Kevin Durant won his first NBA title and also snagged Finals MVP honors when the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. The win also meant that LeBron James would not take his fourth MVP trophy home.
But there’s plenty of evidence that James could have earned the award despite the Cavaliers not repeating as NBA champions.
A Finals MVP has only come from the losing team once: in 1969 when Jerry West averaged 37.9 points per game in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics won in seven games, but West won MVP honors for the Los Angeles Lakers. It took shooting 49 percent from the field and a 51-point Game 1 performance to manage that, though.
LeBron, meanwhile, put up one of the most impressive 5-game performances in NBA Finals history.