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NBA Championship: Golden State defeats the Boston Celtics 103-90

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Last night, a familiar scene in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors lifted the championship trophy for the fourth time in the last eight years. The Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 103-90 to win their final series, four games to two. And once again, guard Steph Curry was the engine that drove Golden State's win. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: It's absurd to say an NBA game is over after one quarter. But looking back at last night, it was. Boston had roared to a 14-2 lead to the delight of the home crowd. But when the quarter ended, Golden State led 27-22. The Warriors had imposed their vaunted championship pedigree. The Celtics turned hapless and dispirited. The lead grew as Boston committed turnover after turnover, 23 by game's end. And after the end, during the postgame celebration, the Warriors' Draymond Green played a familiar role, that of unruly guest at Boston's TD Garden.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DRAYMOND GREEN: But we did what we do. Welcome back to the Warriors Invitational, baby. It's what we do. Welcome back.

(CHEERING)

GOLDMAN: It's what they did from 2015 to 2019, when they made five straight finals appearances and won three championships. But the last two years were an injury-plagued trek into the NBA wilderness. In 2020, the Warriors had the league's worst record. 2021, no playoffs, then this - an unlikely title after a season mixed with optimism and uncertainty. All-Star guard Steph Curry told ESPN it's why he cried at the end of the game.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEPHEN CURRY: You say all that. You believe it. You carry that. But you have no idea how it's going to happen. And when you get to the finish line and you look up and see you got back to the mountaintop, like, all those emotions come out.

GOLDMAN: For all he's won, both titles and awards, Curry had never been named Finals MVP until last night. His 43 points led the Warriors to a critical win in Game 4 of the finals. It started the team's surge, as they won the last three games. Without Curry, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said, none of this happens, not last night, not the titles before.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STEVE KERR: I'm happy for everybody, but I'm thrilled for Steph. To me, this is his crowning achievement in what's already been an incredible career.

GOLDMAN: Boston guard Jaylen Brown said it stings to come up short. And the young Celtics still have a lot to learn. But, he added, the future's bright, perhaps not as bright as for the Warriors. Curry led the team, but Golden State has a bunch of young, talented players around the core group that won the three previous titles, meaning last night could be a start of another run of the Warriors Invitational.

Tom Goldman, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "INDUSTRY BABY")

LIL NAS X: (Singing) And this one is for the champions. I ain't lost since I began, yeah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Goldman
Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.