Sports

Steph Curry leads Warriors to fourth round, his crowning achievement


Via Yaron Weitzman
FOX Sports NBA Writer

BOSTON – Cigar gritted his teeth, MVP trophy raised to the sky, trophy cap on top of head, Steph curry was released from the floor of TD Garden, completed the masterpiece and won the NBA championship for the fourth time.

“This is definitely going to be different,” he told reporters minutes later from the podium after the game. A champagne-soaked T-shirt hugs his chest, and plastic glasses hang around his chin. “Just to know what the last three years have meant, from injuries to changing defenders on the roster… it’s special.”

He tried to explain why. There’s “three years of baggage that we’ve brought with us since then Game 6 in 2019, “night Golden Empire Warriorsafter losing both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant seriously injured, fell down Toronto Raptors in the Finals. He referred to the Warriors’ ambitious – and, to some, misguided – plan of “parallel timelines of developing young men and keeping our core together.” .” He reminds us that just two years ago “we had literally the worst record in the league.”

However, here the Warriors were – after Win the 6th match of the 103-90 series – and here it is Curry – after leading the Warriors to that victory with 34 points from just 21 shots, accompanied by seven rebounds and seven assists, cherry on the cusp of a superb performance that brought about for him the first Finals MVP – back to the top of the NBA.

“I can say it right now,” he said, “I don’t know how many teams can do that as long as we have with the expectation that compares us now with the teams of the past. and to the top of the mountain again.”

It was a strange sequence, the Finals. Both teams worked very hard to score. Defense reigns. The Boston Celtics is the bigger team – and usually looks better, except for all those moments where they fumble around with the ball, throw rainbows at the Warriors and fail.

For all the talk of Curry’s strength, the Celtics did an admirable job in slowing down the Warriors’ attack, even limiting them to the home area to roughly equal proportions. scored in the regular season of the lowest five, according to Glass cleaning.

The difference, on the other hand, comes at the other end of the floor, where the Warriors can defeat the Celtics’ creators, shut down their drive-and-kick blenders, force a landslide, and then turn those businesses. collect it as points. On the other hand, there is something simpler that separates these two teams.

Warriors have Steph Curry, Celtics don’t.

“He drove us,” Draymond Green speak.

The Curry Finals numbers – 31.2 points per game, six bounces per game, five assists per game, 43.8% long-shot and 48.2% shot overall – are worth it. attention. Notably they also don’t carry out his game and influence justice.

As Curry played, the Warriors thrived. When he sat, they flared up. His mere presence opens up all sorts of relationships for his teammates, whether he’s jumping with the ball 35 feet away or moving around the screen 35 feet away from the ball. . That’s why every point the Warriors scores while he’s on the field can also be credited to him.

You’d be hard-pressed to find dozens of players in NBA history more capable of impacting late-floor attacks than Curry. This has been on full display throughout these Finals to the point where, even though Curry is great, we’ve never seen it before because for the Warriors that have ever loaded, it has never been asked for. before.

But these are not the Warriors of old. The talent level is okay, but the roster is far from stackable. Curry is the only player on the team to average more than 20 points through the knockout stages. These Warriors could be one of three NBA champions who didn’t boast a second star during his prime.

“For me,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the win, “this is his crowning achievement in what is already an incredible career.”

Curry no need this championship. His legacy has long been cemented. Still, his win and his first Finals MVP make conversations about his place in NBA history all the more interesting.

His resume now has 4 titles, more than Larry Bird and more LeBron or Shaq. But when you look at the four together and Curry’s role on each of those teams, you get a bird’s-eye view of his greatness.

It was the 2014-15 formation, on which the new offensive system set up by then-new head coach Steve Kerr threw Curry on the field, transforming him into a superstar at the heart of a deep attack. The Warriors’ identity, equality, and non-stop. Think of it like Curry 2.0, a player liberated from former head coach Mark Jackson’s stormy attack and finally free to shoot as far as he wanted from any distance and at a high speed. unprecedented levels.

That version of Curry was the heart and soul of everything the Warriors did – and the catalyst of their vaunted Death Squad – but he wasn’t their only weapon. He averaged “just” 23.8 points per game during the 2014-15 season, while Thompson averaged 21.7 and actually leads the team in shots per game. Never mind the presence of noise and echo Andre Iguodala or green is up.

Curry 3.0 was a player willing to give some of his shots and light to Durant and his composure helped keep the ship steady amid some rough seas. You think a team with the personalities of Green and Durant could survive and win two rings without a stable, serene, and drama-averse leader like Curry?

“From a humanistic point of view, from a talent standpoint, humility, confidence – this great combination makes everyone want to win for him,” Kerr said.

This year – especially in this Grand Final – we were introduced to Curry 4.0. The Warriors haven’t completely scrapped their Beautiful Game attack, but they’ve relied on Curry to create more than ever. More selection and scrolling from the top of the key. Dancing with the ball more in the game against the big Celtics. They do this not because they want to – Kerr has made it clear for years that he doesn’t like the call to pick and roll every time he hits the floor but to watch the ball spin around the court – but because they have to.

This, the Warriors admit, is the only way to win, and Curry, at 34 and in his 13th NBA season, has essentially morphed into a better and more effective version of the game. James Harden.

The fact that Curry can lead the Warriors to titles in each of these roles – dangerous serpent head, benevolent sidekick, heliocentric star – is what makes him unique, literally of the word, and why these Warriors will now be remembered as one of the NBA’s few dynasties.

Russell’s Celtics, Magic’s LakersJordan’s BullsKobe’s Lakers, Duncan’s Spurs – and now Curry’s Warriors. That’s the list.

“Without him,” Kerr said, “this wouldn’t have happened.”

About an hour later, the media duties were finally done and the last bottle of champagne popped out, Curry marching through the bowels of TD Garden, the MVP trophy still in hand, the championship hat still on. on his head, the glasses were still worn around his eyes.

“I’m freezing,” he yelled, his champagne-soaked shirt drying, a smile on his face. He strode toward the exit. His teammates – and another championship celebration – were awaited.

Yaron Weitzman is an NBA writer for FOX Sports and the author of Rise to the top: the Philadelphia 76ers and the most incredible run in professional sports history. Follow him on Twitter @YaronWeitzman.


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