Golden State Warriors win 2022 NBA championship

NYTimes.com: “It turns out the dynasty had just been paused. Golden State has won the N.B.A. championship again, four seasons after its last one. It is the franchise’s seventh title and the fourth for its three superstars: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who have spent the past decade growing up together, winning together and, over the past three years, learning how fragile success can be. On Thursday, they defeated the Boston Celtics, 103-90, in Game 6 of the N.B.A. finals. They won the series, 4-2, and celebrated their clinching victory on the parquet floor of TD Garden, below 17 championship banners, in front of a throng of disappointed partisans. With 24 seconds left in the game, Curry found his father near the baseline, hugged him and shook as he sobbed in his arms. Then Curry turned back toward the game. He put his hands on his head and squatted down, then fell onto the court. “I think I blacked out,” Curry said later.”

ESPN.com: “Draymond Green played his best game of the series, scoring 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, grabbing 12 rebounds, recording eight assists with two steals and two blocks. He also hit two 3-pointers after missing his first 12 attempts of the series. He struggled on the other end, however. With Green as the primary defender, the Celtics shot 9-of-17 from the floor. Andrew Wiggins continued his strong series, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. Jordan Poole added 15 points off the bench, while Klay Thompson scored 12. Gary Payton II had just six points, but finished with a plus-18 net rating.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “All through these NBA Finals, Steph Curry has been more openly emotional than usual, getting into it with Boston fans and doing audaciously early celebrations. Those emotions completely took over on Thursday night as his Warriors put away the Celtics late in a 103-90 win that clinched their fourth NBA title since 2015 and their first since 2018. After coach Steve Kerr pulled the Golden State starters with the win — and the title — assured, Curry began crying on the baseline, embracing his father Dell, who had a victory cigar at the ready. When time expired, the tears really started to flow, with Curry weeping through his ABC interview with Lisa Salters.”

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NBA Finals big for all, but especially Andrew Wiggins

Via the San Jose Mercury News:

After having only one double-double during the entire regular season, [Warriors forward Andrew] Wiggins has recorded five this postseason. His most recent was overshadowed by [Stephen] Curry, who dropped 43 points and snagged 10 rebounds in the Warriors’ Game 4 win over the Celtics Friday night. But Wiggins was also impressive and noteworthy as he shot 41.2% from the field for 17 points while grabbing a career-high 16 boards — 13 of which on the defensive glass. He did this while being the primary defender on Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

“He’s a very mild-mannered guy, but he’s taken a leap in these playoffs in terms of his impact on the game defensively, on the glass,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Because the games are obviously so meaningful, there’s more emotion from him and from everybody.”

Jayson Tatum shot off through first four games of NBA Finals

Via the Boston Herald:

As evidenced by Steph Curry’s elevated level of shotmaking in this series, the greatest players are at their best in the NBA Finals.

Jayson Tatum, who has struggled to reach that level heading into Monday night’s Game 5, is still searching to do more after a slow start over the first four. He’s shooting 34% overall (28-for-82) and a particularly rough 27.5% on 2-point attempts, with a 45% 3-point percentage (14-for-31) that’s a bit misleading, considering his lack of opportunities and makes late in those games.

Though the Celtics star has admitted he needs to do more in a scoring sense, he remains focused on making the right play – an approach supported by his assist numbers (7.8 average).

“Obviously I want to win by any means necessary and I’ll do whatever it takes,” Tatum said before Sunday’s practice when asked about building his young legacy on the Finals stage.

“That’s all I really care about right now is winning,” he said.

Draymond Green comments on Jayson Tatum’s play in NBA Finals through Game 4

Via Boston.com:

Celtics star Jayson Tatum hasn’t played to his usual standards through four games of the NBA Finals, but Warriors forward Draymond Green — who has grilled his share of beef with Celtics fans — believes Tatum has still been integral to the Celtics’ success…

“It’s tough,” Green said. “You’re experiencing something for the first time. I think he’s handled it well. He’s maybe not shot the ball as well as he’d like or everyone else would like, but overall I think he’s been playing well, and that’s why it’s a 2-2 series, coming back for Game 5.

“I think he’s handling it all extremely well. He’s taking what the defense gives him, and that’s what great players do. But I think he’s doing a good job.”

Jayson Tatum discusses his shot heading into NBA Finals Game 2

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum did lots of great things in Finals Game 1 – when he wasn’t shooting. Here’s Boston.com on it:

Celtics star Jayson Tatum didn’t shoot well in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. He made just 3-of-17 shots from the field and was 1-of-5 from 3-point range, giving him 12 points on the evening.

Despite that, not only did the Celtics beat the Warriors in Game 1, but they also scored an astonishing 120 points against the league’s second-best defense. A big reason for that was Tatum’s playmaking. He finished with a career-high 13 assists on Thursday, which were also the most ever by a player in their first NBA Finals game.

While Tatum’s certainly expecting to shoot better in Sunday’s Game 2, he said he isn’t going to go out of his way to try and score.

“I don’t think [I’ll try to force shots],” Tatum told reporters at Saturday’s practice. “I had more assists than points last game. So I feel like I made the right play more often than not. You know, it’s not much to overthink. I feel like it’s a lot of shots, the open shots that I miss more often than not that I make.

