The Cleveland Cavaliers' reign at the top of the National Basketball Association came to an end with a 129-120 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the 2017 Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Monday night.
But as the Warriors sealed a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers - gaining revenge having collapsed from 3-1 up against the same opponents previous year - Durant's switch has been vindicated.
"If Kevin Durant was the consolation prize for losing [last year's finals], thanks for that loss", Draymond Green said of his team-mate. Durant has made 14 of 18 shots, including 5 of 7 3-pointers, to put the Warriors on the brink of their second championship in three years. After the first quarter, the Cavaliers were up 37-33.
If the Warriors win tonight, what are the chances this becomes a poster outside the visitors locker room here at Oracle?
Despite coming up on the losing end of The Finals for the fifth time in eight trips, James averaged a triple-double over the five games, a first for the NBA's championship series. But the Warriors bench has been the difference through three quarters. Heading into the final period of the game, the home team held a 98-93 lead. Making that even more incredible: This was LeBron's best Finals average Game Score in the last six years.
With the lead up to 17 and halftime fast approaching Smith hit back-to-back threes on the Cavs final two possessions to get this back to a deficit from which it still felt like it was one the Cavaliers could come back. LeBron James has 27 points, but has played 35 of the 36 minutes.
A year after compiling the greatest regular season in National Basketball Association history but falling short of the big ring, the Warriors had just completed the greatest postseason this league, any league, any of the Big Four sports had ever seen.
Kyrie Irving followed up his 40-point gem in Game 4 with 26 points but shot 9 for 22. Cleveland's subs have scored just two points. The relentlessness and resourcefulness of James during this all-time playoff performance is about the only thing standing between Golden State and the parade planning. When James dunked on Durant, many thought Durant should have gotten his third foul of the game and sat out the rest of the first half.
Tempers flared when Kyrie Irving tied up David West on a loose ball.
Kevin Love is scoreless for the Cavs, who have turned it over 11 times.
None of that was an issue for the Warriors as Durant has been called an unselfish player whose only desire was to do whatever is in the best interests of his team.
Curry was no slouch himself in this series, but next to Durant he was merely support.
"To do something I love to do and know she knows I love it so much and she knows how much I come home at night and stress and how happy I am when I play the game", Durant said of his mom. It all began to turn around when they brought out the Death Lineup, taking out Zaza Pachulia (who failed to score the entire game) and subbing in Andre Iguodala.