3 observations: Curry’s big Game 6 clinches Warriors’ 4th title, Finals MVP

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The Golden State Warriors (3-2) visited the Boston Celtics (2-3) in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Golden State wanted to clinch the championship. Boston wanted to extend the series to a decisive Game 7. Stephen Curry put forth another sensational night to lead the Warriors to their 4th title in eight seasons and cap off his first Finals MVP.

Curry led the Warriors with 34 points on 12-for-21 shooting (6-for-11 on 3s), secured 7 rebounds, and dished 7 assists. Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points on 7-for-18 shooting (4-for-9 on 3s) to go along with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 34 points on 12-for-23 shooting (5-for-11 on 3s), along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Al Horford scored 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting (4-for-5 on 3s) and secured 14 rebounds.

Here are 3 observations from the Warriors’ victory.

A big turnaround

Boston opened with fire, scoring 12 of the first 14 points in Game 6. But, Golden State tightened up a bit defensively and that sent Boston into a downwards spiral.

The Celtics rapidly lost all offensive rhythm, manifesting in copious live-ball turnovers and overreactions to no-calls. With Jayson Tatum spear-heading the war on referees rather than getting back on defense, the Warriors pounced on the advantages they had in transition.

What started out as a 10-point deficit quickly turned into a big lead as part of a 21-0 Golden State run. The first half saw a 31-point turnaround with the Warriors pushing their lead as high as 21 points.

Draymond delivers

The story was already written in many ways. If the Warriors lost in these Finals, Draymond Green would be painted as the weak link, more concerned about talking trash and podcasting than he was about being Golden State’s cohesive residue on the court. If the Warriors won, it would be in spite of Green, whose offensive game had regressed to the point of his being a net liability.

But when it came to the smell of blood, Green couldn’t help but lick his chops.

His energy and purpose on both ends carried the Warriors out of the early hole and into the driver’s seat. Green was only credited with 2 steals, but he was everywhere on defense. He had his hands involved in everything, slapping down on the rock to force loose balls as the Celtics drove to the rim, intercepting errant passes to ignite transition play, and junking up Boston possessions by forcing the Celtic in front of him to fumble the ball.

Green turned in a 12-point effort on 5-for-10 shooting, converting 2 of his 5 three-point attempts. He also pulled down 12 rebounds, dished 8 assists, and recorded 2 steals and 2 blocks.

It was a classic Draymond game, an effort whose true magnitude couldn’t be captured by the box score. And he delivered it in the biggest of moments.

Boston's biggest issue takes center stage

Boston deserves all the credit in the world for finding themselves and salvaging what appeared to be a lost season so much that they got to the Finals. They weren’t a case of incredible luck, either. Their point differential of +7.3, second-best in the NBA, proves that they were actually better than the record would indicate they were.

But the beatings they handed throughout the second half of the regular season and first three rounds of the playoffs (against reeling or injured opponents, I might add) masked one thing that could not be hidden against a healthy Warriors team — the Celtics had no point guard.

They had Marcus Smart masquerading as a point guard, but he wasn’t guiding the offense in any meaningful way. The Celtics put the ball in Tatum’s hands, and that yielded an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.83:1 in the Finals.

Boston had no one capable of setting up an offense, and it showed quite clearly. They passed out of size mismatches in the post and settled for inefficient midrange jumpers under duress, and that was if they managed to get a shot off instead of wasting possessions with hideous turnovers.

In the 2 games the Celtics won, they cashed in on their triples and contained their turnover issues to the effect of 118 points per game. But, they failed to break 100 points in any of their 4 losses.

It all boiled down to Boston lacking a floor general to stabilize the ship when the ocean became rough. There was no one to set up the Celtics’ leading scorers for good looks when the momentum favored the Warriors. There was no one to catalyze their decision-making to spark comebacks. The Celtics were built to bruise from the jump and build leads so big that the opponent had no chance of punching back, not respond consistently when the opponent knocked them down.

Impressively, the Celtics got to within 2 victories of a title without having a true starting point guard. But the Warriors rostered perhaps the greatest point guard of all time.

That’s why the trophy case grows, with Curry’s getting the only piece it was missing.

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