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Governor Abbott is "angry" that he was misled in police response to gunfire

Here's everything we know about Friday's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers. (Author: Gardener)

AbbottAuthorities are still reconstructing what happened after a gunman opened fire on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, killing 19 students and two teachers. Victor Escalon, regional director for the South Texas Department of Public Safety, said the gunman - identified as Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident - had been at the school for about an hour before he was fatally shot. Texas officials are reviewing law enforcement's response to the incident and wondering if they acted quickly enough, as community members urged officers to storm the building where the gunman had barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom and where most victims died. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, is calling for a federal investigation, saying in a letter to the FBI that the people of Uvalde "deserve an accurate account of what happened." President Joe Biden is expected to visit Uvalde on Sunday to meet with the families of the victims. Follow us for live updates from the Uvalde, Texas shootings and their aftermath on Friday. Gov. Greg Abbott, speaking in Uvalde on Friday afternoon after law enforcement acknowledged officers were prevented from attacking the gunman who killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School, said he was "absolutely furious" at inaccurate information about the Shooting reaction he was deployed and then released to the public two days earlier. 'I'm angry': Gov. Abbott says he was misled about police action during Uvalde shooting "I was misled," Abbott told reporters. I was on this very stage two days ago and I was telling the public information that had been shared with me. I took detailed handwritten notes of what everyone in this room in turn told me what happened.” The bad information prompted Abbott to commend the officers for their courage in running towards the gunfire. "As everyone has learned, some of the information I have received has turned out to be inaccurate and I am absolutely furious about that," he said. Nineteen police officers were assembled outside the Uvalde classroom but prevented from breaching the locked door by an incident commander who believed no more lives were in danger. But frantic 911 calls from children inside the home proved the decision was a mistake, the state's chief justice official said Friday. It was the wrong decision," said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The decision to end the active shooters' response meant the commander believed it was time to get the keys to the classroom door from a janitor and a Border Patrol tactical team to arrive, McCraw said But according to a new timeline provided by McCraw, the gunman traveled back and forth between two classrooms connected by a shared bathroom for 77 minutes while students and teachers called 911 for help, including a girl who begged, "Please send the police now." When asked why the 911 operators didn't notify officers that people were still alive inside and turned the situation back into an active shooter response that required immediate Action required, McCraw said he doesn't have that answer yet. You don't have time," he said. In pre-recorded notes Pronouncements played at Friday's convention, Gov. Greg Abbott reiterated his assertion that gun regulations do little to prevent mass shootings. "There are thousands of laws on the books of the country restricting the possession or use of firearms, laws that have not stopped lunatics from committing evil acts against innocent people in peaceful communities," Abbott said, pulling the trigger by he owned a firearm on school grounds."But that didn't stop him," Abbott said.His comments were similar to those he shared in Uvalde on Wednesday.He prayed for the community in Uvalde and applauded those who were acting to save Contribute to students during the attack and today focus on the role of teachers rather than law enforcement officers."These men and women are heroes for their fearless defense of the children in their care," he said.The Weapon: The AR-15 rifle, the weapon , which killed 21 people in Uvalde and which was often used in mass shootings Shooting in this country is right now, right here today with every one Individual of us.” Our children are counting on us,” O'Rourke said, speaking from the stage at a demonstration at Discovery Green Park in Houston. O'Rourke, who is running for governor, also addressed NRA leaders and supporters directly, urging them "to join us in making sure this doesn't happen again in this country." We extend our hand, open and unarmed, as a gesture of peace and community, to welcome you to join us to ensure this no longer happens in this country. But now it's time for you to answer and join us. Those who will become victims of the next mass shooting if we don't act are counting on us right now. “To the leadership of the NRA and to the politicians you bought, to the men and women in positions of power who care more about your power than using that power to save the lives of those you should serve, if any what you have done is the fact that you have brought us together here and we are committed to action. Some Democrats and at least one Republican are urging Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session of the Legislature to address gun violence in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting. In a tweet, Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said state officials should continue to offer prayers for the community, but there is also a need to "do something." "Governor Abbott should call us to special meetings until we do SOMETHING that the FBI or DPS BELIEVE will reduce the likelihood of another Uvalde tragedy," said Seliger, who announced last year that he is not seeking re-election. The governor is the only official who can summon state legislators back to the Texas Capitol for a special session of the legislature and set the agenda for the state legislature. Editorial: Another school shooting. This time in Uvalde. Two Democrats running for state office also called a special session Friday: Mike Collier, who is running for lieutenant governor, and Rochelle Garza, a candidate for attorney general. "In three months, millions of Texas children will be returning to their classrooms," they said in a joint statement. “Before that, the state legislature must hold a special session to pass legislation that will reduce the likelihood of another tragedy in our state. Our children must act because now is the time to stop the next shooting.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned in a media release that Texans should beware of scammers after the Uvalde school shooting. “Following the tragic murders at Robb Elementary, Texans have come together to offer comfort and support to one another during this time of unspeakable grief. According to the press release, best practices to avoid fraud include donating through verified platforms like GoFundMe and not transferring money or verifying personal information like a social security number. CharityWatch and Guidestar are two websites that provide information on the validity of donors and nonprofits, the attorney general's office said. Governor Greg Abbott canceled Thursday night's scheduled in-person appearance at a National Rifle Association convention in Houston, and Lt. gov. Instead, Abbott will appear on videotape at the NRA gathering and travel to Uvalde for an update press conference on government funding for people affected by a mass shooting in the south Texas town. Patrick said his decision was made "after prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials." "While I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I do not wish my coming today to bring any additional pain or sadness to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde," he said. Earlier this week, the NRA recommitted "We have decided to cancel the performance out of respect for those grieving the loss of the innocent children and teachers in Uvalde," Greenwood said in a statement Thursday. Former President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he would attend the convention as scheduled The University Hospital in San Antonio released an unidentified 10-year-old girl, the first of three children killed in downtown San Antonio after the attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday Antonio were treated. The 66-year-old grandmother of the shooter, who was shot in the face before the shooter drove her pickup truck to school, also remains in the hospital in serious condition. Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell said Thursday, he wants GOP lawmakers to work with Democrats on a legislative solution to end the Grundsch shooting ule to tackle in Uvalde. In what could mean a possible breakthrough in gun legislation, McConnell told CNN he met with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and encouraged him to work with key Democratic senators "to try to get an outcome that will be in directly related to the problem. Asked if he thought the potential areas of compromise would include warning flag legislation, background checks or mental health issues, McConnell said he asked Cornyn "to meet with the Democrats who are interested in a bipartisan solution and come up with a proposal if possible." that's designed to solve that particular problem smeared her friend's blood on herself to look dead. She said Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia -- her teachers, who both died in the shooting -- received an email about a school shooter while she and her classmates were visiting "Lilo & Stitch," CNN reported. According to a CNN reporter, one of the teachers walked to the door and made eye contact with the shooter. He pushed her back into the classroom, made eye contact with her again, said "Goodnight," then shot the teacher. He started playing sad music," said CNN reporter Nora Neus. "She just said it sounded like 'I want people to die' music." Families and friends mourn the 21 victims of the Uvalde school shootings Currently, confirmed victims, according to American Statesman reporters, are: Uvalde victims: 'He Was Our Baby': Families Share Stories of Those Who Died in Uvalde School Shootings When the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, she knew she had to do something, and she knew she had to do it fast. Ahmadi, a junior at Essex High School in Vermont who is a member of the National Advisory Board of Students Demand Action, chose a strike as the only option: "Our lives are more important than schoolwork," she said. Ahmadi cried out on social media took action and notified the school administration. "This wasn't the right time to ask for permission," she said. It became the first in a series of stallions strikes across the country in response to Tuesday's massacre, most of them Thursday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT and largely coordinated by local groups from Students Demand Action, a youth-led organization , which advocates for stronger gun control. Students walk out: 'It didn't feel like a time to ask for permission': After a Texas school shooting, students walk out for gun law reform Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left an interview after a Reporter had asked him why some mass shootings take place "only in America" ​​after this week's shooting at a Texas elementary school. Cruz responded that "going into politics is easy." When Sky News reporter Mark Stone called gun reform "the heart of the problem," Cruz criticized the gun reform measures proposed by Democratic lawmakers and journalists. “But why does this only happen in your country? During the back-and-forth, Cruz replied, "I'm sorry you hate the American state of emergency," before telling the reporter, "You have your political agenda." Question from Ted Cruz: Ted Cruz exits interview after question on US -Mass Shootings: "Your Political Agenda" Even as a gunman mowed down 19 fourth graders and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the NRA is drawing an A-list politician to its annual convention in Houston, 300 miles away. According to the NRA website, former President Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other officials were scheduled to speak Friday at a leadership forum scheduled to open the gathering. "The entire state of Texas, the entire country, is in grief, terribly," Cruz told NBC after Tuesday's Texas shooting, but he said Thursday he was still going to the NRA convention. "I'm going to be there because after every mass shooting, Democrats and the press try to demonize law-abiding gun owners, try to demonize the NRA," the senator from the CBS Dallas affiliate said. More on the NRA Congress: Families mourn in Uvalde. In Houston, 300 miles across Texas, the NRA will hold its annual congressional updates on Thursday: 9-year-old victim's father says parents asked police to confront shooter, and more on what we hear on Thursday have learned. Remembering the victims: 19 primary school students died in shooting rampage at Uvalde school. 'The pain doesn't stop': Joe Garcia, husband of Texas teacher killed in Uvalde shooting, dies of heart attack Presidential visit to Uvalde: Biden travels to Texas to comfort families of victims of school shootings in Uvalde sparks a well-known debate: Are guns the problem or the solution? Here's how you can help: Uvalde Strong Fund, a fundraiser for victims of Texas school shootings.

