NBA Finals 2018: Finishing Strong
How did the Warriors earn a clean sweep? We look back on the last two games of the 2018 Finals
The NBA’s 2018 Finals have come to an inevitable close. Days after the Golden State Warriors were proclaimed the victors of yet another season, basketball fans are still abuzz with all that happened in their last two matches against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ahead, we recap the big moments of Games 3 and 4.
Game 3: Golden State Warriors, 110-102
Taking off from Game 2 where the Warriors blazed their way to victory with Stephen Curry’s record-breaking nine 3-pointers, the third game of the NBA Finals told a different story. While the Warriors got off to a difficult start, the Cavs worked their way to a 16-4 lead thanks to J.R. Smith and Kevin Love bringing their A-game to the Quicken Loans Arena. Setting the crowd ablaze, LeBron James pulled off a trick reminiscent of last year's Finals: an epic shot where the ball bounced off the backboard and back into his hands for a double-handed dunk.
Despite the remarkable play from the Cavs, Andre Iguodala's entrance and Kevin Durant's shooting of basket after basket marked a change in the game. By halftime, Golden State was in the lead with 58-52.
In true Warriors fashion, the defending champions earned an avalanche of points in the third quarter. With JaVale McGee scoring 8 points in three quick minutes, Durant keeping up his streak and Curry's shots finally getting in the basket, the Cavs struggled to stand their ground but refused to give in.
Come fourth quarter, the lead traveled back and forth between the two teams thanks to a brief one-on-one between Kevin Durant and Rodney Hood. With a 5-0 run by Curry, a dunk by Iguodala and a 3-pointer from Durant, the last three minutes were filled with decisive, high-action moments that ultimately pushed Golden State to another victory.
Game 4: Golden State Warriors, 108-85
Driving in the opposite direction of the previous match, the Warriors started off Game 3 with a 13-3 lead, with 9 out of those 13 shots scored by Curry. With plenty of time to turn the odds around, Cleveland refused to go down without a fight—but ultimately fell behind by 9 points by the end of the first quarter. Even as chances seemed to slim, the Cavs stayed vigilant and momentarily took back the lead in the second quarter thanks to LeBron's tireless charge towards the hoop.
However, by halftime, the Warriors had caught up and effectively closed the gap. At that point, it could have been either team's game.
No exception to Golden State's third quarter thunder, Game 4 began to curve in the Warriors' favor after the break with three consecutive baskets and an eventual 25-13 advantage. The difference in scores increasingly grew after that and despite staying in the game until the very end, it was clear that the Cleveland Cavaliers had accepted their fate. The Warriors stormed towards victory with an astounding 23-point lead, earning a clean sweep.
While Curry's point count easily outnumbered everyone else's in the last game, it was ultimately Kevin Durant who was announced as Most Valuable Player. It is Durant's second time receiving the title.
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