Golden State has clinched their second title in three seasons, defeating Cleveland in Game 5, 129-120, led by Kevin Durant‘s outstanding performance once again, which was enough to earn him the 2017 Finals MVP Award – his first – after surpassing the 30-point mark in all five games against the Cavaliers.

The Warriors faced off against Lebron James and Co. for the third consecutive year on the NBA’s biggest stage, and in each of the previous two years, the series went six and seven games, respectively. So what was the difference this postseason? The obvious answer is Durant signing in free agency and automatically becoming the team’s top player.

He scored a team-high 39 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out five assists in Game 5, completing an incredible playoff run, that ended with him holding the Bill Russell Trophy, rightfully so. And another reason the Warriors held off the Cavaliers in the deciding game, was because of how effective the bench was.

Golden State’s reserves outscored the Cleveland back-ups by a 31-7 margin, headlined by Andre Igoudala and Patrick McCaw‘s combined 26 points, on 11-19 shooting from the field. And there was nothing the Cavaliers could do about it.

King James, as always, gave it everything he had, flirting with yet another triple-double with a 41-13-8 stat line. Kyrie Irving struggled in the first half but became Uncle Drew in the second, totaling 26 points on 22 shots.

Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, the other Golden State All-Stars, to go along with Durant, combined for 55 points and 17 assists in the clincher. Going forward, the Warriors’ future looks just about as bright as possible, especially if they are able to keep their core together for 5+ years.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers must search for a fourth All-Star caliber player through the draft, free agency, or via trade, if they want to compete with Golden State for years to come, and avoid wasting the backend of James’ prime.

Game 5 showcased just how lethal the Warriors can be when they’re clicking on all cylinders, and after losing Game 7 on their home floor last season, Golden State finally has their revenge and Durant has earned his coveted title.

Photo Credit: Blue Man Hoop.