The Golden State Warriors returned to the peak of the NBA by hammering the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals to claim their second Championship in three years.
The Warriors had lost their crown to LeBron James and company in the previous campaign. They suffered the indignity of losing three-straight games to lose their title at Oracle Arena.
However, the off-season provided Steve Kerr’s men with the perfect opportunity to reload and they pulled off one of the most stunning deals in NBA history.
The Warriors lured 2014 MVP Kevin Durant away from their Western Conference rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder, bolstering their already-formidable unit into an unstoppable juggernaut.
The move for Durant did not disrupt the form of reigning MVP Steph Curry as he maintained the high level of his play. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were equally dominant, allowing Durant to phase into life with the Bay Area outfit.
It would have been hard to better their record-breaking 73-9 record of the previous term, but the Warriors came close, winning 67 of their 82 contests to clinch the top seed in the Conference.
Golden State dominated the post-season, easing past the three opponents to return to the Finals for the third season on the bounce. With revenge on their minds they did not disappoint with their key man Durant rising to occasion to win Finals MVP to see off the Cavs in five matches.
Kerr’s men have kept their roster intact to maintain their dynasty by locking down Durant to a new contract along with Curry. Therefore the club are overwhelming favourites to retain the crown and join the elite dynasties of the NBA.
Dominant From the Off
Although the Warriors would enjoy a dominant season, their campaign began with a defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Kawhi Leonard outdueled the Warriors’ fearsome line-up guiding his side to victory, despite a decent debut performance from Durant.
A victory over the New Orleans Pelicans got them off the mark, while they ended the opening month of the campaign by defeating the Phoenix Suns. Durant put on a clinic in his first match against his former club – the Thunder – scoring 39 points to deliver a comfortable win.
A defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers stymied their momentum as Julius Randle put in a fine outing. However, the response from the Warriors was emphatic, winning their next 12 matches on the bounce.
The run included a difficult four-game stretch on the road against the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. Curry, Durant and Thompson all had strong performances to deliver the surge of victories.
The Houston Rockets ended the winning run in a thrilling double overtime contest, featuring fine performances from James Harden and Ryan Anderson. The loss was only a minor blip as Thompson scored a career-high 60 points to overcome the Pacers to get his side back on track.
Kerr’s men only lost three out of their 16 matches in December, although one of those was their fateful rematch against the Cavs. The contest ended in a painful one-point defeat, serving as a reminder for the rest of the campaign.
The Warriors began 2017 like they ended the last year, with an imperious run of results. They began with comfortable wins over the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers. However, for the second time in a month Kerr’s men were beaten by the Grizzlies, despite a 40-pointer from Curry.
Golden State avenged their defeat at the hands of the Cavs, with a dominant outing at Oracle Arena. The club cantered to a 41-7 record by the end of the month as Curry took over the mantle from Durant to lead his side in scoring.
Kerr’s men continued their impressive form in February, although they suffered one of their worst losses of the term against the Sacramento Kings in overtime. Victories over the Thunder and the Grizzlies on the road along with the Clippers on home soil atoned for that setback.
An injury to Durant sidelined the forward for 19 matches in March, which coincided with the club’s worst form of the season. The Warriors lost four out of five, including three on the bounce as the Celtics, Timberwolves and Spurs capitalised on his absence.
However, Golden State found their rhythm once again and won their next 13 matches, defeating the Spurs and Rockets in the process. The club secured a 60-win season for the second term on the bounce and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Record-Breaking Run To The Crown
Durant returned towards the end of the season and by the time the playoffs were around he was back to full fitness. He proved that with a 32-point outing to defeat the Trail Blazers in game one of the first round, while Curry starred in the rest of the series to sweep their opponents.
The Utah Jazz boasted the best defense in the NBA heading into the Conference Semi-Finals. However, not even their stoic play could halt the Warriors’ juggernaut in another 4-0 rout.
The Spurs presented a formidable opponent in the Western Conference Finals, and that played out to form when Leonard had the Warriors rocking at Oracle Arena. However, the second he suffered an ankle injury after landing awkwardly Zaza Pachulia’s foot, the momentum shifted dramatically.
With Leonard sidelined Golden State eradicated a 20-point deficit and then dominated the rest of the series to advance to the Finals.
The addition of Durant proved to be the decisive factor against the Cavs in the Finals. He displayed the shift in balance in game one, with a 38-point performance to deliver an emphatic win. In game two he combined with Curry to take the contest away from LeBron and company at Oracle Arena.
On the road it looked as though the Cavs would get back on track, only for a late surge from Durant to snatch the victory away and seemingly the Championship. However, Cleveland did hit back to end the Warriors’ 15-match unbeaten run in the post-season – a new NBA record.
The Cavs produced a strong first quarter in game five, but Golden State dug deep and rallied to close out the Finals and secured their second title in three years.
Further Success Ahead
The re-signings of Curry and Durant have allowed the Warriors to keep their roster intact. Even role players Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Pachulia have been retained, with only Ian Clark leaving for pastures new.
As a result, Golden State are the overwhelming favourites to win the NBA title for the second year on the bounce and the third time in four years.
Durant and Curry were truly dominant in the playoffs as well as the regular season.
As a result, backing them to be MVP at odds of 7/24.50+3503.503.50-0.29 for Durant and 9/110.00+9009.009.00-0.11 for Curry with SunBets is well worth a punt.
Add Thompson to the mix and there’s not a defense in the league that can cope with the triple threat.The Warriors also boast the best defensive player in the NBA in the form of Green. With those four players under contract for the foreseeable future there’s no reason why the club cannot match the great dynasties of the Celtics, Bulls and Lakers.
Due to the talent on the roster there’s even a slight possibility they could go unbeaten.
At odds of 5000/15001.00+5000005000.005000.000.00 with Ladbrokes it’s certainly worth a small punt at the least. A price of 150/1151.00+15000150.00150.00-0.01 to remain unbeaten at Oracle Arena is equally as enticing.
The Warriors are considered a near-lock to win the Western Conference therefore there is not great value.
Their best price comes with Bet365 at 5/141.36-2800.36-2.800.36 , which may alter during the season. For the NBA Championship their value of 4/61.67-1500.67-1.500.67 with SunBets is worth a shout as their price will only shorten.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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