Stephen Curry, Warriors rally from down 3-1 to reach back-to-back NBA Finals
"We're not going home yet!"
Stephen Curry hollered that phrase in celebration after the Warriors' big Game 5 victory last week and then, by way of Sunday's result, he was eventually vindicated and right once again -- but make no mistake, it wasn't easy.
The Golden State Warriors won an incredible Game 7 last night to extend their season and reach their second straight NBA Finals. Ultimately, it's all thanks to a historically great record-breaking squad that couldn't resist adding a little more lore to their fairytale story thus far. Sure, the basketball community would've been disappointed if, after everything, they fell just short of their ultimate goal, but who could fault them for losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder? By the time Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Steven Adams put the Golden State Warriors on the brink of elimination, it was tough for even the most adamant of fans to remain optimistic.
And how could they? The Thunder had just finished off the ever-so-slightly-less-impressive San Antonio Spurs via absurd, unpredictable blowouts and had kept that intensity right on through to Oakland. Following that rough Game 4, where Curry shot just 6-for-20 and Westbrook piled up an impressive 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists -- no one could've said that the Warriors choked or imploded. No, for a few days, it looked like the Warriors and Stephen Curry might just exit against a team with two of the league's biggest superstars that got hot at the right time.
That fate, no matter the ultimate result, would've been honorable. It would've been respected and hailed as one of the greatest seasons of all-time, even without a ring at the end of it.
Well, the Warriors weren't content with honorable finishes and so, with some help from their colorful cast of characters, they fought back. As Stephen responded, so did Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston, Andrew Bogut, and Andre Iguodala.
Then, of course, there was Klay Thompson.
His heroic effort from beyond the arc in Game 6 helped the Warriors force the final game -- 11 three-pointers he hit, almost single-handedly keeping them alive through dry stretches of the crucial contest. However, if you're reading this post, you've likely watched and digested this epic series from start to finish anyways -- so I'll cut to the chase:
Should the Warriors eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James once more, their final foe in last year's championship run, will we consider them as the NBA's best team of all-time? Many have tried to discredit the Warriors by simply stating that Stephen Curry's dominance is too much, his range too effortless. But while he struggled at points throughout the series, it was his teammates who picked up the slack and kept them afloat.
It was Green's 4 blocked shots in Game 5, or the aforementioned barrage from Thompson in Game 6, all capped off by Iguodala's defensive efforts and fast-break dagger on the other end. In a few years, the general public will likely remember Stephen Curry's 36 points and 7 three-pointers in Game 7, all culminating in this will-be forever remembered moment:
But it's equally important not to forget all the other players that helped the Warriors reach that definitive shot.
At CoachUp, we're all about finding your fit and role on any given team. Some of us will be the squad's Stephen Curry, but in order to succeed, you'll also need to find your Draymonds, Shauns, and Andres as well. Stephen may be the league's back-to-back MVP, but they've made it to the Finals again because of the Warriors' collective resolve and determination.
No matter your skill set, no matter your role, you can make a difference on your team. From basketball to soccer and everything in between, it's never too late to learn how to impact the team in a positive way. Last season, Iguodala was moved out of the starting lineup and into the sixth man role -- at first, he wasn't happy, but he decided to embrace it.
When the Warriors hoisted the trophy last June, it was Iguodala himself that earned NBA Finals MVP honors -- not Curry, not Thompson. Long story short -- only you that can control your own fate. Work with a coach and get better however you can; learn how to hedge screens, box out, or scrape harder than anyone else on the floor.
We may not be able to hoist from 40 feet like Stephen Curry -- but can you block shots? Can you hit an open three-pointer? Are you a defensive specialist? For just a moment, forget about the MVP Awards, the record books, and championship trophies -- focus on being your best version and the rest will sort itself out.
On Sunday, Stephen Curry and the Warriors reversed their fate, proving once again that hard work, discipline, and owning a role from top to bottom can create a championship-worthy team DNA. Up next, they'll have one of their toughest challenges yet with the Cavaliers, but something tells me that as a unit, from their MVPs, sharpshooters, and defensive standouts, they can make history together once more.