2015 NBA Finals

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The NBA Finals is the final series of the NBA Playoffs. In this series (7 games), the winner of the Eastern Conference competes against the winner of the Western Conference for the NBA Championship.

Contents

2015 NBA Finals
The NBA Finals logo.svg
TeamCoachWins
Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr 4
Cleveland Cavaliers David Blatt 2
DatesJune 4–16
MVP Andre Iguodala
(Golden State Warriors)
TelevisionUnited States:
English: ABC and ESPN3
Spanish: ESPN Deportes
Canada:
TSN
Announcers ABC:
ESPN Deportes:
Radio network ESPN Radio
Announcers Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown
Referees
Game 1: Monty McCutchen, James Capers, Jason Phillips
Game 2:Scott Foster, Tony Brothers, Zach Zarba
Game 3: Danny Crawford, Marc Davis, Derrick Stafford
Game 4: Joe Crawford, Mike Callahan, Ken Mauer
Game 5: Monty McCutchen, James Capers, Jason Phillips
Game 6:Scott Foster, Marc Davis, Zach Zarba
Eastern Finals Cavaliers defeated Hawks, 4–0
Western Finals Warriors defeated Rockets, 4–1
NBA Finals

The 2015 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2014–15 season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors defeated the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers in six games (4–2) for the Warriors' first title in 40 years and their fourth in franchise history, becoming the first team since the 1990–91 Chicago Bulls to win a championship without any prior Finals experience from any player on their roster. Golden State's Andre Iguodala was named the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP).

NBA Finals championship series of the National Basketball Association, annual from 1950; officially includes 1947 to 1949 BAA Finals; officially called the National Basketball Association World Championship Series through 1987

The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Eastern and Western conference champions play a best-of-seven game series to determine the league champion. The winners of the Finals are awarded the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, which replaced the Walter A. Brown Trophy in 1983.

The 2014–15 NBA season was the 69th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The NBA draft took place on June 26, 2014, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where Andrew Wiggins was selected first overall. The regular season began on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, when the defending NBA champions San Antonio Spurs hosted the first game against the Dallas Mavericks. The 2015 NBA All-Star Game was played on Sunday, February 15, 2015, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, with the West defeating the East 163-158. Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook won the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award. The regular season ended on Wednesday April 15, 2015 and the playoffs began on Saturday, April 18, 2015 and ended with the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015, after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games to win their fourth NBA title. The Charlotte Bobcats played their first official game as the Charlotte Hornets since 2002.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams. It is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.

The Warriors were led by 2014–15 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Stephen Curry, while the Cavaliers featured four-time league MVP LeBron James. Both teams entered the series with title droughts of four decades, with the Cavaliers having never won a title since their 1970–71 inception and the Warriors' last title having been in 1975. [1] This was also the first time that both participating teams had first-year head coaches since the inaugural league finals in 1947, when the NBA was known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). [2] It was the fifth consecutive finals appearance for James who played for the Miami Heat the previous four seasons, [3] making him the first NBA player since the Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1960s to achieve this accomplishment.

Stephen Curry American basketball player

Wardell Stephen Curry II is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A six-time NBA All-Star, he has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice and won three NBA championships with the Warriors. Many players and analysts have called him the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball by inspiring teams to regularly employ the three-point shot as part of their winning strategy.

LeBron James American basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron Raymone James Sr. is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is often considered the best basketball player in the world and regarded by some as the greatest player of all time. His accomplishments include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals. James has appeared in fifteen NBA All-Star Games and been named NBA All-Star MVP three times. He won the 2008 NBA scoring title, is the all-time NBA playoffs scoring leader, and is fifth in all-time career points scored. He has been voted onto the All-NBA First Team twelve times and the All-Defensive First Team five times.

The 1970–71 NBA season was the 25th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA Championship, beating the Baltimore Bullets 4 games to 0 in the NBA Finals. Three new teams made their debut: the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Buffalo Braves.

James also became the first player in NBA Finals history to lead both teams in points, assists, and rebounds for the entire series. He averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists for the series, although he shot 39.8% throughout the series. [4] [5] Kevin Love missed the entire series due to an injury, and Kyrie Irving missed the final five games of the series due to an injury in Game 1. For the second straight year, the Finals was played in the 2–2–1–1–1 format (Games 1, 2, and 5 were at Golden State, games 3, 4, and 6 were at Cleveland. Had it been necessary, Game 7 would have been held at Golden State). The series began on June 4, 2015, ending on June 16. In the United States, it was televised on ABC and in Canada on TSN.

