(SFGATE) — As yellow confetti fell from the rafters and TV cameras swarmed Monday night, Kevin Durant grabbed the charcoal cap emblazoned with the Larry O’Brien trophy before embracing Stephen Curry.
In that moment, as a capacity crowd belted along to “We Are the Champions,” the Warriors had finally vindicated the 3-1 Finals lead they squandered last June. Nothing — not the chorus of critics, not the Herculean performances from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, not a lengthy hiatus from head coach Steve Kerr — could keep Golden State from winning its second NBA title in three years.
The history books will read that the Warriors won 31 of their final 33 outings, including 16 of 17 playoff games. They disposed of the Cavaliers, the only team that could rival their loaded roster, in five games. To hoist that golden trophy, Golden State outlasted Cleveland, 129-120, in Game 5 on Monday.