Curry finally Finals MVP

For the first time in his career, Stephen Curry was voted the NBA Finals MVP after the Golden State Warriors crowned Boston on Thursday.

The icing on the cake: Stephen Curry, NBA champion for the fourth time in six finals with Golden State, was, logically and for the first time, named best player in the final, erasing an anomaly in his prodigious career. What a season for the All-Star point guard! That of a resurrection for his Warriors, whose revived dynasty nevertheless seemed well buried three years ago, that of a record which certainly held out its arms to him, but still it was necessary to overtake Ray Allen in the first rank of the best scorers in three points in the story, that, finally, of an individual consecration, on the biggest stage there is.

Many have criticized Curry, in the five previous finals, including three with a ring on the end (2015, 2017, 2018), for not having been able to spice up his game, leaving Andre Iguodala, rewarded with his intractable defense on LeBron James, then Kevin Durant, untouchable the next two times, reap the laurels. Facing Boston, the eldest of the “Splash Brothers” was dominant almost throughout (31.2 pts on average), culminating in a decisive “masterclass” during the crucial match N.4, during which he extinguished the TD Garden volcano, to straighten out his team who couldn’t afford to be trailing 3-1.

For the history books, Curry’s performance ranked second only to that of LeBron James, as he became at 34 years and 88 days the second oldest player to manage at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in a final match. “LBJ” was 35 years and 284 days old when he did the same in 2020 with the Lakers against Miami. His only false note was 0/9 behind the arc in the next game, a first for him in 133 play-off matches. But no matter, for the one who became this season the best three-point scorer in NBA history ahead of Ray Allen, this type of misadventure never happens twice in a row and he knew how to react like a champion to Boston Thursday night (34 pts at 6/11 behind the arc).

For this formidable player, a spectacle provider when he (often) catches fire behind the three-point line – sometimes very far away as in the 3rd quarter, then showing the fourth finger of his right hand which was waiting for his ring -, this trophy of MVP is added in an almost unexpected way to those of the 2015 and 2016 regular seasons, this last distinction having been obtained unanimously by the voters. A unique case. Almost unexpected, because few would have bet on such a return to the top of the Warriors after two dark years. Weighed down by the departure of Kevin Durant in 2019, by the many injuries, including the serious ones, which struck down Klay Thompson, they started from afar.

Best three-point scorer in history

If Steve Kerr – who won his 9th ring (4 as a coach, 5 as a player) – was the architect of this reconstruction, Curry was the works manager, not without him also going through the infirmary box when he fractured the left hand at the end of 2020. He came out of it stronger. During the previous exercise, he became the club’s most prolific scorer, ahead of the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, then finished as the season’s top scorer (32 pts on average).

Shortly before Christmas, he passed Ray Allen for the first all-time three-point scorer. This achievement caused a relaxation, because he finished the season with an average of 38% in this exercise, the lowest of his career. But as the stakes grew, during the play-offs, he dramatically raised his level of play and guided the Warriors on the path to their resurrection, also demonstrating that he has never been so physically strong, despite his size. leader (1.91 m, 84 kg), not sparing his efforts in defense.

Finally, Curry MVP of a final is also the reward of a player who combines excellence with an almost childish joy in playing, with that teasing smile, those shots attempted from any corner of the field during matches and even front stands. His secret? “I love working. Whether you win or lose, you have to constantly sharpen your tools and find ways to advance your game. And you have to try to have as much fun as possible.”

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