That right there marks the end of the NBA’s 75th anniversary season. After a statement Game 6 win at Boston’s own TD Garden, the Golden State Warriors are champions once more. We all kind of thought these days were behind us, but here we are.
After two years of missing the playoffs, Steph Curry was a man on a mission. And at long last, he was able to get his hands on that Finals MVP which has eluded him in five other appearances. It was the one trophy missing from his highly-decorated cabinet, with Iguodala controversially shaking the honour in 2015. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also has a fair bit to be happy about, securing his ninth NBA Finals in 2022 (five as a player; four as a coach).
Only a couple of years removed from losing one of the world’s best players in Kevin Durant, the Warriors found themselves in the 2022 NBA Finals against the team that swept KD’s Nets in the first round. Funnily enough, Kyrie Irving – the player Durant left the Warriors to team up with in Brooklyn – used to play for the Boston Celtics, too. KD was reportedly unhappy playing in the Warriors’ patented “motion offence,” instead opting for a more isolation-based style of play. He was then replaced by a bunch of young guns like Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins who were still able to get the job done.
You can expect KD to tweet up an absolute storm in the coming week, but the bloke you really should feel bad for is the one that got “Boston Celtics 2022 World Champions” tattooed on his arm at the start of the year when they had won less than half of their games. So close, yet so far.
If this season has proven anything, though, it’s that the Golden State Warriors were never a one-man show. They missed the playoffs in both seasons during Klay’s two-year absence and had a record of 8-10 without Stephen Curry and a record of 19-17 without Draymond Green this season. When head coach Steve Kerr was out due to COVID protocols in the playoffs? A 39-point loss to a Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies side.
Draymond Green perhaps said it best when he told Steph on his podcast:
“We can’t do it without each other… but we’re damn good at doing it together.”
The 2022 NBA Finals weirdly felt like quite a sentimental one, especially for a team that has been dominant in recent memory as the Warriors. The core of Steph, Klay, and Dray have won 21 games in the NBA Finals, which is the most by any trio in the last 30 years. This year saw a lot of the younger players in the league earn their stripes as superstar players, and a couple of older guys show they are past their primes.
We don’t know for sure if this is their “Last Dance” per se, but it sure is a special way to mark the end of a basketball era that was largely defined by this team. The Warriors might not be going anywhere, but – at least for now – we got to witness “The Dubs.”