The Golden State Warriors were underdogs heading into Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but they rallied back after falling behind by 12 points early in the first quarter before cruising to a 103-90 victory to win the championship. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 34 points in the title-clinching game and was named the NBA Finals MVP.
This victory sealed the fourth championship for Curry and the Warriors since their dynasty began with the 2015 championship. The Warriors won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, and were the runner-ups in 2016 and 2019. The Warriors missed the postseason the previous two seasons when they hit rock bottom after dealing with serious injuries to Curry and Klay Thompson. With the Splash Brothers back at full strength this season, the Warriors resumed their pursuit of another championship.
When the regular season tipped off in late October, the Warriors were +1100 odds to win the 2022 championship. After a sizzling start, their odds improved to +700. They were as low as +450 at the All-Star Break before they hit a rough stretch in their schedule. They bottomed out at +850 in early April after Curry suffered a foot injury, which sidelined him for several weeks. At the start of the postseason, the Warriors were +650 odds.
The Warriors finished the regular season at 53-29 and secured the #3 seed in the Western Conference.
Path to the championship
The Warriors knocked out the #6 Denver Nuggets in the first round in five games. In the conference semifinals, the Warriors defeated the #2 Memphis Grizzlies in six games. The pesky Grizzlies put up a great fight after losing Ja Morant to an injury in Game 3. In the Western Conference finals, the Warriors edged out the #4 Dallas Mavericks in six games to advance to the NBA Finals.
The Warriors were -150 odds favorites to win the title, and the Celtics were +130 underdogs at the start of the NBA Finals. The two teams last met in the NBA Finals back in 1964 when the Bill Russell and the Celtics edged out Wilt Chamberlain and the San Francisco Warriors in five games.
At the start of the 2022 NBA Finals, the Warriors dropped Game 1 at home and fell behind the Celtics in the series. The two teams zig-zagged through Game 4 when the Warriors tied up the series at 2-2 thanks to 43 points from Curry. With the series returning to San Francisco for Game 5, the Celtics were unable to bounce back from a loss — which they did seven times previously in the playoffs.
The Celtics found themselves on the brink of elimination and down 3-2 in the series. They were 3-0 in elimination games this postseason, and the bookies installed the Celtics as -4 favorites heading into Game 6 with a chance to even the series on their home court in Boston.
Despite a good start in Game 6, the Celtics couldn’t keep up with the Warriors once they got rolling. They lost by 13 points in a game in which they trailed by as many as 22 in the second half.
Tatum: How to disappear completely
The Celtics were the NBA’s best team in the second half of the season thanks to their stifling defense. However, their propensity for turnovers and a lack of offense – especially late in the game – inevitably led to their downfall.
The Celtics were carried by Jaylen Brown and Al Horford in Game 6. Brown led the Celtics with 34 points and five 3-pointers. Horford scored 19 points and added 14 rebounds, doing most of his damage in the second half.
Jayson Tatum had 11 points by halftime, but finished the game with only 13 points. He shot 1-for-8 in the second half and scored just one bucket in the fourth quarter after a scoreless third quarter.
The Celtics were doomed with 23 turnovers. They knew they had to minimize their turnovers if they expected to win Game 6 and force a Game 7. They finished the postseason 1-8 in games in which they committed 16 or more turnovers.
The Celtics shot 11-for-28 from 3-point range for 39.3% in Game 6, but the Warriors outgunned them from downtown 19-for-46 for 41.6%.
Warriors: Curry 34 points, Green misses triple-double
“Game 6 Klay” Thompson failed to show up when he scored just 12 points and bricked 2-for-8 from 3-point land. But, the Warriors didn’t need Thompson because Curry picked up the scoring slack with 34 points, including 6-for-11 from beyond the arc. Curry added seven assists and seven rebounds, and finally won the NBA Finals MVP after missing out during the Warriors’ three previous title runs.
“We found a way to just get it done,” said Curry. “It’s part of a championship pedigree, our experience. We built this for 10-11 years. That means a lot when you get to this stage.”
Draymond Green had another stellar game. He scored 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including two 3-pointers. He missed a triple-double with 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and two blocked shots.
Andrew Wiggins added 18 points and played stellar defense on Tatum, especially in the second half. Jordan Poole added 15 points off the bench, scoring 11 points in his first six minutes of court time to help the Warriors rattle off a 21-0 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter.
Curry was a lock to win NBA Finals MVP while averaging 31.2 ppg against the Celtics. He shot 43.7% from 3-point range in the series, which includes an 0-9 clip in Game 5.
Check out OG’s full coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.