The Golden State Warriors are NBA champions again, beating the Boston Celtics 103–90 for their fourth title in eight seasons.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points on Thursday night and was named the NBA Finals MVP as the Warriors claimed the franchise’s seventh championship.
It completed a journey like no other, following a run of five consecutive Finals, then an NBA low, and now a return to greatness, just two seasons after the league’s worst record.
“We found a way to make it happen,” Curry said after the Warriors accepted the championship trophy and celebrated it on the field.
With tears in his eyes and hoarse with emotion, Curry struggled to speak as he explained what allowed the Warriors to take their newest 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 point.”
“At the beginning of the season, no one thought we would be here, except everyone on this floor.” pic.twitter.com/tHBY3Alg5D
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 17, 2022
It is the fourth championship for Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. The first three titles came in 2015, 2017 and 2018, when Golden State was dynastic, making five consecutive trips to the finals.
“They’re all unique, they’re all special,” said coach Steve Kerr of the multiple titles. “This was arguably the most improbable… It takes a group effort to pull it off and we had a great group.”
It is Kerr’s ninth championship after five wins as a player. He is the sixth coach to capture four titles, along with Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, John Kundla, Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley.
This story for the Warriors ended very differently from their most recent Finals appearance against Toronto in 2019, one in which Kevin Durant tore his Achilles tendon in Game 5 and then Thompson tore his ACL in what became the Raptors’ title winner in Game 6.
The aftermath of that loss was compounded by Durant’s decision to leave as a free agency that summer to join the Brooklyn Nets and Thompson’s own Achilles tendon injury while he was recovering from his knee injury.
“It all paid off,” Thompson said. “It was dog days, lots of tears shed… You knew it was a possibility, but to see it in real time… It’s crazy.”
It pushed a Golden State team into a rebuild that turned into a reload. The Warriors used their two-year hiatus from the NBA’s biggest stages to reshape their roster. They added a previous number one draft pick to Andrew Wiggins, who excelled in his first finals, along with another rising star in Jordan Poole.
Sleep well pic.twitter.com/fIMwW4eeSk
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) June 17, 2022
The Warriors’ victory denied the legendary Celtics what would have been their 18th championship, one that would have allowed Boston to break a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history.
In Thursday’s game, Jaylen Brown led the Celtics by 34 points, but Jayson Tatum finished with just 13 points, knocking out just six of 18. Boston also made 22 turnovers, dropping to 1-8 at 16 or more this postseason.
It was only the fifth loss in 22 title series for Boston that turned the season upside down for a chance to win this title. Boston was 25-25 after 50 games, then went crying to the finals, nearly claiming what would have been just the franchise’s second championship since 1986.
“I just couldn’t resist their runs,” said Celtics center Robert Williams. “Bug. They played harder and won tonight.”
Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka challenged his young team to learn to come back stronger after their defeat and that Boston’s finals this season was “just the beginning”.
“A foundation has been laid,” he says. “Next year we can get off the ground a bit. Let’s get healthy and all be on the same page.
“We have seen what we can achieve. It hurts that we fell short of that. But the future is bright and we are just getting started, so let’s all come back better from this experience.”
2018🏆 2022 pic.twitter.com/ulun4UubRH
— NBA (@NBA) June 17, 2022