Boston – Stephen Curry demoralized the Celtics when he did Decided to improvise. After he dribbled to Marcus Smart, who appears to be one of the NBA’s fiercest defenders, Karim discovered Robert Williams, in a 6-foot-tall center whose sneakers might have been filled with concrete.
Curry dribbled hard and left Williams before he climbed off the court and sank a 12-foot-long float, extending Golden State’s lead in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.
It was a scene familiar, but new, the same, but somehow different. Karim spent his career completing parabolic 3-point games and dazzling drives on the hoop. But now, at the age of 34, having spent the last few seasons wandering with his teammates in the basketball desert, he is busy staging a renaissance.
And it was his performance – 43 points and 10 rebounds in a painful left leg – that led basketball fans to Monday night ahead of their 5th game in San Francisco. Series Fred, 2-2.
“He was not going to lose us,” said his teammate Draymond Green.
Aside from the relatively small height of the door – 6 feet by 2, it is a shrub in the NBA Red Forest – ordinary people may find it difficult to relate to it. He is a highly skilled athlete and the greatest shooter who has ever lived. He has won two NBA Most Valuable Player awards. The architect of an expanded entertainment empire, in his spare time he golfs with former President Barack Obama.
And for five seasons, from 2014 to 2019, the door sat at the head of the basketball world.
Few people become the best at anything and gaining can be confusing. You stop at the slowest payment line. You deserve this promotion. You want to be able to buy a house in this area. But the door helped the simple masses to feel victorious by his side, even if they lost his team.
When Karim led Golden State to the NBA Finals five games in a row, winning three championships, opposing fans came out to the games earlier to watch him warm up. In Madison Square Garden, where the lights are low and the court is the scene, MVP chants were for him. In Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, and Miami, in cities that all have their own stars, the crows and crowds, oh and oh, were shouting. Her Arrival.
Along the way, he pushed his teammates to make basketball a high art. They fired accurately. They moved by the grace of ballet dancers. And in a sport saturated with big egos and huge salaries, they gladly achieved an open man.
Then came Kevin Durant, all hands and feet and 25-foot jumpers. After losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, Golden State successfully hired Durant as a free agent. Was it a cry for help, acknowledging that the team had made room for improvement? Or did the rich get richer and richer?
“We have been an evil empire for some time,” said Rick Wells, the team’s former president, in a recent interview.
Durant, of course, was terrible before moving to Golden State. After being named the league’s MVP in 2014, he described his mother, Wanda, as a “true MVP” in emotional speeches. The naiveté of the present era has finally turned this expression of humility into a meme that will soon turn against him: between Durant and the door at Golden State, who was the real MVP?
This question – from fans of social media trolls, TV personalities and athletes – was Durant’s dig, but his sharp edge slammed the door as well. Golden State became very good.
Of course, Durant was a force in the original championships, the latter being the Cavaliers’ four games. There was a sense of cheerful inevitability at Golden State: nothing but failure was a championship.
And then the dynasty collapsed. In the 2019 finals, Clay Thompson and Durant suffered serious injuries when the Toronto Raptors tensed up to win their first title. Thompson sat down after knee surgery the following season. Durant left for the Free Agency in Nets. And Karim broke his left arm, missing all but five games when Golden State finished with the worst record in the NBA.
Within a few months the league’s most dominant team had grown into a renovation project. To make matters worse, Thompson tore his Achilles tendon during training before the start of last season, and Golden State was unable to reach the playoffs again.
Nothing was guaranteed this season. Golden State went from invincible to vulnerable, a battered version of its youth. But the team was not completely disbanded. Thompson’s return in January after a 941-day absence was hailed as a triumph and no small medical miracle. He flew for Dunk in his first game.
The finale was Golden State’s long way back microcosm – a wonderful battle. After splitting the first two games of the series in San Francisco, Golden State lost Game 3 in Boston, and Kari injured his left leg in the final minutes when Celtics’ Al Horford landed on him for a loose ball during a fight.
After that, Thompson had some hope left, saying he was “taking on the great mood of 2015,” pointing to the 2015 final, when Golden State trailed the Cavaliers, 2-1, before returning to engineering to win everything. In the team’s first door era.
More broadly, Thompson referred to the Golden State post-season experience as positive. When he was young, he said, there were traps everywhere. Prone to anxiety when lagging behind in series, he would likely be overconfident with the presenter. Now he was older, but wiser.
“You really can not rest until the dawn of the last game,” he said. “This is the hardest part of the playoffs – you have to deal with the discomfort until the mission is over.”
After the 3rd game of the door he slept well, he said, and as far as possible his left leg was kept in an ice bucket. The focus was on recovery and a sore body. (Steph Carr: Just like us.) He only knew one thing for sure: he was going to play in Game 4.
Exactly 75 minutes before the opening on Friday, the door appeared to warm up before the match. Dressed in black, with the exception of lavender-colored sneakers, she wore five leggings. He then moved to his left elbow, where he picked up a series of shots with his left hand, which is away from him, and missed nine in a row to the delight of hundreds of Celtics fans who had arrived earlier.
But for the next 20 minutes something strange happened, but not entirely unexpected: the crowd began to shout in excitement and gratitude when Kurim sank from 136,190 shots, including 46,772 three-pointers, some of them just inside the half. Fans hacked the cell phones to record this moment for the descendants. Children shouted autographs.
“People think his kick is like Ken Griff’s junior swing – he’s so beautiful you think he’ll never have to work on it,” Bob Myers, the team’s general manager, said in a regular season interview. “But this is nothing but the truth. “When you look behind the curtain, you see the work.”
Once upon a time, door-to-door behavior seemed magical – and they still are. But in recent seasons, when Golden State wandered in a desert of injury and uncertainty, Karim and his teammates have shown that success does not happen by accident, that it takes a lot of effort and diligence. Sure, they are still basketball connoisseurs, but they are connoisseurs who have shown the world their homework.
“Win, lose, no matter how you play, you have to go back to the well to continue sharpening your toolkit and find ways to develop your game,” Karim said. “This is the hardest part of what we do.”
After helping the Celtics to a late turnaround that substantially proved Friday’s victory, Karim and Thompson celebrated They twist their hands together. Thompson, who knows more than most of the door, said his teammate has never played a better game in the final. The door was asked if he agreed with Thompson’s assessment.
“However, I do not value my performances,” he said. “Just win the game.”
At this point he knows what is important.