“So it’s not something that I’m losing sleep over. You know, we won. That was most important, right? It’s the Finals. That’s all that matters. Obviously, I know I’ve got to play better. I can’t shoot like that every game and hopefully we win. I expect to play better shooting-wise, but just impacting the game in different ways to do my part, and let’s get a win. I will continue to do that. Just read the game, read each play. That’s how I kind of approach next game.”

Finals Game 2 is Sunday night at Golden State.

Finally, Al Horford reaches the NBA Finals

The Celtics’ big Game 7 win over the Heat was of course huge for everyone on Boston’s squad, but for Al Horford it was a big different. Via Boston.com:

Al Horford has experienced just about everything in his 15-year NBA career, one in which he long ago earned the reputation as Mr. Reliability, a poised and almost regal presence who could be leaned on to do the right thing under any circumstance.

But in the most satisfying moment of his career, Horford was temporarily stumped.

As he secured the rebound of the final missed shot of the Miami Heat’s season in the Celtics’ 100-96 victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night, he wasn’t quite what to do next.

For understandable reasons, too. After playing 950 regular-season games and another 141 in the playoffs, Horford was heading to the NBA Finals for the first time. No player in NBA history has played more playoff games before reaching the Finals.

2022 NBA Finals game schedule

Game 1: Thursday, June 2: Boston vs. Golden State, 9 ET, ABC

Game 2: Sunday, June 5: Boston vs. Golden State, 8 ET, ABC

Game 3: Wednesday, June 8: Golden State vs. Boston, 9 ET, ABC

Game 4: Friday, June 10: Golden State vs. Boston, 9 ET, ABC

Game 5: Monday, June 13: Boston vs. Golden State, 9 ET, ABC (If necessary)

Game 6: Thursday, June 16: Golden State vs. Boston, 9 ET, ABC (If necessary)

Game 7: Sunday, June 19: Boston vs. Golden State, 8 ET, ABC (If necessary)

Udonis Haslem discusses Bam Adebayo’s role in the Miami Heat offense

Here’s Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem discussing the role star center Bam Adebayo plays in the team’s offense, via the Miami Herald:

The Miami Heat doesn’t evaluate center Bam Adebayo based on shot attempts and points. Teammates and coaches appreciate Adebayo for everything else he provides on the court.

So when the outside conversation regarding Adebayo’s offensive aggression finds its way into the locker room, those within the organization disregard it.

“I don’t pay attention. They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about,” Heat veteran and team captain Udonis Haslem said to the Miami Herald ahead of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night. “95 percent of people don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to being aggressive. He can’t just go out there, put his head down and go forward. He’s got to get other guys involved. Bam’s heart is in the right place. He’s trying to do the right things.”

In Friday’s Game 6 win over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden, Adebayo finished with just six points on six shots and committed four turnovers. That’s not the type of production many have come to expect from a player on a max contract like Adebayo.

But it was Adebayo’s rebounding, screening, dribble handoffs and rolls to the basket to keep the Heat’s offense flowing that teammates and coaches noticed more than his points and shot attempts.

Warriors eliminate Mavericks in five games to reach 2022 NBA Finals

ESPN.com: The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2019 and for the sixth time in the last eight years. The Warriors punched their ticket with their 120-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday night. Klay Thompson played his best game of the series, finishing with a game-high 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting, including eight 3-pointers.

ESPN.com: Stephen Curry celebrated the Golden State Warriors’ return to the NBA Finals by adding a new trophy to his collection as he was named the first Western Conference finals Most Valuable Player on Thursday. After the Warriors eliminated the Dallas Mavericks with their 120-110 win in Game 5, Curry was handed the brand-new Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP trophy and was immediately hugged and lifted in the air by his teammates. Nine members of the media voted on the series MVP at the end of the game.

San Jose Mercury News: “Steph Curry added to a dusty trophy case Thursday night as the Western Conference Finals’ MVP. What comes with that is the NBA’s inaugural Magic Johnson Trophy, named after the Los Angeles Lakers’ legend. “The new trophy is pretty cool,” Curry said, “especially with who it’s named after and the standard that Magic set in terms of being a champion and playing the point guard position — and other positions — and the excellence he had through his career.” What may be surprising is that Curry’s trophy case is not as filled as you might suspect for a Warriors legend who’s closing in on his fourth NBA championship. In his three NBA Finals triumphs, MVP honors did not go to Curry, but rather Andre Iguodala in 2015 and Kevin Durant in 2017 and ’18. Of course, that Larry O’Brien Trophy is Curry and the Warriors’ ultimate goal once the NBA Finals get underway for the first time in San Francisco, at the Chase Center next Thursday night.”

Heat guard Kyle Lowry remains out heading into Game 2 vs. Celtics

The Heat remain without starting guard Kyle Lowry. Here’s the Miami Herald:

The Heat will be without Kyle Lowry for an eighth time in postseason, and a fourth game in a row, when Miami meets Boston in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday (8:30 p.m., ESPN).

Lowry was listed as out for the game. He didn’t practice on Wednesday but did “light shooting” on the side, according to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. The Heat is 7-0 without him in postseason.

Max Strus and Gabe Vincent are listed as questionable with hamstring injuries, but players listed as questionable by the Heat almost always play in postseason.

Meanwhile, the Celtics listed Al Horford (COVID protocols) as doubtful and guard Marcus Smart (mid-foot sprain) as probable.