Together, he and Durant were utterly unstoppable.
“KD can drop out of bed and score 20 points in his sleep,” Azubuike said. “The thing that makes them work together so well is their natural unselfish. Both of these guys are super unselfish to the core. So at times, that’s just going to take over and they’re going to get each other involved when they need to. But to see them figure out they can both be aggressive and be themselves and still co-exist and they’re going to be unselfish and they’re going to make the right play when they need to was really cool to see. I think that’s what you saw from Steph Curry. He got back to being himself. He got back to playing with freedom, playing aggressively. He killed people in pick-and-roll all season. He had an amazing series. He had an MVP Finals performance, and no one’s really talking about it. That’s how great this team is. But he doesn’t care. He’s just happy that they won a championship.”