Rewinding to the Golden State Warriors First NBA Championship in 40 Years
The Golden State Warriors had long been one of the most iconic teams in basketball, but for four decades, they couldn’t quite make it all the way to an NBA championship. That all changed in June 2015, when the Warriors did what many thought was impossible – beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first-ever title. That victory sparked the dynasty that is the California-based franchise that we see today, but it wasn’t always this way.
The Warriors had reached the playoffs in each of the two seasons prior to their crowning moment. Both those campaigns ended prematurely, firstly with a defeat in the conference semifinals before a defeat in the first round in 2013/14. For the five years prior to those two postseason visits, however, the Warriors endured a baron without reaching the playoffs once.
As we all know, those days are long gone. Steve Kerr’s side is the reigning champions of the NBA after picking up their fourth Larry O’Brien Trophy in eight years with a 4-2 victory over the Boston Celtics last June. This season, they have struggled by their lofty standards and are currently sitting down in sixth in their conference. Still, Bodog’s NBA odds don’t make them one of the favorites for success this term, with their odds remaining +1100.
With a fifth title in nine years looking like a distinct improbability, we decided it would be the perfect time to take a look back at where it all began for the Warriors. Let’s take a look back at that magical 2014/15 season and the franchise’s first NBA triumph in four decades.
The Regular Season
The Warriors entered the 2014-15 season with sky-high expectations. After acquiring All-Star forward Andre Iguodala two years prior from the Denver Nuggets, the San Francisco outfit had reached the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons. Everyone could see that the team was primed and ready for a breakout. however, no one could have predicted just how well they would do.
They finished with a 67-15 regular season record, good enough for best in the league. Led by head coach Steve Kerr, and propelled by stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s “Splash Brothers” duo, Golden State quickly established themselves as potential title contenders.
This talented team went all out and dominated their pacific division, finishing with a record of 67 wins and 15 losses, the best in the entire league, and by some distance. Their performances throughout the regular season were some of the most remarkable anyone had ever seen. They had an incredibly successful year, going on a record-breaking winning streak through three-quarters of the season, even causing other teams to take note of their dominance.
When the postseason rolled around, the Warriors were the top seed. But if anyone thought that their spectacular performances were about to slow down were in for a rude awakening. In the first round, they smashed the New Orleans Pelicans, sweeping them in four games with Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson all impressing.
They would dispose of the Memphis Grizzlies in the semifinals, however, the series wasn’t without its scares. The underdog Tennessee-based outfit actually led through three games and they were convincing both fans and pundits alike that they may be able to spring the upset. In the end, the strength of the Warriors shone through, reeling off three consecutive wins and sealing their first conference finals appearance in 39 years.
They would meet the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference finals. The Texas side was inspired by James Harden, who was on his way to superstar status. They finished second behind the Warriors in the West Coast standings.
Despite the heroics of The Beard, Steph Curry, and co. raced into a three-game lead. Despite the Rockets picking up a victory in game four, they couldn’t claw back the deficit. The Warriors would seal their spot in the NBA finals with a 104-90 victory in game five, and that victory set up a date with the greatest player in the game.
Finals Victory Over The Cavs
That of course is LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. King James had just returned to the Cavs at the start of the season after leaving the Miami Heat, and he instantly returned the franchise to prominence and a first playoff appearance in four years. They finished second to the Atlanta Hawks in the regular season, whom they dominated in the Eastern Conference finals to reach the NBA finals.
The series promised to be an exciting one. On one side you had King James himself leading his team into battle and on the other, you had Curry and Thompson’s high-powered offense looking to prove itself against one of the top defensive teams in basketball. Ultimately, it was Curry who shone brightest.
He average 26 points per game as he led his side to a 4-2 victory. The great LeBron did his utmost to lead his side to glory, averaging a whopping 35.8 PPG, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. In the end, neither Curry nor James picked up the MVP award in the finals.
That honor went to Andre Iguodala, the man who began the Warriors’ return to prominence two years prior.