NBA Finals - US Sports: Finals Review
Golden State Warriors have been crowned kings of the NBA once more as a 103-90 win over the Boston Celtics sealed the NBA Finals series with a game to spare.
The series had been a very tight one heading into Thursday's showdown and it would have been no surprise to see the contest go to a decider between two of the giants of the sport.
However, the Warriors had enough quality to shine through and were led expertly by Stephen Curry, who was named as the playoffs' Most Valuable Player, scoring another 34 points for the Warriors during Game Six.
It was their seventh NBA Finals win and fourth in eight years, as they continued as one of the sport's dominant forces.
Curry leads Warriors to Thursday win
After the Warriors went 3-2 up in the first-to-four series, Boston came into Thursday's meeting knowing they had to win on their own patch to have any chance of reclaiming the title they haven't won since 2008.
The Warriors' team was full of players who have nous and experience when it comes to winning titles, while the Celtics' roster did not have that same level of knowledge.
And, it was the Warriors who came out of the blocks quickest, leading 54-39 by the time the players departed for half time.
The third quarter finally saw Boston get into the game, as they won that segment 27-22, but it was ultimately too late, as the Warriors had enough in the tank to seal a 13-point margin of victory.
Curry, twice named MVP during the regular season, showcased why he is one of the elite talents in the sport, grabbing another 34 points along with seven assists and seven rebounds.
There was some concern surrounding his fitness earlier in the series when he was withdrawn in the final quarter of Game Three, but he defied the doubters to feature heavily for his team once more.
He was supported by Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, who scored 18 and 15 points respectively, but there is no question that Curry is the leader of this particular pack - he averaged 31.2 points over the six playoff games.
Drafted as the seventh pick in 2009 by the Warriors, the 34-year-old still looks to have so much more in the tank.
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Warriors pick themselves up from the brink.
Four wins in eight years might give the impression that the Warriors have always been there or thereabouts in the years they didn't win the title, but they have had to recover from their lowest ebb, which came during the 2019/20 season.
They ended the regular campaign that year with a dire 15-50 record as their squad needed rebuilding following a loss in the 2019 final.
Kevin Durant would leave on a free transfer and subsequently join the Brooklyn Nets, while Curry and Klay Thompson spent the majority of the season out injured.
It makes it all the more remarkable that Steve Kerr's side have bounced back so well and they have become the first franchise to recover from being the league's worst team to win the title in just two years.
A case of what if for Boston
Boston are the joint-most successful side in NBA history with 17 wins alongside the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, they have only managed to win one of those titles since 1986, with their 2008 series win over the Lakers their only high point since the glory days of the 1980s.
They have been very impressive this season and finished the regular campaign second in the Eastern Conference, a couple of wins behind table-toppers Miami Heat.
In the playoffs, they thumped Brooklyn Nets 4-0 in the first round but they had to come through deciders to advance through to the final against the Warriors.
Firstly, they overcame last year's champions Milwaukee Bucks 4-3 before beating Miami Heat in a decider between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference this season.
It will also frustrate Boston that they failed to win the series despite twice taking the lead.
Game One saw Ime Udoka's team lay down a strong marker with a 120-108 win, while they re-established their lead in Game Three with a 116-100 triumph.
However, they failed to break the 100-point barrier again after that, as three wins on the spin for the Warriors saw them clinch the title.
There is plenty to be positive about however - Boston have so much talent in the attacking areas with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the experienced Al Horford all top-scoring at points during the series.
However, the Warriors were ultimately the competition's strongest team and now they can celebrate their success.
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