Kevin Durant capped his spectacular first season with the Warriors by bringing home that coveted NBA championship he joined Golden State last July so determined to get, scoring 39 points in a fast-and-furious, finals-clinching 129-120 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
Oakland and the Bay Area celebrated the championship with backyard fireworks displays and impromptu street parties around the region. It's the first championship won by a Bay Area team in their home arena since the 1974 Oakland A's defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers for their third consecutive World Series title.
"We're gonna party," said Oakland resident Achebe Thomas, while celebrating the win. "I hope everyone's cool and doesn't tear anything up."
The victory also served as a validation for the city of Oakland itself, which will lose both the Warriors and the Oakland Raiders football team in the next few years. The Warriors are building a new state-of-the-art arena in San Francisco and the Raiders signed a deal to move to Las Vegas.
“It just shows Oakland is its own entity and Oakland has always been its own force. The Black Panthers, Bruce Lee and now the Warriors," Thomas said.
On the court, Stephen Curry added 34 points, 10 assists and six rebounds as Golden State closed out its second title and a best-ever 16-1 record in the four rounds of the NBA playoffs.
Golden State played Game 5 with the memory of last season's playoff loss, when the team lost its 3-1 finals lead over the Cavaliers and dropped the deciding seventh game at Oracle Arena.
"We learned from everything we've been through," Curry said during the ceremony to award the NBA's Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.
"Our perspective, being blessed to play on this stage three years in a row, it's for these fans, for our organization, for these families," Curry said. "To be back here, bring ol' Larry back home -- I'm just excited to do something special. I'm ready to do it again."
James, who in 2012 with Miami beat the Thunder in Durant's only other Finals, wound up with 41 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving followed up his 40-point gem in Friday's Game 4 with 26 points but shot 9 for 22.
This time, James gave way to KD, who was the NBA Finals MVP 10 years after being picked second in the NBA draft behind Greg Oden.
"It's just a great group of guys, great community, great arena, great fans," Durant said. "I'm just so happy to be a part of it. I can't wait to celebrate with my teammates in the locker room."
The Warriors won in 2015 before the Cavs made their historic comeback last year. Then it was Golden State's time again, with Durant as the prized addition.
This post contains reporting from The Associated Press. KQED's Alyssa Jeong Perry and Miranda Leitsinger contributed.