After a two-year playoff absence, the Golden State Warriors are suddenly back in the NBA Finals after going through the 2022 NBA playoffs with minimal hiccups. The Warriors are making their sixth finals appearance in the last eight seasons, extending their dynasty which began in the 2014-15 season. Here’s a look at how the Warriors got to the Finals in 2022.
Golden State drew the Denver Nuggets in the first round. The Nuggets featured reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, but did not have Jamal Murray or Michael Porter Jr. available. With those two players out, the Warriors could focus on shutting down Jokic. Meanwhile, Denver’s peripheral players couldn’t slow down Golden State’s shooters. The Warriors wrapped up that series in five games.
The Memphis Grizzlies were up next, and Golden State immediately flexed its muscles by winning Game 1 on the road. The Grizzlies got even in Game 2, and the series shifted to the Bay. The Warriors took Games 3 and 4, but Grizzlies star Ja Morant suffering a knee injury in the latter contest ultimately turned the series. Morant didn’t play another game and while Memphis got a blowout win in Game 5, the Warriors closed out the series at home in Game 6. Golden State was inconsistent in this series and won some close games, so there’s an element of luck here when we look back on this matchup.
In the Western conference finals, there would be no issues for Golden State. The Warriors let Luka Doncic do anything he wanted to but limited the Dallas Mavericks’ secondary players effectively to win the series in five games. Stephen Curry regained his MVP-level form and Golden State’s championship defense came to play. The Warriors always had the talent of a title team, but this might be the first series they actually felt like a title team.