Kevin Durant has two Olympic gold medals, an NBA regular-season MVP award and four scoring titles, and now he’s an NBA champion and Finals MVP.
Durant scored 39 points to lead the Golden State Warriors, including fellow Olympic gold-medal winners Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, past the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night, 129-120.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Durant became the first player since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to record five straight 30-point games in the NBA Finals. He shot 14-of-20 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, and 6-of-6 from the line and was named the Bill Russell Finals MVP.
It is the fifth title for Golden State and second in the past three years.
The two teams met in each of the last two NBA Finals, with Golden State winning in 2015 and Cleveland winning in 2016.
Last year, the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 series deficit and win the championship. That improbable run ended in Game 7 with two-time Olympic champion LeBron James recording a triple-double and 2016 Olympic champion Kyrie Irving scoring a late 3-pointer to end Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought.
The good fortune ran out this year.
Although James recorded his ninth career triple-double in the finals and Irving scored 40 points in Game 4 to end Golden State’s 15-0 postseason run and force Game 5, the comeback wasn’t to be this year. James scored 41 points and had 13 rebounds in the Game 5 loss. Irving scored 26 points and was 7-of-7 from the line.
In total, the game featured nine U.S. Olympians. In addition to Durant, Green and Thompson, Golden State featured Andre Iguodala. Cleveland’s Richard Jefferson, Kevin Love and Deron Williams are also Olympians.
It was the second NBA championship for Green and Thompson, who won with the Warriors in 2015. Green was 3-of-10 for 10 points and had 12 rebounds in the deciding game. Thompson shot 4-of-13 from the field for 11 points and added five rebounds.