The NBA Finals are over. The NBA season is over. We are now about to dive into the dark, purgatorial state known better as the NBA’s offseason. For one team that participated in the Finals, the offseason will provide the opportunity for a victory lap. For the other team that participated in the Finals, along with the other 28 teams in the league, the offseason will be a time to try and figure out how the hell you’re supposed to beat the Warriors.
But before we dive head-first into the offseason, let’s look back on the Finals.
Namely, let’s look back on the eight best plays that happened during the third edition of the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Golden State Warriors.
8. Kyrie Goes Coast-To-Coast
Scene: Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Golden State is up, 2-0. It’s back in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving has been, for lack of a better word, not great thus far in the series.
Game 3 rolls around and Irving starts shooting fireballs from his hands. Sure, the Dubs ended up winning, but this was world-class from Irving – he went coast-to-coast and finished through insane traffic to score before halftime. It’s not a stretch to say that no one is able to score from below the rim quite like Irving, which he showed us here.
And my goodness, those handles are something else.
Did he double-dribble? Probably! But this play showed how far Curry has come in his NBA career – originally billed as just a shooter, he’s now an ultra-creative offensive player whose handles, ability to get to the rim, and finish are among the best in the world.
When you make LeBron dance like this, you did something special. This is something special.
6. Iggy Turns Back The Clock
There was a time in Andre Iguodala’s career when he was among the most vicious dunkers and biggest open-floor threats in the NBA. That time has passed, sure, but he reminded us during Game 5 that he can still elevate and finish with authority.
It was so smooth yet so powerful, two things that were trademarks of Iguodala’s game when he was a star in Philadelphia. Father time is undefeated, but Iggy still got the best of him here.
Durant made one heck of a business decision here. Sure, he could have tried to stop LeBron from putting him on a poster, but with JaVale McGee standing right there, Durant decided to let his big man try and get the block.
That, of course, didn’t happen. LeBron was just cruel to McGee on this one. He even stood and flexed for a sec, which LeBron rarely does. I guess when you know you just made a grown man look silly, you do these kinds of things.
This play was an accident. Curry was obviously trying to pass the ball to Klay Thompson, but due to a miscommunication that didn’t happen.
Fortunately for him, Durant was in the right spot and just absolutely shook LeBron, giving him a clear path to the lane. It set the crowd at Oracle ablaze, even if it all happened on accident
Durant tried to slow this down by smacking LeBron square in the face. No foul was called, but it didn’t matter, because LeBron soared through the air and hammered it home. At this point, it almost seemed like Cleveland might be able to win Game 5. It didn’t happen, but for a moment, it seemed like the Cavs were cooking on all cylinders. Then the Warriors decided the game was over, but this was still cool.
However, this wasn’t LeBron’s best dunk of the Finals. That honor goes to…
By this point, the game was basically over. But still, LeBron threw a dang basketball off the dang backboard for a dang alley-oop to himself in a dang NBA Finals game. It was awesome. And hilarious. And ballsy. And about a million other things.
It cannot be stressed enough how big this shot was by Durant. Every Finals game has big moments, but this moment literally decided a win and a loss. It also capped off a massive comeback by Golden State to steal a game at Quicken Loans Arena and was cold blooded as all hell – the list of guys who can pull up in transition and can a jumper in LeBron’s eye like this is as follows:
- Kevin Durant
Total aside, but all of the top-5 plays on this list involve the two-best basketball players on earth. Sure, plenty of people weren’t happy with the fact that Durant left Oklahoma City to join the Warriors, but at least we got a series that featured the latest chapter in the LeBron vs. Durant rivalry.
We’re probably getting the latest chapter in that rivalry, along with Cavs-Dubs IV, next Finals. Hopefully the offseason doesn’t drag on too long in the meantime.