The Golden State Warriors are headed back to the NBA Finals here in 2022 after their 120-110 victory in Game 5 vs. the Dallas Mavericks. This is their first Finals appearance since their loss to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals.
This is the Warriors' sixth Finals appearance in the last eight years, and a win this year will surely elevate this team to legendary status. The Warriors, with a Finals win, can become the greatest NBA dynasty since the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.
Before we start the 2022 NBA Finals and watch to see if the Warriors can indeed win the chip, let's go back to see where Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green's journey started. Let's revisit the 2015 NBA Finals.
2015 NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The first time these new-look Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, made the NBA Finals was in 2015. In the Finals, the Dubs would face off against someone who was no stranger to the Finals in LeBron James.
James, in fact, made it to four straight NBA Finals before reaching it a fifth consecutive time in 2015. The previous four times, James was a member of the Miami Heat.
Now, back in Cleveland with the Cavs, James was looking to fulfill a promise to the city of Cleveland and deliver an NBA championship. The problem was that the young and hungry Golden State Warriors were ready, and the series would start in Oakland.
Game 1: Cavaliers vs. Warriors
LeBron James had to deal with more than just the Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals. First, teammate Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first-round series against the Boston Celtics. Then, All-Star teammate, Kyrie Irving, injured himself in Game 1 of the Finals.
Irving tried to drive past Klay Thompson with 2:21 left in overtime as the Warriors held a 102-98 lead. Irving fell to the ground and quickly grabbed at his left knee.
It turned out to be a fractured left kneecap for Irving, and he wouldn't return in the series. The Warriors outscored the Cavs 10-2 in overtime as they held on, behind Curry's 26 points, to win Game 1 by the score of 108-100.
Game 2: Cavaliers vs. Warriors
After the Warriors won Game 1 and Kyrie Irving went down with a season-ending injury, the talk around the NBA world was that the Warriors would sweep the Cavaliers. After all, the Warriors won a league's best 67 games that season, while the Cavaliers only won 53.
Klay Thompson came to play in Game 2. He wanted to show the world that he was right there with his Splash Brother, Stephen Curry.
Thompson scored a Warriors high with 34 points in the Game. The problem was that the other Splash Brother struggled. Curry missed a Finals record 13 threes, as he scored 19 points.
Despite his shooting struggles, Curry tied the game at 87-87 with a beautiful finger roll with just 7.2 seconds remaining. The game would go into overtime after James missed a layup to win the game.
Both teams would struggle in overtime. The Warriors shot 2-9, and the Cavaliers shot 1-9. The difference would be at the free-throw line.
The Warriors shot 2-2 from the charity stripe, and the Cavaliers shot 5-6. This includes Matthew Dellavedova sinking two clutch free throws to give the Cavaliers a 94-93 lead with 10.1 seconds left. The Cavaliers would go on to win Game 2 by a score of 95-93.
Game 3: Warriors vs. Cavaliers
The series shifted to Cleveland for Game 3, and the Cavaliers crowd was ready to cheer their team to victory. The Warriors were looking to bounce back from their devastating Game 2 loss.
Game 3 would become the first game in the series that would not see overtime, and it wouldn't go the Dubs' way. Curry bounced back after a subpar shooting performance to shoot 10-20 from the field and 7-13 from three.
Curry played great, but so did the Cavaliers' star player. LeBron James scored 40 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and handing out 8 assists. The Cavaliers held on to win 96-91, and more importantly, they took a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4: Warriors vs. Cavaliers
Up to this point of the series, Andre Iguodala was coming off the Warriors bench. After falling 2-1 in the series, Head Coach Steve Kerr wanted to shake things up.
Kerr inserted Iguodala in the starting lineup. This move proved to be crucial for the Warriors' success.
Iguodala played great defense against LeBron James up to this point in the series. James scored his points, but Iguodala made him very inefficient.
In Game 4, Iguodala not only forced James into an inefficient game, as James shot 7-22 from the field. Also, Iguodala's defense held James to a series low 20 points.
Iguodala tied Curry for the most points scored for the Warriors with 22. More importantly, the Warriors were back in the series after tying it at 2-2.
Game 5: Cavaliers vs. Warriors
The series returned to Oakland for the critical Game 5. The Warriors wanted to put their foot down on the necks of the Cavaliers, but LeBron James was ready to rebound from his horrible Game 4 performance.
James would rebound with 40 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists. His shooting was still off (15-34), but there was still no denying James' greatness.
The Warriors also had a player who would put on an outstanding performance. This player, of course, was Stephen Curry.
Curry scored 37 points on an efficient 13-23 shooting and 7-13 from downtown. Curry led all players with a +24 +/- in the game, and the Warriors won 104-91 to take that oh so important 3-2 series lead.
The Warriors were now one win away from securing their first NBA championship since the 1975 season when they defeated the Washington Bullets. Could they get the job done in Game 6?
Game 6: Warriors vs. Cavaliers
The Warriors were determined to prove they were the best team of the 2014-15 NBA season. They burst out of the gate, outscoring the Cavaliers 28-15.
Curry started where he left off in the last game. He scored 9 points on 4-8 shooting in the first quarter.
It looked like the Warriors would run away with the title, but LeBron James would lead the Cavaliers back into the game. James scored 11 points in the second quarter as the Cavaliers outscored the Warriors 28-17.
At the half, the Warriors' lead was cut to only two points. The Warriors led 45-43, and it looked like fans were in for a good finish.
The Warriors had other ideas in the third. Led by Andre Iguodala, who scored 7 in the third, the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers 28-18 in the third.
This gave the Warriors a 73-61 lead heading into the fourth. The Warriors looked poised to win the title, but they'd have to withstand one last run from LeBron James.
James scored 10 in the fourth, but he wasn't alone. The King got an unlikely boost from reserve J. R. Smith, who scored 15 fourth-quarter points.
The Cavaliers as a team had a huge fourth, scoring 36 points. The Warriors would respond to the Cavaliers' run, led by their star, Stephen Curry.
Curry scored 13 in the fourth on 3-6 shooting and 2-4 from three. Iguodala stepped up as well, scoring 8 points on 2-4 shooting and 2-3 from downtown. Iggy also played great defense on James.
The game was close down the stretch, but the Warriors held onto the lead, and they would secure the title with their 105-97 victory. The Dubs were now champions, thanks to a great team effort.
The only thing left to determine would be who would win the Finals MVP. This came as a shock for many when Stephen Curry wasn't named the Finals MVP.
This honor was given to defensive specialist Andre Iguodala. Curry may have scored more, but Iggy did score a lot, and he was constantly hitting clutch shots.
The main reason was Iguodala's defense on King James. After the Cavaliers took a 2-1 lead, Iggy switched to the starting lineup, and the Warriors wouldn't lose another game.
It didn't matter who fans thought should have been the Finals MVP; the Warriors were champions.
Seven years later, they are playing in their sixth NBA Finals in eight years, trying to improve their record to 4-2 in front of the Boston Celtics.
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