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Stephen Curry didn't know if he was going to laugh or cry at the end of the game. The Golden State Warriors won their fourth NBA championship and he was happy. Curry sank to the floor with two seconds left in the NBA finals. He cradled himself, dropped his head, and cried.

Draymond Green predicted that Curry would be angry as he took the court in Boston for Game 6 on Thursday, after an 0-for-9 performance from 3 in the previous game. A man who knows how to shoot a basketball and keeps his emotions in check is a good example of anger. A group of people spilled onto the court as the buzzer sounded. Curry put his hands on his head and then dropped it as he cried.

The Warriors restored their dynasty Thursday night with a 103-90 win over the Boston Celtics, but not since Curry's first championship in 2015 had Golden State entered the season with less expectation. The Warriors didn't play in the NBA for two years after the departure of Kevin Durant and the injury to Klay Thompson. It wasn't a surprise that the Warriors returned to the top of the NBA.

Curry was mobbed by Thompson, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, and rookies, who were all 12 years old when Curry won his first ring. The game ball was handed to Curry by Iguodala after he removed him from the scrum. One of only three current teammates who have played with Curry on each of the Warriors' championship teams, Iguodala embraced him.

From the opening round to the final buzzer in Boston, here are seven moments that shaped the Warriors' remarkable playoff run.

April 16: Curry comes off the bench to open the postseason

Curry missed the final month of the regular season because of a bone bruise in his left foot, but he was given the go-ahead to play in the playoffs, but he would be limited to between 20 and 25 minutes in the first game. Curry and Kerr had a hard time figuring out which minutes Curry would play.

When Thompson came back to action in January, the Warriors imposed the same restriction. Thompson took longer breaks during the game after assuming his traditional spot in the starting lineup. After subbing out of the game, Thompson was forced to spend 12 minutes on a stationary bike before taking the floor again.

Kerr gave Curry two options. Curry would start but stay on the bench longer than he was used to. The second had Curry coming off the bench to start each half and shorten the time he spent on the bench.

"This might have been a daunting conversation with most other star players, but not the slightest bit daunting with Stephen," Kerr said. Everything is made easy by him.

Curry realized that rhythm is his most valued attribute and chose the second option.

Curry told Kerr that the arrangement was working well when he was given the bench role for the second game. Curry told Kerr he would be happy to come off the bench even though his restriction had been raised to 32 minutes. Kerr said he was the greatest sixth man of all time. They carried on with the plan until the Warriors lost in the fourth game.

Curry stood near Kerr on the bench as the public address announced player introductions for the first four games of the season. Kerr told Curry that if he worked hard enough, he could start an NBA playoff game.

"Dillon Brooks broke the code" became more than just a postgame comment from a coach angry about his injured player. It became a rallying cry. That player, Gary Payton II, returned in time for the Finals, amplifying the Warriors' already steely defense. AP Photo/Brandon Dill

May 3: Gary Payton II fractures his left elbow after being hit by Dillon Brooks

The Warriors' best perimeter defender is also an athlete who can beat defenses in transition. In the first quarter of Game 2 of the conference semis against Memphis, when he breezed past the backpedaling defenders, and Green hit him with a pass, it was exactly what he was doing. The Warriors guard was hit on the head with a full windup of his right arm as he tried to get to the basket.

He moaned after grabbing his left arm. The two players who were assessed a foul would be out of the game for at least five weeks. The Warriors were angry. The play was described as dirty by Kerr.

Kerr said that Dillon Brooks broke the code.

He was a journeyman basketball player who had struggled for years to find a home in the NBA. He was considering leaving his playing career to work as a video couthing. Being named a starter to take on one of the most difficult defensive assignments in the NBA, dynamic Memphis All-Star Ja Morant for the duration of the series, should've been the culmination of his long journey.

After being diagnosed with a fractured left elbow in the X-ray room of FedEx Forum, he had to put his trip on hold. The Warriors' 106-101 loss in Game 2 was followed by a reception in the locker room.

He said that the team was down after the game. It meant a lot to my teammates and Coach Kerr that they had my back after the game.