Kevin Love American professional basketball player

Kevin Wesley Love is an American professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a five-time All-Star and won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016. He was also a member of the gold medal-winning USA men's national team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Kyrie Irving American basketball player

Kyrie Andrew Irving is an American professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was named NBA Rookie of the Year after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. A six-time NBA All-Star, Irving was selected to the All-NBA Third Team in 2015. He won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016.

The NBA on ABC is a presentation of National Basketball Association (NBA) games produced by ESPN, and televised on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

Background

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers entered the 2014–15 season after firing Mike Brown and replacing him with David Blatt as head coach, signing free agent forward LeBron James, and trading for forward Kevin Love. James previously played for Cleveland from 2003 to 2010, leading the Cavaliers to their only previous Finals appearance in 2007. James then played for the Miami Heat from 2010 to 2014, leading the Heat to two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013. During the 2014 NBA draft on June 26, 2014, Cleveland held the first overall pick and used it to select Andrew Wiggins. Later on August 23, a three-team trade was completed involving the Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Philadelphia 76ers. As part of the deal, Cleveland dealt Wiggins and Anthony Bennett and received Love. [6]

Mike Brown (basketball, born 1970) American basketball head coach, born 1970

Michael Burton Brown is an American basketball coach. Brown is currently the associate head coach for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Brown is the former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has also coached the Los Angeles Lakers, and is widely regarded as a defensive specialist.

David Blatt Israeli-American basketball player and coach

David Michael Blatt, is an Israeli-American professional basketball coach and a former professional basketball player. He is currently the head coach of Olympiacos of the Greek Basket League and the EuroLeague.

2007 NBA Finals 2007 basketball championship series

The 2007 NBA Finals was the championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 2006–07 season, and was the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The best-of-seven series was played between the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs and the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. This was Cleveland's first trip to the NBA Finals in their franchise history and San Antonio's fourth. The Spurs swept the Cavaliers 4 games to 0. Tony Parker was named the series' MVP. The series was televised on ABC under the ESPN on ABC branding, and produced low television ratings comparing to the 2002 NBA Finals, when the Los Angeles Lakers swept the New Jersey Nets.

James, Love, and guard Kyrie Irving became known as the Big Three. [7] The Cavaliers got off to a shockingly bad start that led to intense media scrutiny and caused many to question Blatt's job security, going 19–20 in their first 39 games, which included a stretch where they were 2–10 in 12 games, starting with a December 25 road loss to Miami. Injuries to James and "chemistry issues," with James "still learning how to play with his new teammates and vice versa," [8] were considered the primary reasons for the underwhelming start. A number of trades turned the season around. The Cavaliers acquired J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the Knicks in exchange for draft picks while sending Dion Waiters to the Thunder. They then acquired Timofey Mozgov. James's return to the Cavaliers' lineup (following a 2-week layoff) on January 12 completed the turnaround. The Cavaliers closed out the season on a high note, going 34–9 for a 53–29 regular season record and the Central Division title, the second best record in the Eastern Conference behind the Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers advanced to the Finals after sweeping the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, defeating the Chicago Bulls in six games during the second round, and sweeping the Hawks in the conference finals.

Iman Asante Shumpert is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Shumpert was selected by the New York Knicks with the 17th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. Shumpert won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

Dion Waiters American basketball player

Dion Waiters is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for Syracuse and was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Timofey Mozgov Russian professional basketball player

Timofey Pavlovich Mozgov is a Russian professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Mozgov won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, becoming one of the first Russians to do so, alongside Sasha Kaun. As a member of the Russian national team, he won the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, as well as a bronze medal at EuroBasket 2011.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors entered the 2014–15 season after replacing Mark Jackson with Steve Kerr as head coach. This was Kerr's first ever head coaching job. After retiring as a player in 2003, he served as a broadcast analyst from 2003 to 2007 and 2010 to 2014, and as general manager of the Phoenix Suns from 2007 to 2010. Revamping Golden State's offense, Kerr employed elements of the triangle offense from his playing days with the Chicago Bulls under Phil Jackson, the spacing and pace of Gregg Popovich from his playing days in San Antonio with the Spurs, and the uptempo principles Alvin Gentry used in Phoenix when Kerr was the GM. [9]

Mark Jackson (basketball) American basketball player and coach

Mark A. Jackson is an American former National Basketball Association (NBA) player and coach. A point guard from St. John's University, he played for the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets in the NBA in a career spanning from 1987 to 2004.

