The Golden State Warriors have made it back to the NBA Finals for the first time in decades. Steve Kerr‘s squad defeated the Houston Rockets in game five from Oakland on Wednesday night to wrap up the Western Conference Finals 4-1. The Warriors will now have eight day’s rest before they face Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the championship series.
The Rockets, although they had earned a reputation for playing their best when their backs were against the wall, went out in game five without much of a fight. The two seed in the west lost by 14 in no small part due to a horrible game by James Harden. He had just 14 points but, more un-impressively, Harden committed 13 turnovers – more than the rest of the team combined.
Stephen Curry lead all scorers with 26 points on the night. He was trailed by Harrison Barnes, a player who played well above his averages with 24 points and seven rebounds. Klay Thompson, in limited action, also had 20 points although his playing time was curbed thanks to a knee to the head that he appeared to recover from.
The Warriors are now back into the NBA Finals for the first time since 1975, the last time the franchise won the championship series. While many will be attributing a fair chunk of the success to the players on the court, especially Curry, Steve Kerr undoubtedly deserves a huge chunk of the credit.
A first year coach in the association, Kerr’s mind for the game of basketball cannot be denied. As a player, he was a potent offensive weapon and he remains the all-time leader in three-point field goal percentage. He’s the perfect coaching match for Curry, a player who shot .443 from beyond the arc during the regular season.
With both the Eastern Conference Finals and the Western Conference Finals finishing quickly, NBA fans will have quite the wait for the playoffs to resume. In fact there is an eight day layoff as game one of the NBA Finals will not go until next Thursday night. Accordingly both teams will enter the championship series well-rested and there will be a lot of time for hype.
The match-up for the 2015 NBA Finals is noteable in that it does not include a franchise with a history or either short-termed or long-termed success. The Boston Celtics aren’t in it, the Miami Heat aren’t in it, and neither are the Los Angeles Lakers. The 2015 NBA Finals will see two typically “have-not” franchises square off and, just maybe, that might hurt the ratings a bit.
Cleveland fans will be looking for their first-ever championship while Golden State fans, at least the ones who can’t remember 1975 (ie. 95% of them?), might as well have the same outlook.
Game one goes on June 4th at 9pm ET from Oakland. Popular opinion, as suggested by betting odds, make the Warriors the series favorite (source: bet365).