By Terrance Turner
June 16, 2022 (updated June 20)
The Golden State Warriors are NBA Champions (again). The Warriors clinched their fourth title since 2015 by handily defeating the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Boston.
Boston opened with a 14-2 lead, as Celtics stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum both hit back-to-back threes. But Golden State went on a 11-0 run towards the end of the first quarter, giving them a five-point lead at the end. (By contrast, the Celtics only managed to score four points in the last five minutes of the quarter, according to CBS Sports.) Golden State led 27-22 at the end of the first.
The second quarter started with a wild three-pointer by Warriors guard Jordan Poole, followed by a transition layup by Andrew Wiggins. Poole next hit another three, and Wiggins added a dunk, capping a 21-0 run by Golden State. (That’s the longest run by one team in the NBA Finals in 50 years, per CBS Sports.) And the lead only grew after that: Golden State took advantage of 13 turnovers by Boston in the first half and went on a 12-0 run before a timeout by the Celtics. At that point, the Warriors led 51-33, with just 2:49 left in the half. By halftime, they led by fifteen: 54-39.
Golden State continued to stay ahead of the Celtics for the entirety of the third quarter. Al Horford gave Boston life with a three-pointer, but Otto Porter responded with a three of his own — scoring his first points of the night! Horford scored again, but so did Porter. Then Curry drained a ridiculous three-point shot and pointed to his finger as if to say, “Where’s my ring?”
By this point, the lead had ballooned to 22. Golden State led Boston 72-50. But the Celtics wouldn’t give up. Powered by the play of center Al Horford, Boston went on a 16-4 run to end the third quarter. It was 76-66 at the end of the third. Celtics narrowed the lead to as little as eight, but the Warriors continued to edge them out, thanks to deft defense by Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins — and skilled shooting by Curry. He fired off of a three to push the lead to 15, making it 96 to 81 with 3 minutes left. After that, there was no looking back. The Warriors continued to stymie the Celtics en route to their fourth championship in the past eight years. As it became clear that the victory was destined, Curry broke down on the court.
Weeping, Curry joined Lisa Salters for an interview. “I’m so proud of our group. I thank God everyday that I get to play this game of basketball with some amazing people. I mean this is what it’s all about,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, nobody thought we’d be here except everybody in this — on this court right now, and it’s amazing. It’s very surreal, though. Very surreal.
You hit rock bottom with injuries, with the long road of work ahead, and just try to fill out the right pieces and the right guys. You could never take this for granted, because you never know when you’ll get back here, and to get back here and get it done means the world.”
UPDATE (June 20, 2022): Today, the Warriors celebrated their victory with a championship parade in San Francisco. NBC Bay Area says the parade was scheduled to start at 11:20 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Market and Main streets in San Francisco, the team said. The route, which is just over a mile long, will wrap up at Market and Eighth streets. The parade was expected to conclude at about 2 p.m.
According to NBC Bay Area, “If you’re trying to stream the Warriors parade online, KRON streams here; NBC Bay Area streams here; and ABC7 streams here.” Live coverage of the parade on NBC stated that some fans drove to San Francisco from L.A. starting at midnight so that they could catch the parade. Prior to the parade, a championship ceremony took place. Several Warriors players spoke before a crowd of fans at the rally.
For Klay Thompson, this win is especially sweet. He had returned to the team (and NBA action) in January after being plagued by injuries, including a torn ACL and a torn Achilles. Those injuries had kept him off the court for an astounding 941 days — two years, six months, and 27 days. Asked about what support from the fans means to him, Thompson answered affectionately.
“I love being a resident of the Bay Area,” said Thompson. He added, “Going to breakfast Saturday morning and seeing everybody in the neighborhood just so excited and getting a standing ovation from the chef, the waiters, everybody. That’s what it’s about right there, those little wins,” Thompson said, “the small things in life that inspired you to keep going — whether it’s taking a picture with an old lady or a young kid like…Dub Nation has no bounds, and we have fans from all walks of life.”
The interviewer next turned to Curry. “Steph, the win in Game 6, you were as emotional as I’ve ever seen you. You cried on the court; it obviously was the end of–“
“Who cries on the basketball court?” Thompson interrupted, jokingly, to laughter from the crowd.
“There’s no crying in basketball!” Curry laughed, paraphrasing a famous movie line. He responded: “I think everything that’s been said on this stage — whether you say it out loud or whether you internalize it — like, you carry all of the journey with you every single day. And so it’s — to know what we’ve all been through, what my brother went through for almost 3 years, what we went through as a team to try and retool, regroup, rejuvenate what we had, and just like, taking snapshots of the last three years — all that came out when the final horn sounded. It wasn’t just the work we put in last week. It wasn’t the work we put in a month ago. It was the work that we started once we changed buildings, and trying to carry that championship DNA with us. The emotion was… everything. Just let it out. Just let us know that we’re back.”
Asked it for an homage to the fans Curry reflected, “I mean, we’ve grown up right in front of y’alls’ eyes — from 2015 when we were wondering what face shaving cream was, ’cause we didn’t really have that ability to grow a beard, but now we know — what we’ve been able to carry all these last 8 years. How cool is it, seven years to the day from Game 6 in 2015 to Game 6 in 2022, the exact same day, we’re celebrating another championship.” Speaking of himself, Thompson, Green, and veteran Andre Igoudala, Curry told the audience: “With us four, we represent you guys: the life that you give us, the inspiration, the free meals and the standing ovations in the kitchen…”
“Love those,” Thompson chimed in.
“…all those things matter,” Curry said. “Because this is what it’s all about.”
And with that, the parade commenced.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Double decker buses full of Warriors’ players and their families, and livery in blue and gold, rolled down Market Street as fans roared and confetti cannons fired overhead. The buses were crowned with the team’s golden Larry O’Brien trophies, one of which Draymond Green held overhead, shimmying happily as the buses plowed through a carpet of confetti on the street.”
Gary Payton Jr. jumped off the bus and began dancing in the streets. After removing his shirt, he walked the street with a super soaker in hand, jubilantly greeting fans.
Draymond Green found his way to a camera (as he is wont to do) and shared a message for all the doubters: “Shut up!”
On a more serious note, Jordan Poole reflected on the hard work that led to his win and what it meant to him: “It’s crazy when you work as hard as you can, and finally get rewarded, it feels like it’s supposed to feel.”