Steve Kerr American basketball player and coach

Stephen Douglas Kerr is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach of the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is an eight-time NBA champion, having won five titles as a player as well as three with the Warriors as a head coach. Kerr has the highest career three-point percentage (45.4%) in NBA history for any player with at least 250 three-pointers made. He also held the NBA record for highest three-point percentage in a season at 52.4% until the record was broken by Kyle Korver in 2010.

Phoenix Suns American professional basketball team

The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division, and are the only team in their division not based in California. The Suns play their home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.

In Kerr's first year, the Warriors finished with the best regular season record at 67–15, including an incredible 39–2 in home games. Kerr became the winningest rookie head coach in NBA history, passing Tom Thibodeau and his 62 wins with the Chicago Bulls in 2010–11. [10] Point guard Stephen Curry set the NBA record for three-pointers made in a regular season with 286, eclipsing his own record set in 2012–13. [11] Curry also won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2014–15 season. [12] He and fellow guard Klay Thompson, known as the Splash Brothers, finished first and second in the league in three-pointers made, respectively, and combined to make 525 threes, surpassing their previous league record for a duo by 41, while also converting an impressive 44% of those shots. [13] [14] [15] During the season, the backcourt mates both started in the NBA All-Star Game and were each named to the All-NBA team, the first time in decades that either has been achieved by guards on the same team. [16] [17] Golden State advanced to the Finals after sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of the playoffs, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in six games during the second round, and eliminating the Houston Rockets in five games in the conference finals.

Road to the Finals

Cleveland Cavaliers (Eastern Conference champion) Golden State Warriors (Western Conference champion)
Eastern Conference
#TeamWLPCTGBGP
1c-Atlanta Hawks *6022.73282
2y-Cleveland Cavaliers *5329.6467.082
3x-Chicago Bulls 5032.61010.082
4y-Toronto Raptors *4933.59811.082
5x-Washington Wizards 4636.56114.082
6x-Milwaukee Bucks 4141.50019.082
7x-Boston Celtics 4042.48820.082
8x-Brooklyn Nets 3844.46322.082
9 Indiana Pacers 3844.46322.082
10 Miami Heat 3745.45123.082
11 Charlotte Hornets 3349.40227.082
12 Detroit Pistons 3250.39028.082
13 Orlando Magic 2557.30535.082
14 Philadelphia 76ers 1864.22042.082
15 New York Knicks 1765.20743.082
2nd seed in the East, 7th best league record
Regular season
Western Conference
#TeamWLPCTGBGP
1z-Golden State Warriors *6715.81782
2y-Houston Rockets *5626.68311.082
3x-Los Angeles Clippers 5626.68311.082
4y-Portland Trail Blazers *5131.62216.082
5x-Memphis Grizzlies 5527.67112.082
6x-San Antonio Spurs 5527.67112.082
7x-Dallas Mavericks 5032.61017.082
8x-New Orleans Pelicans 4537.54922.082
9 Oklahoma City Thunder 4537.54922.082
10 Phoenix Suns 3943.47628.082
11 Utah Jazz 3844.46329.082
12 Denver Nuggets 3052.36637.082
13 Sacramento Kings 2953.35438.082
14 Los Angeles Lakers 2161.25646.082
15 Minnesota Timberwolves 1666.19551.082
1st seed in the West, best league record
Defeated the 7th seeded Boston Celtics, 4–0 First roundDefeated the 8th seeded New Orleans Pelicans, 4–0
Defeated the 3rd seeded Chicago Bulls, 4–2 Conference SemifinalsDefeated the 5th seeded Memphis Grizzlies, 4–2
Defeated the 1st seeded Atlanta Hawks, 4–0 Conference FinalsDefeated the 2nd seeded Houston Rockets, 4–1

Regular season series

The Cavaliers and Warriors tied the regular season series 1–1, with each team winning its home game.

Series summary

GameDateHome TeamResultRoad Team
Game 1Thursday, June 4Golden State Warriors108–100 (OT) (1–0)Cleveland Cavaliers
Game 2Sunday, June 7Golden State Warriors93–95 (OT) (1–1)Cleveland Cavaliers
Game 3Tuesday, June 9Cleveland Cavaliers96–91 (2–1)Golden State Warriors
Game 4Thursday, June 11Cleveland Cavaliers82–103 (2–2)Golden State Warriors
Game 5Sunday, June 14Golden State Warriors104–91 (3–2)Cleveland Cavaliers
Game 6Tuesday, June 16Cleveland Cavaliers97–105 (2–4)Golden State Warriors

