The Warriors have been here before, atop the basketball world, hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in celebration of another championship. The core of those 2015, 2017 and 2018 title teams were very much the same as the 2022 Golden State team that captured its fourth title in eight years on the floor of TD Garden on Thursday night after dispatching the Celtics.
There were some new contributors to the Warriors’ fourth ring, as well as some key players from the three previous title teams who are no longer with this dynastic team. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were there through it all, though. They always have been.
That trio was drafted by Golden State, won titles together, lost titles together, weathered injuries alongside one another and bounced back from a two-year playoff drought where Thompson missed two full seasons and Curry was sidelined for nearly an entire year.
That’s why Curry said, “This championship hits different.”
Curry Captures First Finals MVP
Curry wept on the court of TD Garden as the clock winded down toward his fourth title. The Warriors’ 103-90 win against the Celtics in Game 6 wouldn’t have been possible without his 34 points in the decisive game, 43 points in Game 4 on the road on blistering shooting throughout the series.
Curry averaged 31.2 ppg for the series to go with six rebounds, five assists and 48/41/86 shooting splits against the best defense in basketball. That earned him the one honor he was missing in his long and decorated career: Finals MVP.
For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford and Robert Williams III all had moments in the series, but turnovers, fatigue and excellent defense stood in the way of an 18th title for Boston. The team turned around a season that seemed like it would end with the team picking in the lottery next week with first-year coach Ime Udoka at the helm. As Chris Mannix wrote, “It wasn’t the Celtics Time. Next Year It Could Be.”
Avalanche Aim for 2-0 Series Lead
The Stanley Cup Final resumes Saturday night in Denver. Colorado, which is 6-2 at home in the playoffs, is favored in its attempt to grab a 2-0 series edge.
Colorado blitzed Tampa Bay early in Game 1 and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed the first three-goal period of his career. After the Avalanche got out to a 3-1 lead, Vasilevskiy blanked the best offense in the playoffs for the remaining two periods and the Lightning netted two more goals to force overtime.
The Avalanche, which entered the series as championship favorites, have moved to -300 to win the Cup after taking the opener. The Lightning are now +225 in their quest to win their third title in a row. The most likely outcome on SI Sportsbook remains a 4-1 Colorado win (+300).
Fantasy Football Mock Draft Review
The SI Fantasy team completed its second mock draft of the offseason and our very own Michael Fabiano broke down the best and worst picks for the 12-team, PPR draft.
Some notable takeaways from 14-round draft:
- Five wideouts—Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams, Ja’Marr Chase and Stefon Diggs—all came off the board in the first 12 picks as the position gains more first-round steam in PPR formats.
- Round 2 was dominated by running backs with Alvin Kamara, D’Andre Swift, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, Saquon Barkley, Javonte Williams and Leonard Fournette all being selected.
- The first quarterback wasn’t selected until the fifth round when Justin Herbert was taken, sparking a mini run at the position.
- Two running backs coming off injury, Travis Etienne and J.K. Dobbins, were drafted in the fourth round with cautious optimism.
Read the complete draft and Fabiano’s analysis of the picks to help prepare for your own upcoming draft(s).
The second installment of The Replacements, a new series I’m working on about how teams will redistribute vacated targets in the coming season, came out Thursday.
The Chiefs were the subject of the new piece with much of the discussion about their high-powered offense focused on making up for the loss of Tyreek Hill.
Kansas City traded its top target—who saw a career-high 159 targets in 2021—to the Dolphins in the offseason. To make up for his departure, the Chiefs got Patrick Mahomes a few new weapons, including rookie Skyy Moore, Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. And, of course, K.C. still has its ever-reliable tight end Travis Kelce, one of Mahomes’ favorite targets.
Shawn Childs is working his way through the NFC North 2022 fantasy projections, with the Bears preview coming out Thursday. Childs already went through the entirety of the AFC and wrapped up his first NFC division earlier this week. Beyond team projections, Childs is deep-diving into individual players’ prospects like Antonio Gibson, A.J. Brown and Dak Prescott.
In Other News
USFL Week 10 Lines, Future Odds: The last week of the regular season is here and the playoffs are set. Favorites have held a considerable advantage all season long in the eight-team league. Will that trend hold in the finale? Find the respected plays for the Week 10 action.
U.S. Open Continues with Day 2: Follow live updates from Brookline, Mass., from The Morning Read team. M.J. Daffue is off to an early lead today and favorite Rory McIlroy is close behind.
Lamar Jackson Expects to Spend Rest of Career in Baltimore: The Ravens and their former MVP quarterback have yet to come to an agreement on a contract extension but Jackson said Thursday he expects to finish his career in Baltimore.
Final Top 100 NBA Draft Rankings: Chet Holmgren has an outside shot at going No. 1 in the 2022 NBA Draft, but he’s not even ranked among Jeremy Woo’s top three prospects. Read about the top players in the class and how they each profile as prospects.
Inside the Braves’ 14-Game Winning Streak: Atlanta is undefeated in June after entering the month below .500. Find out how the defending World Series champs turned their season around with some home run-happy hitters to creep back into a Wild Card spot.
Rockets Trade Christian Wood to Mavericks: Dallas acquired Houston’s big man, who is in the final year of his contract, in exchange for Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and the No. 26 pick. The Rockets now own three first-rounders and the Mavericks no longer have a pick in next week’s draft.
Programming note: With the NBA season complete, Winners Club will be coming to you twice a week on Mondays and Fridays for the next few months until football season is much closer. You can still expect the same curated content from the SI Betting and SI Fantasy teams in your inbox, just twice a week instead of three times a week. Due to Monday’s holiday, Winners Club won’t be sent out again until a week from now, June 23.
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