After three years away, the Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals after defeating the Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Golden State won the series 4-1.
The NBA Finals begin next Thursday at Chase Center.
The Warriors last made the Finals in 2019 when they lost to the Toronto Raptors, and that was with Kevin Durant leading the way.
Durant is off in Brooklyn, who got swept in their opening round series by the Celtics, while Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are on their way to the Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons.
After Durant left, things went south for the Warriors as they missed the playoffs the past two seasons. It’s been rough for the Warriors, but now they are back.
“The fact me, Klay, Draymond, from 2015 to now, six out of eight years having a chance to compete for a championship,” Curry, who had 15 points and nine assists and won the Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP, said after the win. “The feeling leaving 2019 Finals and realizing, like, we had been on an amazing journey, then got hit with a lot of adversity, some speed bumps, but never lost the faith we could get back here.”
Green, who had 17 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, added: “After being counted out, dynasty is over, all of those things. To get back here it’s fantastic. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication and to an incredible organization. We continue to stick with it, show what we’re capable of. This one feels great. But got four more wins to get.”
Thompson missed the past two years after tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals and tearing his Achilles in 2020, and he was big-time in Game 5 as he had a game-high 32 points, including eight threes. After the game, Thompson was emotional, and he explained why.
“Just such a surreal feeling,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to put into words, really. This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I’m just grateful. All those emotions kind of rushed through me, and I thought about our training staff, I thought about Rick Celebrini, I thought about Steve, I thought about those days me and Rick were together in Santa Cruz, and I was in a terrible mood.
“We were together in the summertime. All those long days. They would tell me it would pay off. It was hard to see that at the time. Now to actually be here, I can feel it paying off.”
Golden State is back, and they are playing at a high level. Plus, they will have homecourt advantage in the Finals. In addition, the Warriors could get back Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II.
However, they have to still win four more games. Based on the way they’re playing right now, the Warriors will be the favorites and will be tough to beat.