How Golden State beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals

BOSTON – It turns out that the dynasty has just come to a halt.

Golden State won the NBA Championship again, four seasons after its last. It’s the franchise’s seventh title and fourth for its three stars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who have spent the past decade growing up together, winning together, and over the past three years, learning how fragile success can be.

On Thursday, they defeated the Boston Celtics, 103-90, in Game Six of the NBA Finals. They won the series, 4-2, and celebrated their victory on the parquet floor of TD Garden, under 17 championship banners, in front of the depths of frustrated supporters.

With 24 seconds left in the game, Curry found his father near the baseline, hugged him and shook as he cried in his arms. Then Carrie got back into the game. He put his hands on his head and squatted, then fell on the court.

“I think I passed out,” Curry later said.

He thought about the last few months of qualifying, about the past three years, about people who didn’t think he could be here again.

“You get goosebumps just thinking about all those shots and loops we’ve been through to get back here,” said Carey.

Curry, who scored 34 points in a match win, was named the finals’ most valuable player. This was the first time in his career that he won the award.

“Without him, none of this happens,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “For me, this is the icing on the cake.”

Credits…Alison Dinner for The New York Times

Boston Battle Mode.

The Celtics led 14-2 to open the game, playing better than they did in their lackluster start to Game Five, but Golden State’s firepower threatened to overwhelm them. For nearly six minutes of playing time from late in the first quarter through early in the second, Boston couldn’t score.

Golden State had a 21-point lead in the second quarter, and maintained that difference at the start of the third.

With 6 minutes and 15 seconds left in the third inning, Curry scored his third of the game, giving his team a 22-point lead. He extended his right hand and pointed to her ring finger, confident that he was on his way to winning the fourth championship ring.

This moment may have motivated the Celtics, who responded with a 12-2 score. In the end, though, they had plenty of ground to recover.

Golden State celebrated after two record seasons, one of which made it the worst team in the NBA, whose players and coaches spent those seasons waiting for Thompson’s injuries to heal, for Curry’s (less) injuries to heal and for new or small pieces of their team. List of candidates for important roles.

When they became whole again, the three-player core spoke of solidifying its legacy.

They were much younger when their travels began together. Golden State drafted Curry in 2009, Thompson in 2011, and Greene in 2012.

Curry was 27 years old when they won their first championship together in 2015. Both Thompson and Greene were 25.

This season was also Kerr’s first as head coach.

Golden State went 67-15 and rebounded during the playoffs to the NBA Finals, and he had no idea how hard it was to get there. The following year, the team set a league record with 73 regular season wins, but lost on the trip back to the finals. Kevin Durant joined the team on free agency that summer, and Golden State won the next two championships, becoming one of the greatest teams in NBA history.

Heroes grew as people and as players during this extension. Carrie and Greene added children to their families. They were rock stars on the road, with a throng of fans waiting for them at their hotels. Three championships in four seasons made Golden State seem invincible.

Only injuries can stop them.

The families’ race ended in devastating fashion in 2019 during their fifth consecutive Finals appearance. Durant had a calf injury, then ruptured his right Achilles tendon in Game Five of the Finals against Toronto and left the team in the net in the off-season. Thompson ruptured the ACL in his left knee during the next game. The Raptors won the championship that day.

Credits…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

“It was the end of an era for the Oracle,” Curry said, referring to the former Golden State Arena in Oakland, California. The team moved to Chase Center in San Francisco in 2019. “You’re getting ready for summer, trying to regroup and figuring out what happens next year,” he added.

The two absurd seasons that followed were tough for all of them, but no more than Thompson, who also tore his right Achilles tendon during fall 2020, sidelining him for an additional year.

During this year’s finals, think a lot about that trip.

“I wouldn’t change anything,” Thompson said. “I’m so grateful and everything I’ve done up to that point led to it.”

With this season approaching, Golden State was not expected to return to this stage so soon. This was especially true because as the season approached, the date of Thompson’s return wasn’t clear.

