When Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and their emotional teammate Draymond Green began Golden State’s big turnaround nearly a decade ago, they were still relatively young and each establishing themselves in their careers.
At very different stages of their respective basketball journeys and lives now all these years later, they are once again closing in on another championship together as the cornerstones of what many consider to be a dynasty of Warriors they helped make. His chance to win a fourth title comes Thursday night in Boston, where the Warriors take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals in Game 6 against the Celtics.
The Splash Brothers and Green now have 20 Finals wins together, the second-most for any NBA trio since 1970. They close in on the company of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper, who won 22 Finals games. along with the Lakers. .
With Monday’s 104-94 victory in Game 5, Golden State’s stars surpassed the 19 wins achieved by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with the Spurs.
“We want to have one more to show and one more win, and really embrace what we’ve accomplished to be back on this stage,” Curry said after the game, when he went 0-for-9 from 3-point range. a record streak of 233 games of making at least one.
“Obviously, getting to six finals, you have a lot of opportunities. You enjoy every one of them. So this series is no different. And one more win, I just have to find a way to do it.”
Coach Steve Kerr has been here for all six NBA Finals appearances over eight years, including five in a row between 2015 and 2019.
They’ve all been through so much in recent seasons, most notably two devastating injuries for Thompson, that this opportunity is being especially prized.
“It is very exciting to be part of the finals again. I think this whole season has led to this, a lot of individual stories, guys getting better, guys healthy,” Kerr said. “Here we are, we have a chance. We have two chances to get a win, but we also know how difficult it will be.”
It seems like a long time ago, however, all three Warriors superstars have pointed out that that early moment that brought respectability back to the franchise is important to developing the necessary experience that helps them on the big stage of the postseason now. He has gained perspective by winning three championships and also losing twice.
Curry and Green are now parents who get out of practice and prefer to get home right away for family time, while Thompson has a greater appreciation for everything on and off the court after being sidelined for more than two years. and a half due to surgeries on his left knee. and right Achilles tendon.
“Now, to be here again, I wouldn’t change a thing,” Thompson said. “I’m very grateful and everything I’ve done up to that point has led to this, so I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Long before Thompson finally returned in January, he offered a “championship or fail” vote for this season that he hopes to fulfill this week.
These three thirty-something superstars are enjoying this remarkable postseason run with more gratitude and an understanding of how difficult it is to get here. That’s what makes for a couple of disappointing seasons in the wake of so much winning.
Even with all the differences and new faces from those previous champion teams, Curry, Green and Thompson were determined to keep faith that it would all work out to build another winning roster.
“So really embracing and appreciating each process for what it is, because each year is its own year, it’s its own journey, and appreciating that journey and really going through it,” Green said. “Not going all out to get around it thinking, ‘Oh man, we’ll go back there.’ Just appreciating that ride and really putting yourself on it and going through it, feeling the ups and downs, and then ultimately it takes some extreme competitors.”
While these three had veterans like Andre Iguodala (still around) and Shaun Livingston leading the way as they gained experience, now Curry, Green and Thompson offer guidance with youngsters like rookie Jonathan Kuminga, Jordan Poole and even finals rookie Andrew. Wiggins.
Green thinks things are different even when he joined the Warriors as a 35th-round second-round pick out of Michigan State in 2012. He tries to approach young players with an understanding of the pressures they feel.
“You end up having to learn from their generation because you just can’t lead them in the same way that you could lead someone who is sort of our generation,” he said. “You figure out what buttons to push, and how do you get to them, how to treat them and what’s the best way… I learned to treat or look at him as more than just a son or a brother, and that’s just all part of growing up.”
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