The Warriors have earned another spot in the NBA history book.
With Monday’s 129-120 win over the Cavaliers, Golden State didn’t just claim its second NBA championship in three seasons. The Warriors also posted a 16-1 record (.941 win percentage) in these playoffs to go on the best title run ever, percentage points better than the 2001 Lakers (15-1, .938).
Led by Finals MVP Kevin Durant, Golden State outscored teams by 13.5 points per game during its historic postseason run that included sweeps of the Trail Blazers, Jazz and Spurs.
These are the accomplishments of a team that should be considered among the all-time greats. But instead of celebrating Golden State’s greatness, former players are poking holes in the Warriors’ historic achievements.
Rip Hamilton said he believes his 2004 Pistons could beat this Warriors team in a seven-game series. Magic Johnson thinks the Showtime Lakers would sweep Golden State. John Salley said he would pick the 1995-96 Bulls to win a series against the Warriors.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who played on the 1995-96 Bulls, had the perfect response to these comments.
“They’re all right. They would all kill us,” Kerr said to reporters Friday in advance of Game 4 of the NBA Finals. “The game gets worse as time goes on. Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the 50s would’ve destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”
ESPN spoke with seven Las Vegas bookmakers about the topic, and five of the six bookmakers had the Warriors favored in a game between this year’s Golden State team and Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls team. Golden State was favored from as high as -8 at the MGM to as low as -2 at William Hill US.
According to ESPN, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook manager Jeff Sherman set the line at Golden State -6.5 and a series price of Chicago +300 and Golden State -360.
This is obviously all speculation, but there’s one accomplishment others can’t take away from the Warriors. Golden State just capped off the best postseason run in NBA history.
The 1983 76ers and 2001 Lakers are the only other one-loss NBA champions in league history. That’s a pretty good list to be on.
Did LeBron have a case for Finals MVP?: This may be a stretch with how dominant Kevin Durant was. But LeBron James was pretty dominant himself. He became the first player to average a triple-double in the Finals with 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game in the series. But the statistic most will point to after Cleveland’s loss to Golden State is James’ 3-5 record record in the Finals. To get to that record, James had to make eight Finals appearances. That’s a pretty incredible accomplishment, considering that Michael Jordan made just six trips to the Finals. But even James knows he has plenty to think about if he wants to compete with this Warriors team moving forward.
“I need to sit down and figure this thing out,” James said at the podium when asked about his future. “Pretty much all [the Warriors’] big-name guys are in their 20s, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.”
Did you see that KD commercial?: Nike wasted no time in throwing out a new Kevin Durant commercial after Golden State’s championship. Durant quieted the critics with this title. Here’s the commercial …