Game summaries

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−4)

For the first time in NBA Finals history, the first two games went into overtime and first since 2009 were involved between the Lakers and the Magic. [18] After Golden State fell behind 2–1 in the series, Kerr gave swingman Andre Iguodala his first start of the season, replacing center Andrew Bogut in Game 4. The Warriors' small lineup, which came to be known as the Death Lineup, helped turn the series around. [19] Golden State won the series in six games, claiming their first title since 1975 and their fourth in franchise history. [20] They played small ball in the Finals to a greater extent than any prior champion. [21] Combining regular season and playoff games, the Warriors finished 83–20, the third-best record ever behind the Chicago Bulls in 1995–96 (87–13) and 1996–97 (84–17). [20]

Iguodala was named the Finals MVP, becoming the first to win the award without having started every game in the series. He finished the Finals averaging 16.3 points, 4 assists, and 5.8 rebounds. He was also tasked with guarding Cleveland's LeBron James, who made only 38.1% of his shots when Iguodala was in the game, but still averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. [22] James received four of the 11 votes for Finals MVP even though Cleveland lost by an average of 14 points in the final three games. [23] Stephen Curry was just the sixth player to win his first league MVP and his first NBA title in the same season. Shaquille O'Neal was the last player to have accomplished the feat, in 1999–2000. Kerr became the first rookie coach to win a title since Pat Riley in 1981–82. [20]

The Warriors were the first team since the 1990–91 Bulls to win a title with a roster that did not have any players with Finals experience. [24] James and teammate James Jones made their fifth consecutive trip to the Finals, having qualified the previous four seasons with the Miami Heat, though Jones did not play in the 2011 Finals. [25] It was the first time since 1998 that the Finals did not include the Los Angeles Lakers, the San Antonio Spurs, or the Heat. This was also the first NBA Finals since then not to have featured Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, or Dwyane Wade. [26]

Game 1

ABC
June 4
9:00 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers 100, Golden State Warriors 108 (OT)
Scoring by quarter:29–19, 22–29, 22–25, 25–25, Overtime: 2–10
Pts: LeBron James 44
Rebs: Tristan Thompson 15
Asts: Irving, James 6 each
Pts: Stephen Curry 26
Rebs: Andrew Bogut 7
Asts: Stephen Curry 8
Golden State leads series, 1–0
Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Attendance: 19,596
Referees: Monty McCutchen, James Capers, Jason Phillips

The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 108–100 in overtime, taking Game 1 and the 1–0 series lead. The Cavaliers got off to a strong start, opening up a 29–15 lead before settling for a 10-point lead after the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter, the Warriors went on a big run and led 46–41. The Cavaliers then went on a 10–2 run to close out the first half, capped off by a J. R. Smith three with .7 seconds left. The Cavaliers led 51–48 at halftime. The second half was a back and forth affair, with neither team able to gain separation. Late in the 4th, Timofey Mozgov hit two free throws to tie the game at 98. The Warriors ran a play for Stephen Curry out of a timeout. Curry beat Kyrie Irving to the basket and went for a go-ahead layup, but Irving blocked the shot, and the Cavaliers called timeout after Smith secured the rebound. [27] The Cavaliers had two chances to win in the final seconds of regulation. James's potential game-winning jumper was off, and then Iman Shumpert got the offensive rebound and threw a shot at the buzzer, but also missed, sending the game to overtime. In overtime, the Warriors dominated with a 10–0 run consisting of 7 free throws and a three-pointer by Barnes. Cleveland's only score in the extra period was James's layup with 9.5 seconds left as the Cavaliers shot 1/12 and committed 3 turnovers in the game's final 5 minutes. [28]

Only three players scored for the Cavaliers after halftime: James, Irving, and Mozgov. The trio combined for 83 of the Cavaliers' 100 points. [28] James had a career NBA Finals high of 44 points, while attempting a postseason career-high 38 shots, [29] and Curry led Golden State with 26 points. The Warriors' bench outplayed the Cavaliers' bench, outscoring them 34–9, with all 9 Cavaliers bench points coming from Smith. Andre Iguodala led the Warriors bench in scoring with 15 points. Irving suffered a knee injury in overtime and was forced to leave the game early. The following day, he was diagnosed with a fractured left kneecap that would require surgery and was ruled out for the rest of the Finals, joining Kevin Love, who suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, and Anderson Varejão. [28]