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The St. Louis Blues keep the season alive with a dramatic overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche

The Blues scored in the last minute and then won in overtime through Tyler Bozak's goal to force a Game 6 against the Colorado Avalanche in St. Louis. (Author: Gardener)

the Colorado AvalancheDENVER — Tyler Bozak and the St. Louis Blues experienced just about every emotion imaginable over the course of a game in which they fell three goals behind. Bozak scored a 3:38 in overtime and the Blues repelled elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, overcoming two deficits in a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. Bozak, a fourth-row center, unleashed a shot from near the blue line that went past Darcy Kuemper, capping a remarkable comeback for St. Louis. "It was an amazing hockey game," said Bozak. Robert Thomas had two goals, including the tie with 56 seconds remaining on aggregate, for a resilient Blues team. According to NHL stats, it's the Blues' most recent decisive goal before elimination. Vladimir Tarasenko and Justin Faulk also scored, Nick Leddy had four assists and Pavel Buchnevich had two. They never doubted - even with 0:3 in the second period and 3:4 in the third period. "You have nothing to lose, you might as well throw it all away," Thomas said. The comeback compensated for a hat-trick from Nathan MacKinnon, who looked like he just scored a signature moment with goal No. 3. He went from end to end, deftly working his stick past Blues defender Leddy and flicking a shot over goalkeeper Ville Husso to put him 4-3 up. It was his second postseason hat trick of his career. "Never mind," MacKinnon said of his performance. Thomas connected it with Husso on the bench for an extra skater and set the stage for Bozak, who played college hockey at the University of Denver. Considering he didn't play much in the third period as the Blues only rolled out three lines. "There's definitely no such thing as a bad shot," Bozak said. So that's great.” The Blues have bounced back from a 3-1 deficit and have won two playoff series in their history – in 1999 against Phoenix and in 1991 against Detroit. "This team has come a long way in games this year so they're not giving up," said Blues coach Craig Berube. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog also scored and Bowen Byram provided two assists for the Avalanche, who were close to reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2002. The second round proved to be a major hurdle for the Avalanche. They have been eliminated at this point in each of the last three postseasons. Very simple,” said Landeskog. "This is playoff hockey. Husso made 30 saves for St. Louis. He took over in Game 3 when Jordan Binnington was injured following a collision between Nazem Kadri and Blues defender Calle Rosen which resulted in Kadri crashing into Binnington. He responded with a hat trick in Game 4. MacKinnon came out in the first half, making five shots and scoring twice to give Colorado an early 2-0 lead. Those were the first two goals of the streak for MacKinnon, who has scored seven in the postseason. The speedy MacKinnon also had an assist that gave him 82 career playoff points. After Landeskog made it 3-0 just over 4 minutes into the second period, Tarasenko scored his first goal of the series 10½ minutes later to give the Blues a jump-start. "We figured things out a bit," said MacKinnon, whose side are 4-0 up in the playoffs. ... Win the third, go to the conference finals, whatever. It's a period. We have to keep our game going, stay aggressive. We will do that.” Berube opened his pre-game call with reporters on Wednesday by condemning the racist threats against Kadri. "In no way is it acceptable for the St. Louis Blues or anyone else that he's going through this," Berube said. “Being a Native American myself, I've heard it all. I was close It's not a good thing."

