The Golden State Warriors are the 2017 NBA champions. There was no greater team in the NBA this season than the Warriors and no player under more scrutiny than Kevin Durant. Durant silenced the criticism as he led his team to the promised land. Game 5 gifted us with a great basketball spectacle as the two best teams in the league demonstrated their talent and will to win. The Cleveland Cavaliers would not fall until the Warriors could knock them down, and this only occurred in the final minutes of the game. The final score was 129-120, and the Warriors had reclaimed their throne.

A battled game 5

The Cavaliers came into game 5 more focused than the Warriors. They outplayed the home team in the first quarter and displayed more aggressiveness that forced the Warriors to turn the ball over. The Warriors regained their focus in the second quarter and were able to go on one of their amazing runs and take a convincing double-digit lead to halftime. Two clutch threes by J.R. Smith before the end of the second quarter kept the Cavaliers in the game.

The Cavaliers came out of the locker room firing. They quickly cut the deficit to single digits in the third quarter thanks to the play of the ever-inspired Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. In addition, J.R. Smith seemed like he could not miss a shot.

In the fourth quarter, we saw the teams exchange jabs all the way to the last minutes of the game. The Warriors decided to let LeBron have his way but made sure no other player's offense erupted.

James had himself again an all-around game with 41 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. Irving and Smith helped him with 26 and 25 points respectively, Tristan Thompson also contributed with 15 points and 8 rebounds.

The Cavaliers player who clearly had a disappointing game was Kevin Love. While he crashed the boards like always (10 rebounds), the All-Star only added 6 points. His early foul trouble probably prevented him from getting into any kind of rhythm, but his teammates should have also understood that they needed to get him more involved in the team's offense.

Durant and Curry lead the way

Durant and Curry went to work in game 5 and gave their best to close the series out. The Cavaliers focused on trapping Curry in the pick-and-roll and forcing him to get rid of the ball. However, Curry was able to showcase his unique skill set by making the right plays at the right time. He did not settle for the perimeter shot and rather got his teammates involved or aggressively drove to the basket. His 15 free throw attempts prove that Curry was locked in and ready to have his best NBA finals. Curry ended up with an impressive 34 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists. The 6 feet 3 inches point guard almost averaged a triple-double in these series (26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 9.4 assists).

Kevin Durant stepped up his game when his team needed him the most yet again in Game 5. Whether it was a contested three-pointer, a forceful drive to the basket, or making plays for his teammates, Durant always delivered crucial plays that brought the Warriors closer to victory. Durant seemed unguardable in these series. and that says a lot about LeBron's defensive performance in these finals. Durant finished the game with 39 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. His averages in these finals are 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists.

Durant joined a team that had produced the best regular season record ever and a team that had defeated him in the Western Conference finals. Durant took in all the criticism and did not only look to fit in with a well-oiled machine, but worked hard in order became the Warriors' best player.

Credit must be given to two-time regular season MVP Stephen Curry, who has proven he is an unselfish superstar that puts the team's needs ahead of his own ego. His sacrifice, and that of Klay Thompson to a lesser degree, has helped create a solid and frightening unit for years to come.

This is the Golden State Warriors' second championship in three years. How many more can they win? Looking at the team they have built, it wouldn't be surprising if they went on to receive more jewelry at the end of the upcoming NBA seasons. It also does not look like LeBron James will be going anywhere. The Eastern Conference presents no competition for the Cavaliers. Thus, likelier than not, James will be back to the NBA finals next year with a vengeance.

Next time around, a different Kevin Durant will await him. Durant, the NBA champion, can now look James in the eyes. The clear ascension of this man cannot be missed by the basketball world. LeBron is the best player in the world, but Durant is the 2017 NBA champion.