Game 2

ABC
June 7
8:00 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers 95, Golden State Warriors 93 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 20–20, 27–25, 15–14, 25–28, Overtime:8–6
Pts: LeBron James 39
Rebs: LeBron James 16
Asts: LeBron James 11
Pts: Klay Thompson 34
Rebs: Green, Bogut 10 each
Asts: Curry, Iguodala 5 each
Series tied, 1–1
Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Attendance: 19,596
Referees: Scott Foster, Tony Brothers, Zach Zarba

The Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 95–93 in overtime, tying the series at 1–1 and stealing homecourt advantage heading into Cleveland. For the first time in NBA Finals history, the first two games were decided in overtime, with the Cavaliers winning their first Finals game in franchise history. LeBron James tallied his fifth Finals triple-double with 39 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists while moving solely into second all-time in Finals triple-doubles behind Magic Johnson's 8. James, who shot 11-for-35 in the game, played 50 minutes and led all scorers. James either scored or assisted on 66 of Cleveland's 95 points, and his 83 points in the first two games of a Finals was also second all-time to Jerry West's 94 in the 1969 Finals. [30] Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 34 points. Curry added 19, but he struggled mightily against the Cavaliers' defense, shooting 5-for-23 from the floor, including 2–15 from 3-point range. Curry set an NBA record for most missed three-point attempts in an Finals game with 13. Matthew Dellavedova's defense on Curry was huge as Curry was 0–for-8 against him. [31]

The margin was close through the first three quarters, with neither team leading by more than 8 points. The Warriors jumped out to a 20–12 lead, but the Cavaliers closed the quarter on an 8–0 run to tie the game at 20. The Warriors led 31–25 early in the 2nd quarter, but the Cavaliers went on a 15–2 run to take a 40–33 lead. They settled for a 2-point lead at halftime, leading 47–45. The third quarter was low scoring, with the Cavaliers scoring 15 points and the Warriors 14 points. Heading into the 4th quarter, the Cavaliers led 62–59. After three tight quarters, the Cavaliers began to pull away, building an 83–72 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining in the fourth. However, the Cavaliers squandered the 11-point lead as the Warriors went on a 15–4 run to tie the game at 87, capped off by a Curry finger roll layup with eight seconds remaining. Out of a timeout, James drove towards the basket as he went for a game winning layup, but he misfired, and the rebound tipback attempt by Tristan Thompson was unsuccessful. [32]

In the overtime, Iman Shumpert hit a three-pointer, and James made two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 92–87 lead. However, Draymond Green answered with back-to-back baskets, and Curry hit two free throws to give the Warriors a 93–92 lead. Out of the timeout, James's go-ahead layup was blocked by Green and recovered by Andre Igoudala, but he threw it out of bounds, giving possession back to the Cavaliers. The ensuing Cavaliers possession resulted in a three-point attempt by James Jones which missed, but Dellavedova grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. Dellavedova hit both free throws to give the Cavaliers a 94–93 lead with 10.1 seconds remaining. After a timeout, the Warriors went to Curry, who airballed the potential go-ahead jumper. James rebounded the miss and was fouled. [33]

James hit one of two at the line, giving the Cavaliers a 95–93 lead with 4 seconds left in overtime. With no timeouts remaining, the Warriors had to go the length of the court to get off a game-tying or game-winning shot attempt. However, Curry's pass near midcourt was stolen by Thompson, and the Cavaliers ran out the clock. After getting badly outplayed in Game 1, the Cavaliers' bench outscored the Warriors 21–17 in Game 2. The Cavaliers handed the Warriors their 4th home loss of the season (including the postseason) and were only the second Eastern Conference team to win at Oracle Arena (the Chicago Bulls also won in overtime on January 27). The victory for the Cleveland Cavaliers was their first ever single game Finals victory, having lost Game 1 of this series, and being swept in the 2007 Finals by the San Antonio Spurs. [34]

Following the game, James had dubbed the undermanned Cavaliers as "The Grit Squad", due to adopting a slower paced, more physical style of play in the absence of All-Stars Irving and Kevin Love. [35] This new moniker was quickly embraced by Cavaliers fans, in hopes that this new tough style of play would be enough to offset the Warriors' depth advantage. [36]

Game 3

ABC
June 9
9:00 pm
Golden State Warriors 91, Cleveland Cavaliers 96
Scoring by quarter: 20–24, 17–20, 18–28, 36–24
Pts: Stephen Curry 27
Rebs: Ezeli, Green 7 each
Asts: Stephen Curry 6
Pts: LeBron James 40
Rebs: Tristan Thompson 13
Asts: LeBron James 8
Cleveland leads series, 2–1
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Danny Crawford, Marc Davis, Derrick Stafford