In the second game of the finals, he drained all three of his shots. He scored 15 points with three steals and smothered Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart in the Warriors' Game 5 victory.

May 13: Kevon Looney inserted into the starting lineup

A 39-point loss can cause a team to make some changes. After the Warriors dropped Game 5 to the Grizzlies 134-95 in the conference semifinals, assistant coach Mike Brown -- who had filled in as acting head coach during Games 4 and 5 for the COVID-19- positive Kerr -- sent Kerr a suggestion.

In place of Jonathan Kuminga, the Warriors should start a new player.

The defensive brain of the Warriors' staff, Brown, had watched the Warriors' defense give up 18 offensive boards in a Game 5 loss to the Memphis Grizzles, as the team's size was too much for them. Kerr told Brown to sleep on the recommendation until the next day.

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Curry and Green told Kerr's staff that he was the logical choice to start Game 6. There wasn't much else for the staff to discuss. The decision was made between Brown's defensive instincts and the endorsements of the two headiest players.

There wouldn't be a smooth move. The Warriors didn't want to play their big men together for long periods of time. For all of Looney's strengths, he has never been a dynamic roller to the rim. He might be vulnerable out on the perimeter in pick-and-roll coverage.

Looney quelled any concerns immediately, acquitting himself as a versatile defender and also dishing out five assists in the Warriors' series-clinching victory. He has provided an endless supply of screens and grown into a whiz at the Warriors' hit-and-handback actions. The embodiment of the principle is a team with a style of play and team ethic.

The "Luka Rules" is a defense, per assistant coach Jama Mahlalelah, designed to "bother [Luka] as long as you possibly can." "I thought he'd be able to do it for 30 percent of the game," Mahlalelah says of Andrew Wiggins. "He did it for 85 percent." AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

May 18: Andrew Wiggins defends Luka Doncic

In the conference semifinals, the Warriors' coverage schemes were dictated by the "Ja Rules". The "Luka Rules" were the most important set of rules that would determine whether the Warriors would return to the Finals for the first time since 2019.

"With Luka, there aren't many specific tactics like 'Make him go left' or 'Make him go right' because he can beat you in either direction," says assistant coach Jama Mahlalela. "With Luka, it starts with the idea that you should bother him for as long of the basketball game as possible."

In order to exert full-court pressure on Doncic, that meant being persistent and tenacious. As Doncic brought the ball upcourt, it was necessary to turn him repeatedly. Tire him out as much as possible was the principle. The strategy required a lot of energy.

He said to make him work after Game 1. It was 94 feet that made him work.

During the course of the series, Doncic had an effective field goal percentage of 46.7, with an identical shot quality percentage, per Second Spectrum.

He thought he could do it for 30% of the game. He did it for the majority of the game.

In addition to being the Warriors' best defender during the playoffs, and being an efficient shot creator on the wing for a team desperately in need of one, he has crashed the boards with authority. The margin of victory for the Warriors was the result of his performance in Game 5 when Curry had one of the worst shooting nights of his career.

For a player who, during his first six NBA seasons, was regarded as an overpaid supplier of empty calories and a player with a competitive deficit, Andrew Wiggins has emerged as one of the best redemption stories of the season.

Nine-hundred forty-one is a number that will live in Warriors history. Klay Thompson returned after more than two seasons away from the game, re-forming the trio, with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, that fueled the Warriors' dynasty. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

May 26: Thompson scores 32 in the clinching win to send Warriors back to Finals

It took nine-hundred and forty-one days to get here.

The number of days between when Thompson tore his knee in the playoffs and when he returned to the floor is a familiar figure.

The postseason had its ups and downs. He hadn't posted a 20-point game in the conference finals and had entered Game 5 shooting 29.2% from beyond the 3-point line. It was Vintage Klay in the end. He scampered around perimeter screens for catch-and-shoot looks, he drove to a nice spot for a jumper when the Mavs chased him off the dribble, and he fanned out to the wing for easy opportunities. He scored 32 points when it was over.

