A resurgent Golden State Warriors are bidding to regain their throne at the basketball summit against the Boston Celtics, chasing history during the NBA Finals tip-off on Thursday.
After a tough regular season and a roller coaster playoff campaign, Golden State and Boston will open their best-seven final showdown on Thursday with all the making of a classic between two equally matched teams.
Two years ago, the once mighty Warriors – the influential NBA franchise of the last decade – were seen to face the end of an era.
The league’s worst 15-50 record set foot in their Western Conference, a sharp fall for a franchise that reached the NBA Finals five times in a row between 2015 and 2019, winning three championships.
But with the three pillars of that dynastic run – Stephen Curry, Dremond Green and Clay Thompson – returning to fitness, and under the shrewd leadership of head coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors have returned to their preferred abode.
The Warriors’ quick return to the finals is a byproduct of a culture that permeates the depths of the tragic 15-win season of 2020, or the play-in tournament from last season.
“It was a bad time, we were losing, I think we still had a good team of boys,” said Kevin Looney, a member of the Warriors team who won the 2017 and 2018 titles.
“Even though we lost, we managed to keep the same culture in the locker room. We still play our style basketball, still hold the boys to a high standard and a high standard. ”
While relatively recent recruits such as Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Cumminga have all played key roles in this season’s revival, Curry, Green and Thompson’s old guard have made their way to the playoffs.
Curry was named the MVP of the Western Conference Finals, Green had his usual fighting nature, while Thompson, who returned this season after a two-year absence from injury, has created an explosion to score crucial moments in the series win against Memphis and Dallas.
“A DNA You Can’t Really Teach,” is how Curry described Warriors’ locker-room culture.
“The pieces fit, first and foremost, and our core and how we play and what we do, what makes us unique and different,” the two-time NBA most valuable player added.
Whether Curry will continue to celebrate his fourth NBA title towards the end of this year’s final will depend on his team’s ability to navigate their way around a Celtic team that was considered by many to be the most complete unit in the post-season.
NBA icon Charles Berkeley’s unequivocal verdict was that “the Celtics are going to win the series and they are going to win the World Championship because they are the best team in my opinion to be in the playoffs now.”
The Celtics will become the most successful franchise in NBA history with their 18th title, which will clear one of their bitter rivals the Los Angeles Lakers.
Boston’s offense has been led by the great form of Jason Tatum and Jillian Brown, where the Celtics defense, led by Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III, has proven to be a strong obstacle.
The Celtics, who started the season as 50-1 outsiders for the title, have made a fuss about all those adversities since reaching the playoffs after mid-points in the regular season.
The star-studded Brooklyn Nets lost 4-0 in the first round before the Celtics sent defending champions Milwaukee Box into the second round.
In the final of the Eastern Conference, top-seeded Miami were beaten 4-3, with the Celtics winning a daring game in Florida on Sunday with a seven-wicket win.
The fate of the series may well depend on which team manages its roster the best Williams and Smart have been doing nursing knock in recent weeks; And the question is whether their mutilated bodies could last another long series.
A bay of experience between the two lists can also shape the result.
The Celtics roster has zero games of NBA Finals experience; Golden State has a combined 123 game experience.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka, however, insisted the experience would not be a problem.
“I don’t think any of our boys are surprised or scared at the moment,” Vodoka said this week.
“We understand what it is, we know the opponent in front of us, and for us, as always, this year, it’s been business as usual, going on the road, not upset at all.”
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