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What we learned from the Mavericks-Warriors Western Conference Finals series

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday night, winning the Western Conference Finals in five games and advancing to the 2022 NBA Finals. (Author: Gardener)

MavericksThe rest of the NBA may have had two years without the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, but with their full recovery, the Warriors are in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last eight seasons after defeating the Golden State Warriors Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. With a 120-110 win over the Mavericks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals Thursday night, Golden State redeemed their ticket back to the NBA Finals, and while they've been there before, it was a surreal moment for Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green . "It's really hard to put into words," Thompson said after the game. Thompson, who tore a left cruciate ligament in the 2019 NBA Finals followed by a right Achilles tendon while recovering from his cruciate ligament injury, missed two full seasons and has repeatedly admitted to having doubts about his long-term future. Klay Thompson, finally making his big comeback this January, finds himself back in the NBA Finals with redemption on his mind. "You could see how much has been missing in recent years," said all-star forward Draymond Green. The Warriors are now the only other franchises in NBA history to have, alongside the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, and Bill Russell's Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s, according to ESPN Reached the NBA Finals six times in eight years. Not only was Golden State head coach Steve Kerr a part of all those Finals appearances with the Warriors, but he himself was a part of greatness in the '90s with Michael Jordan and the Bulls, winning three titles as a player with Chicago. "I don't even know what to say when our team, our guys, especially the core group, is in it six times in eight years," Kerr said after his team secured a berth in the NBA Finals on Thursday. On the losing side, the Dallas Mavericks proved a lot this year, especially given the fact that no one thought they would make the Western Conference Finals but would win a playoff series on their own! In his first season as the team's head coach, Jason Kidd transformed the Mavs from one of the worst defensive teams in the league into an elite defensive team that comes close to being a true championship threat year after year and year round. Heading into the offseason, they have some important roster decisions to make, but if they've got one thing clear, it's that they won't be going anywhere in the Western Conference any time soon. Although it was over quickly, the 2022 Western Conference Finals was a great spectacle with many stars showing off great. As the Warriors head to the NBA Finals again, let's take a look at the key things we learned from their streak against the Mavericks. Stephen Curry was the series MVP and we all know the impact All-Stars Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins had on this team, but the most important player for the Warriors is and was Kevon Looney. When you talk about the "glue guys" in the NBA who play their roles perfectly and do their best night after night, it's really hard not to say that Looney is one of the best. He's an "undersized" center and definitely not the most talented big man or most athletic player in the league, but Kevon Looney has an extremely high basketball IQ, knows how to play to his strengths, and has been with the Warriors since 1996 for quite some time. This is Looney's seventh NBA season and while people tend to say the Warriors don't have a center all the time, he's proven to be one hell of a center! In that series against Dallas, the 6-foot-9 tall man averaged 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and he shot 70.6% from the floor. This was possibly Looney's best playoff streak of all time, and he had a couple of career games against the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals this year. After a performance of 10 points and 5 rebounds in Game 1, Kevon Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds in a massive come-from-behind win in Game 2 for Golden State. In Game 3, Looney had another strong performance with 9 points and 12 rebounds and on Thursday to close he recorded another double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds. Just under 36% of Looney's total rebounds in that streak came on the offensive end of the floor, and time and time again his aggressiveness on the inside really helped breathe life into the Warriors when they needed it most. The Mavericks didn't have any inside solutions for Kevon Looney, and while he might not be the greatest player on the floor, Looney plays his role perfectly and knows what he needs to do to help the Warriors win games. What he's accomplished so far in the playoffs has helped propel the Warriors into a championship contender once again, and with him set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kevon Looney is making quite a buck from his recent games performances. Luka Doncic is a generational talent who is already one of the faces of the NBA at 23, but he alone will not lead the Dallas Mavericks to basketball immortality. There are so many talented players in today's league and almost every team has an all-star level player, so it's really hard to imagine that one player can single-handedly give a team a title. Maybe it will happen again, but if the Mavericks learned anything from that series against Golden State, it's that they need another high-profile All-Star-like talent alongside Doncic to take some of the pressure off of him. Against Golden State, Luka literally had to do anything, and this seemed to repeat itself over and over again in the postseason for Dallas. The Golden State Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. The list of teams with multiple All-Stars and All-Star-like talent goes on and on, but when you look at the Dallas Mavericks and their roster, the only name that really stands out as an elite-level threat is the it can stand over a game is Luka Doncic. They don't want to and shouldn't shake up their roster too much in the offseason, especially after that run to the Western Conference Finals, but moving forward and looking at the big picture over the long term, the Mavericks are still a long way from a true title threat in the NBA. Those were the words of Stephen Curry after the Golden State Warriors were knocked out of the play-in tournament by the Memphis Grizzlies and failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year last year. Exactly one year and four days later, Stephen Curry lifts the first MVP trophy of the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals as the Warriors find themselves back in the NBA Finals! After losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, all hope seemed lost for the Warriors as a franchise, not only because Kevin Durant had torn his Achilles tendon and was likely to leave Golden State, but also because Klay Thompson was keen had torn cruciate ligament and the team had important roster decisions to make. At the start of the 2019-20 season, Stephen Curry suffered a broken hand and Draymond Green also missed major streaks through injury, resulting in the Warriors finishing with the worst record in the league. The 2020-21 season wasn't all that much better for the Warriors either as they continued to struggle with key injuries in their roster and now, as previously mentioned, Klay Thompson is out again with a torn Achilles tendon. So many question marks surrounded this team and its health heading into the 2021-22 season, and many wondered if we had seen the last of this new dynasty in the NBA. Now Golden State is the first team to go from the worst record in the NBA to a Finals appearance in three seasons since a team did so in 1964-67. The teams they faced in their sixth NBA Finals in the last seven years at the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls tell you everything you need to know about this Golden State Warriors franchise. This era of Curry, Thompson and Green is one of the greatest dynasties in the league of all time, and should they win another title this year, it would be really hard not to call them the greatest dynasty in basketball history. What they have had to go through through injury and conquer individually is a remarkable feat and the only thing evident in the league is that the Warriors are still Public Enemy #1 which must mean the dynasty lives on! * Klay Thompson's emotional post-Game 6 quote: Klay Thompson spoke to TNT after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks to advance to the NBA Finals on Thursday night. * Here's what Steve Kerr said after the Warriors beat the Mavs: Steve Kerr met with the media after the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Thursday night to win the Western Conference Finals.

