Messi and Barca congratulate NBA champions Warriors

They never returned to the championship series and soon splintered.

Yet when it has mattered most he has been outplayed by Durant and, while the National Basketball Association is still considered LeBron's league, he now has a very imposing challenger. "He felt he needed to reassess his career and come here". Kerr and his All-Star cast met with Durant in the Hamptons on Long Island and sold him on a delicious future: the chance to win multiple titles, to be a key cog on a forever team. Durant has 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting and Curry has 25 points.

"It's different just because of what happened a year ago to be honest", Curry said.

An unprecedented third straight NBA Finals clash between the Warriors and Cavaliers was hyped as the ultimate championship rubber match and was expected to be the antidote for a post-season that had little in the way of drama.

"You feel obviously the disappointment of losing, a lot of decisions that you'll replay over the summer", he said.

The Warriors head into the offseason with eight unrestricted free agent, including guard Stephen Curry. They won 15 games in a row and have now won the Championship after dropping just one game.

The Cavaliers were a shell of themselves without James on the floor.

The two-time US Olympic gold medallist scored more than 30 points in each of the five games - the first player since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000 for the LA Lakers - and averaged 35.2 per game across the series. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the clincher. Thompson, charged with the task of guarding Irving, supplied the necessary defense once again. High-fiving Shaun Livingston on the bench after a stop.

James hit a layup to open the fourth quarter and pull Cleveland within 98-95, as close as the Cavs had been in the second half after trailing by 17 in the first half.

Competition is the core element to all good sporting leagues. "You have to tip your hat to Cleveland", he added. "There was never any question in my mind that this was going to work". "This was the culmination of a year in which they grew together, learned each other's games and got better and better".

Warriors coach Steve Kerr sees Durant as that missing piece to turning a formidable club into a historic juggernaut.

Among the other first-time National Basketball Association champions was Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, the first player from the nation of Georgia to win an National Basketball Association title. "He's put the time in and I'm just so happy for him to be able to realize his goal and be my teammate".

The Finals loss is LeBron's third in four seasons, and drops his overall record to 3-5 in the Finals.

Even in a loss, LeBron James found a victory.

Also: A case could be made that LeBron was the best player on the floor in all three series against the Warriors and should own three Finals MVPs instead of one.

"Man, that guy is - I think that some people would say that he's on the toe of - like he's on the line of greatness".

"The next thing that I'm looking forward to is getting these couple weeks off and then get right back to it". But Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant have each picked up two fouls.

Sometimes lost in all the chatter about a possible Warriors' dynasty is the fact that Golden State plays handsome, often unselfish team ball. Here's a hint: There aren't any at the moment.

Curry was the one who texted Durant after their free agency meeting in the Hamptons to let him know that it didn't matter whose team it was. The Indiana Pacers' Paul George has one year left on his contract and has been speculated as a possible target.

This offseason will be filled with theories and rumors of what the Cavaliers and other teams around the league will need to do to compete with the Warriors.

For his part, James said he had no reason to hang his head. Jerry West (1-8) and Elgin Baylor (0-7) are comfortably in that class, and they have even worse Finals records. "And they waited until late to do it".

The new labor agreement was created to financially incentivize stars to stay put, making it increasingly likely that we'll never see a stacked team like the Warriors unless a team drafts and develops three stars. Neither made the playoffs this year. "You've got to call Kevin Durant a champ now", Curry said. "This is something that we want to continue to do, but for us to have these conversations that we had nearly a year ago and now being in this position, worth every shot we took in practice, fighting through injuries that he had this year, and it's an unbelievable feeling".

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