Warriors beat Celtics 103-90 to win 4th NBA title in 8 years

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BOSTON (AP) — The Golden State Warriors are NBA champions again, beating the Boston Celtics 103-90 Thursday night for their fourth title in the last eight seasons.

Stephen Curry scored 34 points and was named NBA Finals MVP as the Warriors won the franchise’s seventh championship. And this one ended a journey like no other, after a run of five straight Finals, then a fall to the bottom of the NBA, and now a return to greatness just two seasons after having the league’s worst record.

“We found a way to do it,” Curry said after the Warriors accepted the championship trophy and celebrated on the field.

Tears in his eyes and hoarse with emotion, Curry struggled to speak as he explained what helped the Warriors win their last crown.

“It’s part of a championship pedigree, our experience,” he said. “We built this for 10 to 11 years. It means a lot when you get to this point.

For Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, it’s a fourth championship. The first three rings came in 2015, 2017, and 2018, when Golden State was dynastic and made five straight trips to the Finals.

“They’re all unique, they’re all special,” coach Steve Kerr said of the multiple titles. “This one was perhaps the most unlikely. … It takes a group effort to get there and we had a great group.

Injuries, including those that sidelined Thompson for 2½ years, and roster changes changed everything. But this season, with Thompson returning around the halfway point, the Warriors were finally back.

Back on top too. Champions, once again, denying the legendary Celtics what would have been their record 18th championship, one that would have seen Boston break a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history.

This story for the Warriors ended much differently than their last Finals appearance against Toronto in 2019, the one that saw Kevin Durant tear his Achilles tendon in Game 5 and then Thompson tear his ACL in what became the Raptors title breaker in the game. 6.

The aftermath of that loss was exacerbated by Durant’s decision to leave that summer in free agency to join the Brooklyn Nets and Thompson’s own injury to Achilles while rehabilitating his knee injury.

“It all paid off,” Thompson said. “It was canine times, a lot of tears flowed. … You knew it was a possibility, but to see it in real time. … It’s crazy.”

It pushed a Golden State team into a rebuild that became a reload. The Warriors used their two-year hiatus from the NBA’s biggest stages to revamp their roster – adding a former No. 1 draft pick in Andrew Wiggins, who excelled in his first Finals, as well as another rising star in Jordan Poole.

“This one is different, for sure, knowing what the last three years have meant, what it’s been,” Curry said. “The injuries, the changing of the guard, the rosters, the youngsters. … Now we have four championships. Me, Dray, Klay and Andre.

“Finally I got this bad boy,” Curry added, referring to the MVP trophy. ” It is special. … Everyone mattered in this process.

Yes, everything clicked.

For Kerr, it’s a ninth overall championship after winning five as a player. He is the sixth coach to win four titles, joining Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, John Kundla, Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 34 points but Jayson Tatum finished with just 13, shooting just 6 of 18 from the field. Boston has also committed 22 turnovers, falling to 1-8 this postseason by committing 16 or more.

It was just the fifth loss in 22 appearances in the title streak for Boston, which has turned its season around for a chance at this crown. Boston was 25-25 after 50 games, then slumped to advance to the Finals and came close to winning what would have been only the franchise’s second championship since 1986.

It was the third season in a row where things were affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and while things were closer to normal, the photos and video from the championship celebration will serve as a forever reminder that the virus was always a problem.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was unable to be at the game as he remained within the league’s virus-related health and safety protocols. The redesigned Larry O’Brien Trophy – the golden memento given to NBA champions – was presented to the Warriors by deputy commissioner Mark Tatum instead.

Boston trailed up to 22 points but fought back and cut the deficit to eight. A 3-pointer Jaylen Brown went 86-78 with 5:33 left, but the Warriors never gave up the lead.

“I just couldn’t resist their runs,” Celtics center Robert Williams said. “To mess up. They played harder and won tonight.

Curry sent Boston fans to the exits with his sixth 3 of the night to give the Warriors a 15-point, 96-81 lead – then clapped his hands in his face as he ran down the field, signaling the end of Boston’s hopes. to extend the series.

“We’ve had so many great players,” Kerr said, “but Steph, that’s ultimately why this run is happening.”

TIPS

Warriors: 19 of 45 from the 3-point line. …Improved to 20-1 when Green makes a 3-pointer.

Celtics: Boston’s 13-point loss marked the first final without a single-digit game. … Former Celtic Ray Allen, a member of Boston’s last championship-winning side in 2008, sat courtside. Hall of Famer Robert Parish was also in attendance.

A RACE AND A RESPONSE

The Celtics came out firing, capitalizing on the energy of a deafening TD Garden crowd to quickly take a 14-2 lead.

Golden State was unfazed and responded with a 35-8 run that extended into the second quarter on its way to building a 22-point lead. The Warriors outscored the Celtics 27-17 for the period and led 54-39 in the second half as some Celtics fans booed the home side as they walked off the field.

Boston fought back in the third, but the Warriors found their reach beyond the arc, connecting on six 3s in the quarter.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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