The Golden State Warriors have won the NBA championship four times in the past eight years.
After falling behind 1-0 and 2-1 in the NBA Finals, the Warriors won the final three games, handing the Boston Celtics their first three-game losing streak since December. On Thursday, they concluded the 2021-22 season with a 103-90 victory in Game 6.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points to lead the team (12-for-21 FGs, including six 3-pointers). He earned the Bill Russell Finals Most Valuable Player award by averaging 31.2 points per game, his highest Finals output in six trips.
Obviously, Curry didn’t do it alone. And one statistic stood out as the Warriors captured their sixth championship in franchise history.
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = % of available offensive rebounds obtained
This is the Celtics’ worst offensive three-game span this season, including the postseason. From November 26 to December 1, their previous low for any three-game run was 99.3 points per 100 possessions. In Games 5 and 6 of the Finals, Boston was held to less than one point per possession for the only time this season in consecutive games.
“Our defense was phenomenal in this series,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stated after the game. In particular the last three games.
These were the regular season’s two greatest defensive teams. Through early March, the Warriors rated first defensively, although the Celtics had by far the strongest defense after Christmas.
The Celtics had the greatest offense in the league (120.7 points per 100 possessions) as they finished the regular season with a record of 26-6. They were nearly as effective (119.2) in their first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets.
After that, though, the Celtics’ offense experienced significant ups and downs, including some nasty games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. And the Finals was their weakest offensive series of the four they played (105.6 points per 100 possessions). Their four defeats in this series were among their six least effective efforts in 24 postseason contests.
In the Finals, the Celtics shot 40.8% from 3-point range, their highest percentage in any of their four series. However, they shot only 49.3 percent in the paint during their worst six-game span of the season. Likewise, turnovers were a major issue. In Game 6, the Celtics committed 23 errors, which was tied for the third-most of any team in these playoffs.
Jaylen Brown, a wing for the Celtics, stated, “We struggled offensively throughout this series.” “Acknowledge the Warriors’ merit. They compelled us to do things against our will.”
Due to Draymond Green’s two-month absence, the Warriors’ defense deteriorated after a stellar start to the season. In the first three rounds of the playoffs, the Warriors were sixth in defensive efficiency despite Green’s return (111.0 points per 100).
But in the Finals, Golden State’s defense went up. And it completely shut down the Celtics in their last three games. Andrew Wiggins held Jayson Tatum in check (37 percent shooting) and the Warriors countered nearly every Celtics drive with numerous bodies and arms.
Mike Brown, an assistant with the Warriors, will leave Golden State to coach the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have not made the playoffs in 16 years, but their new coach Brown has proven to be a mastermind of a championship defense.
The Warriors’ offense, which rated first in ball movement during the regular season, continues to be entertaining to watch, and Curry is an offensive legend.
Nonetheless, defense continues to win championships, and the Warriors’ defense won this game.