Steph, Klay, Draymond’s latest historical achievement adds to lore originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea:
SAN FRANCISCO – All Klay Thompson could do is smile, turn his head slightly to the right and whistle in appreciation. With the Warriors’ 104-94 win against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night at Chase Center, Golden State is now one win away from its fourth championship in past eight seasons.
The win also added to the legacy of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors’ Big Three now has 20 Finals wins together, passing San Antonio Spurs legends Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for the most wins in the Finals as an All-NBA trio in the last 30 years.
“Those three are some of the greatest to ever play,” Thompson said. “I feel like they played my whole life, my whole childhood. To be mentioned in the same company as them, it’s humbling.
“It won’t mean much unless we get another win. That’s awesome, but it would really add to our legacy if we closed this thing out.”
The Spurs drafted all three of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili – Duncan with the top pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, Parker near the end of the first round and Ginobili in the second. The Warriors also added their trio in the draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves passed on Curry twice and he was convinced he was bound to be a New York Knick before the Warriors selelected him No. 7 overall. Thompson was taken with the 11th pick and Green, like Ginobili, is one of the greatest draft steals of all time after also going in the second round.
Duncan won the title in his second season. Curry did not win his first until his sixth season. Duncan’s first championship came before Parker and Ginobili arrived, and those three shared four rings together. All three of Curry’s rings have come with Thompson and Green right by his side.
The Curry, Thompson, Green-led Warriors are in their sixth Finals in the last eight seasons. They need only one more victory to join the Duncan, Parker, Ginobili-led Spurs.
That next win is all that matters to Curry. Once he sat all the podium for his postgame press conference, the previous 20 wins were a thing of the past. No. 21 jumped to the front of his focus.
“We want to have one more to show for it and one more win, and really embrace what we’ve accomplished to be back on this stage,” Curry said. “Obviously making six Finals, you have a lot of opportunities. You enjoy every single one of them. So, you know, this series is no different.
“And one more win, just got to figure out a way to get it done.”
The Warriors in Game 5 got it done a way they hadn’t all series long.
Curry through the first four games averaged 34.3 points. After his 43-point performance in Game 4, Steph had scored 137 total points. Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors’ second-leading scorers had combined to score 135. Curry was shooting 50 percent from the field and 49 percent on 3-pointers. But in Game 5, he scored only 16 points and went 7-for-22 from the field.
His streak of making at least one 3-pointer in 233 straight games between the regular season and playoffs finally came to an end. The game has been changed by No. 30, and that stat right there says it all.
Finally, the Warriors, including his two longtime teammates in Klay and Draymond, were there to pick Steph up. Thompson scored 21 points, made five 3-pointers and continues to save his best for last defensively after missing two-and-a-half years to two gruesome leg injuries. He also became the third player in history to make at least 100 3-pointers in a Finals career, joining Curry and LeBron James.
Green played what he called an “atrocious” Game 3 in the Warriors’ loss and sat four key minutes in the fourth quarter of Game 4 before buckling down late for the win. Right out of the gate, Green turned up the volume Monday night in San Francisco. He scored four points total in two games before that, and hit that mark in the first four-and-a-half minutes in Game 5. Before fouling out with three minutes left, Draymond dropped eight points, eight rebounds, seven assists and one steal. Offensively and defensively, his force was felt and it trickled down to the rest of the Dubs.
The Celtics’ Big Three of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart is now shooting 25 percent from the field and 14 percent behind the 3-point line in five games when guarded by Green.
Steph ignites it all, though. Even on an off-night, he still led both teams with eight assists and was a plus-15 in plus-minus. On defense, he was nothing short of spectacular, showing off his elite conditioning and making the Chase Center floor his personal track. His one poor shooting performance now has him averaging 30.6 points on 46.6 percent shooting and 41.7 percent from 3-point range. That’s along with 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
RELATED: Chiozza’s impact felt by Warriors stars in the NBA Finals:
For years, the Warriors haven’t shied away from their desire of following the Spurs’ model of sustained success. With that, the focus turns to the Wiggins trade and younger Warriors like Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman.
Don’t forget who it all starts with, though. Steph, Klay and Draymond might as well already have statues standing outside the Warriors’ sparkling new arena. Their jersey numbers should hang from the rafters the moment they decide to retire. The job has not been done yet, and they know it.
That’s what makes them so elite. There will be time for everything to soak in eventually. For now, the Warriors’ latest win is another reminder of how great this special trio is, while remaining locked in on one more win to call themselves champions for a fourth time.
Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast: