The Golden State Warriors closed out the 2022 NBA Finals last week, defeating the Boston Celtics in six hard-fought games. With the series victory, the Warriors captured their seventh championship in franchise history and fourth in the past decade.
The series began with a surprising victory for the Celtics. Four days after a dramatic Game 7 road victory over the Miami Heat, the Celtics flew cross-country and turned in a red-hot-shooting fourth quarter to defeat the Warriors 120-108.
In that fourth quarter, the Celtics made 68.2 percent of their shots, made 9 of 12 three-pointers and outscored the Warriors 40-16 to steal home-court advantage. Center Al Horford led the way for the Celtics with a personal playoff-high 26 points while shooting guard Jaylen Brown poured in 24 points.
The Warriors responded in a big way in a must-win Game 2, winning 107-88. Warriors star and point guard Stephen Curry scored a game-high 29 points and was 1 of 5 Warriors to score in double-figures. The highlight of the game came at the end of the third quarter when shooting guard Jordan Poole swished a shot from just inside half court.
The series shifted to Boston for Games 3 and 4. In the crucial Game 3, the Celtics rode a raucous TD Garden crowd to a 116-100 win and a 2-1 series lead. Celtics star and small forward Jayson Tatum scored 26 points and was flanked by Brown and shooting guard Marcus Smart, who both turned in 20-point performances of their own.
The series momentum shifted toward the Warriors in Game 4 as Curry turned in an NBA Finals masterpiece, scoring a series-high 43 points to win 107-97 and even the series at two games apiece. Curry complemented his scoring output with 7 three-pointers, 10 rebounds and four assists while small forward Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
“Whenever I’m done coaching, I will look back and just say thank you to (Curry),” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr after the game.
Back in San Francisco for a pivotal Game 5, Curry and the Warriors defeated the Celtics 104-94 to leave them one game away from the championship. Leading the way in this game was Wiggins, who scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, both of which were team highs.
Curry scored 16 points but struggled to get going from three, failing to make a three-pointer for the first time in his playoff career. Tatum led the Celtics with 27 points in the loss.
In Game 6, the Warriors did not miss the chance to win the championship on the Celtics’ famous parquet floor, winning 103-90 in a game they controlled most of the way. Yet again, Curry led the Warriors with 34 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and 6 three-pointers to clinch his fourth championship.
Amid the on-court celebration, Curry was named the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP for the first time in his career, putting to bed a common criticism of the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
“I’m so proud of our group,” Curry said after the game. “I thank God every day that I get to play this game at the highest level with some amazing people. They know this is what it’s all about, playing for a championship and what we’ve been through the last three years.”
After five consecutive NBA Finals trips and three titles from 2015 to 2019, the Warriors suffered a rash of injuries to its key stars in recent years. Curry missed nearly all of the 2019-20 season with a broken hand while his fellow “Splash Brother,” shooting guard Klay Thompson, missed two and a half seasons with a torn ACL and Achilles, finally returning to the court this past January.
This is the fourth NBA title for Curry, Thompson, power forward Draymond Green and small forward Andre Iguodala, who now are tied with LeBron James for the most championships among active players. Kerr also won his fourth championship as a coach and ninth overall.
“I think this (championship) might have been the most unlikely just from the standpoint of where we’ve been the past couple of years,” Kerr said. "It takes a full team effort to do this, and we just had a great group who got it done.”
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