After beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals in San Francisco on Thursday, the Warriors won a 4-1 series and are now awaiting the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.
The Warriors, appearing in their first Finals since 2019, join the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers as the only NBA franchises to appear in six Finals over an eight-year span.
It’s a record that has led to comparisons to the dominant Bulls team of the 1990s, which included Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
“I think the common denominator is just talented players who are fierce competitors,” Kerr said of the comparisons between the two teams.
“Whether you were talking about Michael [Jordan] and Scottie [Pippen]Stephen [Curry]Draymond [Green]Clay [Thompson]it takes a particular type of athlete to have both dynamics.
“The skill and the athleticism and all that, but also being incredibly competitive and wanting to win so badly. It’s the only way to race like that because you’re exhausted, you’re tired, you’re frustrated.
“If you don’t have that kind of desire to compete and that kind of skill combined, it’s just not going to happen six times out of eight years.”
After reaching five consecutive NBA Finals – and winning three – between 2015 and 2019, the following year saw the Warriors end the season with the NBA’s worst record.
But Thursday’s win over Dallas marked a return to familiar territory for the Warriors. Thompson, who endured two injury-plagued seasons, led the way with 32 points, while Andrew Wiggins added 18, Green 17 and Curry 15.
“It’s just such a surreal feeling,” Thompson said.
“It’s really hard to put into words. This time last year I was just starting to jog again and going up and down the court. Now I feel myself, I feel explosive, I feel sure sense of my movements, I’m just grateful.”
Curry also received the inaugural Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP award averaging 23.8 points, 7.4 assists and 6.6 rebounds during the series.
“With the adversity we have faced over the past two years,” he said, “we have never lost faith, but you understand how difficult it is going to be to climb the mountain again … We are extremely proud of what it took to come back here.”
In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics lead the set 3-2 and will reach the final if they win on Friday.
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