Kevin Durant Wins 2017 NBA Finals MVP After Winning 1st Title with Warriors

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5 to win the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Kevin Durant captured the 2017 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award Monday night after the Golden State Warriors wrapped up a 4-1 series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 129-120 Game 5 win at Oracle Arena. 

Durant, 28, keyed the Warriors' 16-1 postseason run—which bested the 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers for the best in league historyand his performance in the Finals was nothing short of spectacular. 

In fact, it was so good that he was named MVP in unanimous fashion, per ESPN's Rachel Nichols: 

Over the course of five games, Durant averaged a team-high 35.2 points on 55.6 percent shooting from the field, 47.4 percent shooting from three and 92.7 percent shooting from the free-throw line. The first-time champion also piled up 8.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists a night during the Warriors' breezy jaunt toward the Larry O'Brien Trophy. 

He also became the first player since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000 to record five straight games with at least 30 points in the Finals, per ESPN Stats & Info

Here's a breakdown of his game-by-game efforts: 

  • Game 1: 38 PTS, 9 REB, 8 AST, 53.8 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 7-of-8 FTs
  • Game 2: 33 PTS, 13 REB, 6 AST, 5 BLK, 3 STL, 59.1 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 3-of-3 FTs
  • Game 3: 31 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST, 1 BLK, 1 STL, 55.6 FG%, 57.1 3P%,7-of-8 FTs
  • Game 4: 35 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK, 40.9 FG%, 22.2 3P%, 15-of-16 FTs
  • Game 5: 39 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 70.0 FG%, 62.5 3P%, 6-of-6 FTs

As if the raw numbers weren't impressive enough, Durant cooked up several signature moments on the game's biggest stage.  

The first came in Game 1, when he set the tone for the Warriors' Finals romp by flushing home dunk after dunk against an overwhelmed Cavaliers defense—including one from the baseline that landed LeBron James on the hardwood: 

The most memorable, though, occurred in Game 3 when Durant gave the Warriors a 114-113 lead on a pull-up three-pointer with 45.3 seconds remaining in regulation: 

That shot sealed the Cavaliers' fate and made it merely a matter of whennot ifthe Warriors would capture their second title in three years.  

"Everybody knows how great he is, but to cement his place in history, these are the moments," Warriors guard Shaun Livingston said of Durant, according to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. "... And he's propelling himself among the greats. These moments for him are liberating, because of the work that he's put in, because of the pressures and the burden that he bears being a superstar player, a franchise player."

Now in possession of a pair of trophies that will bolster his legacy, Durant can revel in his decision to join the Warriors last July as the newly crowned champions eye a dynastic run that could realistically last into the next decade so long as Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are by his side.

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