the Warriors at the gates of glory, the Celtics back to the wall


If they win Thursday in Boston, Stephen Curry and his Warriors will revive the colors of their golden dynasty with a 4th NBA championship title in six finals; but the resilient Celtics, trailing 3-2 and with their backs to the wall, won’t let themselves be counted out in front of their ardent fans.

It is from 9:00 p.m. local (01:00 GMT, 03:00 French) that this sixth game will begin, the first decisive of an intense and tight series which may have tipped in favor of Golden State on Monday evening.

Steve Kerr’s players have indeed won (104-94), despite a big air hole from Curry who, for the first time in 133 play-off games, did not put a single basket three points, 72 hours after his masterclass with the Celtics where he had planted seven (43 pts).

His teammates, like Andrew Wiggins (26 pts), a sparkling man from the shadows, took over, honoring the team’s slogan, “Strength in Numbers”, during from his first winning campaign in 2015.

And Boston, for the first time in these play-offs, conceded a second defeat in a row, after leading 2-1, without having been able to break during match N.4 in its TD Garden volcano, which Curry worked to extinguish.

– “It will be very difficult” –

But the team coached by Ime Udoka proved that it knew how to reverse this type of compromised situation, in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, at the expense of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, beaten in matches N.6 and N.7. “We are used to playing with our backs to the wall, it’s like second nature. It’s one more game,” played down Marcus Smart.

Logically enough to inspire distrust in the Warriors, who remember having experienced even worse misfortune in 2016. They led 3-1 in the final against Cleveland, before the Cavaliers, carried by LeBron James, won the following three matches.

“We’ve been there before, yes… At the time, we were too impatient. So even if we are in a favorable position, we haven’t accomplished anything yet. The mission remains the same, to win four matches “, recalled Klay Thompson.

“We have two chances to be champions, but we know it will be very difficult. That’s why nobody is celebrating in the locker room,” coach Steve Kerr said on Monday evening.

On the Celtics side, “frustration predominated a little” after this fifth lost match, due as much to too many errors and clumsiness in attack as to a lack of gas in the last quarter. But not dejection.

“The message is to keep confidence, go home, rest and prepare to come back here. The key is regularity and consistency in the efforts made,” said coach Ime Udoka.

– “Keep the faith” –

And to Jaylen Brown the strong words: “You have to keep the faith, it has to be at the highest level there is. We have to play as one man. All season it was a bit like us against the rest of the world. “I don’t see a difference now. I’m looking forward to Game 6. It’s about survival. We have to approach it with that mentality and play Celtics basketball. We’re not scared.”

No doubt Boston fans, who are dreaming of a record 18th title and winning the Decibel Game in this series, will be pushing hard behind their team.

This hostile environment, within the TD Garden, will force the Warriors, in search of a seventh title in total (the first two were gleaned with Philadelphia in 1947 and 1956, the third with Golden State in 1975), “to try to contain our emotions,” Curry said.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to play the best game of the year, in terms of intensity and concentration,” added the shooter, determined to find the target behind the arc.

“After a 0/9 three-pointer like that, Stephen will be very upset in the next game. That’s all we need”, welcomes his teammate Draymond Green in advance.

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