Sunday 18 March 2018 / 10:50 AM


Golden State have taken out their second NBA Championship in three seasons, as well as avenging last year’s Finals capitulation to Cleveland, by charging to a series-sealing 129-120 Game 5 victory at Oracle Arena.

The Cavs came into the must-win showdown with renewed confidence after their 21-point win in Game 4 and led by as many as eight points during the first half, but a dominant 38-23 second quarter from the Warriors changed the complexion of the contest.

A couple of late JR Smith threes restricted the halftime damage to an 11-point deficit and the defending champs set up a grandstand final term after chipping another six points off the Warriors’ lead in the third quarter.

But after LeBron James opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a lay-up, the Warriors were able to keep the Cavaliers at arm’s length in the stretch, extending their advantage to 14 points with four minutes left.

Finals MVP Kevin Durant – who scored at least 31 points in all five games – starred once more with 39 points on 14-for-20 shooting (and 5-for-8 from three), seven rebounds and five assists.

KD capped a season that saw a torrent of criticism and abuse for leaving the Thunder in triumph, collecting a covet ring and plaudits as potentially the NBA’s best player.

Steph Curry chimed in with 34 points and 10 assists, and Andre Iguodola contributed 20 points from the bench.

LeBron couldn’t have done much more for the Cavs, racking up game-high points (41) and rebound (13) tallies along with eight assists, while Smith’s 25 points included an incredible 7-for-8 from three.

The Warriors can now bask in their victory, living up to their unbackable favourite billing from the pre-season by going 16-1 in a rampant post-season campaign – and 4-1 against their arch-nemesis, the deposed Cavaliers.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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