Thompson is characterized by the Warriors' team and staff as a man who is easy to get along with. The Warriors' roster has a lot of guys with different interests, but Thompson is the one with the most passion. Steve Kerr often says that if Green and Curry are the Warriors' heartbeat, then Thompson is their soul.

Many players don't cultivate a power of reflection and inner presence until they retire, but Thompson did. He was in his prime at the time. He was a 32-year-old vet trying to regain his muscles memory when he stepped up on the dais after the game. He conjured up the former Klay and joined him to the latter as the Warriors advanced to the NBA finals.

Thompson said that there were no differences to who he was then and now. There are.

Thompson needs a lot of time away from the din of an NBA dynasty. He needs to be fed and cared for outside. He loves free-diving in the water of Richardson Bay off Marin County.

Thompson says it's magic. You can swim through the 50 feet of seaweed. The little rooms are so silent and blocked off that you can't see the sun. It feels like your own show on Natgeo. You feel small in the world.

June 10: Curry scores 43 points in the Warriors' win in Boston to knot the Finals at 2-2

The day before Game 4 in Boston, with the Warriors coming off an ugly 116 100 loss the previous night, Curry arrived at the Garden for a media session and practice. Curry would usually go through the kind of shooting session that he's known for and has orchestrated thousands of times. Curry doubled up on sessions that day and added a new twist to his routine.

Curry and assistant coach Bruce Fraser added a series of one-shot-at-a-time attempts run out of specific Warriors actions. With the help of Lainn Wilson, Fraser would call out a split, a pindown, gaggle action, and Curry would catch the pass and put up a shot.

When you only get one shot out of one play, it's different. Each shot has more weight placed on it. The mentality is changed a bit.

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Curry went off for 43 points, including 7-for 14 from deep, in a crucial game when the Warriors trailed in a series for the first time during the playoffs. It could have been the difference in his routine or his lunch. The basketball gods can't divine that.

One of Curry's most exquisite Finals games was assembled. His game is defined by his sleight of hand, feathery touches, twisting contortions and continuous movement. On a night when the Celtics hunted him on the other side of the ball, Curry assumed a heavy burden in a Warriors offense that relied more than usual on his individual exploits as a one-on- one scorer. Curry's two fourth-quarter field goals, the driving, one-legged teardrop and clever step-back jumper, were signature Curry at the most precarious juncture of the Warriors' dynasty.

For the past eight years, Curry has never won Finals Most Valuable Player honors in the three Warriors titles he's been a part of, but he did win the award in 2015. There was no suspense to the announcement. Game 4 was the topline achievement, even though there were many individual moments.

The Warriors have pioneered a new brand of basketball that has influenced a generation, even as they've distinguished themselves with a singular style no other team can match. Because no other team has Stephen Curry. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

June 16: Warriors defeat Celtics in Game 6 to win their fourth title in eight seasons

Al Horford was given the worst assignment in basketball, guarding Curry in open space, because the Celtics couldn't have planned it this way. In an era when mobile big men are valued for their ability to guard the perimeter, Horford is one of the best.

Curry is forever America's little brother. Curry faced up against Horford with a small group of dribbles in a tight spot. Curry widened the area of engagement while he watched Horford's feet.

Curry danced in space. One of the league's best veterans was subjected to an indignity. Curry drove hard right after Horford committed his right foot. A hummingbird became a bowling ball. Curry made his approach to the basket, lurched forward and kissed the ball off the upper-right corner of the window for a layup. A new brand of NBA basketball that put a premium on flexibility and spacing was pioneered by the Warriors eight years ago. Drawing on features of the triangle offense and the motion sets, they designed an operating system for Curry.

Over time, the Warriors have changed that system. They were given a couple of titles. They had to take into account the wear and tear that comes with age. The Warriors had Curry no matter what. No player has ever been more willing to thrive in a system than this one.

The Warriors have more power than their hardware. Even as they've distinguished themselves with a singular style no other team in basketball can match, they've influenced how NBA basketball has been played for a long time. The teams that don't have Stephen Curry are the ones that can't be duplicated because they don't have him.