“We remember what happened last year and how it felt in that locker room. We used it and built on it. And got back here. It’s amazing. It makes last year okay.” — Tim Duncan, after game 5 in 2014
I said on Technical Foul last year that the championship wouldn’t mean as much to Kevin Durant if he won in Oakland instead of Oklahoma City. But there’s something I didn’t realize until these playoffs: maybe it’s not going to mean quite as much to the rest of the Warriors either, compared to if they had won without Durant. Compared to if they had come back with the same team again, as the Spurs had done in 2014 after letting the series slip away the year before.
Kevin Durant was the obvious finals MVP tonight. He was the reason — with help from Zaza Pachulia taking out Kawhi Leonard — that the Warriors coasted through the first few rounds of the playoffs. He was the reason that LeBron James could average a triple double for the finals and it still wasn’t enough.
It was a good NBA regular season. It was a good last few games of the finals. But the playoffs were disappointing to many people because it didn’t look like the Warriors were going to have to work very hard to win. It wasn’t the comeback story it would’ve been without Durant. I’m hoping next year will be different.