Editor's note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area's Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith
The end of the road was a valiant one. Five consecutive NBA Finals for the Warriors did not yield a fourth championship. It's OK. The Warriors were depleted, and they ran into a great team from the East. This is the way it goes.
My heart hurts from talking about injuries.
After last night's game, I interviewed Steve Kerr. I went into the locker room. I went on the postgame set. Then I collected my things.
I went out to the arena floor and looked around for a moment. This was it.
There were goodbyes in the hallways, with Warriors personnel and other reporters. The end comes quick. I texted my husband that I was heading to the car. On the way home, I heard A-Ha's "Take On Me," and I had a stupid little thought about Steph Curry being triple-teamed after Klay Thompson left the game.
When I got home, my husband had a drink waiting for me and a funny look on his face. He asked, "Did you hear about Klay?" I had not. "ACL," he said. F--k.
Both Klay and KD left this series on crutches. Kevon Looney's chest was broken. The team sacrificed to continue. They left their guts on the floor.
Draymond Green, who rung out every ounce of fight in his body for an 11-19-13 line in Game 6, said: "Yeah, I think everybody thinks it's kind of the end of us. But that's just not smart. We're not done yet."
Steph added, " Soak up this feeling."
There are changes coming. The roster will look different. The arena will be new. But the desire to win has new fuel.
@KevinAl82121527 What are your thoughts on why GS isn't talked about as an attractive destination for all-star free agents even though GS is considered one of the best run franchises in the NBA?
It is attractive! Golden State's GM and coaching situation has been stable and top-notch for years. The team has owners willing to spend money. The facilities in Oakland are nice, and the team has a new arena coming. Plus, the Bay Area is sunny, friendly and diverse.
Maybe it feels like the Warriors aren't talked about recently because they landed the free agent, Kevin Durant. With KD joining Steph, Klay and Draymond, the team was comfortable with its core and didn't have to make big pitches or trades for anyone else.
With the free agency conversation coming up strong, the Warriors will have to see what happens with KD's decision, and then react. Klay feels more certain with the Warriors, even with the ACL injury, because of how strongly he's said he wants to be a Warrior for life.
When the dominos fall, the Warriors will be in the mix as a favorable destination. Players talk.
Furthermore, who wouldn't want to play with Steph? His chill personality, competitive fire and willingness to share the ball on the court makes him a dream teammate. That alone is enticing for free agent.
@Crypto_m1 Win or lose the Finals, what is the one takeaway from this entire season that you will remember about this Warriors squad?
I'll remember that the dynasty was cemented last season, so everything this year was gravy. This year, I'll remember the team's intense drive to win a third consecutive championship. They overcame some bumps ... and some craters ... to reach a fifth straight Finals. That's incredibly difficult.
The players strengthened a brotherhood to take a shot to make history with a three-peat. They were serious about making the most of the talent on this roster, at this moment in time.
During my two seasons covering the team, I've kept small mementos to share with my future children. Someday they'll know Mommy had an awesome job covering Hall of Fame players.
@itsooni what moment will stand out for you the most in the final game at Oracle? #askKerith
Oracle was my home for two seasons. That's enough to leave an impression.
My seat was in a tunnel, under the seats. It was a high-traffic area for people waiting to get on the court. I saw the hype squad, all kinds of performers, Franco and Ruby, the security people, Beyonce (!!!), and Warriors staff members in that tunnel.
It was cool to see what goes into every game-day experience. Oracle was an ecosystem.
@DerrickColon2 What is the most memorable moment of your career while covering the Warriors?
My whole first season reporting on this team. My rookie year, 2017-2018, that ended with a championship. It was the first championship I covered for a professional team, and that was a dream accomplishment.
I was in the right place at the right time. Some players, and some reporters, never get to taste a championship their entire careers.
I feel something kindred for Jordan Bell, a rookie at the same time I was. I feel grateful for the sideline reporters I met on the road who showed me the ropes on the NBA stage. And I feel thankful I got to see everything from the inside out. It's special to travel with the team for a deeper behind-the-scenes look.
I have the best sideline job in the country.
@myfairgirlie After this week, what do you do? Vacation? Or continue work?
@rj1975 How do you plan to spend your time during the NBA offseason? #askKerith
For about a week, I want to do NOTHING. Like I said, my heart hurts from talking about injuries, and this was a season full of them. Time to recoup spiritually.
I'm going on a short vacation. And when I feel ready, I'll get back to reporting. You'll still see me on NBC Sports Bay Area. Last year, for example, I covered Steph at a golf tournament and an event for Klay's family foundation. I'll let you know what I'm up to.
This summer, I want to read books. I plan on taking a social media break, too.
This week's high five goes out to you, the loyal readers who come through with questions and compliments every week. Thanks for reading.
This is the final mailbag of the season, but it will be back next season.
Be good. Go play outside.