Warriors finish off Celtics for fourth NBA title in eight years
For the fourth time in eight years, the Golden State Warriors have been crowned the NBA champions, as they beat the Boston Celtics 103-90 on Thursday night in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
The Warriors, who finished an NBA-worst 15-50 in 2019-20, became the first team to go from the worst record to a championship in a three-season span, according to ESPN Stats and Information research.
Golden State also became just the second team in NBA history to win a championship on Boston’s home court.
Stephen Curry wrapped up Finals MVP honors, scoring 34 points on 12-of-21 shooting in Game 6, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range. He added seven assists, seven rebounds and two steals.
But Thursday night’s title-clinching win was a display of the Warriors’ depth, and the number of players who could step up on any given night.
Draymond Green played his best game of the series, scoring 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks.
He also hit two 3-pointers after missing his first 12 attempts of the series. He struggled on the other end, however. With Green as the primary defender, the Celtics shot just 9-of-17 from the floor on Thursday night.
Andrew Wiggins continued his strong series, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. Jordan Poole added 15 off the bench, while Klay Thompson scored 12 points.
Gary Payton II had just six points, but finished with a plus-18 net-rating.
Up to this point, the Warriors had struggled to close out series this postseason. Heading into Game 6, Golden State was 0-3 in close-out games on the road, and the Celtics were 3-0 when facing elimination.
Early on, it looked as though both were destined for the same fate, as Boston jumped out to a 14-2 lead four minutes in.
But what transpired over the next nine minutes defined the game, ultimately bringing the Warriors to their seventh double-digit comeback win this postseason. That’s tied for the most by any team in the past 25 postseasons (the 2011 and 2012 Heat both had seven).
With about a minute and a half left in the first quarter, Green hit his first 3-pointer of the series to put the Warriors down just one. Curry followed that play with a 3-pointer to give the Warriors’ their first lead of the night. Poole put the icing on this sequence with a 29-foot 3-pointer the next trip down.
The Warriors outscored the Celtics 35-8 from the middle of the first quarter into the middle of the second, including a 21-0 run that lasted four minutes.
As the Warriors continued their aerial assault, the Celtics fans that made TD Garden one of the hardest arenas to play in sunk quietly into their seats, and the travelling fans in blue and gold became louder and bolder.
The Celtics made several pushes. Late in the third quarter, they even cut the Warriors’ lead to nine.
Boston continued making timely shots in the fourth, keeping itself within arms length. But the Celtics could get no closer than that. The Warriors forced stops, then kept hitting shots, and when it was time to put the Celtics away, they did.
The Warriors stormed the court as time expired, with players such as Curry, Green and Thompson finally getting back the feeling they had experienced many times before, while younger players such as Wiggins, Poole and Payton II felt it for the first time.
It was a full circle moment for Golden State, which won its first title since 2018 and fourth since Steve Kerr became head coach in 2014-15.
Two years after questions about their dynasty rose, the Warriors proved they’re still a force. After missing the playoffs for two straight seasons, they are champions again. After having the league’s worst record two years ago, they are the best team in the NBA. (ESPN)