The Cavaliers led wire to wire as they defeated the Warriors 96–91 and took a 2–1 series lead. The first half was close throughout, with the Cavaliers leading 24–20 after the first quarter. They led 44–37 at halftime. [37] Stephen Curry's struggles in Game 2 carried over to the first half of this game as he was held to 3 points in the first half. In the third quarter, the Cavaliers seized control, outscoring the Warriors 28–18. They led by as many as 20 in the third quarter before taking a 72–55 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The 55 points scored by the Warriors was their lowest scoring output through three quarters all season. However, the Warriors fought back, making it a 1-point game as they cut the deficit to 81–80 late in the fourth quarter. However, Matthew Dellavedova banked in a circus shot as he tumbled to the floor while being fouled by Curry. He made the free throw to put the Cavaliers up 84–80. After Curry committed a turnover, LeBron James hit a three-pointer to give the Cavs an 87–80 lead. Curry hit a handful of three-pointers down the stretch, but the Cavs made their free throws and closed out the win. [37]

James led all scorers with 40 to go along with 12 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals. Through 3 games, James scored 123 points, the most points scored by any player in the first three games of any NBA Finals series, surpassing Rick Barry's 122 from the 1967 NBA Finals. [38] Dellavedova scored 20, a playoff career high. Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, 17 of which came in the fourth quarter. [37] This win marks the first time that the Cavaliers held a lead in a Finals series in their franchise history, as well as their first home win in a Finals series in their franchise history. [39]

Game 4

ABC
June 11
9:00 pm
Golden State Warriors 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 82
Scoring by quarter:31–24, 23–18, 22–28, 27–12
Pts: Curry, Iguodala 22 each
Rebs:three players 8 each
Asts: Curry 7
Pts: Timofey Mozgov 28
Rebs: Tristan Thompson 13
Asts: LeBron James 8
Series tied, 2–2
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Joe Crawford, Mike Callahan, Ken Mauer

The Warriors routed the Cavaliers 103–82 in Game 4, evening the series at 2–2 and reclaiming homecourt advantage. Despite stating that there would be no changes to the starting lineup the morning of Game 4, Kerr inserted Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup in place of Andrew Bogut, while moving Draymond Green to the center position. [40] The Cavaliers scored the first seven points of the game and led 16–9, but the Warriors closed out the first quarter on a 22–8 run to lead 31–24. In the second quarter, the Cavaliers got a scare when LeBron James suffered a laceration on his head from a courtside photographer's camera lens after a hard foul on Bogut, but he stayed in the game without any stitches. [41] The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 23–18 in that period and led 54–42 at halftime. [42] The Cavaliers outscored the Warriors 28–22 in the third quarter as they cut a 15-point deficit down to 3 in two instances. The Cavaliers had it down to 65–62, but Harrison Barnes hit a three-pointer out of the timeout to stop the run.

With the Warriors leading 73–70 late in the third quarter, Stephen Curry hit a three to give the Warriors a 76–70 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Warriors dominated the final period, leading by as many as 23 as they outscored the Cavaliers 27–12. [43] The Cavaliers shot 4-for-27 from behind the 3-point line for the game and were 6–45 outside the paint, a season worst. The 82 points that the Cavaliers scored were a postseason low while the Cavaliers' bench scoring production (7 points) was also a postseason low. Curry and Iguodala led the Warriors in scoring with 22 apiece. Timofey Mozgov led the Cavaliers with 28. After averaging 41 points in the first three games of the Finals, James was held to 20 points on 7–22 shooting. [41] After the game, Kerr admitted to his deception regarding the starting lineup, quipping, "I don't think they hand you the trophy based on morality." [40]

Game 5

ABC
June 14
8:00 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers 91, Golden State Warriors 104
Scoring by quarter: 22–22, 28–29, 17–22, 24–31
Pts: LeBron James 40
Rebs: LeBron James 14
Asts: LeBron James 11
Pts: Stephen Curry 37
Rebs: Harrison Barnes 9
Asts: Andre Iguodala 7
Golden State leads series, 3–2
Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Attendance: 19,596
Referees: Monty McCutchen, James Capers, Jason Phillips

Coming into this game with the series tied at 2 games apiece, the Game 5 winner had gone on to win the NBA championship in 20 of the previous 28 instances. [44]

