The Golden State Warriors are your 2017 NBA champions.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson & Co. have their second ring, while Kevin Durant has his first — and vindication for his decision to come to the Bay this past summer.
LeBron James was magnificent as well, but his spectacular Finals performance wasn't enough to lift the Cavs to a defense of their title (or even a sixth game in this series). Now, as the confetti settles, and before you get ready to look ahead to this offseason, here are three things you may have missed from Golden State's decisive Game 5 NBA Finals win.
Kyrie Irving really played defense -- it just didn't matter
The Cavs needed Irving to outplay Stephen Curry if they were going to steal Game 5, and the young Cleveland point guard came awfully close.
He was in Curry's jersey throughout the first half, hunting for steals and generally bothering the two-time MVP as much as possible. Curry did himself no favors by dribbling right into the Cavaliers' traps on more than one occasion, but we still should credit Irving for being up to the task in an elimination game.
He, LeBron, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith brought their A-games on Monday. It just wasn't enough.
The next step in Irving's evolution as a true All-NBA superstar is finding a way to bring that kind of two-way intensity for an entire seven-game series. Baby steps, though.
Kyle TeradaKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The awful officiating went both ways (and might have favored Golden State)
Through the first quarter of Game 5, you would have sworn the fix was in — especially if you were paying attention to social media.
Fans the world over thought the Cavaliers were getting the benefit of the whistle because the NBA wanted a Game 6, ignoring that the Cavs were drawing fouls because they had the Warriors consistently out of position.
A funny thing happened as the game wore on, though: The calls evened out. One non-call in particular that went Golden State's way helped the Warriors to the NBA title.
KD should have drawn his third foul of the first half when LeBron dunked all over his soul, but there was no whistle. The Warriors hit the Cavaliers with a 24-2 run shortly thereafter, and Cleveland just couldn't close the gap.
This wasn't a well-officiated game. It was, however, an equally officiated contest.
Kelley L CoxKelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Cavs and Warriors busted out "medium-ball"
You know all about the Golden State Warriors and their vaunted small-ball, which is a look the Cavaliers can use, too.
You know about Cleveland's ability to stay big against the Warriors with their traditional starting lineup.
On Monday night, we saw something in the middle. Early in the second quarter, Draymond Green was the shortest player on the court, with Tristan Thompson and Kevin Durant the only "tall" players for either team.
Moreover, neither team had a true point guard until Curry checked in after a few possessions, ruining the surprising fun of such an unorthodox stretch. Positions were meaningless; there were just 10 guys on the floor playing basketball as well as they could.
Call it "medium-ball," if you want — I'll call it the future of the NBA.
Seriously, that's where the Association is headed. Look at the next wave of superstars. You have guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, a near-7-foot point guard, and centers like Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid and Kristaps Porzingis who can put the ball on the floor, shoot 3s or anchor the defense (to varying degrees in each case).
Unless there's some major NBA disruption in the next few years — and anything is possible, of course — the future is right around the corner. It's going to be glorious.