But then, we hope. Golden State opened the 2021-22 campaign with wins in 18 of its first 20 games. The team had found a gem in Gary Payton II, which was disqualified by other teams due to his size or because he wasn’t a 3-point shooter. Andrew Wiggins, acquired in a 2020 deal with Minnesota, Kevon Looney, drafted weeks into that 2015 championship, and Jordan Poole, picked late in the first round in 2019, showed why the team appreciates them so much. .

Curry set a career record with three throws and mentored the team’s younger players.

Who can say how good this team might be once Thompson returns?

This answer came in the playoffs.

The Golden State defeated the Denver Nuggets in five games, and the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. Dallas then took only one game from Golden State in the Western Conference Finals.

Curry, Thompson, and Greene, the drive of five straight final rounds, entered this year’s championship series completely changed.

“The things I value today, I didn’t necessarily appreciate those things,” Green said. “In 2015, I hated taking pictures, you know, I didn’t put two pictures together. Like, man, these memories are so important.”

Credits…Alison Dinner for The New York Times

They vowed not to take any part of the Finals experience for granted, even the negative parts.

Throughout the series, Boston fans cheered on Green using an expletive. During a champagne celebration in the locker room after the match, his teammates imitated them.

“It’s beautiful,” said Greene. “You embrace tough times, that’s what we do and that’s how we top the top. For us, it was a beautiful thing. To hear my teammates chant about it, it couldn’t be much better.”

They faced a young Boston Celtics, just as in 2015, led by Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, sponsored by the elder statesman Al Horford. The Celtics did just about everything the hard way as they pursued the franchise’s eighteenth championship.

They swept the nets in the first round but went into seven games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. They won when they had to, and made a lot of reckless interruptions when they didn’t.

Boston was the youngest, strongest and most athletic team in the finals. The Celtics didn’t fear the Golden State, or the big stage, and he proved it by winning their first game on the road. Until the fifth game, the Celtics had not lost consecutive games in the playoffs.

Curry worked his way up against Boston’s defense in Game Four, scoring 43 points. Then in Game 5, the Celtics thwarted his efforts, only to get his teammates to make up for lost ground.

At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Green recalled a moment during the Golden State’s trip to Boston from San Francisco between games 5 and 6. He, Thompson and Carey were sitting together when Bob Myers, the team’s general manager and head of basketball operations, saw them.

It’s like, ‘Man, you guys are fun. You are still sitting together. You all don’t get it, it’s 10 years. Like, that doesn’t happen. Green remembers that the men still sat together at the same table. “It’s like, ‘The guys haven’t even been on the same team for 10 years, let alone sitting there at the same table enjoying a conversation and being with each other. “

At a separate press conference a few minutes later, Thompson was asked about that moment and why the three still enjoy each other’s company. Carrie stood at the wall, watching, waiting for his turn to speak.

“Well, I don’t know anything about that,” Thompson said. “I owe Draymond some domino money, so I don’t want to see him too many times.”

Curry bent at the waist, doubled with quiet laughter.

“I was half asleep,” Thompson continued. “Draymond and Bob were chatting away for six hours on a plane trip. I was just trying to get some sleep.”

Credits…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Carrey later said, “All the characters are very different. Everyone comes from different backgrounds. But we’ve all walked around the collective unity of how we do things, whether it’s in the locker room, on the plane, in hotels, like anything else. We know how to have fun. And we keep things light but also understand what we’re trying to do and why it’s all so important in terms of winning games.”

The next day they won their fourth championship together. They gathered in a crowd and jumped together. When Curry won MVP in the finals, they chanted ‘Best Player’ along with everyone else on stage.

Long after the celebration was over, Thompson and Carrie stayed there together, sometimes sitting together, and sometimes dancing together. Thompson looked down at the podium and said he didn’t want to leave.

Curry got down before Thompson did, but stood first on top. Holding a cigar between his lips, he held the trophy of the best player in his left hand.

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