The story of the 2017-18 NBA season

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers met in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season – the first time this had happened in league history.

It was also the first time neither of the teams ended up the top seed in their respective conference, with the Cavaliers finishing the season fourth in the Eastern while the Warriors took second in the West.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the story of the season:

NBA ball

Cavaliers (50-32)

The Cavaliers entered the 2017-18 season having lost the NBA Finals 4-1 to the Warriors before seeing Kyrie Irving depart in the close season. Irving, traded to the Boston Celtics for two players and two draft picks, cited playing in the shadow of LeBron James as one of the reasons he wanted out of Cleveland. The Cavs also signed Dwyane Wade before the start of the campaign to reunite him with James.

The Cavaliers went on to win the Central Division with a 50-32 record, securing play-off basketball on March 22 when the Houston Rockets beat the Detroit Pistons. Their record was enough for fourth seed in the Eastern, with the Toronto Raptors, Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers posting better win records.

The first round of the play-offs saw the Cavs face off against the Indiana Pacers, with the Pacers going in confident having beaten the Cavaliers three times out of four in the regular season. The Cavs went down by 18 points in the first game, and it was 2-2 going into Game 5 where James hit 44 points in a 98-95 win. Indiana took it to a Game 7, with James scoring 45 points in a 105-101 win.

The Conference semi-finals saw Cleveland face Toronto, with the Canadians being swept 4-0 including a 35-point win in Cleveland in Game 4, while the Boston Celtics took Cleveland to seven games in the Conference Finals. The best-of-seven series saw both sides winning on their home court until Game 7 when James hit 35 points, had 15 rebounds and nine assists at the TD Garden in an 87-79 win.

Warriors (58-24)

Reigning champions the Warriors re-signed stars Steph Curry and Kevin Durant ahead of the start of the season but were edged out in their season opener by the Houston Rockets 122-121. It would be one of two occasions where Golden State would have a losing record as they put together a streak of seven wins between the end of October and start of November to take a hold of the Pacific Division.

Their 58 wins in the regular season saw the side easily clinch the divisional title, 16 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, but the Western Conference title would go eastward to the Houston Rockets with their 65-17 record. This was due, in part, to a collapse in form following injuries to stars leading to the side losing 10 in their last 17 games.

Entering the play-offs as second seed, the Warriors first matched up against the San Antonio Spurs with the only blot in their copy book a 103-90 loss as they took the series 4-1. The Conference semi-finals against the New Orleans Pelicans ended up with the same scoreline, with Klay Thompson and Durant on form to ensure another Conference Finals appearance.

The Houston Rockets took the Warriors to seven games, and dealt out the first play-off defeat for the Warriors at the Oracle Arena in 16. The seventh game of the series at the Toyota Center was a win-and-in affair and the Rockets led well into the third period. But a Warriors revival was sparked by Kevin Durant who had 34 points in a 101-92 win to book a ticket to the NBA Finals.


Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.