OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — After a generation of wishing and waiting, the Golden State Warriors have finally arrived on basketball’s biggest stage again.
Stephen Curry had 26 points and eight rebounds, Harrison Barnes added 24 points and the Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years with a 104-90 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
“Why not us?” Curry said to a roaring, golden-yellow shirt wearing crowd after the Warriors received the Western Conference trophy from Alvin Attles, the coach of their last championship team in 1975.
The Warriors shook off a slow start and sweated out a shaky finish in Game 5 to close out the Rockets and set up a matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers beginning June 4.
It was hardly the prettiest performance — but one they’ll savor nonetheless.
Yellow streams and confetti fell from the rafters when the final buzzer sounded. The Warriors shared hugs and handshakes, and the crowd chanted “M-V-P!” for Curry, who relished the moment on the court with his 2-year-old daughter, Riley.
“We deserve to celebrate tonight, but we’ve still got unfinished business and it’s a long time coming for the Bay Area,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said.