For the fourth time in less than a decade, the Golden State Warriors are kings of the NBA, and this time around their win may have been the most satisfying and impressive of the era.
The Dubs bested the Boston Celtics last night in a decisive Game 6 of the NBA Finals by a 13-point margin, 103-90, led in scoring by (who else?) Stephen Curry, who dropped 34 points.
But the story of this championship was unlike their chips in 2015, 2017 and 2018, when Curry, fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson overwhelmed teams with pace, space and lethal three-point shooting, Draymond Green’s bullying defense and a host of role players filling out their “Death” lineup.
The Warriors can still do all those things but this iteration showed a different identity. Curry and Thompson were a combined 8-for-19 from three-point range while the latter put up only 12 points while shooting only 25% from the field in just over 41 minutes. The Warriors got significant offensive contributions from an emerging star in Jordan Poole (15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists), a reborn Andrew Wiggins (18/6/5) and even Green, who found his range to kick in 12, 12 and 8.
But the real storylines of the game and Finals were Curry’s leadership and a smothering Warriors defense against a Celtics team that itself featured NBA defensive player of the year Marcus Smart and put an overall bigger lineup on the floor in all six games. The Warriors held the C’s best offensive weapon, Jayson Tatum, to 13 points in his 40 minutes on the floor and getting him in foul trouble early. Only Jaylen Brown got out of the teens for the Celtics, with 34 points.
The Warriors forced the Celtics into 23 turnovers, never allowing them back into the contest after wresting an early lead from Gang Green. They put up that performance on the road in Boston’s notorious TD Garden, where Warriors players and spouses last week complained about some impolite chants.
Curry, 34, won his first NBA Finals MVP—crazy considering how long he’s been the anchor of a squad now definitely in the ranks of NBA dynasties. He’s only the fifth player in league history to put more than one league MVP, Finals MVP along with a scoring title, and he joins an elite class with LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson to have four chips and more than one MVP. He’s also the NBA’s all-time three-point shooting king.
Now in his 13th season, Curry doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon, so barring injury and with a cast of younger role players who appear to be up to the task, it’s clear he’s got time to add to his trophy case.
Perhaps propelling his team to the title with a dominant Finals performance in the NBA’s 75th anniversary year was his way of telling everyone to put some respect on his all-time greatness.