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The Warriors' return to the NBA Finals will take them to new heights

As of 2015, the Warriors have a 72-21 record and a perfect 18-0 streak mark against West foes in the playoffs. (Author: Gardener)

the NBA FinalsStephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and co. hit that extra level on Thursday, tearing the Mavericks apart with curls and back cuts, jumpers and dunks to record a 120-110 home win and the first team since Michael Jordans Becoming the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s to reach the NBA Finals six times in eight years. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and co. hit that extra level on Thursday, tearing the Mavericks apart with curls and back cuts, jumpers and dunks to record a 120-110 home win and the first team since Michael Jordans Becoming the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s to reach the NBA Finals six times in eight years. Dressed in head-to-toe black, the Warriors treated Game 5 like a formal dance, understanding the gravity of the occasion and executing their moves on cue. Dressed in head-to-toe black, the Warriors treated Game 5 like a formal dance, understanding the gravity of the occasion and executing their moves on cue. When the Golden State Warriors kick off, they make the defense look lost and scared, overwhelmed by their quick decisions and even quicker triggers. When the Golden State Warriors kick off, they make the defense look lost and scared, overwhelmed by their quick decisions and even quicker triggers. But when the Warriors get down to business, their harmonious movement renders their opponents invisible, and a high-stakes playoff game looks a bit like a pre-game walk-through in an empty gym. But when the Warriors get down to business, their harmonious movement renders their opponents invisible, and a high-stakes playoff game looks a bit like a pre-game walk-through in an empty gym. By winning the Western Conference, the Warriors completed a remarkable turnaround after two injury-plagued seasons after the departure of Kevin Durant, in which they ended 2019-20 with the league's worst record and missed the playoffs again in 2021. Curry, whose comeback from a sprained ankle in March fueled that playoff journey, was named the inaugural winner of the Magic Johnson Award bestowed on the MVP of the Western Conference Finals after averaging the series 23.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists. "It's a moment to reflect on what it took to get back here," Curry said. We never lost faith, but you know how hard it would be to climb the mountain again.” After a troubled performance in a Game 4 loss just hours after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, rallied Golden State at home and sped out of the gate with a balanced attack. Kevon Looney opened the scoring from the inside, Thompson dumped a 3-pointer and Curry set up a dunk from Andrew Wiggins and hit a three of his own. Within four minutes, the Warriors were up 9 and their lead swelled to 17 at halftime and 25 in the third quarter. Despite a valiant comeback attempt in Dallas, Golden State held on to an overwhelming victory at the Chase Center. While Curry, who finished with 15 points, 3 rebounds and 9 assists, took a step back offensively to serve as orchestrator, Thompson and Green put on great performances to finish off the Mavericks. In the first half, Green found Thompson coming off the screen with a perfectly timed pass for a 3-pointer. Early in the second half, Green shoved the ball down the middle in transition and turned an extended behind-the-back pass to Thompson for another three-pointer. As the score tightened early in the fourth game, Thompson returned the favor and threaded a pass to Green for a basket in the suit. Thompson, who missed 941 days with knee and hamstring injuries before returning to the court in January, delivered the dagger by hitting his eighth 3-pointer of the night to give Golden State a 15-point lead 2:59 ahead to bring an end to it. He finished the game with a game-high 32 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists. "I just started jogging again this time last year," Thompson said. Green added 17 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists, led Golden State's versatile defense and served as a key arbiter for the No. 1 offense in the playoffs. "This is a group that nobody thought could come back here," Green said. No one has proven they can beat us when we're whole. It still is. Never doubt our abilities.” The core Warriors trio received hugs from Kerr as they were treated to a standing ovation from the home crowd as they checked out of the game with the win in hand. Curry enthusiastically waved his towel as the final seconds ticked by, clapping towards the crowd while donning an NBA Finals hat with his teammates for the post-game trophy presentation. Former Warriors guard Shaun Livingston presented the Western Conference championship trophy to Green and the rest of his former teammates. Green later lifted Curry off the floor as the crowd chanted "M-V-P!" Golden State went 9-0 at home in this playoff, with all three of their closeout wins coming at the Chase Center. As of 2015, the Warriors have a 72-21 record and a perfect 18-0 streak mark against West foes in the playoffs. It's a level of play that reminds coach Steve Kerr of the Bulls teams he played on with Jordan and Scottie Pippen that won so many titles in the 1990s. "The common denominator is just talented players who are fierce competitors," Kerr said. Unless you have that kind of competitive spirit and that kind of skill together, it's just not going to happen six times in eight years.” Dallas, a surprise entry in the West Finals after upsetting the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, has been doing well. Luka Doncic led Thursday with a team-best 28 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, and Spencer Dinwiddie added 26 points, including five 3-pointers, from the bench. Doncic provided a frantic third-quarter rally that reduced Dallas' deficit to 8, but as the series progressed his unique talent was eclipsed by Golden State's advantages in experience and depth. "I'm really proud of this team, everyone, every player, every staff member," said Doncic, who vowed to keep working on his defense in the offseason. They were obviously the better team.” Doncic got reporters laughing on Friday when he said he was taking about a week off after Dallas lost to Golden State in the Western Conference Finals, making it the longest season in the End the young superstar's career. The question will not be a joke when Doncic is asked how much he weighs when the training camp opens in about four months. The 23-year-old's condition and how the roster suits him will be the hottest topics offseason as the Mavericks attempt to build on their first trip after the first round of the playoffs since their lone championship 11 years ago. "Basically, I haven't stopped playing basketball since the start of the last NBA season," Doncic said after a 120-110 loss to the Warriors in Game 5. "I'll probably take a week off from basketball and then start playing again . If you're not healthy, you won't play.” Or in his case, if you're not in shape, you won't play well. Doncic was criticized for this early in the season — and acknowledged it was an issue — as he struggled with his high standards and the Mavericks slowed under Jason Kidd, first-year coach, point guard on Dallas' titular team started. Doncic didn't get a big break last offseason after Dallas' first-round loss because the season started late. The All-Star then led Slovenia to its first Olympic berth, then to the semifinals in Tokyo before two defeats kept his home country from a medal. A mid-season COVID-19 absence was extended to give Doncic time to work on his conditioning and recover from an ankle injury. He returned around the time Dallas began their 52-30 rise from 16-18 to the fourth seed in the West. Kidd said he will be visiting Doncic on his "home turf" this summer and hinted that conditioning will be part of the conversation. "I think the next step is to understand how long the season really is if you want to win a championship," Kidd said. Doncic had perhaps the worst half of his playoff career as the Warriors built a 17-point lead at halftime in clincher. After such a stellar start to his postseason career, including a 35-point elimination-game average, it was hard to blame him. Kidd said this while alluding to the mindset of building the roster around Doncic. "So just to understand that we need Luka to go big a lot of nights just to give us a chance and unfortunately the ball [Thursday] just didn't go for him," Kidd said. The Mavericks gave up pairing Doncic with Kristaps Porzingis, traded the 7ft 3in Latvian for Washington and changed the mix around their star. Now they will once again address the question of whether Doncic needs a co-star, starting with the re-signing of Jalen Brunson. As a second-round pick that same year, Doncic was drafted third overall, Brunson added to his stats by averaging 21.6 points in the playoffs. Dallas owner Mark Cuban sounded confident about keeping Brunson after the Game 5 loss. The Mavericks also know they need help down center after Looney played a big part in Golden State's win. "We're going to come together and really focus on the type of J-Kidd player," Cuban told Bally Sports Southwest after the game. He will have more help at shooting guard in Tim Hardaway Jr., who retired after breaking a foot in January. The Mavericks thrived in the playoffs when one of them had a good night of shooting. "This isn't an old group at all," Dinwiddie said.