The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 104–91 and took a 3–2 series lead heading back to Cleveland. [45] The first three quarters were tight, with neither team leading by more 7. Both teams scored 22 points in the 1st quarter. The Warriors led 51–50 at halftime on a Harrison Barnes' three-point play following a dunk. They took a 6-point lead into the 4th quarter, leading 73–67. The Cavaliers opened the 4th quarter on a 13–6 run. LeBron James' deep three-pointer gave the Cavaliers an 80–79 lead with just over 7:30 remaining in the 4th quarter. However, the Warriors responded with a huge run, outscoring the Cavaliers 25–11 the rest of the way. [46] Curry scored 37 points on 13–23 shooting in the victory, including 7–13 from 3-point range. 17 of his 37 points came in the 4th quarter. [47]

James had his second triple-double of this NBA Finals series, posting 40 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. James led all players in points, rebounds and assists, and was responsible for 70 of 91 Cavaliers points (40 scored, 30 assisted). [48] It was his sixth career finals triple double, second all-time behind only Magic Johnson with 8. James also tied Oscar Robertson for most 30–10–10 playoff games with 8. He became the second player in NBA Finals history to score 40 points in a triple double after Jerry West in 1969. [49] [50]

Game 6

ABC
June 16
9:00 pm
Golden State Warriors 105, Cleveland Cavaliers 97
Scoring by quarter:28–15, 17–28, 28–18, 32–36
Pts: Curry, Iguodala 25 each
Rebs: Draymond Green 11
Asts: Draymond Green 10
Pts: LeBron James 32
Rebs: LeBron James 18
Asts: LeBron James 9
Golden State wins NBA Finals, 4–2
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Scott Foster, Marc Davis, Zach Zarba

The Warriors finished off the Cavaliers 105–97, winning the series 4–2. The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 28–15 in the 1st quarter. However, the Cavaliers went on a big run to cut the deficit to 2 at halftime, trailing 45–43. The Cavaliers led 47–45 early in the third quarter, their only lead of the second half. [51] However, the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 28–18 in the 3rd quarter, leading by as many 15 before taking a 12-point lead into the 4th, leading 73–61. In the 4th quarter, the Cavaliers cut the deficit down to 7, but the Warriors pushed the lead back to 15. [52] The Cavaliers, led by J.R. Smith, made a late surge to cut it to 4 with under 40 seconds remaining. [53] However, the Warriors hit their free throws and closed out the series, giving the franchise their first title since 1975, and the city of Oakland its first major league sports championship since the Oakland Athletics won the 1989 World Series. [54] Andre Iguodala, who did not start for the Warriors until Game 4 of the Finals, was named the Finals MVP for his instrumental defense against LeBron James, who led the Cavaliers with 32 points. Iguodala had the third lowest scoring average of any Finals MVP in NBA history. [55] James became the youngest player to score 5000 career points in the playoffs. [56]

Rosters

Golden State Warriors

2014–15 Golden State Warriors roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOB (YYYY-MM-DD)From
G 19 Barbosa, Leandro 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)194 lb (88 kg)1982–11–28 Brazil
F 40 Barnes, Harrison 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)225 lb (102 kg)1992–05–30 North Carolina
C 12 Bogut, Andrew 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)260 lb (118 kg)1984–11–28 Utah
G 30 Curry, Stephen  (C)6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)190 lb (86 kg)1988–03–14 Davidson
C 31 Ezeli, Festus 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)255 lb (116 kg)1989–10–21 Vanderbilt
F 23 Green, Draymond 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)230 lb (104 kg)1990–03–04 Michigan State
G/F 7 Holiday, Justin 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)185 lb (84 kg)1989–04–05 Washington
G/F 9 Iguodala, Andre 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)215 lb (98 kg)1984–01–28 Arizona
C 1 Kuzmić, Ognjen  Cruz Roja.svg7 ft 1 in (2.16 m)260 lb (118 kg)1990–05–16 Serbia
F/C 10 Lee, David 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)245 lb (111 kg)1983–04–29 Florida
G 34 Livingston, Shaun 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)182 lb (83 kg)1985–09–11 Peoria Central HS (IL)
F 20 McAdoo, James Michael 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)230 lb (104 kg)1993–01–04 North Carolina
G/F 4 Rush, Brandon 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)220 lb (100 kg)1985–07–07 Kansas
F/C 5 Speights, Marreese 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)255 lb (116 kg)1987–08–04 Florida
G 11 Thompson, Klay 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)215 lb (98 kg)1990–02–08 Washington State
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (DL) On assignment to D-League affiliate
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured

