CLEVELAND — LeBron James doesn’t have a Finals MVP vote, but if he did he knows where it would go.
“You guys asked me this last year, what was the difference between the Warriors the previous year and this year, and what was my answer? All right. There it is. Kevin Durant was my answer,” LeBron James said after Game 3. “He’s one of the best players that I’ve ever played against that this league has ever seen.”
Durant is what took the Warriors from one of the best teams in the NBA to juggernaut, and for the second straight year his performance on the NBA’s biggest stage earned him the 2018 Finals MVP award.
“I proved to myself that I picked the right career as a kid,” Durant said of his second Finals MVP.
However, he refused to call this award a validation, something he has said recently he used to look for but now has moved past that.
“Just the product of hard work, and care and love for the game…” Durant said. “I just feel indebted to the game. I feel like it saved my life, it changed my life. It took me out of an environment that I didn’t think I’d ever be out of.”
Durant averaged 28.8 points per game (highest on the team) shooting 56.2 percent overall and 40 percent from three, plus averaging 10.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. He had a triple-double in Game 4 with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, and he was a team best +30 on the night.
Durant is the sixth player to go back-to-back Finals MVP.
Stephen Curry made a push for the MVP award (and got four of the 11 votes). He had a Finals-record nine threes in Game 2, then dropped 37 on the Cavaliers in Game 4 to close out the series. Curry’s highs were higher, but Durant was more consistent. The voters (select media members at the Finals) went with consistency.
“Does it matter? He’s won three championships. Two back-to-back…” Durant said of Curry. “We all want something that’s biggest than ourselves. We love to see each other succeed.”
“I’m sure it would have been nice for Steph to win the MVP, but honestly, I don’t think he’s that disappointed at this point…” Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “Steph went out and recruited K.D. with this in mind, winning titles. I was there in the Hamptons when we had that discussion. I don’t remember anybody asking who is going to win MVP in The Finals. It was all about let’s win championships together, and that’s what this is about.”
LeBron James might have had a case could he have lifted the Cavaliers to a couple of wins in this series, but with the sweep it was not going to happen.