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For Mavericks, losing to Warriors was simply surrendering to the inevitable

DALLAS — It all ended Thursday night in San Francisco, but let's not pretend there's any underlying sadness or failure on the Mavericks' part this season. Let's see for a moment what they were fighting in the west. The Golden State Warriors are at the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years. (Author: Gardener)

MavericksGolden State Warriors Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins battle Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic for a loose ball on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at the Chase Center in San Francisco at the Chase Center in San Francisco. DALLAS -- It all ended on Thursday night in San Francisco, but let's not pretend there's any underlying sadness or failure on the Mavericks' part this season. Let's see for a moment what they were fighting in the west. The Golden State Warriors are at the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years. They are entering the final for the sixth time in the last six years, in which Klay Thompson, who had his only lights-out shooter game of the series on Thursday and scored 32 points, is healthy. In six Western Conference playoffs since 2015, the Warriors are 24-8 with two sweeps and two teams (one of which is now Dallas) in five games. They were a team built to get to the finals year after year and they did just that. That's why I hate most of all the fact that Kevin Durant came by to win some Finals MVP trophies. There's a big chance they would win without him. In 2016, they won 73 games without him. If you call in Stephen Curry 7th (a pick after Jonny Flynn) and Thompson 12th (a pick after Jimmer Fredette) and Draymond Green 35th (oops, right after Dallas landed Bernard James and Jae Crowder) and a few years coming back later and Jordan snapping Poole 28th (right after Dylan Windler and Mfiondu Kabengele) and then trading D'Angelo Russell and Junk to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins and a pick that turns you into Jonathan Kuminga makes you more than an organization as an organization few things right. To paraphrase what Ruth said to the acting sheriff last season of Ozark, "They play chess while you play Candy Land." The Mavericks finished this season 52-30 but went 0 in the playoffs at the Chase Center: 3 under. So did the Denver Nuggets, who won four fewer games than Dallas this season. So did the Memphis Grizzlies, who won four more games than Dallas. To say that the playoffs are hard to win? Even if the Warriors drop a game there during the Finals, don't expect anyone but Steph and Draymond and Klay and Wiggins to be pulling up more NBA hardware in a couple of weeks. It's just worth noting that if you want to get into this whole business of being a sports fan, a team that gives you a nice long drive to the edge of Memorial Day weekend, like the Mavericks just did, is worth it is to be applauded. Playoff losses often come with the exposure of some inefficiency. And when the Stars give it their all in a seven-game streak but record 14 goals against the Calgary Flames, who then concede 25 in five games to Edmonton, it's probably a signal that Dallas is a little off target. No pre-Dallas champion has ever gone 10 years without a playoff series win, though Chicago has won just one series in the first decade since the departures of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. These particular Mavericks had the folks in Utah and Phoenix scratching their heads en route to the Western Conference Finals. In fairness, they already scraped a little in Utah, but the Mavericks forced them to take it up a notch. We thought the Suns were the toughest challenge Dallas could face given Phoenix's finals last spring and 64-win regular season. The Warriors, with center Kevon Looney efficiently guarding both Doncic and Jalen Brunson when forced into those matchups, and Green essentially a smaller, more athletic version of a center, weren't so easily shaken. And even with that, the Warriors resorted to zone defenses more and more as the series progressed, and Dallas still threw in 84 3-pointers, which is by a considerable margin the most in a five-game playoff. That won't net you an award, but it does offer some food for thought about where the game is going and how the Mavericks are at the forefront of that movement. Yes, it's a team that needs more size and stability and maybe a few other things for next season, but let's not bank 2021/22 too deep. Dallas was eliminated by a team that is the dominant professional franchise of this era when it comes to achieving championship streaks and collecting trophies. Even with the depth the Warriors have shown, particularly in the fourth quarter of Game 4 when Steve Kerr's bench attempted to sweep himself, their greatness won't last forever.