Roster

Cleveland Cavaliers

2014–15 Cleveland Cavaliers roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.No.NameHeightWeightDOB (YYYY-MM-DD)From
G 8 Dellavedova, Matthew 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)200 lb (91 kg)1990–09–08 Saint Mary's
G 12 Harris, Joe 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)215 lb (98 kg)1991–09–06 Virginia
C 33 Haywood, Brendan 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)263 lb (119 kg)1979–11–27 North Carolina
G 2 Irving, Kyrie  Cruz Roja.svg6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)193 lb (88 kg)1992–03–23 Duke
F 23 James, LeBron  (C)6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)250 lb (113 kg)1984–12–30 St. Vincent–St. Mary HS (OH)
G/F 1 Jones, James 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)215 lb (98 kg)1980–10–04 Miami (FL)
F/C 0 Love, Kevin  Cruz Roja.svg6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)243 lb (110 kg)1988–09–07 UCLA
F 31 Marion, Shawn 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)228 lb (103 kg)1978–05–07 UNLV
G/F 18 Miller, Mike 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)218 lb (99 kg)1980–02–19 Florida
C 20 Mozgov, Timofey 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m)250 lb (113 kg)1986–07–16 Russia
C 3 Perkins, Kendrick 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)270 lb (122 kg)1984–11–10 Clifton J. Ozen (TX)
G 4 Shumpert, Iman 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)220 lb (100 kg)1990–06–26 Georgia Tech
G/F 5 Smith, J. R. 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)220 lb (100 kg)1985–09–09 St. Benedict's Prep (NJ)
F/C 13 Thompson, Tristan 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)238 lb (108 kg)1991–03–13 Texas
F/C 17 Varejão, Anderson  Cruz Roja.svg6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)267 lb (121 kg)1982–09–28 Brazil
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (DL) On assignment to D-League affiliate
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured

Roster

Player statistics

Legend
  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage 3P%  3-point field-goal percentage FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game APG  Assists per game SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game PPG  Points per game
Golden State Warriors
PlayerGPGSMPGFG%3FG%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
Leandro Barbosa 6010.7.462.4291.0001.70.50.50.25.2
Harrison Barnes 6632.9.373.421.7785.80.80.80.58.8
Andrew Bogut 4318.4.444.000.5006.01.50.31.32.5
Stephen Curry 6642.5.443.385.8855.26.31.80.226.0
Festus Ezeli 5010.0.467.000.7273.40.40.00.64.4
Draymond Green 6637.0.381.263.7358.35.02.21.213.0
Justin Holiday 102.1.000.000.0000.00.00.00.00.0
Andre Iguodala 6337.1.521.400.3575.84.01.30.316.3
David Lee 409.7.533.000.5452.51.50.30.05.5
Shaun Livingston 6020.1.480.000.7503.52.20.30.35.0
James Michael McAdoo 101.2.000.000.0001.00.00.00.00.0
Marreese Speights 305.3.308.000.5001.70.30.30.03.0
Klay Thompson 6637.9.409.300.9174.31.70.51.015.8
Cleveland Cavaliers
PlayerGPGSMPGFG%3FG%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
Matthew Dellavedova 6531.8.283.231.8182.72.71.20.07.5
Joe Harris 201.6.000.000.5000.00.00.00.00.5
Kyrie Irving 1143.6.455.2501.0007.06.04.02.023.0
LeBron James 6645.7.398.310.68713.38.81.30.535.8
James Jones 6018.8.316.3081.0001.30.30.70.23.3
Mike Miller 505.7.500.500.0000.20.00.20.00.6
Timofey Mozgov 6628.3.551.000.7507.51.00.51.514.0
Kendrick Perkins 103.1.000.0001.0001.00.00.00.02.0
Iman Shumpert 6635.9.256.320.6433.80.71.80.76.5
J. R. Smith 6033.6.312.294.6004.31.00.50.811.5
Tristan Thompson 6641.1.500.000.60013.00.30.71.010.0

Broadcast

In the United States, the NBA Finals aired on ABC with Mike Breen as play-by-play commentator, and Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson serving as color commentators. ESPN Radio aired it as well and had Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown as commentators. ESPN Deportes provided exclusive Spanish-language coverage of The Finals, with a commentary team of Álvaro Martín and Carlos Morales. [57]

Game Ratings
(households)
American audience
(in millions)
110.6 [58] 17.77 [59]
210.8 [60] 19.17 [61]
311.1 [62] 18.77 [62]
411.7 [63] 19.84 [64]
511.8 [65] 20.86 [66]
613.4 [67] 23.25 [67]
Avg11.619.94

See also

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