Kevin Durant validated his decision to join the Golden State Warriors a year ago by winning the NBA Finals MVP award after tremendous performances all series in the Warriors’ 4-1 victory over the Cavaliers. Durant was the star in all four of the Warriors’ wins and scored over 31 points in all five games in the series.
The performance proved that Durant joining the Warriors wasn’t a matter of him coming in to ride along to his first NBA title, but that he became the team’s offensive leader even alongside two-time MVP Steph Curry. In Game 5, Durant got off to a slow start after picking up two quick fouls but came alive in the second quarter and never stopped his offensive onslaught from there.
Durant was lights out from three-point range in Game 5, making 5-of-8 attempts from long range on his way to 39 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in the Warriors’ series clinching game. That performance also cemented his Finals MVP victory, but his effort throughout the series earned him that honor.
The Warriors’ star got things going in Game 1 against the Cavs and made his presence known early on with a thunderous dunk after making LeBron James slip to the floor and taking the ball baseline for the jam.
In Game 2, Durant was sublime once again, and his finest moment came as the Warriors were icing the game when he blocked Kevin Love and sprinted down court with the ball to hit a ridiculously difficult shot on the other end.
While Durant was spectacular in his first two Finals games in Oakland, his iconic Finals moment and the one that will be remembered forever from this series is his game-winning three-pointer in Game 3. Durant pulled down the board after Kyle Korver’s crucial miss and calmly walked the ball up and drilled a three-pointer in LeBron James’ face to give the Warriors the lead for good.
After the Game 4 loss in which Durant still had 35 points, he led the Warriors back in Game 5 by hitting a number of incredibly clutch three-pointers to spark the Warriors’ run to the lead in the second quarter and then more late in the second half that kept the Cavaliers at arm’s length despite the best efforts of LeBron, J.R. Smith, and Kyrie Irving.
In summation, Kevin Durant was phenomenal all series, deserved the Finals MVP award, and more than earned his first NBA title in his first season with the Warriors.