The Golden State Warriors are NBA champions once again, topping the Boston Celtics 103-90 Thursday night for their fourth title in the last eight seasons.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points and was named the Finals MVP as the Warriors claimed the franchise’s seventh championship overall. And this one completed a journey like none other, after a run of five consecutive finals, then a plummet to the bottom of the NBA, and now a return to greatness just two seasons after having the league’s worst record.
“We found a way to just get it done,” Curry said after the Warriors accepted the championship trophy and celebrated on the court.
With tears in his eyes and hoarse with emotion, Curry struggled to speak as he explained what enabled the Warriors to capture their latest crown.
“It’s part of a championship pedigree, our experience,” he said. “We built this for 10-11 years. That means a lot when you get to this stage.”
For Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, it’s a fourth championship. The first three rings came in 2015, 2017 and 2018, when Golden State was dynastic and made five consecutive trips to the finals.
“They’re all unique, they’re all special,” coach Steve Kerr said of the multiple titles. “This one might have been the most unlikely. … It takes a group effort to get it done and we had a great group.”
Injuries, including ones that sidelined Thompson for 2 1/2 years, and roster changes changed everything. But this season, with Thompson returning around the midway point, the Warriors were finally back.
Back on top, too. Champions, again, denying the storied Celtics what would have been their record 18th championship, one that would have meant Boston breaking a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history.
CBSSports.com’s Brad Bodkin sang Cury’s praises, noting that Curry’s fourth ring puts him in even rarer historical air.
“Curry’s four is one more than Larry Bird and Dwyane Wade, and one shy of Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan,” he writes. ” … Curry has always been the eye of this Warriors storm that has torn through the NBA over these last eight years. … Curry is, quite simply, among the surest bets for championship contention that has ever existed. … And the thing is, he’s far from done.”
Thousands of Warriors fans came to a watch party at Chase Center and more watched the game outside the arena on a big screen:
Minutes after the game, the Warriors announced that their first victory parade in San Francisco would be held Monday,. The team held its previous three parades in Oakland, which the Warriors called home from 1971 to 2019.
The Warriors’ road back
This tale for the Warriors ended much differently than what their most recent finals appearance against Toronto did in 2019, one that saw Kevin Durant tear his Achilles tendon in Game 5 and then Thompson tear his ACL in what became the Raptors’ title-clincher in Game 6.
The aftermath of that loss was exacerbated by Durant’s decision to leave that summer in free agency to join the Brooklyn Nets and Thompson’s own Achilles injury while rehabilitating his knee injury.
“It all paid off,” Thompson said. “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.”
It thrust a Golden State team into a rebuild that became a reload. The Warriors used their two-year hiatus from the NBA’s biggest stages to retool their roster – adding a past No. 1 draft pick in Andrew Wiggins, who excelled in his first finals, along with another rising star in Jordan Poole.
“This one hits different for sure, knowing what the last three years meant, what it’s been like,” Curry said. “Injuries, the changing of the guard, rosters, the young guys. … Now, we got four championships. Me, Dray, Klay and Andre.
“Finally got that bad boy,” Curry added, referring to the MVP trophy. “It’s special. … Everybody mattered in that process.”
Yes, it all clicked.
For Kerr, it’s a ninth championship overall after winning five as a player. He’s the sixth coach to capture four titles, joining Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, John Kundla, Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley.
It was the third consecutive season where things were affected by, and while things were closer to normal, pictures and video of the championship celebration will serve as a forever reminder that the virus was still an issue.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver couldn’t be at the game because he remained in the league’s health and safety protocols related to the virus. The redesigned Larry O’Brien Trophy – the golden souvenir given to the NBA champions – was presented to the Warriors by deputy commissioner Mark Tatum instead.