Curry, Du­rant look to build War­riors dy­nasty

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY JANIE MCCAULEY

OAKLAND, CALIF. | Stephen Curry tucked a cel­e­bra­tory cigar into his right sock for safe­keep­ing as he han­dled all of his post-cham­pi­onship obli­ga­tions.

He was still wear­ing his sweaty uni­form, an­kle braces, kneepads and game shoes but, oh, there would be more par­ty­ing. Per­haps all sum­mer long.

And if he and the rest of the War­riors have their way, for years to come.

Curry, Kevin Du­rant and their team­mates are de­ter­mined to build a dy­nasty to­gether — and they might just be well on their way. LeBron James be­lieves so.

Two ti­tles in three years for Golden State. A fab­u­lous first one with and for Du­rant.

“We’re ob­vi­ously just get­ting started,” Curry said af­ter clos­ing out Cleve­land in Mon­day night’s NBA Fi­nals Game 5. “This is some­thing that we want to con­tinue to do, but for us to have these con­ver­sa­tions that we had al­most a year ago and now be­ing in this po­si­tion, worth ev­ery shot we took in prac­tice, fight­ing through in­juries that he had this year, and it’s an un­be­liev­able feel­ing.”

The sec­ond NBA cham­pi­onship feels dras­ti­cally dif­fer­ent for Curry, be­cause this one was a come­back from a heart­break­ing missed op­por­tu­nity last year against James and the Cava­liers when the War­riors knew they should have won it all but squan­dered a 3-1 lead.

As a rau­cous crowd cheered at Or­a­cle Arena, Curry watched freshly crowned Fi­nals MVP Du­rant cap­tur­ing his first ring in his 10th NBA sea­son.

“It’s dif­fer­ent just be­cause of what hap­pened last year to be hon­est,” Curry said. “We went through, for lack of a bet­ter term, bas­ket­ball hell in that sense of just be­ing so close to get­ting the job done and not re­al­iz­ing that goal and hav­ing to think about that for an en­tire year and

com­part­men­tal­ize and just try to keep the right per­spec­tive about this sea­son and learn the lessons that we learned.”

Coach Steve Kerr cried. Golden State gen­eral man­ager Bob My­ers also was moved to tears given Kerr’s coura­geous Fi­nals come­back from an 11-game ab­sence while deal­ing with com­pli­ca­tions from back surgery fol­low­ing the 2015 ti­tle run.

Kerr still found time to crack a joke on the stage af­ter­ward: “Well, we had very lit­tle tal­ent, ac­tu­ally, it was mostly coach­ing.”

Later, he was straight­for­ward and se­ri­ous: “We were heart­bro­ken last year, but this year was our turn.”

My­ers re­al­izes adding Du­rant might not have worked so well with any­one but the War­riors.

“Kevin’s jour­ney, our team em­braced him. Some teams wouldn’t em­brace a guy who came into a sit­u­a­tion like ours. It looks like it was easy, but guys like Steph Curry wel­com­ing him and kind of let him shine — it worked out like it should,” My­ers said. “If you want to win, it doesn’t mat­ter. It’s not about who scored what. It’s about win­ning. I think he knew that. He won a cham­pi­onship, and then we were close and didn’t win one. So you have a clear sense of what mat­ters when you go through that stuff.”

Now, the War­riors will face a frenzy of free-agent moves this sum­mer to try to keep as many stars and bril­liant back­ups as pos­si­ble around for an­other run in 2018.

Owner Joe La­cob will be pulling out his pock­et­book to po­ten­tially give Curry a $200 mil­lion deal.

What­ever it is, the big-money con­tract will be a hefty raise from the $12 mil­lion he earned on the way to a 16-1 post­sea­son.

Money and egos aside, the War­riors blended beau­ti­fully from the day Du­rant first walked into team head­quar­ters.

“I mean, come on, you got a bunch of guys who are tal­ented and can shoot and pass and drib­ble, and they’re un­selfish,” Kerr said. “There was never any ques­tion in my mind that this was go­ing to work. So, this is the cul­mi­na­tion of a year where they grew to­gether and learned each other’s games and got bet­ter and bet­ter all year, and it was just phe­nom­e­nal to be part of.”

One mo­ment late Mon­day cap­tured the ca­ma­raderie that evolved. As a grin­ning Curry held daugh­ter Ri­ley in his arms, Du­rant stood next to them with his left hand on the point guard’s head.

Later, the two-time reign­ing MVP took off his new NBA cham­pi­ons hat and stud­ied it briefly be­fore pulling it on again, back­ward.

Curry had Du­rant to com­ple­ment his game this time, to take some pres­sure off. They learned from each other ev­ery step of the way, they pushed one an­other through fierce shoot­ing com­pe­ti­tions that were pure en­ter­tain­ment on a prac­tice floor.

At the start, Curry took a back­seat to let KD get com­fort­able. Then Curry car­ried Golden State while Du­rant healed from a left knee in­jury that side­lined him late in the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“Steph def­i­nitely took a back seat to start the sea­son un­til he re­al­ized we didn’t need him to take a back seat, we need you to be ag­gres­sive as you’re go­ing to be,” for­ward Dray­mond Green said. “And when Steph turned that cor­ner, I think it was af­ter Christ­mas Day, when he turned that cor­ner, we be­came al­most un­beat­able.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Golden State War­riors (from left), led by guard Klay Thomp­son, guard Stephen Curry and for­ward Kevin Du­rant, won their sec­ond NBA ti­tle in three years on Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.