The Golden State Warriors punched their ticket back to the NBA Finals on Thursday, eliminating the Mavericks with a Game 5 victory. With the conference title locked up, Warriors star Stephen Curry became the first ever winner of the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP. Ironically, it becomes the first Finals MVP award of Curry’s career.
In the Warriors' 4-1 series victory over Dallas, Curry led the team with 23.8 points and 7.4 assists per game, alongside 6.6 rebounds per game. Curry was far from the dominant force in the Western Conference Finals that he has been in the past. Still, it’s an added compliment of Steph’s greatness that he remained the best player on a Conference Champion even as a less productive version of himself.
In an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson after winning the award, Curry said, “We know this isn’t the ultimate goal, but we gotta celebrate this.” Curry acknowledged that the team’s ultimate goal of winning a title is still four victories away. However, it’s been a sobering few years for the franchise that once obliterated the rest of the league. By finishing the Mavericks off in five games, they will have nearly a week to rest up before getting back on the court for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.