Steph’s warning to Dubs, NBA was precursor to Finals return initially appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — Steph Curry sat on the Chase Center podium simply over one 12 months in the past straight-faced however appreciative of the season the Warriors had with one other 12 months stuffed with adversity. Then in essentially the most Curry manner doable, he despatched a message to your complete NBA for what was to come.
“Come back, bottle this up, everybody make the right strides over the summer and … you don’t want to see us next year,” Curry declared on May 21, 2021.
That was about an hour after the Warriors had misplaced their second straight NBA play-in event recreation, this one 117-112 in extra time to the Memphis Grizzlies, marking the second straight season the Warriors failed to make the playoffs after going to 5 straight NBA Finals in a row.
Steph won’t be the loudest within the room or the vociferous particular person on the Warriors, however his warning could not have been extra clear.
Or extra true.
With the Warriors’ 120-110 win Thursday night time over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, Golden State is again to being within the Finals for the sixth time within the final eight seasons.
That stat turns into much more unbelievable once you take note of Klay Thompson missed the entire final two seasons to leg accidents.
At this level final 12 months, Thompson was simply starting to jog once more after tearing his ACL after which tearing his Achilles in back-to-back years. He struggled the earlier two video games in Dallas and hadn’t scored 20 factors as soon as within the convention finals. Thompson at all times saves his finest for when the Warriors want him most, although.
He scored 32 factors and hit eight 3-pointers in Game 5 after coming into the collection with solely seven made threes by way of the primary 4 video games. A brand new nickname is not wanted, however a brand new chapter in Klay’s legacy was created.
We all ought to have listened somewhat nearer to Curry on the podium a 12 months in the past. There was no manner for him or anyone else to know what sort of participant Thompson could be upon his return. There’s alos no person that Curry trusts extra to put the work in to show everyone unsuitable.
In that last play-in event loss, a handful of gamers gave us a preview of what the Warriors may very well be this season. Curry continued to mild the league on hearth, scoring 39 factors with six 3-pointers. Green, regardless of lacking a floater that may have given the Warriors the win in regulation, was unbelievable whereas ending with 11 factors, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. And then there’s Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole.
Wiggins had made the playoffs solely as soon as in his first seven seasons and was doing all of it to attempt to make his first journey with the Warriors. He scored 22 factors, grabbed 10 rebounds and had two assists and two blocks. Poole, who had to go to Orlando G League bubble earlier within the season, got here off the bench to rating 19 factors and was a plus-9 in plus-minus.
The Warriors went 15-5 down the stretch final season. They weren’t a championship group or a championship roster, however they by no means misplaced that championship DNA.
“It was more just a message for us,” Curry stated Thursday night time, one 12 months later whereas sitting on the similar Chase Center podium. “It wasn’t for anybody else. It was a message for us to stay locked in on the opportunity that was coming our way because we had built such a good momentum finishing the year, re-establish like what Warrior basketball was. If we could get things aligned, get some new pieces and figure out how to start off the year right — that’s exactly what we did, 18-2 at one point and still have Klay coming when he was ready.
“Obviously this 12 months did not go as deliberate, however I feel the tone was set from these final 20 video games final 12 months that carried over and gave us a lot confidence that we may very well be that group once more. You see the fruits of that labor these final 5 weeks.”
Curry put up MVP-like numbers last season, though his only focus was a fourth championship ring this season. Thompson kept working tirelessly behind the scenes, and the same goes with so many others. Wiggins became a first-time All-Star and though his regular season was full of ups and downs, he has fit his role to perfection in the playoffs and dropped an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double to send the Mavs home. Green came into the season as motivated as ever, performed like the best defensive player in the world at the beginning of the season before missing two months to a back injury and then scored a season-high 17 points, along with nine assists and six rebounds in the final game of the West finals.
Kerr told us relentlessly all offseason that Poole was working harder than anybody in the building, and it paid off to a breakout season that should result in a hefty paycheck this summer. He scored 16 points off the bench and looks more and more like a third Splash Brother on a nightly basis. Kevon Looney has been through it all in his seven seasons with the Warriors, and Game 5 against the Mavs was the cherry on top to Mr. Reliable scoring 10 points and leading both sides with 18 rebounds.
RELATED: Wild three years culminates in Dubs’ triumphant Finals return
But everything comes back to Curry. He’s the joyful head of the snake, shimmying his way to broken hearts of opposing fan bases. Curry secured the first ever Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP award after averaging 23.8 points, 7.4 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game against the Mavs while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 43.9 percent on 3-pointers.
The greatest shooter of all time has also been one of the best defensive players in these playoffs. Per StatMuse, Curry is allowing the lowest field goal percentage by a defender when guarding at least 150 shots this postseason. Opposing shooters have a 37.5 field goal percentage when being guarded by Curry. Green is second with a 38.3 field goal percentage.
Whether it was a warning to the his teammates or a note to the rest of the league, Curry couldn’t have been more right. The Warriors took down MVP Nikola Jokic in the first round, the exacted redemption on the Grizzlies in the second round and completed a gentleman’s sweep on Luka Doncic and the Mavs.
They’re back, and there’s no timetable for when this run will end for good. Not if Steph has anything to say about it.
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