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GAME ESSENTIALS: Warriors (53-29) vs. Celtics (51-31), at 6 p.m. (PT). TV: ABC
ODDS: Celtics -3.5. OVER/UNDER: 210.
FINALS SERIES UPDATE: Warriors lead, 3-2. LAST PLAYOFF MEETING: Celtics won 1964 NBA Finals 4-1.
If you flash back to this exact date 10 years ago — June 16, 2012 — the Golden State Warriors were in the same position they had seemingly always been: coming off of a brutal season (23-43), preparing for a high draft pick and carrying a devout fan base that was hoping, wishing, praying for any type of spark.
It’s now 2022. In the last 10 years, the Warriors have made the NBA playoffs eight times, the NBA Finals six times and, with just one more win, will claim their fourth championship in that 10-year run. They’ll get a chance to get the win for that fourth championship on Thursday night, as they carry a 3-2 series lead into Boston for Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Celtics.
Perhaps most insane about this run is that the Warriors’ core has been together through it all. Whenever the Finals conclude, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will complete their 10th full season together as teammates. And each is still a major contributor to this championship, too.
But even Thompson and Green will tell you that it’s Curry who is the key to the Warriors being here again. Even when he has an off shooting night like in Game 5, where he didn’t make a 3-pointer for the first time in his playoff career, even the threat of Curry impacts the game and makes it easier for others on Golden State to succeed. He’s all but guaranteed to add a Finals MVP trophy to his resume if the Warriors win the series.
Andrew Wiggins took advantage of the focus on Curry in Game 5 with one of his best performances of his career, scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds – which would’ve been a career high if he hadn’t grabbed 16 rebounds in Game 4. The emergence of Wiggins throughout the playoffs, and ascendance in the Finals, has to have Golden State feeling like this won’t be their last time on the Finals stage.
But before we coronate the Warriors, they still have to win one more game, and the raucous — and perhaps more than a little punchy — Boston crowd will get to try and will their Celtics to a winner-take-all Game 7. That would be back in San Francisco, so the Warriors are flying home anyway. But they are surely hoping to bring some golden hardware with them on the flight back.
Can Curry bounce back from his poor shooting form in Game 5? Will Thompson bring out another “Game 6 Klay” worthy performance? Are there any adjustments left to make this late in the series? And can the Warriors bring home their seventh championship in franchise history and give their core trio a fourth ring?
Follow along as reporters Madeline Kenney and Shayna Rubin and columnist Dieter Kurtenbach break down those questions and more in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Contributed by local news sources