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2015 NBA Finals
NBA Finals logo
Team Coach Wins
Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr 4
Cleveland Cavaliers David Blatt 2
Dates: June 1–12, 2017
MVP: Kevin Durant
(Golden State Warriors)
Television: United States:
English: ABC
Spanish: ESPN Deportes
Canada: (all ABC simulcasts)
TSN (Games 3 and 4)
Sportsnet (Games 1, 2)
Announcers: ABC:
Mike Breen (play-by-play)
Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy (analysts)
Doris Burke (sideline reporter)
ESPN Deportes:
Álvaro Martín (play-by-play), and Carlos Morales (analyst)
Radio network: ESPN Radio (National)
Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Network (Cleveland)
Golden State Warriors Radio Network (Golden State)
Announcers: Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown (ESPN Radio)
John Michael and Jim Chones (Cleveland)
Tim Roye, Jim Barnett and Tom Tolbert (Golden State)
Eastern Finals: Cavaliers defeated Hawks 4-0
Western Finals: Warriors defeated Rockets 4-1

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. This NBA Finals featured the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors. Golden State, who finished with the better regular season record, held home-court advantage. The Warriors are led by 2014–15 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Stephen Curry, while the Cavaliers feature four-time league MVP LeBron James. For the second straight year, the Finals is played in the 2–2–1–1–1 format (Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 at Golden State, Games 3, 4, and 6 at Cleveland). The series began on on June 4, 2015 and ended on June 16, 2015.[1]

The Finals were televised in the United States on ABC and in Canada on TSN. The finals feature two teams with title droughts of four decades, with the Cavaliers having never won since their Template:Nbay inception and the Warriors' last title in 1975.[2] This is also the first time that both participating teams have first-year head coaches since the inaugural league finals in 1947, when the NBA was known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA).[3] It is the fifth consecutive finals appearance for James, who played for the Miami Heat the previous four seasons.[4]

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, Wiggins and Anthony Bennett were traded from Cleveland to Minnesota, along with Thaddeus Young, then of Philadelphia. The Cavaliers received Kevin Love from Minnesota, whereas the Sixers received Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved from the Timberwolves and a 2015 first round draft pick from Cleveland.[5]

James, Love, and guard Kyrie Irving became dubbed nationally as the "Big Three".[6] The Cavaliers got off to a shockingly bad start that led to intense media scrutiny and caused many to question David Blatt's job security. The team got off to a 19-20 start in their first 39 games, which included a stretch where they were 2-10 in 12 games that began with a road loss to the Miami Heat on December 25. Injuries to LeBron James and chemistry issues were considered to be the primary reasons for the underwhelming start. However, 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. The Cavaliers then acquired Timofey Mozgov. LeBron'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 as Cleveland compiled a 53–29 regular-season record to win the Central Division title and 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.

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 of the San Antonio Spurs, and the uptempo principles Alvin Gentry used in Phoenix when Kerr was the GM.[7]

In Kerr's first year, the Warriors finished with the best regular season record at 67–15, including an incredible 39-2 mark 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.[8] Point guard Stephen Curry set the NBA record for three-pointers made in a regular season with 286, eclipsing his own record that he set in 2012–13.[9] Curry also won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2014–15 season.[10] He and fellow guard Klay Thompson, together 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 percent of those shots.[11][12][13] 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.[14][15] 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)

Template:2014–15 NBA East standings 2nd seed in the East, 7th best league record

Regular season Template:2014–15 NBA West standings 1st seed in the West, best league record
Defeated the 7th seeded Boston Celtics, 4–0 First round Defeated the 8th seeded New Orleans Pelicans, 4–0
Defeated the 3rd seeded Chicago Bulls, 4–2 Conference Semifinals Defeated the 5th seeded Memphis Grizzlies, 4–2
Defeated the 1st seeded Atlanta Hawks, 4–0 Conference Finals Defeated 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 on its home floor.

January 9, 2015 Template:NBA Recap Cleveland Cavaliers 94, Golden State Warriors 112    Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
February 26, 2015 Template:NBA Recap Golden State Warriors 99, Cleveland Cavaliers 110    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

Series

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

For the first time ever in NBA Finals history, the first two games went into overtime.[16] 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, and the Warriors' small lineup helped turn the series around.[17]

James and teammate James Jones made their fifth consecutive trip to the Finals, having qualified the previous four seasons while with the Miami Heat, though Jones did not play in the 2011 Finals.[18] It was the first time since 1998 that none of the Finals participants are the Los Angeles Lakers, the San Antonio Spurs, or the Miami Heat. This was also the first NBA Finals since then to not have featured either Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, or Dwyane Wade.[19]

Game 1

June 4
9:00 pm
Boxscore Cleveland Cavaliers 100, Golden State Warriors 108 OT  Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Attendance: 19,596
Referees: Monty McCutchen, James Capers, Jason Phillips
ABC
Scoring by quarter: 29–19, 22–29, 22–25, 25–25, OT: 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</div>

