SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – When Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and emotional teammate Draymond Green started climbing Golden State nearly a decade ago, they were still relatively young and each settling into their careers.
At very different stages of their respective basketball journeys and lives now all these years later, they are once again approaching another championship together as the pillars of what many consider a Warriors dynasty they helped make. His chance to win a fourth title comes Thursday night in Boston, where the Warriors take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals in Game 6 against the Celtics.
The Splash Brothers and Green now have 20 finals wins together, the second most of any NBA trio since 1970. They are catching up with the company of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper, who have won 22 finals games together. with the Lakers.
With a 104-94 victory in Monday’s Game 5, the Golden State stars surpassed the 19 wins achieved by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with the Spurs.
“We want to have one more to show and one more win, and really embrace what we’ve accomplished to be back on this stage,” Curry said after the game, when he went 0-of-9 on 3-pointers. a record streak of 233 games making at least one.
“Obviously, making six finals, you have a lot of opportunities. You take advantage of every one of them. So this series is no different. And one more win, I just have to figure out a way to do it.”
Coach Steve Kerr has been here for all six NBA Finals over eight years, including five straight from 2015-19.
They’ve all been through so much in recent seasons – most notably two devastating injuries to Thompson – that this opportunity is being especially appreciated.
“It’s very exciting to be part of the finals again. I think this whole season led to this, a lot of individual stories, guys getting better, guys getting healthy,” Kerr said. “Here we are, we have a chance. We have two chances to get a win, but we also know how difficult it will be.”
It seems like a long time ago, but all three Warriors leaders pointed to that early period bringing respectability back to the franchise as significant in building the much-needed experience that helps them through the big stage of the postseason now. The prospect was gained by winning three championships and losing two as well.
Curry and Green are now training parents who prefer to get home immediately for family time, while Thompson enjoys everything on and off the court after being sidelined for over 2 ½ years following surgery on his left knee and hamstring. right Achilles.
“Now, to be here again, I wouldn’t change a thing,” Thompson said. “I’m very grateful and everything I’ve done up until that point has led to this, so I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Well before Thompson finally returned in January, he offered a “champion or lose” vote for this season that he hopes to deliver this week.
These three 30-somethings are relishing this remarkable postseason with more gratitude and realizing how hard it is to get here. That’s what some disappointing seasons do after so many victories.
For all the differences and new faces from the previous champion teams, Curry, Green and Thompson were determined to keep the faith that everything would work out to build another winning roster.
“So really embracing and appreciating each process for what it is, because every year is its own year, it’s its own journey, and appreciating that journey and really going through it,” said Green. “Don’t do everything you can to get around it by thinking, ‘Oh, man, we’re going to go back there.’ Just enjoying this journey and really putting yourself in it and going through it – feeling the highs, feeling the lows, and ultimately some extreme competitors are needed.”
While those three had veterans like Andre Iguodala – he’s still around – and Shaun Livingston leading the way as they gained experience, now it’s Curry, Green and Thompson offering mentorship with youngsters like rookie Jonathan Kuminga, Jordan Poole and even the rookie. Andrew in the Wiggins Finals.
Green thinks things are different from when he joined the Warriors as a second-round pick in Michigan State’s 35th overall pick in 2012. He tries to approach young players with an understanding of the pressures they feel.
“You end up having to learn their generation because you just can’t lead them the way you could lead someone who’s kind of our generation,” he said. “You figure out what buttons to push and how to get to them, how to treat them and what’s the best way… I learned to treat him or look at him as more than a son or a brother, and that’s just all part of it. of growth.”
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