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NBA: ‘Ultimate Warriors’

Klay Thompson,Stephen Curry,Kevin Durant

Clinch 2nd NBA title with gutsy win vs LeBron, Cavs.

OAKLAND, California (AP) — As the gold confetti fell and a fresh gray NBA champion cap sat a tad off-kilter on his head, Kevin Durant embraced mother Wanda. Then he moved across the podium and hugged Stephen Curry before accepting his shiny MVP trophy and hoisting it for everyone to see.

From the Bay all the way to OKC.

Durant capped his spectacular first season with the Warriors by bringing home that coveted NBA championship he joined Golden State last July so determined to get. He scored 39 points in a fast-and-furious, Finals-clinching 129-120 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 on Monday night, giving his team a 4-1 victory in the seven-game series.

“It’s just a great group of guys, great community, great arena, great fans,” Durant said. “I’m just so happy to be a part of it.”

Stephen Curry added 34 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals as Golden State closed out its second title in three years after squandering a 3-1 lead a year ago to the Cavs to miss a repeat. That stung ever since, and even Durant understood, because he gave up the same lead to the Warriors a round earlier with Oklahoma City.

“We learned from everything we’ve been through,” Curry said during the trophy celebration. “Our perspective, being blessed to play on this stage three years in a row, it’s for these fans, for our organization, for these families.

… I’m just excited to do something special. I’m ready to do it again.”

This time, King James gave way to KD, who was the NBA Finals MVP 10 years after being picked second in the NBA draft behind Greg Oden.

“Well I’m not happy he won his first, I’m not happy at all,” James said. “… Getting that first championship for me was like having my first son.”

Durant drove left, right and down the middle, knocked down 3-pointers, dished and dunked. He hit a 17-foot fadeaway over James early in the fourth quarter, then assisted on a 3-pointer by Andre Iguodala the next time down as the Warriors pulled away.

Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, came up big again with his 2017 postseason-best 20 points off the bench in a testy, tightly called finale to this trilogy Finals that everyone had stamped on the calendar from the moment Durant departed Oklahoma City to join Curry and Co. last July.

The Warriors won in 2015 before the Cavs made their historic comeback last year. Then it was Golden State’s time again, with Durant as the prized addition.

Durant shot 14 for 20 and Curry — the two-time reigning MVP who took a backseat as the new big star got acclimatized — finished off a brilliant postseason. Not to mention a healthy one after his 2016 injuries.

Draymond Green stayed on the court in a game that featured three technicals on one play 3:08 before halftime. David West fought for the ball with Irving, then they got tangled up and Tristan Thompson entered the fray and he and West went at each other face-to-face. West, Thompson and J.R. Smith received techs after a replay review.

Green had sat out this very game a year ago, suspended because of flagrant foul point accumulation after he swiped at James’ groin in Game 4. He had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the clincher.

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