Before the 2017-18 season, those five men were the only players to win the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award two times in a row - until Kevin Durant joined that group Friday night.
James had become upset in the final seconds of regulation time in the 124-114 defeat, when a foul call was reversed to allow Golden State to equalize and J.R. Smith grabbed a late rebound with the score level but dribbled away from the basket, thinking the Cavaliers led.
LeBron James left the court with 4:03 left on the clock and the Cavs down 102-77, having just turned over the ball to Durant while the game slipped out of their reach. "Getting up every day, going to work with these guys, it's incredible". Durant scored 43 points in that game, including a 33-foot 3-pointer in the final minute to all but clinch the win for the Warriors. The environment is incredible. "It's fun when you play against one of the best in the game [LeBron James]".
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There were 11 voters for the MVP award; Durant got seven votes, Stephen Curry - who still doesn't have a Finals MVP - got the other four. Does it? Durant asked. "When you have a goal and you're able to accomplish that goal, for me personally, it made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships". I think I've shown this year why I still continue to be in championship.
Joining illustrious company, Durant became just the sixth player to win back-to-back Finals MVPs. The Finals MVP was first handed out in 1969 - Russell's final season with the Celtics.