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Warriors' Gary Payton II is on course to return for the NBA Finals, according to the report

"There is optimism he could be back in the lineup as early as Game 1." (Author: Gardener)

Gary Payton IIWith the Warriors returning to the NBA Finals, one of their key plays en route to the final leg of the league appears to be about to return to the court. According to a report by The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania, Gary Payton II is expected to return to action during the NBA Finals and may be ready once the series begins Thursday night at the Chase Center. "There is optimism that he could be back in the line-up as early as Game 1," said Charania. Warriors guard Gary Payton II (broken elbow) is expected to return in the NBA Finals, sources say. Payton broke his elbow in a nasty incident in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals in Memphis when Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks lashed out at Payton during a layup attempt, crawling him to the ground. Payton landed squarely on his elbow, fracturing his bone and suffering ligament and muscle damage. Return to NBA Finals a 'surreal feeling' for Klay Thompson after a difficult 3 years Who should Warriors want as NBA Finals rivals? What Steph, Klay and Draymond Say About Returning to the NBA Finals The game was deemed dirty by the Warriors, with Steve Kerr saying Brooks "broke the code" after the game. But after the Warriors defeated the Grizzlies in six games, Payton told the media Brooks apologized for hurting him and Payton had no ill will towards Brooks. Payton even wrote in a Players' Tribune article that he respected the fact that Brooks came to him person-to-person to apologize. He even started in the first two games of the Memphis series and was considered the player Golden State would rely on the most to knock out Ja Morant. Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be held on Thursday, June 2nd at the Chase Center. While Payton isn't ready for this game, he would benefit from playing the series between Game 1 and Game 2 (Sunday 5th June) and then again before Game 3 (Wednesday 8th June in the Eastern Conference) takes two days off city).

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Let's live with the Golden State Warriors in the moment while we have them

Welcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter, where we prime you for a tip on tonight's action, from what to watch to betting. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every afternoon. What works (Author: Gardener)

the Golden State WarriorsWelcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter, where we prime you for a tip on tonight's action, from what to watch to betting. Your boy Sykes is here once again to get you started on today's playoff action. But first, a quick word about the Golden State Warriors. Man. It's hard to believe that the Warriors' streak of the past decade began back in 2015. Back in the NBA Finals for the 6th time in 8 years and, well, that alone is pretty incredible. We've known this moment would come for a few days — ever since they took a 3-0 lead against the Dallas Mavericks. It was rightly assumed that they would make it back to the finals, which is always a pretty incredible thing. But especially when you make it back to the top of the mountain after literally falling all the way down. Honestly though, it doesn't feel like anyone is really talking about the feat itself. It feels like something has fallen by the wayside. Instead of celebrating the Warriors' fairly unprecedented winning streak, people are either way too far ahead. At one end of the spectrum, people like Patrick Beverley compare Stephen Curry's resume to LeBron James' and say, "You're right there." And that might be true! But it just doesn't feel like a good time to discuss it, considering this run isn't quite over yet. On the other hand, you have people bringing up that Warriors run just to kind of amplify James' accomplishments, like one of the greatest players of all time really needed that. People. I'm not here to say that these debates are worthless, or to judge whether or not this is fodder worth discussing. We can discuss it later. There is enough time to do all of this. But, all of you. The Warriors just reached the NBA Finals for the 6th time in the last 8 years. That's pretty unprecedented. Some NBA goodness from across the USA TODAY Sports Network. Speaking of Warriors, this NBA Finals is another chance for Stephen Curry to snag that elusive Finals MVP trophy. And it might actually be his last best shot. “Now Curry is the top dog again. If the Celtics progress, Tatum will be the best player in the series, but he just doesn't have the same experience on this stage. No one on either Eastern Conference team has Curry's combination of skill and Finals experience. And either team would be underdogs for the Warriors, who are -145 odds to win it all. That puts 34-year-old Curry in the driver's seat of the NBA Finals MVP, the final missing leg of his legendary career. And with the Warriors no longer the young upstarts, there's no guarantee he'll get another chance. Now's the time." I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready for this streak to be over. The Miami Heat seem to have absolutely nothing when it comes to advantages against the Celtics' defensive length. Also, fighting so many players with injuries in this game I think the Celtics will take that away —Marcus Smart (ankle) is a question for Friday's game against the Heat —Robert Williams (knee) is a questionable for Friday's game against the Heat — Tyler Herro (groin) is a question for Friday's game against the Celtics — Kyle Lowry (hamstring) is a question for Friday's game against the Celtics — Max Strus (hamstring) is a question for Friday's game against the Celtics - PJ Tucker (knee) is doubtful for Friday's game against the Celtics - Gabe Vincent (hamstring) is doubtful for Friday's game against the Celtics © Provided by For The Win - A Celtic has a real shot at the Larry Bird MVP tonight - Trophy too win, but which players of C might have won them before, if there were any? Celtics Wire take a look. - A list of the top 10 prop bets for today's game - Chet Holmgren kinda makes Dirk Nowitzki and David Robinson look like they're my size compared to him. Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for viewer recommendations on betting services. Tipico has no control over, nor is such revenue in any way dependent on or connected to the newsrooms or reporting. See Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA). Wild photos of Chet Holmgren alongside Dirk Nowitzki and David Robinson illustrate his incredible size. How the stars of Top Gun: Maverick got their callsigns, Diablo Immortal, unlock times and preload details - when to play in your region

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What we learned from the Mavericks-Warriors Western Conference Finals series

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday night, winning the Western Conference Finals in five games and advancing to the 2022 NBA Finals. (Author: Gardener)

