For the fourth time in the last eight years, the Golden State Warriors are NBA champions after coming away with a 103-90 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden on Thursday night. After falling behind 14-2 to start the game, the Warriors ultimately took control of things, thanks to a 30-8 run that stretched from the end of the first quarter into the second.
While the Celtics were ultimately able to cut the deficit to single digits in the fourth quarter, Stephen Curry and the Warriors were not going to be denied another championship as they seemingly had an answer for every run Boston made down the stretch. In the end, Curry, once again, led the way for Golden State on the offensive end. He finished the series-clinching win with a team-high 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, adding yet another chapter to his already storied career. The rest of the Warriors offered Curry plenty of help as Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all scored in double figures as well.
On the other end, the Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown, who did all he could with 34 points, seven rebounds and three assists, but unfortunately for Boston fans, it wasn't enough to extend their season one more game. Going forward, the Celtics' front office will need to figure out a way to push this group over the hump but tonight is all about the Warriors extending their dynasty.
1. Curry captures elusive Finals MVP
It was no surprise when Curry's named was called as the winner of the Bill Russell Finals MVP award. It was even less surprising that he was a unanimous selection to win it. That's just how dominant a performance Curry put on over the six-game series. His 43-point outburst in Game 4 is the sole reason the Warriors managed to pull out a win and tie the series back up at two games apiece. If it weren't for every bucket he made in that game, the Warriors likely go down 3-1 in this series and we're in a very different position today.
For most of the series, the Warriors struggled to get consistent production out of guys like Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole, but Curry remained a constant in every win and loss. It's not just his scoring that helped lift the Warriors to a title, but also the gravitational pull he has whenever he's on the floor that makes him so dangerous. Because he's lethal as soon as he crosses halfcourt, he draws so much attention from the defense, which opens up scoring opportunities from other guys on the floor. It forced the Celtics to make tough decisions on defense throughout the series, whether to double Curry or play straight up, show drop coverage in pick-and-rolls or fight over the top of screens. All of that confusion led to buckets for Curry and his teammates.
Though Curry was the obvious choice for the award, him winning it is an important moment as its his first Finals MVP of his career. Though the future Hall of Fame guard has two regular-season MVP awards to his name, and now four championships under his belt, he never won Finals MVP for any of the last three rings the Warriors won. Andre Iguodala won the honor back in 2015, while Kevin Durant won it in back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018.
But this time around it was undeniably all Curry's and he capped it off with a signature performance in Game 6, where he went 6 of 11 from deep en route to a 34-point, seven-assist, seven-rebound night. It was the fourth time in this series that Curry scored over 30 points, and it puts him at 32.5 career points per game in title-clinching games. That ranks second all-time in NBA history in closeout title games, trailing only Michael Jordan, per ESPN Stats and Info.
2. Warriors showed just how scary of a team they can be
Though the Warriors blew the Celtics out in Game 2 of this series, we really never got to see the version of the Warriors that can just punish their opponent into submission in this series. We saw that in the Western Conference finals on numerous occasions against the Mavericks, as well as in the first round against the Denver Nuggets, but for the most part the Celtics held their own against this potent Warriors team.
That was until Thursday night. For all but six minutes of Game 6, the Warriors put together a masterpiece of a performance on both ends of the floor to outpace the Celtics. At one point in the second quarter, Golden State went on a 21-0 run to completely alter the momentum of the game. It gave the Warriors a 15-point lead, and they never looked back from that point. That run also just so happened to be the longest run in a Finals game in the last 50 years of the league. The previous high was a 20-0 run ... also by the Warriors during the 2019 Finals against the Raptors.
That 21-0 run encapsulated this dynastic Warriors team. A squad that prides itself on the "strength in numbers" mantra. It wasn't just Curry going to work that sparked that run. Five different Warriors players scored buckets during that run to dizzy the Celtics. It's that type of depth and unselfishness with the ball that makes this Warriors team so difficult to beat, and that showed in Game 6.
3. Celtics couldn't get out of their own way ... again
If you want to look at one stat to see why the Celtics lost this game, then look at the fact that they turned the ball over 22 times. For context, in the two games Boston won in this series it averaged 12 turnovers in those matchups. In the three losses prior to this one, it averaged 17 turnovers a game. While some teams can overcome those trends, the Celtics were not one of them in this series. The worst part about it is the fact that a lot of their turnovers are unforced errors, where guys like Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were just careless with the ball while driving to the rim or panicked when the defense showed them pressure.
Beyond the turnovers, though, the Celtics really struggled to respond to the Warriors runs until the fourth quarter when it was a little too late. Tatum recorded just three points in the second half after putting up 11 in the first, Smart went just 4 of 12 from the field for nine points and their bench generated just six points total. Brown was the only Celtics player who really had it going tonight, but his 34 points alone wasn't nearly enough to get past a Warriors team that was playing their best basketball at the right time.
Although this will be a tough pill to swallow over the offseason, the Celtics will be in the mix of championship contenders once again next season. This was a team that started to catch fire at the right time in the second half of the season, and throughout the playoffs they overcame adversity on numerous occasions to get here. While it wasn't the result they wanted, this experience will only help them better prepare for next season.
Warriors NBA championship gear now available
The Golden State Warriors have won their fourth NBA title in the last eight seasons. Now, you can celebrate with championship hats, shirts, hoodies, and more. See the entire collection here.
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