NBA.com takes a look back at the top moments that define the history of the NBA.
Many excoriated Kevin Durant following his move to the already-talented Golden State Warriors via free agency, but no one will say he didn’t contribute. Durant came to town in 2016 with a goal to win championships. He fulfilled his mission in 2017 and ’18, and it didn’t come off the coattails of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Each of those three All-Stars watched Durant hold the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP trophy in back-to-back seasons.
The former Oklahoma City Thunder star erupted in his first Finals with the Warriors, averaging 35.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was the Warriors’ top scorer in every game and his lowest point total was 31.
Those 31 points came during Game 3, a contest where Durant sent a shot to the NBA history vault. Durant, who scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, pulled up over LeBron James for a go-ahead 3-pointer from the left wing, capping a furious comeback that put Golden State up 3-0. In the clincher, he dropped 39 points while adding six rebounds and five assists.
The All-Star forward carried his impressive play into the 2018 Finals. When his teammate Curry set a record for most 3-pointers in a Finals game, it appeared MVP honors were headed to the point guard. That was until Game 3 when Curry slumped and Durant shined, posting a playoff career-high 43 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
He also hit a dagger 3-pointer, which he launched from the left wing over James to put the Cavs on the brink of elimination, a play reminiscent to the previous year.
The Washington, D.C., native recorded his first playoff career-triple-double in Game 4 as Golden State swept Cleveland. Durant claimed his second consecutive Finals MVP award, averaging 28.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 7.5 apg and 2.3 bpg.