MavericksThe Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 Thursday night, won the Western Conference Finals in five games and advanced to the 2022 NBA Finals. The rest of the NBA may have had two years without the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, but Fully recovered, the Warriors are now in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last eight seasons after defeating the Golden State Warriors Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. With a 120-110 win over the Mavericks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals Thursday night, Golden State redeemed their ticket back to the NBA Finals, and while they've been there before, it was a surreal moment for Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green . "It's really hard to put into words," Thompson said after the game. Thompson, who tore a left cruciate ligament in the 2019 NBA Finals followed by a right Achilles tendon while recovering from his cruciate ligament injury, missed two full seasons and has repeatedly admitted to having doubts about his long-term future. Klay Thompson, finally making his big comeback this January, finds himself back in the NBA Finals with redemption on his mind. "You could see how much has been missing in recent years," said all-star forward Draymond Green. The Warriors are now the only other franchises in NBA history to have, alongside the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, and Bill Russell's Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s, according to ESPN Reached the NBA Finals six times in eight years. Not only was Golden State head coach Steve Kerr a part of all those Finals appearances with the Warriors, but he himself was a part of greatness in the '90s with Michael Jordan and the Bulls, winning three titles as a player with Chicago. "I don't even know what to say when our team, our guys, especially the core group, is in it six times in eight years," Kerr said after his team secured a berth in the NBA Finals on Thursday. On the losing side, the Dallas Mavericks proved a lot this year, especially given the fact that no one thought they would make the Western Conference Finals but would win a playoff series on their own! In his first season as the team's head coach, Jason Kidd transformed the Mavs from one of the worst defensive teams in the league into an elite defensive team that comes close to being a true championship threat year after year and year round. Heading into the offseason, they have some important roster decisions to make, but if they've got one thing clear, it's that they won't be going anywhere in the Western Conference any time soon. Although it was over quickly, the 2022 Western Conference Finals was a great spectacle with many stars showing off great. As the Warriors head to the NBA Finals again, let's take a look at the key things we learned from their streak against the Mavericks. Stephen Curry was the series MVP and we all know the impact All-Stars Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins had on this team, but the most important player for the Warriors is and was Kevon Looney. When you talk about the "glue guys" in the NBA who play their roles perfectly and do their best night after night, it's really hard not to say that Looney is one of the best. He's an "undersized" center and definitely not the most talented big man or most athletic player in the league, but Kevon Looney has an extremely high basketball IQ, knows how to play to his strengths, and has been with the Warriors since 1996 for quite some time. This is Looney's seventh NBA season and while people tend to say the Warriors don't have a center all the time, he's proven to be one hell of a center! In that series against Dallas, the 6-foot-9 tall man averaged 10.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and he shot 70.6% from the floor. This was possibly Looney's best playoff streak of all time, and he had a couple of career games against the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals this year. After a performance of 10 points and 5 rebounds in Game 1, Kevon Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds in a massive come-from-behind win in Game 2 for Golden State. In Game 3, Looney had another strong performance with 9 points and 12 rebounds and on Thursday to close he recorded another double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds. Just under 36% of Looney's total rebounds in that streak came on the offensive end of the floor, and time and time again his aggressiveness on the inside really helped breathe life into the Warriors when they needed it most. The Mavericks didn't have any inside solutions for Kevon Looney, and while he might not be the greatest player on the floor, Looney plays his role perfectly and knows what he needs to do to help the Warriors win games. What he's accomplished so far in the playoffs has helped propel the Warriors into a championship contender once again, and with him set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kevon Looney is making quite a buck from his recent games performances. Luka Doncic is a generational talent who is already one of the faces of the NBA at 23, but he alone will not lead the Dallas Mavericks to basketball immortality. There are so many talented players in today's league and almost every team has an all-star level player, so it's really hard to imagine that one player can single-handedly give a team a title. Maybe it will happen again, but if the Mavericks learned anything from that series against Golden State, it's that they need another high-profile All-Star-like talent alongside Doncic to take some of the pressure off of him. Against Golden State, Luka literally had to do anything, and this seemed to repeat itself over and over again in the postseason for Dallas. The Golden State Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. The list of teams with multiple All-Stars and All-Star-like talent goes on and on, but when you look at the Dallas Mavericks and their roster, the only name that really stands out as an elite-level threat is the it can stand over a game is Luka Doncic. They don't want to and shouldn't shake up their roster too much in the offseason, especially after that run to the Western Conference Finals, but moving forward and looking at the big picture over the long term, the Mavericks are still a long way from a true title threat in the NBA. Those were the words of Stephen Curry after the Golden State Warriors were knocked out of the play-in tournament by the Memphis Grizzlies and failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year last year. Exactly one year and four days later, Stephen Curry lifts the first MVP trophy of the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals as the Warriors find themselves back in the NBA Finals! After losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, all hope seemed lost for the Warriors as a franchise, not only because Kevin Durant had torn his Achilles tendon and was likely to leave Golden State, but also because Klay Thompson was keen had torn cruciate ligament and the team had important roster decisions to make. At the start of the 2019-20 season, Stephen Curry suffered a broken hand and Draymond Green also missed major streaks through injury, resulting in the Warriors finishing with the worst record in the league. The 2020-21 season wasn't all that much better for the Warriors either as they continued to struggle with key injuries in their roster and now, as previously mentioned, Klay Thompson is out again with a torn Achilles tendon. So many question marks surrounded this team and its health heading into the 2021-22 season, and many wondered if we had seen the last of this new dynasty in the NBA. Now Golden State is the first team to go from the worst record in the NBA to a Finals appearance in three seasons since a team did so in 1964-67. The teams they faced in their sixth NBA Finals in the last seven years at the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls tell you everything you need to know about this Golden State Warriors franchise. This era of Curry, Thompson and Green is one of the greatest dynasties in the league of all time, and should they win another title this year, it would be really hard not to call them the greatest dynasty in basketball history. What they have had to go through through injury and conquer individually is a remarkable feat and the only thing evident in the league is that the Warriors are still Public Enemy #1 which must mean the dynasty lives on! * Klay Thompson's emotional post-Game 6 quote: Klay Thompson spoke to TNT after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks to advance to the NBA Finals on Thursday night. * Here's what Steve Kerr said after the Warriors beat the Mavs: Steve Kerr met with the media after the Golden State Warriors beat the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Thursday night to win the Western Conference Finals.

