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NBA Finals: How the Warriors rebuilt their dynasty with blood, sweat and championship DNA

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BOSTON. As the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors on March 28 as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green dealt with mounting injuries, Jaren Jackson Jr., 22, tweeted:Strength in numbersmocking the original slogan of a dynasty once built with veteran depth.

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“It made me so angry,” Thompson said months after writing it down in his “elephant” memory. “Are you going to mock us? Like, you’ve never been there before, bro. We were there. We know what it takes.

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The Warriors knew they still had guns as long as the remaining members of their first three title teams could get fit enough to put on their best playoff basketball, even as Jackson spoke for many who doubted them for three years. of the year. since their last trip to the NBA Finals. And they were right.

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On Thursday, the Warriors pulled off a 103-90 victory over the upstart Boston Celtics to secure a 4-2 series win and their fourth rim in eight seasons. Four years between the titles and everything that happened to them made Curry admit: “This hit is different.” Analytics models gave Boston over an 80% chance of winning the series, but those calculations didn’t account for Golden State’s championship DNA.

“You talk about the structure of this team for the last eight years, these three guys have held the league in a choke hold, in a headlock for a good period of time,” said Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala. “You go historically, not too many teams have been able to do it. It’s a handful.”

The Warriors, with Kevin Durant, were a juggernaut, their championship in 2017 and 2018 was inevitable. That all changed in the 2019 Finals when they lost in consecutive games to Durant and Thompson due to year-long injuries. Durant moved to the Brooklyn Nets after losing in the Finals to the Toronto Raptors three years ago, and Thompson suffered a second major injury that delayed his return until last January after 941 days.

“It was easier for me to embrace 2019 because I had never been sick before and this five-year run took a lot of our energy,” Thompson said. “But when it happened the second time, it was like What the hell is going on man. Just to stay with him, just calf after calf raises after an underwater treadmill for so many days without even touching a ball.

“Then to go through this season with ups and downs and even these playoffs, I just can’t find the words at times because I knew it was possible, but being here in real time, man, I don’t know. I want to leave.”

In between, Curry lost nearly the entire season with a broken arm, and Greene simply lost by not tying these warriors again. Out of the sight of the Splash Brothers, he was stripped of his All-Star and All-Defensive status, and the Warriors fell from the grace of five straight Finals to the bottom of the standings.

Curry’s return to the 2020-21 campaign failed to completely reverse their course. Without Thompson, the Warriors were nothing more than eliminated from the tournament, but over the last third of this season, they have capitalized with a new set of numbers advantage. Durant spawned D’Angelo Russell, who spawned Andrew Wiggins, once mistakenly selected as No. 1 overall, who blossomed into a 3-and-D menace at the end of last season, this year’s All-Star Game and ultimately a two-way power . this turned the last three games of the Finals in Golden State’s favor.

“Draymond, Clay, Steph, Andre, all the veterans challenged me every day,” Wiggins said. “Every time I went on the court they challenged me and that motivates me. These are future members of the Hall of Fame. Whenever they tell me to do something, I just want to do it, prove it to them and earn their respect.”

The Warriors recalled Jordan Poole, their 28th overall in 2019, from the G League in March 2021, and he displayed several months of prowess that ultimately made him the “Splash Nephew” who will score the momentum-changing circus throw. in Game 5 on Monday and 15 points off the bench in Thursday’s decider.

All the while, Kevon Looney, a 21-year-old part-time center when the Warriors last won a championship, has been battling a series of ailments that have ruined his career and has become a key cog in a resurgent defense.

Golden State general manager Bob Myers has eschewed simple talent acquisition in favor of the cultural sensitivities of the players who have turned the franchise into a dynastic enterprise. He re-acquired Iguodala, whose contribution as the voice of a veteran and brilliant tactician earned him a place on the court with Curry, Thompson and Green as the signal for their fourth joint title blew. Myers also targeted the two-sided abilities of Otto Porter, Jr. and Gary Payton, who knew their limitations and exercised them further down the hierarchy.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has seen championship teams reclaim their glory through experience. He won three titles with Michael Jordan and watched the Chicago Bulls win three more after a two-year sabbatical. Kerr won the ring with Tim Duncan in 1999 and 2003, and more than a decade later accepted the coaching position with Golden State shortly before the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth championship in 2014.

That was Kerr’s job, to blend the old with the new and bring them all back to the top of the mountain.

Golden State Warriors defensive players Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry won their fourth NBA championship together.  (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors defensive players Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry won their fourth NBA championship together. (Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

“Stef reminds me so much of Tim Duncan,” Kerr said. “Completely different players, but in terms of humanity, in terms of talent, humility, confidence, this wonderful combination that just makes everyone want to win for him… Ultimately, it was Steph who caused this run. Almost like Timmy in San Antonio. “

Even in this final, Golden State’s championship grip was tested. When the Boston barrage beat the Warriors in Game 1, Green insisted, “We’ll be fine.” He was right. And with the younger, longer, more athletic Celtics taking a 2-1 lead in the series, Curry reminded us, “it’s good to know that we’ve been through a bit of everything over the last eight years and we can learn from that experience when you need to.” . k.” He was right.

Or, as Thompson said after Game 3, “We’ve been in this situation before. We’re getting big vibrations in 2015.”

As then against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors won the next three games and won in six. Lottery picks resulting from Durant’s departure and two years in the tank—James Wiseman, Jonathan Cuminga and Moses Moody—played 19 minutes in total against the Celtics. It will be difficult to incorporate them into the championship culture next season, but the Warriors will enjoy it first and foremost because they know how drastically the fortunes of the NBA can change. light years may darken quickly.

“It all mattered,” Curry said. “You carry it three years later, not knowing how it will end. All you can do is control that belief behind the scenes and how you show up every single day. You embody that and when it comes time to take an opportunity, everything clicks… We limped into the postseason and clearly said, “We have to peak at the right time” without knowing what our rotation would look like or where our chemistry would lead. . be like, because the situation demanded it. But damn it, we did it. It’s crazy to think about it. All this talk has paid off. Manifest your destiny in a certain way, and that stubbornness about who we are matters more than what anyone says about us.”

As Curry left the TD Garden with the Finals MVP trophy in hand, his family falling behind, Sonia Curry, the matriarch of the basketball royals, stopped Hall of Famer Gary Payton, whose son had joined his father as an NBA champion.

“Congratulations, dad,” she said.

Payton responded in kind. “Congratulations, mom.”

Last reminder. Championship DNA closes the circle.

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staff writer for Sportzshala Sports. Any advice? Email him or follow him on Twitter!


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