Prior to the 2019 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors were looking to become the fourth franchise in league history to win three consecutive championships.
However, they were denied by Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors, who clinched the Canadian franchise's first title, beating the two-time reigning champions in six games.
👀 the TOP PLAYS down the stretch as the @Raptors win Game 6 to become 2019 NBA CHAMPIONS! #WeTheNorth #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/8Zc0kHWJ0L- NBA (@NBA) June 14, 2019
This was the Warriors' second Finals loss in their fifth straight appearance, after previously famously losing in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Losing hurts no matter what the situation is," Stephen Curry said when asked which Finals loss hurts more.
"Nobody likes that feeling whether it's a Game 7 or Game 6 or what have you. I'll echo what Draymond said. It's kind of how do you respond and what do you -- how hard do you work to try to get back to this stage."
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Despite a rough shooting game (6-of-17 FGs), Curry had a chance to ice the game with eight seconds to go but he missed the three from the right wing.
In the postgame press conference, the three-time champion graciously congratulated the Toronto Raptors for a great series, but did insist that the toll of the past five years doesn't necessarily mean the end of their dynasty.
"I think true champions like we are, we should be able to adapt and keep this same kind of DNA no matter what our roster looks like next year," Curry said.
"Next season will be next season, and we'll come back with the right mentality. So it's kind of hard to talk about because it's a tough way to go out and it's tough to lose in The Finals, but the story's not over yet."
Draymond Green echoed those sentiments post-game, confident that this wasn't the end for the Warriors.
"I think everybody thinks it's kind of the end of us. But that's just not smart. We're not done yet. We lost this year," Green said.
"Clearly just wasn't our year, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. But, yeah, I hear a lot of that noise, it's the end of a run and all that jazz. I don't see it happening though. We'll be back."
Already missing Kevin Durant and then losing Klay Thompson in the third quarter meant the Warriors needed Draymond Green to step up, and so he did.
Green recorded a triple-double, his third on the Finals stage, but it wasn't enough to win.
Head coach Steve Kerr commended his team's ability to continue the fight, despite being as shorthanded as they were.
"It's amazement that we're sitting in this position with, during the game we have a chance to win the game and force a Game 7 and go back to Toronto, and you just think, how? How has this group of guys put themselves in position to do it."
In the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors have made the Finals all five years, going 3-2 in those appearances.
With all the uncertainty that lies in the ensuing offseason, will they make it a sixth straight appearance in the 2020 Finals?