August 12, 2022

BOSTON — Stephen Curry pulled back from 29 feet and buried another 3-point dagger before pointing his right ring finger in the third quarter of Game 6.

Under Boston’s historic championship banners and on the hallowed floor of the Celtics, Curry didn’t just put another ring on it, but he cemented his future Hall of Fame legacy by joining an exclusive and legendary group with his first NBA Finals MVP trophy.

Curry won his fourth championship and the only honor that eluded him when he was named Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after leading the Golden State Warriors to a 103-90 victory in Game 6 for eliminate the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Eleven voters from a national media panel chose Curry as the 2022 Finals MVP. Curry finished with 34 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds in the playoff series. It gave him 30 or more points in three straight games in Boston. The last opponent to do so in the playoffs was LeBron James in 2017.

In six games against the Celtics, Curry averaged 31.2 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. He shot 48% from the field and 44% from 3 points.

“You know that’s what it’s all about – playing for a championship and what we’ve been through for the last three years,” Curry tearfully told ESPN’s Lisa Salters in an interview immediately afterwards. the game. “At the start of the season, nobody thought we would be here except everyone on this pitch at the moment. It’s unbelievable. It’s very surreal, though, very surreal.”

On Thursday, he hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, including one with 6:15 left that pushed the Warriors 22 when he celebrated by pointing his ring finger as Boston called a timeout.

But Curry’s Finals MVP game came when he tipped the Finals momentum with his sensational 43-point, 10-rebound effort in a Game 4 victory over Boston to tie the series at 2. -2. Golden State has won three straight to claim its fourth title in eight years.

“I’m happy for everyone, but I’m happy for Steph,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “For me, this is his crowning achievement in what has already been an incredible career.”

Game 6 was also a legacy game for the point guard. The NBA’s most prolific 3-point shooter now has four rings, two league MVPs, two goalscoring titles, a Finals MVP and an All-Star Game MVP. This puts Curry in a club that only includes Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Shaquille O’Neal as those who have won an MVP, Finals MVP, All-Star Game MVP and a goalscoring title, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

Now debaters can discuss Curry’s place among the legends of the game, whether he is one of the top 10 players of all time and one of the greatest point guards.

“It helps,” Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas told ESPN of a Finals MVP being vital to Curry’s legacy. “As [Boston’s] Cedric Maxwell said to me the other night, he said to me, “There’s [32 NBA Finals MVPs]. I am one of them.’

“I’m one of them too. In the end, it matters. It helps. Steph’s legacy is already cemented, in terms of what he did for the game, how he improved the game and what he did to make all children want to play the game [the way he does]. He moved the game forward.”

It was a banner season for Curry. He became the 3-point king of the game, passing Ray Allen at the top of the all-time 3-list earlier this season.

But this season will be remembered for Curry bringing the Warriors back to the NBA championship after a two-year hiatus due to injuries to himself and Klay Thompson. He’s hit five or more 3-pointers in 11 games this postseason.

And he let his opponents hear it too during this championship run. In the second round, he quoted the Memphis fan mantra “Whoop That Trick” to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews when asked what the Warriors’ game plan was going into Game 5.

After Memphis blasted Golden State in Game 5, Curry had 29 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists to eliminate the Grizzlies in Game 6. He released his celebratory “Rock-A-Bye, Baby” gesture a few times when setting up the teams. away, as he did against Boston on Thursday. And he wore an “Ayesha Curry Can Cook” shirt after Game 5 in response to a Boston establishment putting a sign out front saying his wife – who is a cookbook author and entrepreneur – can’t cook.

Now, Curry has finally put together the recipe for a Finals MVP. In Golden State’s three previous championships, Durant won the Finals MVP twice, in 2017 and 2018, and Andre Iguodala won the award in the 2015 Finals.

Curry entered Thursday night with the second-most playoff points before earning his first Finals MVP, behind only Bryant (4,381), according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Thomas was asked if Curry is one of the top 10 players of all time now that he has a fourth championship.

“It all depends on the metrics you use,” Thomas said. “Is he in the top 10? You can probably say yes. Then you can argue that there are other people who should be in the top 10, top 15. I really don’t know. What I know, and I know this want people to realize, it’s the Chamberlains, the Russells, the Kareems, the Shaqs, that’s four right there.

“Then when you get to Jordan, LeBron, they’re different types. If he gets to the top 10, God bless him. If he doesn’t, wherever he is, he’s been awesome.”

Thomas said he will be thinking of three players when looking back over the past decade.

“It’s an era of gaming that will be defined by LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant,” Thomas said. “It’s the three guys, when I look back over the last 15 years.”