NBA Finals: Warriors at the gates of glory, Celtics back to the wall

NBA Finals: Warriors at the gates of glory, Celtics back to the wall

One step away from the coronation, Golden State leads 3-2 against Boston before Game 6 of the NBA Finals tonight (3 a.m.) at TD Garden. If they win Thursday in Boston, Stephen Curry and his Warriors will revive the colors of their golden dynasty with a 4th NBA championship title in six finals. But the resilient Celtics, led 3-2 and their backs to the wall, will not let themselves be counted in front of their boiling fans.

It is from 9:00 p.m. local (01:00 GMT, 03:00 French) that this sixth game will begin, the first decisive of an intense and tight series which may have tipped in favor of Golden State on Monday evening. Steve Kerr’s players have indeed won (104-94), despite a big air hole from Curry who, for the first time in 133 play-off games, did not put a single basket three points, 72 hours after his masterclass with the Celtics where he had planted seven (43 pts).

His teammates, like Andrew Wiggins (26 pts), a sparkling man from the shadows, took over, honoring the team’s slogan, “Strength in Numbers”, during of its first victorious campaign in 2015. And Boston, for the first time in these play-offs, conceded a second defeat in a row, after leading 2-1, without having been able to make the break in match N.4 in his TD Garden volcano, which Curry worked to extinguish.

We have two chances to be champions, but we know it will be very difficult

Klay Thompson

But the team coached by Ime Udoka proved that it knew how to reverse this type of compromised situation, in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, at the expense of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, beaten in matches N.6 and N.7. “We are used to playing with our backs to the wall, it’s like second nature. It’s one more match, ”played down Marcus Smart.

Logically enough to inspire distrust in the Warriors, who remember having experienced even worse misfortune in 2016. They led 3-1 in the final against Cleveland, before the Cavaliers, carried by LeBron James, won the following three matches. “We’ve been there before, yes… At the time, we were too impatient. So even if we are in a favorable position, we haven’t accomplished anything yet. The mission always remains the same, to win four matches,” recalled Klay Thompson. “We have two chances to be champions, but we know it will be very difficult. That’s why no one is celebrating in the locker room, ”added his coach Steve Kerr Monday evening.

On the Celtics side, “the frustration predominated a little” after this fifth lost game, due as much to an overflow of errors and clumsiness in attack as to a lack of gas in the last quarter. But not dejection. “The message is to keep confident, go home, rest and prepare to come back here. The key is regularity and consistency in the efforts produced, ”recalled coach Ime Udoka.

You have to keep the faith, it must be at the highest level

– Jaylen Brown

And to Jaylen Brown the strong words: “You have to keep the faith, it has to be at the highest level there is. We have to play as one man. All season it was a bit like us against the rest of the world. I don’t see a difference now. I’m looking forward to this sixth game. It’s a question of survival. We have to approach it with that mentality and play Celtics basketball. We are not afraid”.

No doubt Boston fans, who are dreaming of a record 18th title and winning the Decibel Game in this series, will be pushing hard behind their team. This hostile environment, within the TD Garden, will oblige the Warriors, in search of a seventh title in total (the first two were gleaned with Philadelphia in 1947 and 1956, the third with Golden State in 1975), “to try to contain our emotions,” Curry said.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to play the best game of the year, in terms of intensity and concentration,” added the shooter, determined to find the target behind the arc. “After a 0/9 three-pointer like that, Stephen is going to be very up in the next game. That’s all we need, ”welcomes his teammate Draymond Green in advance.


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