For the third straight season, the Golden State Warriors are the Western Conference representatives in the NBA Finals. This year, however, was little different and a little more dominant than the previous two.

 

With the addition of Kevin Durant, many knew that when completely molded together, this team would be on of the most lethal in history. Throughout the regular season, we saw many glimpses and stretches of the arsenal, but in the playoffs, they have unleashed a full on attack on their opponents.

 

With last night’s win versus the San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors became the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0 as they head into the 2017 NBA Finals with at least nine days off.

 

The sweep of the Spurs is a direct indicator of how their year has gone since their epic Finals loss last season. A combination of dominance and a little bit of fortune has allowed them to advance to their third straight finals as good as ever before.

 

This combination started in July when Durant decided that Oakland was the best place to take the next step in his basketball career. It continued when Durant, along with new teammates Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, all played on the 2016 Olympic team that took gold in Rio. In essence, before the NBA season even started, Durant had already begun the process of developing a rapport with his future teammates on a big time stage.

 

(CBS News)

The Olympics had in reality served as the beginning stages for this Warriors season. On a big time stage, Durant was learning how to play with both Thompson and Green, understanding where they like the ball and how they play the game. This experience allowed them to go into training camp with a somewhat established chemistry rooted in winning.

 

After basically breezing through the regular season, even despite Durant missing a good part of the final stretch run, the Warriors fortune and dominance continued through this year’s playoffs.

 

Sweeps of the Trail Blazers and Jazz were inevitable, but in Game One of this past series versus the Spurs, they faced their first true test of the playoffs.

 

From the opening tip, the Spurs unleashed their own offensive attack on the Warriors and built a 23 point lead at one point in the first half. This is where the next installment of the Warriors’ fortune came in.

 

After an awkward close out by center Zaza Pachulia on Spurs’ star Kawhi Leonard, who had been playing on an injured ankle from the previous series, Leonard rolled his ankle on Pachulia’s unconventional lead foot and that was the last shot attempt and play that we saw from Leonard for the rest of this series.

 

With arguably the league’s best two-way player out of the game, and someone who to that point had been the main reason for their 23 point deficit, the Warriors took full advantage and came back to win the game in overtime.

 

This is where their next installment of dominance came in.

 

(LA Times)

Throughout the second half of that first game and into the next three games, the Warriors outscored the Spurs by 87 points and each passing minute became more of a glimpse into the full potential of this team.

 

Last night, the Warriors completed the sweep the same way they won the two and one half games: building an early lead and extending it throughout the game.

 

Despite this being Manu Ginobili’s possible final game, at every moment in which the Spurs seemed to have some life, the Warriors responded with a basket on the other end that would silence the crowd.

 

Durant and Stephen Curry, like most of the season, were the ones who did most of the silencing with Curry scoring 36 points and Durant scoring 29 points and adding 12 rebounds.

 

In the end, the Warriors have possibly sent Ginobili and his Hall of Fame career out with a clean sweep that again was a mixture of fortune and dominance. They now advance to their third straight Finals and more likely than not, like many great teams, there will need to be that same mix if they want to win their second title in three years.

 

Do you think the Warriors will win this year’s Finals? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.