CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers’ reign at the top of the NBA came to an end with a 129-120 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the 2017 Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Monday night.
For the second time in three years, the Cavaliers fell short of their goal of an NBA Championship against the Warriors, but despite Golden State having a younger roster with players in their primes, small forward LeBron James knows Cleveland will continue shaping the roster with the goal of competing for a title.
“I'm not the GM of the team; I'm not in the front office, but I know our front office is going to continue to try to put our ball club, put our franchise in a position where we can compete for a championship year in and year out,” James said.
On the way to his first NBA Championship, Warriors forward Kevin Durant 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.
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.
“Teams and franchises are going to be trying to figure out ways that they can put personnel together, the right group of guys together to be able to hopefully compete against this team,” James said. “They're assembled as good as you can assemble, and I played against some really, really good teams that was assembled perfectly, and they're right up there.”
Despite coming up on the losing end of The Finals for the fifth time in eight trips, James averaged a triple-double over the five games, a first for the NBA’s championship series.
James averaged 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists while shooting .564 from the field and .387 from three-point range against the Warriors.
“I just try to do everything to help this team win and more,” James said. “For me to go out there and for the guys that allowed me to be the leader that I am and allow me and trust me that I'm going to make the right plays and I'm going to do the right things and have the right intention, that's a compliment to my guys. It's a compliment to the 14 guys that allow me to do that and the coaching staff.”
As has been the case since James began his career in the spotlight at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, he plans to “always push forward and not look backwards” during the offseason and ready himself for the pursuit of an eighth straight trip to The Finals.
“I just try to put in the work,” James said. “I put in the work individually, in the film room, in my mind, my body every, single day to prepare myself for whatever obstacle that this ball club entails.”