There are the Warriors. It has not been pretty, it has not been to frame and certainly will not be remembered as a remarkable moment in the legendary history of this team, that of hard core Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson-Draymond Green. But there they are: again in the Western final after ventilating (110-96) the last resistance of the Memphis Grizzlies (2-4 total) and prepare to see how his rival emerges tomorrow in the last series of the West, which will start on Wednesday. If the Suns win, in Phoenix. If the Mavericks culminate their revolution, in the San Francisco Bay.

The Warriors spent two years recovering from their five-year run in back-to-back Finals, ending with three rings and a ton of legendary records. Waiting for Klay Thompson, mending as best they could the gigantic gap left by Kevin Durant. Clearing Curry and Green’s mind. In 2020 they did not play the playoffs and last season they stayed in the play in after losing to the Lakers and, on a very dark night, on their court against these same Grizzlies. A team that rowed as far as it could, without fear and with maximum faith, in the final scene of what has been a historic season: 56 wins, equaling his ceiling, and this Conference semifinal as a sign that its reconstruction is going much faster than expected. And, finally, 21-7, a very significant fact, in games without Ja Morant, the Superstar who was struck down in this series by a knee injury.

The Warriors haven’t played well since, looking terrific, they went 3-0 in their first round against the Nuggets. They finished off that tie without much fanfare and they have outdone the Grizzlies with ugly moments, lots of problems, a million missed shots and doubts in a defense who missed the injured, who will surely be in the next round: Gary Payton and an Otto Porter who missed this sixth game who gift-wrapped Curry and Klay’s triples, the recipe of a lifetime, but who was tied up in the trenches and thanks to the work of the bodyguardsthe workers. The others. It wasn’t pretty, but the Warriors get past a tough opponent who thrives on chaos and always finds ways to strike almost out of nowhere, and return to a Western final. Since the 2014 first round against the Clippers they have not lost a playoff in their Conference: 17-0 pending Suns or Mavericks.

Still without Steve Kerr, on leave due to COVID, Mike Brown (next coach of the Sacramento Kings), put Kevon Looney in the quintet on the recommendation of Curry and Green: fewer spaces and less shooting but more steel in the zones, more muscle and more rebounds. Looney, a survivor who has long been in the heart of these Warriors (champion in 2017 and 2018), He finished with 22 rebounds, 11 of them in offense, and 5 assists. Andrew Wiggins minimized the direction of Tyus Jones, scored in delicate moments (18 points) and grabbed 11 rebounds, 6 in attack. Green finished at 14+15+8 assists. The three were fundamental in a central axis of the game in which Curry, Klay and a disoriented Poole failed a lot (2/11 in triples). And in which the losses, rude and chain, were once again a major problem. But they were finally 70 rebounds (70-44), 25 attacking. And, with them, 18 more shots despite a 19-7 loss that could be fatal. Throughout the season no team had reached 70 rebounds. Nobody had done it in the playoffs since 1983. There, although it was later embellished from the perimeter, a victory came that avoided the seventh game and led to the first series of these 2022 playoffs resolved in favor of the team without home court factor.

Curry put the final points (29 + 7 + 5 and 6/17 in triples) when they had to be put. Y Klay, although irregular, was a hammer: 30 points and 8/14 in triples. He is the fourth player (Curry, Ray Allen, Damian Lillard) to have at least eight in four playoff nights. And he gigantic his legend of the sixth games, where he has brought out the best version of him so many times. The more missing he has done.

But without the rebound and without the defense of Wiggins, Looney and a Green who this time controlled Jaren Jackson Jr (12 points, 4 rebounds), the Warriors could have gotten into serious trouble, between turnovers and missed shots: 44 -51 in the second quarter before a 9-0 in the last four minutes (53-41). Y 87-89 with seven left. From there, 23-7 with a final 18-3 in just four minutes (105-92). The Grizzlies fell apart with no more rabbits in the hat. The excellent Desmond Bane finished with 25 points, the uncontrolled Dillon Brooks with 30 of 28 shots. At times, it worked. Finally, logic weighed in and the Warriors, two days after their embarrassing defeat in the fifth game (in which they went through a -55 until the final 134-95) closed the series on their court and they will play another Western final. Like in the old days, like forever. They will have to raise their level, their sensations and their aim to go further. But for now they are there, alive and with Curry, Klay and Green in a territory they know better than anyone and in which they are experts in winning. Bay Trademark.

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