National Basketball Association
Golden State 105, Cleveland 97
When: 9:00 PM ET, Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
#28 Zach Zarba, #48 Scott Foster, #8 Marc Davis
CLEVELAND -- After it was over, after Klay Thompson released 40 years of frustration by flinging the basketball high into the air while his teammates stormed the court, Andre Iguodala left the mob to race after the ball and catch it.
It was a fitting moment for the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, who caught the Golden State Warriors when they were falling in this series.
Iguodala scored 25 points Tuesday to become an unlikely MVP, and the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, securing the franchise's fourth championship and first since 1975.
"We were fortunate in a lot of ways this year," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "Maybe No. 1 was health. And to win a title, there's obviously a lot of work, but a lot of luck as well, and we had a lot of luck on our side this year. And our guys took advantage of it. They were fantastic."
The last four decades of Warriors basketball were filled with mediocrity, blown draft picks and losing seasons. All of that is gone now, washed away by one of the league's rising stars and their rookie coach.
Guard Stephen Curry scored 25 points and passed for eight assists, and Kerr won his first ring as a coach after earning five as a player. He made the successful transition from the broadcast booth to the bench, taking a team rich in talent and transforming it into an elite squad.
"I was blessed with an unbelievable group of guys my first year," Kerr said. "I can't believe how lucky I am."
Similarly, Curry's meteoric rise to stardom ends with his first championship the same season he won his first MVP award. However, Iguodala won the MVP of the Finals after not starting a single game in the regular season. He edged LeBron James in the media voting, 7-4, after his insertion into the starting lineup for Game 4 turned the momentum of the series.
The Warriors didn't lose a game with Iguodala in the starting lineup. He also took the overwhelming assignment of guarding James. Despite James' gaudy numbers, he shot only 38 percent when Iguodala was in the game, and the Cavs were minus-55 in point differential. When Iguodala sat, James shot 44 percent and the Cavs outscored the Warriors by 30.
"I'm not surprised because I'm that confident in my game," the veteran swingman said of winning the MVP. "I'm not surprised, but I would have bet on Steph. I would have bet on Draymond (Green). I was just happy for winning the ring. I didn't care about anything else. This is just a plus."
The Warriors dominated the regular season, winning a franchise-record 67 games while never losing three in a row. They went 16-5 in the playoffs, winning the last three games of the NBA Finals to close out the Cavs on the road.
"We found a recipe for success, and that's the most important thing for us," Curry said. "Now that we have this under our belt, I think we can actually appreciate what we were able to do this year from start to finish."
Cleveland's title drought, however, drags on. The city hasn't celebrated a championship since 1964, and not even James' return this season was powerful enough to end it. The star forward was sensational throughout the series and again in Game 6, finishing with 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists. However, he received little help from an injury-ravaged roster throughout the series, and the Cavs remain without a championship.
James narrowly missed becoming the first player since 1969 to win a Finals MVP award in a losing effort after leading both teams in scoring (35.8 points per game), rebounding (13.3) and assists (8.8) throughout the series.
"It's not a great feeling when you lose," James said. "It hurts me. Just wasn't our time."
James falls to 2-4 in the Finals, but he hardly can be blamed for this one. James was the sole reason the Cavs were even in the series after postseason injuries to guard Kyr
Top Game Performances
Stephen Curry 25
LeBron James 32
Draymond Green 10
LeBron James 9
Draymond Green 11
LeBron James 18
Stephen Curry 6
||Free Throws Made
Timofey Mozgov 7
Stephen Curry 3
LeBron James 2
Festus Ezeli 1
Timofey Mozgov 4
Team Stats Summary