Two seasons ago, the Golden State Warriors had the worst record in the Association: a departure for Steph Curry and crew from dynasty talk that followed the team’s dominant run from 2015-19.
On Thursday, Golden State was facing a Game 6 to close out the 2021-22 NBA Finals.
The Warriors played with a championship vision and defeated the Boston Celtics to win the championship. Golden State scrapped and fought their way back to the top of the NBA, which is not unfamiliar to Steph Curry but appeared in every way like his first championship once the clocks hit zero.
The Celtics started on a positive foot, rallying with 10 straight points to start the game. Golden State finished the first quarter on an 11-point rally to take the lead, 27-22.
The Warriors’ well-rounded attack appeared to be back in their stride, continuing the balanced offense that led the Warriors to a Game 5 win and 3-2 series lead.
Golden State smelled blood early on, going on a 21-0 run in the second — the longest scoring streak in an NBA Finals series in 50 years.
The Celtics also made history in the first half, turning the ball over 12 times, the most in the first half of a Finals game.
Ime Udoka’s crew understood the assignment: win or go home.
Unfortunately, a broken defensive effort and another lukewarm performance from star Jayson Tatum (13 points) sunk the Celtics.
The Celtics proved resilient all postseason: surviving back-to-back Game 7s (Milwaukee, Miami) and handing the Warriors a Finals Game 1 upset loss.
Heading back to TD Garden, the task to stop a Golden State team, with a vengeful Curry after his 16-point Game 5 performance, was gargantuan.
The Celtics got into foul trouble in the first half, with Tatum and Marcus Smart reaching three fouls early.
Smart had some highs this series, but a nine-point contribution and sub-par defensive performance in the elimination game proved that the vet needs to be more reliable in big moments.
Golden State was up, 54-39, before the break.
The Celtics found themselves down, about 22 points, halfway through the third quarter but not out yet.
Boston jumped to a 10-point deficit off a resurging Al Horford and a strong effort from Jaylen Brown (34 points) in the third. Golden State’s double-digit turnovers in the period also gave life to Boston’s rally.
Horford came alive in the third after timid performances since his 26-point Game 1. He jumped to 16 points and 11 rebounds by the end of the third after a nonexistent first half where he only shot the ball once. Horford finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Down 16 points heading into the fourth, Boston faced the final moments with 12 minutes to go.
Optimism was there for Udoka and the young Boston crew to make a furious comeback in their postseason swan song, but once an uncharacteristically lazy Celtics defense kept Golden State firing away from three and within the paint, Boston’s fate was signed … sealed … delivered.
The Warriors’ plan to draw iso’s on Curry, facing Horford, gave the eight-time All-Star plenty of room to start cookin’.
Boston was back to fumbling the ball in the fourth, finishing with 23 turnovers on the night.
The Warriors ran away with the scoreboard in the fourth, beating the Celtics by 13 for the franchise’s seventh championship.
Golden State won its fourth championship in the last eight seasons.
Curry recorded 32 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. He was named Finals MVP and also won his fourth championship Thursday. It was his first-ever Finals MVP win.
Here’s what OutKick founder Clay Travis had to say about Steph Curry’s legacy:
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela