1. It just wasn’t in the cards for Golden State
Watching this Warriors group fight to the very end was inspiring. They were not at full strength — quite frankly, not even close — but to see their resilience shine through at every turn was sports in its purest form.
Simultaneously, to watch the two-time defending champions get stripped down both during and after seemingly every game was gut-wrenching. One could tell they wanted and believed they could make history, but circumstances outside their control continued to fight back in ways that weren’t manageable.
Kevin Durant‘s return for Game 5 was supposed to signal the beginning of a 3-1 comeback for Golden State. Instead, a ruptured right Achilles tendon cut those hopes off after just 12 minutes of action and will go on to shape the future of the NBA.
It looked as though Klay Thompson was on his way towards another virtuoso Game 6 performance, one that would help the Warriors extend the series to a seventh game. A flimsy landing after a dunk ended his stellar night prematurely with what has now been reported as a torn ACL in his left leg.
DeMarcus Cousins made a surprise return to the court for Game 1 after sitting out more than a month with a torn quad suffered early in the opening round.
Even Kevon Looney, one of the few non-superstars to receive big minutes in these Finals, was ruled out for the entire series not once but twice. Given the inconsistencies of his cohorts at the center position, he returned each time in an attempt to provide whatever he could at either end of the floor.
One way or another, all dynasties come to an end, and it’s looking that way for Golden State now. Some see the finish line due to age and attrition. Others are broken up in the offseason. What makes this finish truly heartbreaking for the Warriors was that, despite their best efforts in keeping their run alive, it was an unavoidable fate they seemed to have little control over.