CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers came up short against the Golden State Warriors for the second time in the last three years when the final seconds ticked off the clock in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland Monday night.
But despite being on the wrong end of The Finals, the Cavaliers are not going to lament the missed opportunity, not when the shortened offseason is set to get underway and decisions have to be made to figure out the path back to the championship round of the NBA Playoffs.
“No malice, emotions from our end, just obviously, we're disappointed,” Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving said. “It was a long year. This has been probably the longest year-and-a-half of my life, hands down. So just a test of will, a lot of individual adversity, as well as collective adversity that leads all up to this moment.
“You don't come out on the successful side, still it's no time to wallow in any sorrows or anything like that. Just congratulate the other team like we did, and then, we move on.”
On the way to his first NBA Championship, Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who joined the team in free agency last July, scored 39 points on 14-of-20 shooting, including a five-of-eight showing from three-point range, to go along with seven rebounds, five assists and one steal in the closeout game.
Additionally, the Warriors got double-digit scoring efforts from shooting guard Stephen Curry (34 points), shooting guard Klay Thompson (11), power forward Draymond Green (10) and reserve forward Andre Iguodala (20).
Durant averaged 35.2 points over the five-game series against the Cavaliers.
“It's never easy to digest any loss,” Irving said. “We lost. Obviously, there's some positive things that you could take from it, but there's nothing to easily digest or anything like that.
“The next thing that I'm looking forward to is getting these couple weeks off, and then, we get right back to it. That's just the grind of the game, and things that happen within the game. You let go, you leave them where they stand and you collect the troops up again and we get ready to go do this thing again.”
Although the Cavaliers lost to the Warriors, who added an All-Star/Most Valuable Player candidate in Durant last offseason, Irving is confident about Cleveland’s future saying, “I'm pretty sure we'll be back and we'll be ready to battle again.”
“You just pick yourself back up and you keep pushing and you keep going,” Irving said. “It's fueling me inside right now, I can feel it. I'll talk to all my teammates, look them in the eye and tell them that I'm proud of them because it was an unbelievable season.
“We dealt with a [expletive] ton of adversity, excuse my language, but, I mean, the daily evolution of what can you accomplish on a day-to-day basis when you are around so many different individuals, that makes up an organization. There's so many moving parts, and I couldn't be more proud to be part of an even better organization, including my teammates that I'm around constantly every day.”