For the fourth time in eight years, the Golden State Warriors can call themselves the NBA Champions.
Inspired by Steph Curry, who deservedly landed the NBA Finals MVP award, the Dubs superstar was back to his best after a quiet Game 5 performance, leading his team to a 103-90 victory at TD Gardens in Boston to clinch the series 4-2.
The victory completes an incredible four-year spell for the Warriors, who went from playing in the NBA Finals five times, to being the team with the worst record in the NBA, and then two years later, being crowned Champions once again.
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Green Inspired To Best Game In The Finals
Last time at TD Gardens, Draymond Green came in for plenty of stick, was fouled out of
the game and the Warriors saw Steph Curry hurt.
This time around, it was all-change.
Green in particular had one of his best playoff games ever, and certainly the best in this series.
He came close to a triple-double, landing 12 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists in addition to two steals and a further two blocks.
Green was a force of nature on defense and at the other end of the court, Curry was showing that his lack of three pointers in Game 5 was just a blip.
Curry got back into the groove quickly and scored 34 points in the game, also landing seven rebounds and seven assists, two steals and a block.
Game 5 aside, it was another outstanding performance from the legend, who turns 40 next season, and it was more than enough for him to be crowned the NBA Finals MVP for the first time.
However, it was probably Klay Thompson who will have enjoyed the victory the most.
Out injured for over 30 months after two devastating injuries one after the other, his 12 points may not have been the largest on the night, but they were perhaps the most well-received by Dubs fans.
“It all paid off,” said Thompson after the game. “It was dog days, a lot of tears shed. You knew it was a possibility, but to see it in real time, it’s crazy.”
Perhaps the player who did the most to secure the win alongside Curry was Andrew Wiggins, whose sensational play at both ends of the court has been a feature of the Warriors success in the series.
Wiggins finished the night with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks and for any other team, he may well have been the Finals MVP.
Celtics Fail To Capitalize On Quick Start
Yet, it could have been different and we could be here talking about a decisive Game 7 in
the series had the Boston Celtics maintained their quick start to the game.
From the off, the Celtics looked quick, clever and bright in possession and they cut through the Warriors easily, taking the lead 14-2 in the first quarter to get the partisan home crowd pumped up further.
The Warriors looked ill at ease and Steve Kerr called a key timeout to get his team focused.
It worked like a dream, as after that the Warriors dominated, outscoring the home side 54-25 for the remainder of the first half to take a 15-point lead into the interval.
That performance changed the mood in Boston and the Warriors managed to keep the Celtics at bay in the second half, only allowing them to cut the deficit by two at the end of the game to earn an impressive road victory, the third time they have won the NBA Finals in such fashion.
“Baggage We Carried”
Following the win, Finals MVP Steph Curry revealed just how different this win was for the team:
“This one is definitely different because of the three years of baggage we carried coming out of that Game 6 in 2019,” said Curry, referencing their 114-110 Game 6 loss to the Raptors in the NBA Finals a few years back.
“I can say it now, I don’t know how many teams could carry that as long as we have with the expectations of comparing us now to the teams of the past and make it to the mountaintop again.”
“The conversations about who we were as a team and what we were capable of…we hear all that, and you carry it all and you try to maintain your purpose, not let it distract you, but you carry that weight. And to get here, it all comes out. It’s special,” Curry concluded.
Warriors Installed As New Favorites For 2022/23 Season
Barely had the Warriors lifted the NBA Championship trophy and the bookmakers were busy, with BetMGM Sportsbook installing the Warriors as their 11/2 favorites to win the trophy again next year.
The Celtics were next on the list at 13/2, before the Nets and Clippers at 7/1, Bucks at 8/1 and Suns at 9/1.
More surprising perhaps is the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers, so often the pre-season favorites, are rated a 14/1 chance alongside five other teams, the Mavericks, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Heat and 76ers.
However, next season won’t be on the player’s minds as they will begin to enjoy a short period of rest before pre-season training begins again following the NBA Draft later this month.