The best player in basketball is no match for the best team in basketball. The Warriors outmaneuvered the Cavaliers in nearly every aspect of Game 6 -- from points scored to turnovers to steals.
Stephen Curry, who was double-teamed throughout the game, routinely passed the ball well, creating opportunities for his teammates. He finished the night with 8 assists and 25 points.
With Klay Thompson in foul trouble, the rest of the team stepped up on offense. Draymond Green put up a triple-double (16 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) and Andre Iguodala scored 25 points, while putting in an impressive defensive effort against LeBron James.
Iguodala was named the Finals MVP -- the first player to earn the award having had zero starts in the regular season -- ending any talk of a potential MVP from a losing team.
This is the team's first championship since 1975, and the 40-season gap between titles is the longest in NBA history. They are only the fifth team in the NBA to win at least four titles.
Around the Bay Area, celebrations started to warm up before the game was even over. Fireworks, car honks and celebratory chants echoed around Downtown Oakland and the Mission District in San Francisco.
In Oracle Arena, where fans paid $15 to watch the game on a big screen, chants were so loud it shook the building.
After the victory, revelers took to the area outside the arena for an impromptu dance party.
The Warriors and City of Oakland will host a parade at 10 a.m. Friday. The parade will begin on Broadway at 11th Street, turn right on Grand Avenue, right on Harrison to Lakeside Drive, and ending on Oak before proceeding to the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center for the Rally. BART will run extra trains through Oakland all day.
Update, End of 3rd Quarter:
The Cavaliers briefly evened the score at the top of the third quarter, but an 8-0 run by the Warriors quickly stymied any momentum the Cavs had.
The Warriors moved the ball quickly, rocketing down the court after every missed shot, while the Cavaliers appeared stagnant and sluggish on offense.
But the real difference-maker in the third quarter was the Warriors' zone defense, which forced James to get past multiple defenders to get to the basket. James shot inefficiently in the quarter, and as we've come to expect, there was little help from the rest of the Cavs backcourt.
The Warriors are 57-0 when they lead by 15 points at any time in the game, a margin they hit when Green made a basket with a minute left to go in the quarter.
At the end of the third, Warriors led 73-61. Did the Cavs have a final run in them? Or will Oakland be celebrating tonight?
Update, End of 2nd Quarter:
We will go into the second half with the Warriors up by just two 45-43, in a low-scoring defensive game.
The Warriors' hot start to the game didn't last long, because well, that's how things have gone all series long. They shot just 1-10 from the field to start the second quarter. An early third foul on Klay Thompson sent him to the bench, and Cleveland responded to its ugly first quarter with a gritty second, going on a 14-6 run to cut Golden State's lead to five.
That lead would shrink to two by the end of the half, as the teams traded brief runs. But the Cavs were clearly the better team in the second quarter, punctuated by a Tristan Thompson rebound slam-dunk with three seconds left.
LeBron James finished the half with 15 points to lead all scorers. Curry had 11 points to lead the Warriors.
While things on the court started to get a little more tense, fans around Oakland watched intently, hungry to wrap it up tonight.
Fans at the sold out Oracle Arena were loud, rowdy and hanging on every shot throughout the first half, as if the game was being played in front of them instead of on the large screens. Loud cheers of 'Warriors' shook the stadium.
In downtown Oakland, Glenn Kaplan, the owner of Make Westing, looked forward to the possible end of the team's 39-season drought between championships. "Through all the lean times, I've waited a long time, seen a lot of bad games for this, and I love the Warriors. So yeah, I'm ecstatic. I can't even believe it's actually happening. I want it done. I want to win tonight, finished.
"I'm already nervous enough as it is. I don't want a game 7. I just want to win."
Two quarters to go. We've got ourselves a game.
Update, End of 1st Quarter:
A series of streaks continued in Game 6, with Cleveland taking an early 7-2 lead. The Warriors started just 3-10 from the field before collectively finding their range.
After that slow start, the Warriors finished the quarter hitting four 3-point shots in the quarter and responding with a 26-8 run, opening up a 13-point lead.
While the Warriors settled in, the Cavs fumbled their way through the first twelve minutes, turning the ball over 9 times, including three 24-second clock violations.
Steph Curry led the way with 9 points and the team had 11 total assists on 12 made shots-- not bad ball movement for the Western Conference champs.
And LeBron looked frustrated. But it was still early.
Original Post, Pre-game:
MVP Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors head into Tuesday night's six o'clock tip-off against the Cleveland Cavs up 3-2 in the series, one win shy of their first NBA title since 1975.
That elusive fourth Finals' victory would be the teams' 83rd win of the season (67 regular season wins, plus 15 playoff wins). As ESPN Stats & Info points out, that is an exclusive club, one their head coach is already a (two-time) member of:
Standing between the Warriors and the Larry O'Brien trophy is an otherworldly LeBron James who has single-handedly made the Finals a (fairly) competitive series.
James' dominance has led to speculation that he may be named the Finals MVP, even in a losing effort -- a feat that has never been accomplished.
Before the game Tuesday, James said that accomplishment would be little consolation. "I wouldn't feel good about it at all. I'm here to win a team prize not an individual prize."
In the past, James has been pretty good when facing elimination.
Soon enough, we'll find out what Curry, Thompson and company have to say. The Warriors' magical season is just 48 minutes away from the ultimate ending.
Check back for updates throughout the game and night.
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