What Steph, Klay and Draymond are saying about returning to NBA Finalsson dakika haberler
SAN FRANCISCO — Klay Thompson told the celebrating crowd he wouldn’t get emotional, but the high definition video board at Chase Center couldn’t hide tears swelling in his eyes. “I’m just so happy to be back. I’m so thankful for this team,” Thompson said...
SAN FRANCISCO — Klay Thompson told the celebrating crowd he wouldn’t get emotional, but the high definition video board at Chase Center couldn’t hide tears swelling in his eyes.
“I’m just so happy to be back. I’m so thankful for this team,” Thompson said to TNT host Ernie Johnson with a grin. “I don’t wanna get emotional. I can’t believe we’re back. This is crazy. I’m gonna enjoy this tonight, but we still got 4 more to go.”
You can’t fault him for getting emotional. Thompson’s team-high 32 points in the Warriors’ Game 5 win over Dallas to clinch their sixth NBA Finals appearance in eight years marked a full circle moment. The last time the Warriors were in the Finals, Thompson hobbling off the court with a torn ACL and the Warriors on their way to a series loss.
The dynasty is back in business.
“I’ve always said all along, no one has proven they can beat us yet when we’re whole,” Draymond Green said. “That’s still the case.”
There’s levels to Green’s comment. With this appearance, the Warriors become the first team to reach the NBA Finals six times in an eight-season span since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen Bulls from 1991 to 1998. Those Bulls went to eight straight finals and won six of them — the two-year hiatus intercepted with Michael Jordan’s baseball experiment with the White Sox.
The Warriors’ two-year playoff hiatus coincided with Thompson’s ACL and Achilles tears injuries, Steph Curry’s broken hand and a league-worst 15-50 record in 2020 and a failed play-in bid in 2021. And those two Finals losses? Green might be pointing to his own suspension in Game 5 of the 2016 Finals loss to Cleveland and Thompson’s injury in Game 6 against Toronto as caveats to their defeat.
“Never doubt what we are capable of,” Green said. “As we saw the year going on, you can see like, man, this team is capable of putting a great run together. We’ve continued to get better, continued to grow, different guys stepping up each night.”
For Thompson, this Finals appearance was a reminder of his grueling rehab process. At times he didn’t believe he’d get back to the stage he’d mastered reaching.
“This time last year I was starting to jog again and get on the court,” Thompson said, adding that his emotions swelled as he thought of head trainer Rick Celebrini and the staff coaxing him through his “terrible mood” doing tedious exercises. Every one of those 1,000 calf-raises per day paid off.
“They would tell me it would pay off and it’s hard to see that at the time,” Thompson said. “But now to actually be here, I can feel it paying off.”
On top of the costly injuries was a key roster move that altered the Warriors’ landscape after 2019. Detractors said the dynasty was dead with Kevin Durant’s departure for Brooklyn. Though Durant’s shoes are impossible to fill, the Warriors’ front office added Andrew Wiggins, Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II, called on Jordan Poole, and shifted focus. While losses were hard to come by with Durant in tow, the Warriors’ core had to re-learn how to win with a new look.
“This one is very sweet just because of where we were in 2019,” Curry said. “Obviously Klay, KD going down during that playoff run, being so close to winning three in a row…We never lost the faith, but you understand how hard of a process it was going to be to climb the mountain again.”
Those years of adversity showed them how fragile success can be. For Green, their ability to overcome it was an opportunity to silence doubters.
“You feel great about it,” Green said. “After being counted out, dynasty is over, all of those things. To get back here, it’s fantastic.”
“The low moments make the high ones even sweeter. That’s what I’ve learned.”