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. However, the Cavaliers went on a 10-2 run to close out the first half, capped off by a J. R. Smith three with .7 seconds left in the first half. 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.[20] The Cavaliers had two chances to win in the final seconds of regulation. However, LeBron James' potential game winning jumper was off. Iman Shumpert got the offensive rebound and threw a shot at the buzzer, but he also missed, sending the game to overtime. In overtime, the Warriors dominated. They opened overtime on a 10–0 run to seize control. The Warriors had 7 made free throws in the extra session, with Barnes' three pointer being the Warriors' lone made basket. Cleveland's only score in the extra period was James' layup with 9.5 seconds left as the Cavaliers shot 1/12 and committed 3 turnovers in the game's final 5 minutes.[21]

Only three Cavaliers players scored for the Cavaliers after halftime: James, Irving, and Mozgov. The trio combined for 83 of the Cavaliers' 100 points.[21] James had a career NBA Finals high of 44 points while attempting a postseason career-high 38 shots,[22] 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 Varejao.[21]

Game 2

June 7
8:00 pm
Boxscore Cleveland Cavaliers 95, Golden State Warriors 93 OT  Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Attendance: 19,596
Referees: Scott Foster, Tony Brothers, Zach Zarba
ABC
Scoring by quarter: 20–20, 27–25, 15–14, 25–28OT: 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</div>

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 was 11-for-35 in the game shooting, 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.[23] Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 34 points. Curry added 19, but he struggled mightily against the Cavaliers' defense, going 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 the reigning MVP was 0-8 against him.

The margin was close through the first three quarters, with neither team leading by more than 8. The Warriors jumped out to a 20-12 lead, but the Cavaliers closed the quarter on a 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, taking 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.[24]

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.[25] 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 floor 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.[26]

Game 3

June 9
9:00 pm
Boxscore Golden State Warriors 91, Cleveland Cavaliers 96    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Dan Crawford, Marc Davis, Derrick Stafford
ABC
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</div>

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. 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.

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. Dellavedova scored 20, a playoff career high. Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, 17 of which came in the fourth quarter. 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. It also marks the first time since the 1948 World Series that a professional sports team from Cleveland has held the lead in a major league championship series.

Game 4

June 11
9:00 pm
Boxscore Golden State Warriors 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 82    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Joe Crawford, Mike Callahan, Ken Mauer
ABC
Scoring by quarter: 31–24, 23–18, 22–28, 27–12
Pts: Curry, Iguodala 22 each
Rebs: three players 8 each
Asts: Curry, Green 6 each
Pts: Timofey Mozgov 28
Rebs: Tristan Thompson 13
Asts: LeBron James 8
Series tied, 2–2</div>

The Warriors routed the Cavaliers 103–82, evening the series at 2–2 and reclaiming homecourt advantage. In Game 4, Andre Iguodala was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Andrew Bogut, and Draymond Green was moved to the center position. 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, with no headband, suffered a laceration on his head from one of the courtside photographer's camera lens after a hard foul on Bogut, but he stayed in the game without any stitches. The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 23–18 in that period and led 54–42 at halftime. 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. 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's scoring production (7 points) was also a postseason low. Curry and Igoudala 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. The Warriors continued their streak of not losing 3 games in a row, which goes back to November of the 2013–2014 season. The Cavaliers' 21 point loss was tied for the 4th largest home loss in NBA Finals history.

Game 5

June 14
8:00 pm
Boxscore Cleveland Cavaliers 91, Golden State Warriors 104    Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Attendance: 19,596
Referees: Monty McCutchen, James Capers, Jason Phillips
ABC
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</div>

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

The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 104-91 and took a 3-2 series lead heading back to Cleveland.[27] 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 a 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.[28] 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.[29]

James had his second triple double of this NBA Finals series, posting 40 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. Leading all players in points, rebounds and assists, he was responsible for 70 of 91 Cavaliers points (40 scored, 30 assisted).[30] 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.[31][32]

The Cavaliers lost consecutive playoff games for the first time this postseason. They had been 3–0 in playoff games following a loss. The Warriors avoided losing back-to-back home games, continuing a streak that goes back to January of the 2013–14 season. This was the fifth straight win for the home team in a Game 5 in a NBA Finals series that was tied 2–2 (2006 Heat, 2010 Celtics, 2011 Mavs, 2013 Spurs).

Game 6

June 16
9:00 pm
Boxscore Golden State Warriors 105, Cleveland Cavaliers 97    Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 20,562
Referees: Scott Foster, Marc Davis, Zach Zarba
ABC
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 series, 4-2.</div>

Statistical leaders

Category High Average
Player Team Total Player Team Avg. Games played
Points LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers 44 LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers 36.6 5
Rebounds LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers 16 Tristan Thompson Cleveland Cavaliers 13.7 4
Assists LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers 11 LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers 8.2 4
Steals Draymond Green Golden State Warriors 5 Iman Shumpert Cleveland Cavaliers 3.6 3
Blocks Draymond Green Golden State Warriors 4 Timofey Mozgov Cleveland Cavaliers 1.7 3
Andrew Bogut Golden State Warriors

Rosters

Template:Golden State Warriors roster Template:Cleveland Cavaliers roster

Broadcast

In the United States, the NBA Finals aired on ABC with Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson serving as 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.[33]

Game Ratings
(households)
American audience
(in millions)
1 10.6[34] 17.77[35]
2 10.8[36] 19.17[37]
3 11.1[38] 18.77[38]
4 11.7[39] 19.84[40]
5 11.8[41] 20.86[42]
6 TBA TBA

References

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External links

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/