Warriors Beat Celtics 103-90 to Win 4th NBA Title in 8 Years
BOSTON — The Golden State Warriors are NBA champions once again, topping the Boston Celtics 103-90 on Thursday night for their fourth title in the last eight seasons.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points and was named the NBA 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.
Curry, who was visibly emotional and in tears, struggled to talk as Curry described what had allowed him to win the Warriors’ latest title.
“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. Golden State’s dynastic streak saw them make five trips consecutively to the finals in 2015, 2017, and 2018.
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“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 those that kept Thompson out of the game for nearly two years and roster changes made everything more complicated. The Warriors returned to the court this season with Thompson back at the halfway point.
Also, back at the top. Again, Champions denied the Celtics the record 18th title, which would have given Boston the opportunity to surpass the Los Angeles Lakers in terms of league history.
This tale for the Warriors ended much differently than what was their most recent finals appearance against Toronto 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.”
This led to a rebuild for the Golden State team that turned into a reload. The Warriors used their two-year hiatus from the NBA’s biggest stages to retool their roster – adding a past No. Andrew Wiggins was the 1st draft pick. He excelled in his finals and was joined by Jordan Poole, a rising star.
“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, Klay, Andre and Dray.
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“Finally got that bad boy,” Curry added, referring to the MVP trophy. “It’s special. … Everybody mattered in that process.”
It all worked.
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.
Jaylen Brown, the Celtics’ leader with 34 points scored, was followed by Jayson Tatum with 13, who shot only 6 of 18 on the field. Boston committed 22 turnovers in the postseason, falling to 1-8 when they commit 16 or more.
Boston lost just five games in its 22 appearances in the title series. But it turned their season around and was now on track to win this championship. Boston was 25-25 after 50 games, then went on a tear to get to the finals and nearly claim what would have been just the franchise’s second championship since 1986.
This was the third season in a row that was affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic. While things seemed to be back on track, photos and videos of the championship celebrations will remain a reminder that this virus is still affecting people.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could not 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.
Boston led by 22 points at one point, but the Warriors battled back to reduce their deficit to 8. Jaylen brown’s three-pointer with five minutes left made the score 86 to 78, but the Warriors didn’t relinquish their lead.
“Just couldn’t withstand their runs,” Celtics center Robert Williams said. “Messing up. They played harder and won tonight.”
Curry sent Boston fans streaming toward the exits with his sixth 3 of the night to give the Warriors a commanding 15-point lead, 96-81 — then clasped his hands against face as he ran back down the court, signaling an end to Boston’s hopes of extending the series.
“We’ve had so many great players,” Kerr said, “but Steph, ultimately is why this run happens.”
Warriors: Was 19 of 45 on the 3-point line. … Improved to 20-1 when Green makes a 3-pointer.
Celtics: Boston’s 13-point loss marked the first finals without a single-digit game. … Former Celtic Ray Allen, a member of Boston’s last championship team in 2008, sat courtside. Robert Parish, a Hall of Famer was also present.
A RUN, A RESPONSE
The Celtics were fired up and rode the energy of a loud TD Garden crowd for an early lead of 14-2.
Golden State wasn’t rattled and responded with a 35-8 run that stretched into the second quarter on the way to building as much as a 22-point lead. While the Warriors defeated the Celtics by 17 points, they held a lead of 54 to 39 in the first quarter. Some Celtics fans cheered as the Warriors left the court.
Boston battled back in third. But the Warriors discovered their range far beyond the arc. They connected on six 3s in quarter.
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