New York- The Splash Brothers have done it. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors are on top of the basketball world once again. On Thursday night, the Warriors secured their 4th NBA Championship title in the last eight years by defeating the Boston Celtics by a final score of 103-90. This marked Golden State’s first title since 2018.
The catalyst in this Golden State dynasty is none other than Steve Kerr, head coach of the Warriors since 2015. 5-time champion as a player and now 4x champion as a head coach, Kerr said postgame, “You’re not going to win any games unless you have talent and character. These guys have done so much for the Warriors organization and for my career.” In his ability to relate to the players and maneuvers of lineup alignments, Kerr must be included in the conversation with the names of Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Red Auerbach as one of the greatest NBA head coaches.
From watching the dynamics of their offensive play, the buy-in from this Warriors squad is incomparable. “It takes a full team effort to do this. We just had a great group who got it done,” said Kerr during the postgame. Regardless of who has sole possession, Golden State constantly hustles and cuts into spots in hopes of neutralizing the opposing defense. This type of playing style impacts opponents energy levels and results in mismatches as seen throughout this postseason run.
In a league today where teams favor the 3-ball now more than ever, the Warriors in this Finals run rose to the occasion by relying on their mid-range efficiency as well as their defensive abilities.
Warriors Team Stats in the 2022 NBA Finals (Won series 4-2)
44.6% FG 36.7 3PT% 80.7 FT%
Forced 16.8 turnovers per game, 4.5 blocks per game, 10.3 steals per game
Stephen Curry Adds to the Trophy Case
With confetti raining down from the TD Garden rafters, an emotional Stephen Curry embraced the championship moment with teammates and family members. During the celebration, as he realized all the hard work and sacrifices paid off, Curry shouted “What are they gonna say now, we did it!”
The 34-year-old sharpshooter averaged 31.2 points per game on shooting 48.2% from the field and 43.7% from behind the arc. For the first time in his career, Curry was named the Bill Russell Finals MVP. When asked about becoming the Finals MVP in the postgame, Curry stated “Forget that. We champs! Why are you starting with that question? We got four championships. God is great to give us the ability to play on this stage with amazing teammates against a great Boston Celtics team that gave us everything to try to get to the finish line. This one hits different, for sure.”
The two-time regular season MVP, 8-time All-Star and now 4-time NBA champion adds yet more hardware to his trophy case. “I’m happy for everybody, but I’m thrilled for Steph. To me this is his crowning achievement in what has already been an incredible career,” replied Kerr when asked about this Warriors championship. Curry has solidified himself as one of, if not the greatest basketball players of this generation.
Juan Toscano-Anderson Becomes First Player of Mexican Descent to Win an NBA Title
Year by year, the story of Toscano-Anderson making a name for himself in the NBA gets better and better. During the postgame championship celebration with his teammates, Toscano Anderson stated, “It feels amazing. I mean, this is the biggest dream come true. I came into the G-League with an open tryout, on a two-way contract, and got waived. I played overseas for 5 years. I’m here now, so no one can take this away from me.” In 73 games played in the 2021-2022 regular season, Toscano-Anderson averaged 4.1 points per game (48.9% FG; 32.2 3PT%, 57.1%FT).
In the NBA, 15-man rosters tend to transition into 8-9 man rosters when it comes to playoff time. Due to the Warriors complimentary unit led by Draymond Green with Andrew Wiggins, Gary Payton II, Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson, Toscano-Anderson faced a similar scenario. In 14 games played this postseason, he averaged 3.5 minutes per game compared to 13.6 minutes per game in the regular season.
With his championship hat on and goggles assembled, the jumping Toscano-Anderson yelled, “Lets go, World Champs! I need more champagne baby, bring me my champagne. Where is Larry?” regarding the highly coveted Larry O’ Brien Trophy. Locker room celebrations are one of the most exciting times in sports since it reveals the true friendships and bonds these players have created throughout the draining regular season and a ton of postseason play.
This past February, the 28-year-old made an appearance during All Star Weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. Toscano-Anderson participated in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in style. In one of two of his recorded dunks on the night, Toscano Anderson wore a Golden State Warriors-Mexico Flag mixed uniform with sneakers that included the engravings of the well-known flag and colors.
During All-Star Weekend, he stated “Hopefully I can continue to inspire other Mexican kids… hopefully I can be that image that they want to grow up and be like and follow their dreams and somehow get to the NBA. I just want to continue to raise the bar for them.” Facing all of the adversity, Toscano-Anderson has made Mexico proud with his passionate play and efforts in promoting the sport across Mexico.
Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports and NY Sports Day
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