By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
What a sweet golden moment.
Facing adversity and doubts early in the season, the Golden State Warriors once again proved their championship mettle after eliminating the young and upcoming Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, 103-90.
With the win, Golden State has now won four NBA titles in eight years since winning their first championship in 2015 when they outplayed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.
“Steph, you’re old!”
“Klay, you’re banged up!”
“Draymond, you can’t shoot!”
Golden State was bombarded with criticism from naysayers during the start of the hard-fought series. But now, guess what? Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are now the NBA’s winningest trio in the history of the league after surpassing the legendary trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs.
It wasn’t an easy road for the eventual champs as they lost home court advantage after losing Game 1 at home. The Warriors would win Game 2 but lose Game 3 in Boston to trail the series 1-2.
After defensive and spacing adjustments were made by the Warriors’ coaching staff, everything began to click and the team suddenly won three games in a row, with two of their games on the road in front of a hostile TD Garden.
The Celtics showed fight during the start of Game 6 and established a 12-2 lead courtesy of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s aggressiveness in getting to the hole but Golden State was quick to respond with a momentum-clinching 11-0 run to end the opening quarter with a 27-22 lead.
Golden State stepped on the gas pedal as the second period started and silenced the once noisy TD Garden after scoring 21 points in a row before Brown sank a three-pointer that trimmed the Warriors’ lead to 12, 37-25.
Boston then went back to their edge in the paint and capitalized on their drives that helped them get back within eight points after a Tatum side-step layup.
However, Curry turned into beast mode and launched a barrage of difficult off-the-curl three-pointers backstopped by Jordan Poole’s hot-shooting to build the Warriors’ lead back to double-digits and ended the half with a 54-39 lead.
It was another sensational Golden State start in the third quarter led by Curry’s hot-shooting who fired two three-pointers near mid-court that ballooned their lead to as much as 22 points midway in the third.
The Celtics put up a valiant effort to fight back and were led by the timely scoring of Al Horford who spearheaded a 16-4 closing run that cut Golden State’s lead to just 10, 76-66, heading into the final canto.
Boston managed to cut the lead to just 8 points, 86-78, with 5:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. But that would be as close as Boston would get as they found difficulty finding points in the half court.
Meanwhile, Curry continued to score well for Golden State. Instead of hoisting the long bomb, the crafty guard took it to the teeth of Boston’s defense and scored on his drives that pushed their lead back to 15, 96-81.
The Celtics never recovered in the last five minutes of the game after Tatum and Marcus Smart cost a lot of opportunities for them with their untimely turnovers.
Draymond Green was the unsung hero of Game 6 after putting on a vintage performance with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists.
Green’s clutch jump shot at the end of the third quarter became a momentum-changer for the game that negated Boston’s attempt to trim their lead to six points and was also a defensive menace at the start of the fourth, stripping the ball several times off Tatum and Smart every time they backed down in the paint.
Curry’s magnificent six-game run in the NBA finals earned him the 2022 Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, putting a fitting ending to his historic season after surpassing Ray Allen as the league’s all-time leader in three-pointers made.