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Here's how this playoff run compares to previous seasons

Every trip to the Finals has been different for the Warriors. We've ranked the Warriors' six NBA Finals since 2015 from easiest to toughest. (Author: Gardener)

FinalsGolden State's journey to the 2022 NBA Finals went smoothly thanks to the Splash Brothers (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) and the Poole Party (Jordan Poole). Golden State reached the Finals every year from 2015-19, winning three titles but missing the playoffs the last two seasons through injury. They are now in full force and looking to extend their dynasty with their sixth appearance in the finals in eight years. Game 1 ends June 2 at 9 p.m. ET. Every trip to the Finals has been different for the Warriors, but how does this year compare to the others? We rank the Warriors' six NBA Finals since 2015 from "easiest" to hardest. FINALIST AGAIN: Warriors defeat Mavericks in Game 5 to reach the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years. Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates after winning NBA Fianls MVP in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Let's start with this: There is no such thing as an "easy" playoff run in the NBA because everyone is there for a reason. Still, the Warriors dominated the Western Conference playoffs, sweeping every team on their way to the Finals. They won all but one game against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to clinch the title, meaning the Warriors went 16-1 in the playoffs that year. Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, is guarded by Cavaliers forward LeBron James during Game 5 of the Basketball NBA Finals in Oakland, California. Won the first round of the NBA Western Conference (4-0) beating the Warriors' run to the Finals 2015 was not a hard fought game, losing just 3 games en route to winning the franchise's first NBA championship since 1975. Golden State defeated the Pelicans , secured a Game 6 win against the Grizzlies and lost just one game to the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. The undermanned Nuggets were no match for the Warriors' small-ball "death draft." They were tested in the Western semifinals by the physical Grizzlies, who led the Warriors by as much as 55 points in a stunning Game 5 win without Ja Morant. But Golden State escaped unscathed and reached the Western Conference Finals, where they solidly defeated Luka Doncic and the Mavericks despite not playing their best at times. Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives against Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Things went smoothly in the first two rounds, but the Warriors had a catch against James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets in the West Finals. Golden State fell 3-2 and trailed the Rockets by double digits in two elimination games. But the Warriors came back to win Games 6 and 7, where the Paul-less Rockets shot 0-of-27 from three down the stretch. During the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets, Kevin Durant suffered a right calf strain and missed nine games with the injury. He returned in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals and tore his Achilles tendon. To add insult to injury, Thompson tore his cruciate ligament in Game 6. Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) is congratulated by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) after game seven of the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals at Oracle Arena. The Warriors appear poised to win back-to-back championships after their record-breaking regular season and then after easy work in the first and second rounds with the Rockets and Blazers. But The Thunder was Golden State's first real postseason challenge in two years. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to a 3-1 lead in the West Finals against the Warriors, who won the next three games to advance to the 2016 Finals. As fate would have it, the Warriors' 73-9 season ended with them losing a 3-1 lead over James and the Cavaliers in the Finals. This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals: How this playoff run compares to previous seasons

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Golden State ends Luka Doncic, Dallas returns to NBA Finals

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years (Author: Gardener)

Golden StateThe Golden State Warriors return to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons. They settled their ticket Thursday night with a comfortable 120-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to win the series 4-1. Now the Warriors are waiting for the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Following the trend during the conference finals, this game was largely uncompetitive. The Mavericks held up early and made a run late in the third quarter to briefly reduce the deficit to single digits, but they never led on the night. This was all Warriors as they played one of their most complete games of the postseason. Klay Thompson turned back the clock with his best game of the series, pouring in eight 3-pointers and 32 points to take the lead. Six different Warriors hit double digits, including Andrew Wiggins, who put on another strong performance with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Warriors also shot the ball well from downtown, going 14 of 36. Luka Doncic got off to a rough start but caught fire in the third quarter and led the Mavericks' comeback attempt. He finished the loss with 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Spencer Dinwiddie also added 26 points from the bench. Here are the biggest takeaways from Game 5. You can attribute Golden State's 3-1 collapse to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 to many things, but a limping Stephen Curry would be at the top of that list, as Curry so seemingly early pinched his ankle in the game 5 with another 3-1 lead, the Warriors fans had every right to panic. Curry was the only warrior to receive All-NBA honors and they play against one of the NBA's best players. Many teams would have folded under similar circumstances if their best player hadn't played at their best. The Warriors won that game with Curry as their fifth-top scorer. Draymond Green, who never shoots, saw the moment and gave Golden State 17 points. Kevon Looney's 18 rebounds gave the Warriors a plus-17 lead on the glass. Andrew Wiggins brilliantly defended Luka Doncic. Nemanja Bjelica played one of the best defenses of his life. Steve Kerr's mantra since taking over the Warriors has been "strength in numbers." He plays deep rotations even in the playoffs and emphasizes the commitment of every player on his team. But the past two Golden State championships have ultimately been a function of talent. The warriors had more of it than anyone else. It's just not a megastar's talent that drives them forward. Hell, you could almost forget that they played Game 5 without three key contributors (Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II). In a way, this is the kind of finals run Kerr has always wanted to do. No Warriors team has ever resonated better with his coaching philosophy. That was really a team win and if they win four more it will be a team championship. Golden State's mantra is strength in numbers, and that's not a philosophy Dallas can share. The Mavericks are a little closer to 'one is the loneliest number' because their entire roster-building philosophy hinges on Luka Doncic being the best player on the floor. If he doesn't get good shots, everything else falls apart. And that was evident throughout this game. It's no coincidence that when Doncic started this game with 2 of 14 from the field, the Mavericks fell as much as 25 points behind. The Warriors threw him aggressive doubles throughout the first quarter, betting that if they could clip his shooters Dallas would have so little ball handling that they could either generate a turnover on the pass or spin back into position before the Mavericks they hurt. It took Doncic more than half to finally resolve the Golden State defense. He made eight of his last 14 shots, and that 25-point deficit fell to single digits, but it wasn't enough. Yes, Spencer Dinwiddie had an excellent game, but so much of it depended on his patchy track record. The Warriors don't defend him like a star. He was essentially a role player having a hot night. If Dallas had had another star to share some of Doncic's load, the Mavericks might have endured Lukas' slow start long enough for his hot end to matter. The Warriors obviously had the kind of support structure for Curry. Until the Mavericks find that, they won't win a title. LeBron James couldn't do it alone in Cleveland. The Mavericks did well to surround Doncic with an array of shooters and defenders. It won't mean anything until Luka has a sidekick. Curry may have taken the Western Conference Finals MVP trophy, but this was Klay Thompson's night. He led the Warriors with 32 points on eight made 3-pointers. After the game, he joked that he should have had 10. There have been moments over the past few months when it seemed like Thompson would struggle to stay grounded in games like this. Even on this series, while we've seen him post some great second halves, we didn't get the impression he put together a killer front-to-back game like this. Golden State's attempt to win the 2019 Finals ended effectively when Thompson tore his cruciate ligament. Now comes their journey to the 2022 Finals thanks to what might be the best game of Thompson's postseason. After a two-year absence, one of the biggest heat checks in NBA history will propel his talents onto the league's biggest stage and compete for his fourth ring.

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